Swami Vivekananda

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Swami Vivekananda

The Life of Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda came into his earthly existence on January 12, 1863. He was born of an affluent family. His father was a prosperous attorney while his mother was a devoted woman endowed with depth of character. Narendra Nath Datta, his name prior to his monastic life, was a multi-talented individual excelling in the arts, physical athleticism, and various other studies.

Western philosophy and history was a big part of Swami Vivekananda’s learning from Calcutta University. This acquired knowledge reinforced his already spiritual leanings. Even from childhood, he linked himself with movements to uplift humanity and to bestow the spiritual values that were needed so much then, the same as now.

Swami Vivekananda Meets His Guru

During the peak of his youth, Narendra weathered through a test of his spirituality as he questioned whether God really existed. Strangely, through his English college professor, he encountered the name Sri Ramakrishna and in 1881, Narendra went on his journey to meet his Guru at the Kali Temple in Dakshineshwar.

Narendra’s expressed to the master his doubts about God’s existence. Without a cringe the master answered, “yes, I have seen him. I see him as visibly as I see you, only more vividly.” Besides displacing any doubts that Narendra had about God’s existence, Sri Ramakrishna became the true conduit of God, enabling Narendra to clarify his beliefs and strengthening his resolve to spread the word around India and the west.

A Test of Strength

Events that caused Narendra distress were the death of his father, which left his family without any means of support and the subsequent need to provide for them. Secondly, his much-loved guru Sri Ramakrishna was taken seriously ill. In 1885, Sri Ramakrishna was relocated to a home at Shyampukur. A short time later, he rested at Cossipore where he was nurtured with dutiful care. In the face of Narendra’s inability to find work for himself, he united with the group as its leader.

The embodiment of goodwill and renunciation was instilled in each disciple increasing the spirit of love for their fellow beings. The guru bestowed specific values to Narendra concerning the making of the new monastic Order. During the wee hours of August 16, 1886 Sri Ramakrishna left his mortal frame, his work had been completed. Following his Guru’s passing, the well learned disciples began an Order in a rundown edifice at Baranagar in North Kolkata. Under his wise leadership, Narendra shaped a fresh monastic brotherhood. In 1887, the vows of sannyasa were taken, and Narendra then became Swami Vivekananda, a true spiritual leader.

The Illumination of Life’s Mission

Following the inauguration of a new monastic order, Vivekananda’s call became much greater. His mission was much bigger than those around him had perceived. He knew his guru’s message was destined for not only India but the rest of the world. Mid 1890, after accepting the blessings of Sri Sarada Devi, the divine companion of Sri Ramakrishna renowned as Holy Mother, Swami Vivekananda embarked on a journey of questioning throughout India.

Opening the Eyes of India

Through his travels through India, Swami Vivekananda was intensely touched by the unspeakable poverty and ignorance of the populace. He knew that the masses needed the industrialization of secular facilities combined with the knowledge of their innate divinity. First, it was imperative to inculcate to his fellow beings the need to have faith in themselves. Vivekananda found this message in the Atman, taught in Vedanta; the ancient orderliness of religious beliefs of India.

The people of India were a loving people stuck in the throes of delusional limitations of their plight. Vivekananda needed to impart two types of knowledge; secular and spiritual. The dilemma was how to spread the two types of learning. The answer was through education.

A Need for Organization

It was very clear to Swami Vivekananda, that in order to implement his plans to educate the poor people of India; he needed a dedicated group of people. In order to service this need, he founded the Ramakrishna Mission.

Beyond India

The desire to save India was engraved on Swamiji’s consciousness. Afterwards, Swami Vivekananda was informed about the World’s Parliament of Religions taking place in Chicago in 1893. This journey was supported by his friends and followers in India as well. His desire to spread the word of God gave him the impetus to go to America, in addition to gaining monetary support for his mission to inspire the masses. With the financial assistance of his Chennai disciples and partially by the Raja of Khetri, Vivekananda journeyed to America on May 31, 1893.

He became a true speaker of the divine message and a symbol of wisdom from India to the western world. Following his wondrous discourse at the Parliament, Swamiji stayed nearly four years dispersing Vedanta as taught by his Guru, Sri Ramakrishna, generally on the east coast of America and London. He returned home to India in January 1897.

He continued to deliver a sequence of lectures in various parts of India, which was accepted to much acclaim. During his inspiring speeches, his goal was the following:

. to stir the spiritual consciousness of the masses
. to cause the amalgamation of Hinduism
. to bring attention of the educated to the plight of the poor

Following his return to Kolkata, Swamiji accomplished another crucial goal of his earthly mission; he founded the Ramakrishna Mission on May 1, 1897. At the beginning of 1898, he obtained a huge area of land near the Ganga at a location named Belur. Here, he established a permanent home for the monastery and monastic Order, which had originally begun at Baranagar, which he later registered as Ramakrishna Math.

Swami Vivekananda influenced many Western individuals who became his disciples besides those in India. One very devoted disciple named Margaret Noble, who later became Sister Nivedita, devoted her life to teaching girls in Kolkata.

In June of 1899, Vivekananda embarked on his second visit to America, spending most of his time along the West Coast. He then returned to Belur Math December 1900. He spent the remainder of his life in India helping others by giving lectures and inspiring the masses. His health began to decline and on July 4, 1902 Swami Vivekananda left his earthly body. However, before his passing he wrote, “leaving the body as if casting off an old coat shall not hinder my message. I shall encourage Souls everywhere, until they know that God is all, and all is God.”

We are pleased to be able to dedicate the resources to record the entire collection of Swami Vivekananda’s work, from volume 1-9. We will upload the volumes as they become available.

 

Neville Goddard, Summa Theologica, Manly P Hall, A Course In Miracles

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