Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda was born in 3, Shimla Pally, Calcutta on 12 January 1863, Monday at 6:49 A.M. During the Makara Sankrantifestival in a conventional Kayastha family, and was given the name Narendranath Dutta. His father Viswanath Dutta was an legal representative of Calcutta High Court. He was considered freethinking, and had a liberal and progressive outlook in social and religious matters. His mother Bhuvaneshwari Devi was religious and had practiced austerities and prayed to Vireshwar Shiva of Varanasi to give her a son. She supposedly had a dream in which Shiva rose from his thought and said that he would be born as her son.
          Even as a child Narendra had great respect for sannyasis or
ascetics. He would give away anything to anybody if asked for. On
his birthday, he would wear new clothes, wouldn't he? If a beggar asked for aims he would give away the new clothes. From that
day, his mother would lock him up in a room whenever a beggar
passed by the house. But every beggar knew Narendra's nature
very well. So beggars would stand near the window of Narendra's
room. He would throw to them anything he had. The spirit of
sacrifice and renunciation was already blossoming in him. In her
leisure time his mother would tell him the story of the Ramayana.
He could not sleep unless she told him a story. Then he would be
all ears, forgetting his study and play. He had great reverence
for Lord Hanuman. Once he sat before the idol of Lord Shiva,
with his body all smeared with ash. His perplexed mother asked
him, "Naren, what's all this?" He smiled and said, "Mother, I'm
the Lord Shiva." The mother feared that her son would become a
sannyasi, like his grandfather.
          During his formative years he developed extraordinary mental abilities which some people either misunderstood or ignored, but which others appreciated and took as signs of an outstanding individual. As a child he liked to play at meditation and would Completed his university education in 1956 and took final monastic vows with the Ramakrishna Order in 1966. He has served in several educational institutions run by the Order – as headmaster, principal or secretary – besides doing some rural development work. In 1983 the Swami became a trustee of the Ramakrishna Order, and is now head of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Calcutta. His research work on Sri Ramakrishna and the history of the Order is well recognized. He has written fourteen books in Bengali and three in English, besides contributing many articles to various journals
Narendra was Ramakrishna's favourite disciple. But he would not
accept as gospel truth all that Narendra said. Narendra was
highly critical of people who worshipped idols. He rejected the
theory of "Advaita" (Monism). He had no faith in mystic
experiences. Advaitic assertions such as "I am Brahman", "I am
Shiva- did not impress Narendra. But Sri Ramakrishna would
always bring him back to the right path by saying, "There are
many roads to reach a destination. No one has the right to say
that the path the other man takes is not the right one. It is
improper to pass judgement on anything that one does not
          In 1884, Narendra passed the B. A. degree examination. A friend
of his hosted a party. As Narendra was singing at the party, the
news of his father's death came like a bolt from the blue.
Poverty hit the family immediately after the father's death. The
money-lenders began to harass the family. Some of them even
went to a court of law. Narendra wandered far and wide looking
for a job. His clothes were tattered and torn; and it was difficult
even to get one meal a day. Many a day he fasted so that -his
mother and his brothers and sisters might have something to eat.
He would tell them that he had eaten with a friend. Sometimes he
would faint with hunger and fall down in the street. But in spite
of such overwhelming misfortune he never lost faith in God. Sri
Ramakrishna would console him saying "You are here to serve
mankind and do mother Kali's work. You should be brave."
          Vivekananda died at ten minutes past nine P.M. on July 4, 1902 while he was meditating. According to his disciples, this was Mahasamadhi. Afterward, his disciples recorded that they had noticed "a little blood" in the Swami's nostrils, about his mouth and in his eyes. The doctors remarked that it was due to the rupture of a blood-vessel in the brain, but they could not find the real cause of the death. According to his disciples, Brahmarandhra — the aperture in the crown of the head — must have been pierced when he attained Mahasamadhi. Vivekananda had fulfilled his own prophecy of not living to be forty years old.


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