Welcome to the post on Interesting Facts About Swami Vivekananda. This post is written to celebrate, honor and to know about this great monk on his birth anniversary . His birth anniversary is celebrated on 12th January every year. This day is known as National Youth Day in India.
Swami Vivekananda was an exceptional and extraordinary child with leaning towards spiritualism. He was not that bright in studies. But completed his B.A.(Bachelor of Arts )degree with 56% from the Scottish Church College, Kolkata.
Swamiji was frustrated after the death of his father and due to the suicide of his sister. He also could not get a job even after passing B.A. degree. He started asking the vital question about God, “whether he exists or not”?
He was not able to get a convincing answer until he met Ramakrishna Paramhansa. He became disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhansa and then his monk life started.
He gained lot of knowledge and experience under his Guru Ramakrishna Paramhansa and led the Vedanta movement and introduced the Indian philosophy of Hinduism to the Western world.
- Swami Vivekananda was born into an affluent upper – caste – Hindu family. His father Vishawanath Dutta was a practicing attorney at the Calcutta High Court and his mother was a house wife.
- Swami Vivekananda was born on 12 January 1863, 6 minutes before sunrise, at 6.33minutes 33 seconds.
- The family members wanted to name him as Durgadas. But his house name was given as Veereshwar and his official name was Narendra Nath Dutta. This happened on the basis of the dream of his mother Bhubaneshwari Devi.
- Swami’s pre – monastic name was Narendra Nath Dutta. He was born with a temperament of yogis. He used to meditate at a very early age.
- Whenever Swami Vivekananda was angry in his childhood, his mother Bhubaneshwari Devi would pour cold water on him and chant, “Om Namah Shivay….and by doing this, he would calm down”.
- Swamiji was not that good in studies. He did not score great marks in examinations.
- He took three University examinations. His scores in English language was 47 percent at the Entrance level, 46 percent in F. A.( First Arts, which later became I. A.or Intermediate of Arts ) and he scored 56 percent in B. A.
- He loved animals and birds. He used to keep cows, monkeys, goats and peacocks in his childhood.
- Swami Vivekananda had a liking for music from a young age. He was a qualified classical musician trained in dhrupad. Two maestros – Beni Gupta and Ahmad Khan trained him.
- He could also play musical instruments like Sitar and Dholak among others.
- Besides music, he was also an avid reader and enthusiastic about sports and physical activities.
- Swamiji was very handsome and attractive. Many women were willing to befriend him with the wrong intentions. Once he told a woman to leave these stupid desires and meditate on God.
- His father died suddenly when he was young. This forced his family to be in extreme poverty. Many a times he used to tell lies that he has been invited to eat somewhere so that the rest of his family members can get food properly.
- Swamiji’s sister Jogendrabala committed suicide.
- He loved his mother very much and used to worship her regularly.
- After the death of his uncle Taraknathji, his aunt removed Swamiji’s family from their ancestral home. Also she made a case in the court. This case ended at the very end of the life of Swamiji.
- Vivekananda’s faith in God was lost due to no employment even after doing his B. A. and he started saying – “God does not exist”.
- To deal with the economic crisis of the family, Maharaj Ajit Singhof Khetri used to send 100 rupees regularly in secret to Swamiji’s mother to deal with the economic crisis that they faced.
- He had met Debendranath Tagore, founder of Brahmo Samaj and father of Rabindranath Tagore in 1880 and and asked Tagore if he has seen the God, Tagore replied, “My boy, you have the yogi’s eye”.
- Before being initiated as a monk, he had sought divine influence from many persons.
- No body could help Narendra to know about the existence of God, until he met Ramakrishna Paramhansa in 1881.
- He asked the same question to Pramhansa, he replied, “Yes, I see Him As I see you, in an infinite intense sense”. This answer was more satisfying to Narendranath.
- After this he became disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhansa.
- When Swamiji became a monk his name was changed to Swami Vivideshananda from Narendra.
- Again his name was changed to Swami Vivekananda,before going to Chicago to attend ( the world religious conference )
- Swamiji used to borrow books from the library in large volume and used to return them the next day. This trend continued for several days. One day the librarian wanted to test whether he really read the books or not, so he asked some random questions from the book – Swamiji answered them correctly and also quoted lines from the same page.
