We in the modern society often talk about our strengths and weaknesses but long ago in the 19th Century, a boy born in a middle-class Bengali family of Kolkata reached a divine stature in his life at an early age through his spiritual thoughts and simple living concepts. He said, “Strength is Life and Weakness is Death.” He also said, “Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.” Can we guess by now who the boy is? Yes, we are talking about Narendra Nath Dutta who later went on to become Swami Vivekananda, the monk. A student who during his college days was fond of music and sports like other young boys of his age completely transformed himself into a person of exceptional spiritual vision. His works "Modern Vedanta" and "Raj Yoga" are today acclaimed all over the world.
Fondly referred to as Swamiji, Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Dutta in an aristocratic Bengali family in British-ruled India on 12th January 1863. His father Vishwanath Dutta was a renowned attorney at the Calcutta High Court. Narendranath Dutta regarded his mother Bhuvaneshwari Devi as a goddess and in his numerous books, he wrote that his mother was a “Divine Spirit” for him.
Swami Vivekananda proudly upheld the greatness of Hinduism and taught the world its true essence of acceptance and tolerance. His famous speech at Chicago World Religion Congress in the year 1893 is remembered till date. “Sisters and brothers of America"- the opening lines of the speech made the audience sit up and applaud with great zeal.
He became rather still the inspiration of the youths and to pay homage to him his birthday 12th January is celebrated as the National Youth Day. We even today learn the true aim of scriptures and austerity from his works. Guru Bhakti? How can we forget that to serve the poor downtrodden people of the society he established Ramakrishna Mission before the name of his Guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa?
Vivekananda and Western Philosophy were like two sides of the same coin. This happened when Ramakrishna proved to him that he can visualize God like the way he can see Swamiji; this surprised him a lot as a person who had no traditional knowledge about Science, Literature or Culture of India, could visualize God. The very thought that awakened Swamiji was the spiritual knowledge which was beyond all moral ethics and values. He realized we worship God for us but his Guru worshipped God for the sake of mankind.
A man with in-depth knowledge of Vedas; Upanishads; Bhagavad Gita and much more use to believe that serving mankind is to serve God and hence he was the person who can say "God gave me nothing I wanted but He gave me everything I needed." Happiness to him was a smile on the face of the poor. He was inspired right from his childhood due to her mother's religious nature and father's rational mind who was a then Lawyer.
We all are aware of his knowledge and personality, but most of us are unaware that Swamiji was a brilliant singer. He used to enchant devotional songs on his own to keep his mind at a peaceful stake. It is due to this ability he came across Ramakrishna Dev who happened to hear young Narendra Nath sing a devotional song which impressed Paramhansa. He then invited Vivekananda to Dakshineshwar from where the life of Swamiji changed completely.
The childhood wish to visualize God in front became a reality to Swamiji in the vicinity of Ramakrishna. Swamiji used to believe strongly that people are born to do good for the Nation with proper guidance. The worship of one God as an idol was recognized by the Brahma Samaj that made Swamiji surprised during his college days from where the curiosity to see God arose. In one of his books, he expressed his gratefulness to William Hastie, the then Principal of Scottish Church College, from whom Swamiji came to know about Ramakrishna.
“You can lead if you win or else you will guide if you lose"- these quotes are true even in the 21st century. It is Swamiji who taught us the spirit to fight till the last moment as the goal has to be reached. The non-duality and selfless love are the two vital lessons he taught until the end of his life. Swamiji breathed his last at Belur Math, West Bengal on 4th of July, 1902.
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