Swami Vivekananda Bengal (born Narendranath Datta) was a Hindu monk, and disciple of the famous Indian mystic Ramakrishna Paramhamsa. Let's have a look at his life, teachings & philosophy.
Date of Birth: January12, 1863
Place of Birth: Calcutta, Bengal Presidency (Now Kolkata in West Bengal)
Parents: Vishwanath Dutta (Father) and Bhuvaneshwari Devi (Mother)
Education: Calcutta Metropolitan School; Presidency College, Calcutta
Institutions: Ramakrishna Math; Ramakrishna Mission; Vedanta Society of New York
Religious Views: Hinduism
Philosophy: Advaita Vedanta
Publications: Karma Yoga (1896); Raja Yoga (1896); Lectures from Colombo to Almora (1897); My Master (1901)
Death: July 4, 1902
Place of Death: Belur Math, Belur, Bengal
Memorial: Belur Math, Belur, West Bengal
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Swami Vivekananda was a Hindu monk and one of the most celebrated spiritual leaders of India. He was more than just a spiritual mind; he was a prolific thinker, great orator and passionate patriot. He carried on the free-thinking philosophy of his guru, Ramakrishna Paramhansa forward into a new paradigm. He worked tirelessly towards betterment of the society, in servitude of the poor and needy, dedicating his all for his country. He was responsible for the revival of Hindu spiritualism and established Hinduism as a revered religion on world stage. His message of universal brotherhood and self-awakening remains relevant especially in the current backdrop of widespread political turmoil around the world. The young monk and his teachings have been an inspiration to many, and his words have become goals of self-improvement especially for the youth of the country. For this very reason, his birthday, January 12, is celebrated as the National Youth Day in India.
Early Life and Education
Born Narendranath Dutta, into an affluent Bengali family in Calcutta, Vivekananda was one of the eight children of Vishwanath Dutta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi. He was born on January 12, 1863, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. Father Vishwanath was a successful attorney with considerable influence in society. Narendranath’s mother Bhuvaneshwari was a woman endowed with a strong, God-fearing mind who had a great impact on her son.
As a young boy, Narendranath displayed sharp intellect. His mischievous nature belied his interest in music, both instrumental as well as vocal. He excelled in his studies as well, first at the Metropolitan institution, and later at the Presidency College in Calcutta. By the time he graduated from the college, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects. He was active in sports, gymnastics, wrestling and body building. He was an avid reader and read up on almost everything under the sun. He perused the Hindu scriptures like the Bhagvad Gita and the Upanishads on one hand, while on the other hand he studied western philosophy, history and spirituality by David Hume, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Herbert Spencer.
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Spiritual Crisis and Relationship with Ramkrishna Paramhansa
Although Narendranath’s mother was a devout woman and he had grown up in a religious atmosphere at home, he underwent a deep spiritual crisis at the start of his youth. His well-studied knowledge led him to question the existence of God and for some time he believed in Agnosticism. Yet he could not completely ignore the existence of a Supreme Being. He became associated with Brahmo Movement led by Keshab Chandra Sen, for some time. The Bramho Samaj recognised one God unlike the idol-worshipping, superstition-ridden Hinduism. The host of philosophical questions regarding the existence of God roiling through his mind remained unanswered. During this spiritual crisis, Vivekananda first heard about Sri Ramakrishna from William Hastie, the Principal of the Scottish Church College.
Earlier, to satisfy his intellectual quest for God, Narendranath visited prominent spiritual leaders from all religions, asking them a single question, “Have you seen God?” Each time he came away without a satisfying answer. He put forward the same question to Sri Ramkrishna at his residence in Dakshinewar Kali Temple compounds. Without a moment's hesitation, Sri Ramakrishna replied: "Yes, I have. I see God as clearly as I see you, only in a much deeper sense." Vivekananda, initially unimpressed by the simplicity of Ramkrishna, was astonished with Ramakrishna's reply. Ramakrishna gradually won over this argumentative young man with his patience and love. The more Narendranath visited Dakshineshwar, the more his questions were answered.
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In 1884, Naredranath underwent a considerable financial distress due to the death of his father as he had to support his mother and younger siblings. He asked Ramakrishna to pray to the Goddess for the financial welfare of his family. On Ramakrishna’s suggestion he himself went to the temple to pray. But once he faced the Goddess he could not ask for money and wealth, instead he asked for ‘Vivek’ (conscience) and ‘Bairagya’ (reclusion). That day marked the complete spiritual awakening of Narendranath and he found himself drawn to an ascetic way of life.
