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Swami Vivekananda (born Narendranath Datta) was an Indian monk, philosopher, and leader of the Ramakrishna Movement. He was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata) on January 12, 1863, and was one of the most influential figures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Vivekananda was a bright and curious child, and showed a deep interest in spirituality from a young age. He was deeply influenced by the teachings of Ramakrishna, a mystic and spiritual leader, whom he met at the age of 18. Under Ramakrishna’s guidance, Vivekananda began to explore different spiritual traditions and practices, and eventually decided to dedicate his life to the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment.
In 1887, Vivekananda left home to travel across India as a wandering monk. During this time, he met and studied with many spiritual leaders and thinkers, and developed a deep understanding of the different philosophical and spiritual traditions of the country. He also began to give public lectures and speeches, which were well-received and attracted large crowds.
In 1893, Vivekananda traveled to Chicago to represent Hinduism at the World’s Parliament of Religions. His speech at the event, which emphasized the unity of all religions and the importance of tolerance and understanding, was well-received and made him an overnight sensation. He spent the next several years traveling across the United States and Europe, giving lectures and speeches and spreading the message of Hinduism and the Ramakrishna Movement.
In 1897, Vivekananda returned to India and established the Ramakrishna Mission, a religious and social service organization that aimed to promote education, healthcare, and spiritual development. He also established the Ramakrishna Math, a monastic order for the study and practice of spiritual traditions.
Vivekananda’s teachings emphasized the importance of self-realization and the potential of all individuals to achieve spiritual enlightenment. He also emphasized the importance of social service and the need to work towards the betterment of society.
Throughout his life, Vivekananda was a powerful and influential figure, and his teachings continue to be widely studied and followed today. He passed away on July 4, 1902, and his legacy lives on through the Ramakrishna Mission and Math, as well as through the many individuals and organizations that have been inspired by his teachings.