A dignified grand figure with infinite knowledge and deep insight, Swami Vivekanand was born in Calcutta on 12th January 1863. His real name was Narendranath Dutta. During his formative years, he had developed amazing mental abilities. The children of his age used to play different games but he liked to play at meditation.
From childhood, he had great respect for wandering monks and he used to think that one day he himself would become a monk. But his ambition of becoming monk became evident during his college days at the Scottish Church College. He had a meeting with Sri Ramakrishna in 1881 about it Narendranath said:
“He [Sri Ramakrishna] looked just like an ordinary man, with nothing remarkable about him. He used the most simple language and I thought ‘Can this man be a great teacher?’ – I crept near to him and asked him the question which I had been asking others all my life: ‘Do you believe in God, Sir?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘Can you prove it, Sir?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘How?’ ‘Because I see Him just as I see you here, only in a much intenser sense.’ That impressed me at once. [. . .] I began to go to that man, day after day, and I actually saw that religion could be given. One touch, one glance, can change a whole life (CW, vol. IV, p. 179).”
In 1893, He represented India on the stage of Parliament of World’s religion held in Chicago. His speech is considered as one of the greatest speech of all time. After three and a half year in 1897, he returned to India and travelled whole country bare foot. In between, he suffered from starvation and was not even able to find shelter for himself. While being on roads he found India has a rich spiritual heritage but had failed to reap it’s benefits. The weak points were caste, oppression of women, lack of education, poverty, etc.
In his entire life he worked for education, universal values, raising up downtrodden masses and especially for the neglected women. The major work of Swami includes Karma Yoga, Raj Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga.
He died on 4th July 1902 at the age of 39.
Few of his famous quotes are as follows: