Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda

Vivekananda was born Narendranath Datta at his ancestral home at  Gourmohan Mukherjee Street in Calcutta, the capital of British India, on 12 January 1863 during the Makar Sankranti festival. He belonged to a traditional Bengali Kayastha family and was one of nine siblings.His father, Vishwanath Datta, was an attorney at the Calcutta High Court. The precocious boy, Narendra mastered music, gymnastics and studies. By the time he completed his graduation from Calcutta University, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. He had a yogic temperament and used to practice meditation even from his boyhood, and was also involved in ‘Brahmo Movement’ for time being. During his travels across India, Swami Vivekanand was deeply touched by the terrible poverty and backwardness of the people. He was the first religious leader in India to understand and openly declare that the real cause of India’s ruin was the neglect of the masses. In early 1898, Swami Vivekanand acquired a big plot of land on the western bank of the Ganga, at a place known as Belur, to build a monastery as a permanent habitat for the monks, open to all men without any discrimination of religion, race or caste. He got it registered as ‘Ramakrishna Math’ after two years. Here, Swamiji recognized a new, universal pattern of monastic life which adapts ancient monastic ideals to the conditions of modern life, giving equal importance to personal enlightenment and social service.

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