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Swami Vivekananda: Know about one of India's greatest philosophers

By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Jan 12, 2022 06:06 AM IST

Swami Vivekananda is known for his writings, and he delivered one of his greatest speeches at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893. His speech, which began with, “Sisters and brothers of America”, got him a standing ovation at the summit.

India is celebrating National Youth Day today, to honour the life and teachings of one of the greatest philosophers, Swami Vivekananda. The day celebrates Vivekananda’s “inspirational” ideas and how the youth will benefit from them.

Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12, 1863, in Calcutta.
Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12, 1863, in Calcutta.

Chief disciple of the 19th-century mystic Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Vivekananda introduced the world to the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga.

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On January 12, 1863, Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Datta in an aristocratic family of North Calcutta. He is seen as a major force behind the revival of Hinduism in India and is credited with creating interfaith awareness as well.

In 1881, he first met Ramakrishna Paramhansa, following which he journeyed down the path of spirituality. Vivekananda, who founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission, is also credited with instilling a sense of nationalism in people in a colonial India.

Both these became important centres for the teaching of the philosophy and principles associated with Vedanta.

Vivekananda wrote four classics - Jnana-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, and Raja-Yoga - which are his treatises on Hindu philosophy and the teachings of Vedanta. In addition, his ideas and philosophy come through in the many lectures he delivered, the letters he wrote to friends and disciples, poems and songs composed by him.

Vivekananda is best known for his famous 1893 speech where he introduced Hinduism to the Western world in Chicago.

He had also warned against the dangers of sectarianism and bigotry. Here’s an excerpt from the same:

Sectarianism, bigotry and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilisation and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.

Swami Vivekananda died on July 4, 1902. He was meditating at Belur math when a ruptured blood vessel in his brain led to his death. His followers believe that the rupture was due to brahmarandhra (an opening in the crown of his head) being pierced when he attained mahasamādhi.

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