73 Facts About Swami Vivekananda


Swami Vivekananda, born Narendranath Datta, was an Indian Hindu monk, philosopher, author, religious teacher, and the chief disciple of the Indian mystic Ramakrishna.


Swami Vivekananda was a key figure in the introduction of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, and bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion.


Swami Vivekananda later found his guru, Ramakrishna, and became a monk.


Swami Vivekananda was so impactful at the Parliament that an American newspaper described him as "an orator by divine right and undoubtedly the greatest figure at the Parliament".


In India, Swami Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math, which provides spiritual training for monastics and householder devotees, and the Ramakrishna Mission, to provide charity, social work and education.


Swami Vivekananda was one of the most influential philosophers and social reformers in his contemporary India and the most successful missionaries of Vedanta to the Western world.


Swami Vivekananda was major force in contemporary Hindu reform movements, and contributed to the concept of nationalism in colonial India.


Swami Vivekananda is widely regarded as one of the most influential people of modern India and a patriotic saint, and his birthday in India is celebrated as National Youth Day.


Swami Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Datta in a Bengali family in his ancestral home at 3 Gourmohan Mukherjee Street in Calcutta, the capital of British India, on 12 January 1863 during the Makar Sankranti festival.


Swami Vivekananda belonged to a traditional family and was one of nine siblings.


Swami Vivekananda's father, Vishwanath Datta, was an attorney at the Calcutta High Court.


Swami Vivekananda's mother said, "I prayed to Shiva for a son and he has sent me one of his demons".


Swami Vivekananda was an avid reader in a wide range of subjects, including philosophy, religion, history, social science, art and literature.


Swami Vivekananda became fascinated with the evolutionism of Herbert Spencer and corresponded with him, translating Herbert Spencer's book Education into Bengali.


The professor was not satisfied with this explanation, but Swami Vivekananda quoted and interpreted verses from the text, leaving the professor dumbfounded about his feat of memory.


The librarian refused to believe him, until cross-examination about the contents convinced him that Swami Vivekananda was indeed being truthful.


Sen strived to "an accessible, non-renunciatory, everyman type of spirituality", introducing "lay systems of spiritual practice" which can be regarded as an influence to the teachings Swami Vivekananda later popularised in the west.


Swami Vivekananda initially saw Ramakrishna's ecstasies and visions as "mere figments of imagination" and "hallucinations".


Swami Vivekananda even rejected the Advaita Vedanta of "identity with the absolute" as blasphemy and madness, and often ridiculed the idea.


Swami Vivekananda unsuccessfully tried to find work and questioned God's existence, but found solace in Ramakrishna and his visits to Dakshineswar increased.


Swami Vivekananda was taught that service to men was the most effective worship of God.


Swami Vivekananda developed sympathy for the suffering and poverty of the people, and resolved to uplift the nation.


Swami Vivekananda started his journey to the West on 31 May 1893 and visited several cities in Japan, China and Canada en route to the United States, reaching Chicago on 30 July 1893, where the "Parliament of Religions" took place in September 1893.


Swami Vivekananda wanted to join, but was disappointed to learn that no one without credentials from a bona fide organisation would be accepted as a delegate.


Swami Vivekananda contacted Professor John Henry Wright of Harvard University, who invited him to speak at Harvard.


Swami Vivekananda wrote of the professor, "He urged upon me the necessity of going to the Parliament of Religions, which he thought would give an introduction to the nation".


On this day, Swami Vivekananda gave a brief speech representing India and Hinduism.


At these words, Swami Vivekananda received a two-minute standing ovation from the crowd of seven thousand.


Swami Vivekananda attracted widespread attention in the press, which called him the "cyclonic monk from India".


Swami Vivekananda spoke several more times "at receptions, the scientific section, and private homes" on topics related to Hinduism, Buddhism and harmony among religions until the parliament ended on 27 September 1893.


Swami Vivekananda soon became known as a "handsome oriental" and made a huge impression as an orator.


Swami Vivekananda's popularity opened up new views for expanding on "life and religion to thousands".


Swami Vivekananda spent nearly two years lecturing in the eastern and central United States, primarily in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, and New York.


Swami Vivekananda founded the Vedanta Society of New York in 1894.


Swami Vivekananda ended his lecture tours and began giving free, private classes in Vedanta and yoga.


Swami Vivekananda was offered academic positions in two American universities ; he declined both, since his duties would conflict with his commitment as a monk.


Swami Vivekananda's success led to a change in mission, namely the establishment of Vedanta centres in the West.