Life of a Monk
During the middle of 1885, Ramakrishna, who had been suffering from throat cancer, fell seriously ill. In September 1885, Sri Ramakrishna was moved to Shyampukur in Culcutta, and a few months later Narendranath took a rented villa at Cossipore. Here, he formed a group of young people who were ardent followers of Sri Ramakrishna and together they nursed their Guru with devoted care. On 16 August 1886, Sri Ramakrishna gave up his mortal body.
After the demise of Sri Ramakrishna, around fifteen of his disciples including Narendranath began to live together in a dilapidated building at Baranagar in North Calcutta, which was named Ramakrishna Math, the monastic order of Ramakrishna. Here, in 1887, they formally renounced all ties to the world and took vows of monkhood. The brotherhood rechristened themselves and Narendranath emerged as Vivekananda meaning "the bliss of discerning wisdom".
The brotherhood lived off on alms donated voluntarily by patrons during holy begging or ‘madhukari’, performed yoga and meditation. Vivekananda left the Math in 1886 and went on a tour of India on foot as a ‘Parivrajak’. He travelled the breadth of the country, absorbing much of the social, cultural and religious aspects of the people he came in contact with. He witnessed the adversities of life that the common people faced, their ailments, and vowed to dedicate his life to bring relief to these suffering.
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Lecture at the World Parliament of Religions
During the course of his wanderings, he came to know about the World Parliament of Religions being held in Chicago, America in 1893. He was keen to attend the meeting, to represent India, Hinduism and his Guru Sri Ramakrishna’s philosophies. He found assertion of his wishes while he was meditating on the rocks of Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India. Money was raised by his disciples in Madras (now Chennai) and Ajit Singh, Raja of Khetri, and Vivekananda left for Chicago on May 31, 1893 from Bombay.
He faced insurmountable hardships on his way to Chicago, but his spirits remained as indomitable as ever. On 11 September 1893, when the time came, he took the stage and stunned everyone with his opening line “My brothers and sisters of America”. He received a standing ovation from the audience for the opening phrase. He went on to describe the principles of Vedanta and their spiritual significance, putting Hinduism on the map of World Religions.
He spent the next two and a half years in America and founded the Vedanta Society of New York in 1894. He also travelled to the United Kingdom to preach the tenets of the Vedanta and Hindu Spiritualism to the western world.
Teachings and Ramakrishna Mission
Vivekananda returned to India in 1897 amidst warm reception from the common and royal alike. He reached Calcutta after a series of lectures across the country and founded the Ramakrishna Mission on May 1, 1897 at Belur Math near Calcutta. The goals of the Ramakrishna Mission were based on the ideals of Karma Yoga and its primary objective was to serve the poor and distressed population of the country. The Ramakrishna Mission undertook various forms of social service like establishing and running school, collages and hospitals, propagation of practical tenets of Vedanta through conference, seminars and workshops, initiating relief and rehabilitation work across the country.
His religious conscience was an amalgamation of Sri Ramakrishna’s spiritual teachings of Divine manifestation and his personal internalization of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy. He directed to achieve the divinity of the soul by undertaking selfless work, worship and mental discipline. According to Vivekananda, the ultimate goal is to achieve freedom of the soul and that encompasses the entirety of one’s religion.
Swami Vivekananda was a prominent nationalist, and had the overall welfare of his countrymen topmost in his mind. He urged his fellow countrymen to “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached”.
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Swami Vivekananda had predicted that he will not live till the age of forty. On July 4, 1902, he went about his days’ work at the Belur Math, teaching Sanskrit grammar to the pupils. He retired to his room in the evening and died during meditation at around 9. He is said to have attained ‘Mahasamadhi’ and the great saint was cremated on the Banks of river Ganga.
Swami Vivekananda revealed to the world the true foundations of India's unity as a nation. He taught how a nation with such a vast diversity can be bound together by a feeling of humanity and brother-hood. Vivekananda emphasized the points of drawbacks of western culture and the contribution of India to overcome those. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose once said: "Swamiji harmonized the East and the West, religion and science, past and present. And that is why he is great. Our countrymen have gained unprecedented self-respect, self-reliance and self-assertion from his teachings." Vivekananda was successful in constructing a virtual bridge between the culture of East and the West. He interpreted the Hindu scriptures, philosophy and the way of life to the Western people. He made them realize that in spite of poverty and backwardness, India had a great contribution to make to world culture. He played a key role in ending India's cultural isolation from the rest of the world.
