Posted on 2010-01-26, updated at 2012-12-14. By anonymous.
Swami Vivekananda was born in an aristocratic Kayastha family of Calcutta in 1863. His parents influenced the Swami's thinking – the father by his rational mind and the mother by her religious temperament. From his childhood, he showed inclination towards spirituality and God realization. While searching for a man who could directly demonstrate the reality of God, he came to Ramakrishna and became his disciple. As a guru, Ramakrishna taught him Advaita Vedanta and that all religions are true, and service to man was the most effective worship of God. After the death of his Guru, Vivekananda became a wandering monk, touring the Indian subcontinent and getting a first-hand account of India's condition. He later sailed to Chicago and represented India as a delegate in the 1893 Parliament of World Religions. An eloquent speaker, Vivekananda was invited to several forums in United States and spoke at universities and clubs. He conducted several public and private lectures, disseminating Vedanta, Yoga and Hinduism in America, England and a few other countries in Europe. He also established Vedanta societies in America and England. He later sailed back to India and in 1897 and founded the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, a philanthropic and spiritual organization.
In a short span of 39 years he awakened and inspired great many souls that followed his precepts. His most famous statement was "Arise, Awake and Rest not till the goal is achieved." Today many people of different nationalities, religions, races, colors, sects and creeds follow the teachings of Vedanta he introduced in late 18th and early 19th centuries. He is most popular amoung young adults. Present day youth and many aspiring souls seek inspiration from his teachings and messages even to date. While still alive, Swami Vivekananda proclaimed that though he would leave his body like discarding his clothes but would continue to work towards the upliftment of all humanity. After departing from his mortal coils, Swami Vivekananda is believed to have interacted with great souls to fulfil his work. He gave a new direction to religion by transending ritual concepts of religions and promoted formless and nameless meditative practices like Raja Yoga and Spirituality. Swami Vivekananda is regarded as one of India's foremost nation-builders. His teachings influenced the thinking of other national and international leaders and philosophers, like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, Aurobindo Ghosh, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
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