Swami Vivekananda,one of the greatest ever personalities produced in the history of mankind was born in Calcutta on January 12,1863. His father Vishwanath Datta, was an attorney at-law and possessed the qualities of head and heart. His mother Bhuwneshwari Devi was an accomplished lady with a great regal bearing. The Dattas were well-to-do in the beginning, but after the death of Vishwanath Datta, the family had to face poverty.
As a boy-Narendranath, (the childhood name of Swami Vivekananda) was restless, turbulent, brilliant, inquisitive but essentially pure.Traits such as courage sympathy for the poor and attraction towards the wandering monks appeared spontaneously in him.
His thirst for the knowledge of the supreme took Narendranath to the Ashram of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa where he put a straight question-“Have you seen God?” and the answer came with simillar straightness and an end to all the difficulties which Vivekananda passed through “Yes I can see Him more clearly and intensely than I see you”. The Paramhansa showed him the way and he accepted him as the highest ideal of spirituality. After the passing away of the master in 1886, Naren began to organise the disciples into a monastic brotherhood. In February 1891, the Swami became a solitary monk and began his historic sujourn through the length and breath of India. He gained first hand knowledge of India which was both intensive and extensive; its glorious past, its subsequent degeneration and its prevailing poverty, squalor and backwardness. His knowledge of India and Indians was so complete that Tagore later remarked, “If you want to know India, then study Swami Vivekananda.”
On may 31,1893 Swami Vivekananda left for America to attend the Parliament of Religions at Chicago. While in America, he met Prof. J.H. Right, the Head of Greek Deptt. in the University, who was so impressed by the Swamiji’s knowledge that he declared, “Here is a man, who is more learned than all our professors of America, put together.” His address at Chicago was delivered on 11th of September in 1893. Describing the scene, Mrs. S.K. Blodgett writes. “I was at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, when that youngman got up and said, “Sisters and brothers of America,” seven thousand people rose at their feet as a tribute to something, they knew not what! When it was over, I saw scores of women walking over the benches to get near him and I said to myself, ‘Well my lad, if you can resist that onslaught, you are indeed a God!’ He was universally acknowledged as the most popular, most influential and the greatest figure at the Parliament of Religions. He became a world famous personality who established the supermacy of the Vedantic vision of man and cosmos. . After preaching in America and many other Europeon countries, he returned to India who rose as one man to greet and embrace the graet son of the soil. While in India, he founded the great Ramakrishna mission and dedicated himself and his mission to the great national awakening which provide a spiritual foundation to the national movement for freedom. His heart was so broad as the sky and his thinking reached the unsurpassed hides. He preached no particular religion and yet embrased all religions. He says, “I do not simply tolerate all religions that is an insult to God. I accept all religions. I worship all religions.” He felt the pangs of all human beings and he wanted that every human being should lead a decent life. “Most of us exist, but don’t live. I am the worshipper of daridranayana; of a Narain who is located in all the poor of the world. No wonder that incompassion he has been equated with christ and Bhudda. He believed that the greatest sin on the earth is weekness. He was the very
incarnation of truth, purity, self-confidence, compassion and patriotism. In the words of Dr. Radhakrishan,” He gave us fortitude in suffering. He gave us hope in distress, he gave us courage in dispair.”
. On 4th July 1902, Swamiji attained the Nirvikalpa Samadhi but he belongs to ages. Sir Aurobindo declared that Swami Vivekananda’s spirit was the spirit of puissance which will live for ever and ever through The Mother(India) and millions of her sons!