Swami Vivekananda was a great religious Hindu saint and leader who founded the Ramakrishna Mission and Ramakrishna Math. We celebrate National Youth Day every year on 12th of January at his birth anniversary. Students may get assigned by their teachers to write some paragraphs or complete essay on Swami Vivekananda. Now-a-days, essay writing is one of the good strategies followed by the teachers in the schools and colleges to enhance the English writing skill and knowledge of the students about any topic. Essay writing is also an effective way to get views, ideas and thoughts of students over any topic. We have provided some paragraphs, short essays and long essays on Swami Vivekananda to help students in successfully completing their task in the school. All the Swami Vivekananda essay are written very simply using easy English language. So, you can select any essay according to your need and requirement:
Essay on Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda Essay 1 (100 words)
Swami Vivekananda was born on 12th of January in 1863 in Kolkata as Narendranath Datta to the Vishwanath Datta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi. He was an extraordinary child with spiritual thoughts. His education was irregular but he completed Bachelor of Arts degree from the Scotish Church College, Kolkata. His religious and monk life started when he met to the Shri Ramakrishna and made him Guru. Later he led the Vedanta movement and introduced the Indian philosophy of Hinduism in western countries. His Chicago speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religion on 11th September, 1893 had represented India held in Chicago. He became successful in establishing Hinduism as the important world religion. He was very intelligent person with in-depth knowledge of Hindu scriptures (Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Bhagawata Gita, etc). Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raj Yoga, and Jnana Yoga are some of his famous and major works.
Swami Vivekananda Essay 2 (150 words)
Swami Vivekananda was a great patriotic leader, born as Narendra Nath Datta in Kolkata on 12th of January 1863. He was one of the eight siblings of his parents Vishwanath Datta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi. He was very intelligent boy and active in music, gymnastics and studies. He took his graduation from Calcutta University and got knowledge about different subjects including Western philosophy and history. He was born with yogic temperament and later used to practice meditation. He was very eager to know about God from childhood. Once he was passing through the spiritual crisis, he met to the Sri Ramakrishna and asked a question that “Sir, have you seen God?” Sri Ramakrishna replied him that “Yes, I have. I see Him as clearly as I see you, only in a much intenser sense”. He became one of the great followers of Sri Ramakrishna and started following his orders.
Swami Vivekananda Essay 3 (200 words)
Swami Vivekananda was born on 12th of January in 1863 in Calcutta as Narendra Nath Datta. The name of his parents was Vishwanath Datta (an attorney at Calcutta High Court) and Bhuvaneshwari Devi (a religious housewife). He was a most popular Hindu monk and patriotic saint of India. His teachings and valuable thoughts are the biggest philosophical asset of India. He had founded Belur Math, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. His birth anniversary is celebrated every year at Saptami in Paush Krishna Paksha after the full moon day.
It is declared by the Indian government to celebrate the birth date of Swami Vivekananda every year as National Youth Day on 12th of January since 1985. The aim of celebrating this day is to motivate young generations as well as inculcate these pious ideals into the coming generations. At this day people remember Swami Vivekananda and his contributions to the country. It is celebrated with great devotion at headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission including their branch centers. Various activities like homa, meditation, mangal arti, devotional songs, religious discourses, sandhya arti, etc are performed on this day.
Swami Vivekananda Essay 4 (250 words)
Swami Vivekananda, a worldwide popular monk, was born in Calcutta on 12th of January in 1863. He was called as Narendra Nath Datta in his childhood. His birth anniversary is celebrated every year as National Youth Day in India. He was one of the eight siblings of Viswanath Dutta, a lawyer at High Court of Calcutta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi. He was a bright student however his education was irregular. He was very religious and spiritual person, popular for his Sanskrit knowledge. He was a truth speaker, good scholar, and a player. He was very religious in nature from childhood and quite disturbed that where he could get God. One day he met with the Sri Ramakrishna (Priest at Dakshineswar Kali temple) when he got changed because of the spiritual influence of Sri Ramakrishna. He was called as Swami Vivekananda when he accepted Ramakrishna as his spiritual master.