Swami Vivekananda adapted traditional Hindu ideas and religiosity to suit the needs and understandings of his western audiences, who were especially attracted by and familiar with western esoteric traditions and movements like Transcendentalism and New thought.


Swami Vivekananda regularly corresponded with his followers and brother monks, offering advice and financial support.


In 1895, Swami Vivekananda founded the periodical Brahmavadin to teach the Vedanta.


Swami Vivekananda left for India on 16 December 1896 from England with his disciples Captain and Mrs Sevier and JJ Goodwin.


Swami Vivekananda was later followed to India by Sister Nivedita, who devoted the rest of her life to the education of Indian women and India's independence.


The ship from Europe arrived in Colombo, British Ceylon on 15 January 1897, and Swami Vivekananda received a warm welcome.


Swami Vivekananda travelled from Colombo to Pamban, Rameswaram, Ramnad, Madurai, Kumbakonam and Madras, delivering lectures.


On 1 May 1897 in Calcutta, Swami Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission for social service.


Swami Vivekananda earlier inspired Jamsetji Tata to set up a research and educational institution when they travelled together from Yokohama to Chicago on Swami Vivekananda's first visit to the West in 1893.


Tata now asked him to head his Research Institute of Science; Swami Vivekananda declined the offer, citing a conflict with his "spiritual interests".


Swami Vivekananda visited Punjab, attempting to mediate an ideological conflict between Arya Samaj and sanatan.


Swami Vivekananda consolidated the work of the math and trained disciples for several months.


Swami Vivekananda then went to Paris for the Congress of Religions in 1900.


On 4 July 1902, Swami Vivekananda awoke early, went to the monastery at Belur Math and meditated for three hours.


Swami Vivekananda's disciples believed that the rupture was due to his brahmarandhra being pierced when he attained mahasamadhi.


Swami Vivekananda fulfilled his prophecy that he would not live forty years.


Swami Vivekananda was cremated on a sandalwood funeral pyre on the bank of the Ganga in Belur, opposite where Ramakrishna was cremated sixteen years earlier.


Swami Vivekananda propagated the idea that "the divine, the absolute, exists within all human beings regardless of social status", and that "seeing the divine as the essence of others will promote love and social harmony".


Via his affiliations with Keshub Chandra Sen's Nava Vidhan, the Freemasonry lodge, the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, and Sen's Band of Hope, Swami Vivekananda became acquainted with Western esotericism.


Swami Vivekananda propagated that the essence of Hinduism was best expressed in Adi Shankara's Advaita Vedanta philosophy.


Nevertheless, following Ramakrishna, and in contrast to Advaita Vedanta, Swami Vivekananda believed that the Absolute is both immanent and transcendent.


In line with Advaita Vedanta texts like Drg-Drsya-Viveka and Vedantasara, Swami Vivekananda saw samadhi as a means to attain liberation.


Swami Vivekananda popularized the notion of involution, a term which Swami Vivekananda probably took from western Theosophists, notably Helena Blavatsky, in addition to Darwin's notion of evolution, and possibly referring to the Samkhya term satkarya.


Swami Vivekananda linked morality with control of the mind, seeing truth, purity and unselfishness as traits which strengthened it.


Swami Vivekananda advised his followers to be holy, unselfish and to have shraddha.


Swami Vivekananda supported brahmacharya, believing it the source of his physical and mental stamina and eloquence.


Swami Vivekananda adapted traditional Hindu ideas and religiosity to suit the needs and understandings of his Western audiences, who were especially attracted by and familiar with Western esoteric traditions and movements like Transcendentalism and New thought.


Swami Vivekananda believed that a country's future depends on its people, and his teachings focused on human development.


Swami Vivekananda wanted "to set in motion a machinery which will bring noblest ideas to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest".


Swami Vivekananda was one of the most influential philosophers and social reformers in his contemporary India and the most successful and influential missionaries of Vedanta to the Western world.


Swami Vivekananda is considered one of the most influential people of modern India and Hinduism.


Swami Vivekananda was one of the main representatives of Neo-Vedanta, a modern interpretation of selected aspects of Hinduism in line with western esoteric traditions, especially Transcendentalism, New Thought and Theosophy.


Swami Vivekananda's reinterpretation was, and is, very successful, creating a new understanding and appreciation of Hinduism within and outside India, and was the principal reason for the enthusiastic reception of yoga, Transcendental Meditation and other forms of Indian spiritual self-improvement in the West.


Swami Vivekananda espoused the idea that all sects within Hinduism are different paths to the same goal.


Swami Vivekananda drew attention to the extent of poverty in the country, and maintained that addressing such poverty was a prerequisite for national awakening.


The 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda was celebrated in India and abroad.