- Swamiji loved eating khichdi and it was regularly served in his monastery.
- Swamiji was fond of tea too. Tea was allowed in his monastery against the belief of that time.
- Once he made Mughlai tea for every one including Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
- He used to respect and worship women very much. But women were not allowed to enter his monastery. He was very strict on this. Once Swamiji was ill, his disciples brought his mother. Seeing his mother he shouted, “why did you allow a woman to come in? I was the one who made the rule and it is for me that the rule is being broken”.
- Swamiji was always engrossed serving the needy and the poor. He did not pay attention to his health. During his life span of 39 years, he had about 31 diseases including diabetes, asthma, liver and kidney diseases etc.
- Vivekananda’s words of advice to his disciples were, “Learn from my experiences. Don’t be so hard on your body and ruin your health”.
- He always used to say and predicted that he will not live beyond the age of 40.
- Vivekananda was the man who took the Vedanta philosophy to the West and reformed the Hinduism drastically.
- Ramakrishna Paramhansa taught Vivekananda that serving humans is more than worshiping the God.
- After the death of his Guru Ramakrishna Paramhansa 0n 16 August 1886, Vivekananda went out to travel the length and breadth of India as a wondering monk. These travels helped him to gain extensive knowledge about the Hindu culture in India. During this, he could understand the sufferings of the common man.
- Swamiji founded the Ramakrishna Mission and Belur Math located in Kolkata. It was founded for the purpose of helping the needy in the entire India along with spreading the words of Hinduism.
- Swamiji gave his first speech on Hinduttva at the World Religious Conference on 11 September 1893. He began his speech with “Sisters and Brothers of America”. On hearing this all the people present in the Hall ( around seven thousand ) stood up and applauded him.
- After his speech at World Religious Conference, he gave many speeches around the world and met people from various fields. He met people like Max Muller, Sister Nivedita, Paul Dusen etc.
- He returned to India in 1897. He gave many speeches in India too. He lectured on social issues.
- He has many books like, Karma Yoga ( 1896 ), Raj Yoga ( 1896 ),Vedanta Shashtra ( 1896 ), Speeches from Colombo to Almora ( 1897 ) Bhakti Yoga etc.
- The writings on spirituality, religion, social reform and struggle for freedom and speeches and lectures of Vivekananda had great influence on leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Annie Besant etc.
- He travelled to South in 1899 inspite of his bad health. He founded the Vedanta Society in San Francisco and New York. Also founded the Peace Ashram in California.
- Swamiji’s uncontested wisdom and eloquence as an orator and leader were made known to the world during his few years in public life.
- Many a times Swami Vivekananda had predicted his own demise. He reiterated that he would not live beyond 40 years of age. His prediction came true and he died in 1902 at the age of 39 years due to a rupture of blood vessel in his brain.
In conclusion, it can be said that Swami Vivekananda inspired the freedom fighters of India. His teachings gave new understanding of religion and placed an explanation that science and religion are not contradictory but complementary.
His teachings and his efforts could build a bridge between East and West.
His birth anniversary is celebrated as National Youth Day in India. He conveyed his ideas directly to the people and specially to the youth. He spoke about universal brotherhood. There was no differentiation of caste color and creed.
Swami Vivekananda gave supreme importance to education. According to him, education should cover all aspects of life like, material, physical, moral, intellectual, spiritual and emotional. Education should be a constant process of learning and upgrading even in small proportion regularly in some area or the other.
As far as contribution towards Hinduism is concerned, he gave it a proper identity, a totality and and a wholeness. He was always for the preservation of rich diversity of Hinduism. His effort was always toward universalization.
As a social reformer, he gave emphasis on socialism, secularism, mass up-liftment of manpower, treating the untouchables with compassion, universal literacy, informal education, women’s liberation and inclusion of social service as a part of religious worship.
Swamiji gave message to the Indian youth – let’s be human.
He also wanted that Indian youth should increase their capabilities, they should serve humanity. He wanted from youth – ‘muscle of iron’ and ‘nerves of steel’.
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