After the death of his Guru, he attended the Parliament of Religions, Chicago in 1893 where he had to face many difficulties. He was ranked, as greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions, by one of the newspapers in New York. Swami Vivekananda was a great patriot and greatest spiritual figure all over the country who tried to remove poverty from India. He had founded an organization known as Ramakrishna Mission on 1st of May in 1897 which is involved in propagating Practical Vedanta and variety of social services. He died at the age 39 on 4th of June in 1902.
Swami Vivekananda Essay 5 (300 words)
Swami Vivekananda was born in the Shimla Pally in Calcutta on 12th of January in 1863 and died on 4th of July in 1902. He was the chief follower of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. His birth name was Narendranath Datta who later became the founder of Ramakrishna Mission. He was the person of Indian origin who became successful in introducing the Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga in the Europe and America. He revived Hinduism in the modern India. His inspiring speech is still followed among the youths of the country. He had also introduced the Hinduism at Parliament of the World’s Religions at Chicago in 1893.
His father name was Vishwanath Datta, an attorney of Calcutta High Court, and mother name was Bhuvaneshwari Devi. Swami Vivekananda was influenced by the rational mind of his father and religious temperament of his mother. He learned self-control from his mother and later became an expert in meditation. His self control was really amazing using which he could easily enter to the state of samadhi. He developed a remarkable leadership quality in his young age. He came in contact with the Sri Ramakrishna after visiting to the Brahmo Samaj when he was youth. He stayed with his monk-brothers at the Boranagar Monastfery. In his later life, he decided for touring India and started wandering from place to place and reached Trivandum where he decided to attend the Parliament of Religions at Chicago.
He became very popular all around the world after delivering effective speeches and lectures at many places. He returned to India and founded Ramakrishna Maths and Mission in 1897, Advaita Ashrama in Mayavati (near Almora) in 1899. The Ashrama was a branch of the Ramakrishna Math. The famous arati song, Khandana Bhava Bandhana is composed by him. Once he meditated for three hours at Belur Math. It is considered that once he went to meditate in his room. He asked not to be disturbed and died while meditating.
Swami Vivekananda Essay 6 (400 words)
Swami Vivekananda was born in Calcutta, on 12th January in 1863 during Makar Sankranti festival, in a traditional Bengali Kayastha family. The birth name of Swami Vivekananda was Narendranath Datta (also called as Narendra or Naren). He was one of the nine siblings of his parents (father Vishwanath Datta, an attorney in Calcutta High Court and mother Bhubaneswari Devi). He was developed into the most effective personality under the environment of rational attitude of his father and religious temperament of his mother.
He was a spiritual person from his young age and used to meditate before the statues of Hindu God (Lord Shiva, Hanuman, etc). He was inspired by the wandering ascetics and monks of his time. He was very naughty from his childhood and out of control of his parents. He was told ghost by his mother according to the statement, “I prayed to Shiva for a son and he has sent me one of his ghosts”. He enrolled to the Chandra Vidyasagar’s Metropolitan Institution for study in 1871 (when he was eight years old) and to the Presidency College in 1879. He was very bright student in the subjects like social science, philosophy, history, religion, art and literature. He studied Western logic, European history, Western philosophy, Sanskrit scriptures and Bengali literature.
He was very religious person interested in Hindu scriptures (Vedas, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata, Upanishads, Puranas, etc). He was also active in Indian classical music, sports, physical exercises, and other activities. He was told as, “Narendra is really a genius” by the William Hastie (principal of General Assembly’s Institution).
He was very enthusiastic towards Hinduism and became very successful in creating new understanding among people about Hinduism both within and outside the country. He became successful in promoting meditation, yoga, and other Indian spiritual way of self-improvement in the West. He was the nationalistic ideal for the people of India. He drew the attention of many Indian leaders through his nationalistic ideas. He was praised by the Sri Aurobindo for awakening India spiritually. He was also admired by the Mahatma Gandhi as one of the great Hindu reformers who promoted the Hindu religion.
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (first governor-general of independent India) said that Swami Vivekananda was the person who had saved Hinduism and India. He was told as “the maker of modern India” by the Subhas Chandra Bose. His effective writings had inspired many Indian independence activists such as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Aurobindo Ghose, Bagha Jatin, etc. Before his death on 4th of July in 1902, he meditated for three hours at Belur Math.
Speech on Swami Vivekananda