Swami Vivekananda doesn’t need an introduction. He was the sole person behind the inspiration of many great personalities, be it Subhash Chandra bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri or our Prime Minister Narendra Modi- the list is endless. He was the first person to introduce the power of Hindu Veda’s, Upveda’s and Philosophies to the world. Also he was the one to introduce Hinduism to the world and proved that India is not less than anyone else. He was a gifted speaker and has the power to influence people around him.
But let’s start with his childhood. Swami was born on 12th January 1863 in a well to do family. His family was very much devoted to philanthropy and religious practices, so since childhood only, Swami was greatly influenced by his religion and god. He was tender hearted kid which was well proved by one of the incident when he was eight years old. He gave everything in his house to a monk passing by after which of course he was grounded by his parents. At first he was named as Narendra but later on his name changed to Swami Vivekananda. He became very religious and use to have visions, in which he use to have a conversation with god. Due to his exceptional intelligence he entered high school at the age of eight only. He use to actively participate in all the activities in school. When Narendra passed out from his college, he was greatly influenced by Brahmo samaj and its philosophies. Now what is brahmo samaj? Brahmo Samaj is the societal component of Brahmoism, which began as a monotheistic reformist movement of the Hindu religion that appeared during the Bengal Renaissance. It is mainly practiced by Adi followers in Bengal. Coming back to Vivekananda, he wasn’t so much devoted to his religion than the idea of philanthropy. Activities for humanity was is core interest. Narendra met Ramakrishna for the first time in November 1881, who later turned out to be the Guru of Vivekananda. For him Hinduism was not only about prayers but more about the spiritual peace. He had tremendous love for Narendra and saw him as the reincarnation of god but Narendra was quite adamant. Soon after this, a tragic incident happened when his father died. After that the family faced a huge loss and poverty. This catastrophe broke Swami and he faced acute hunger. But Swami didn’t lost his hope and after being disturbed for few days he started feeding his family.
From the learnings of Ramakrishna, Swami soon spread the knowledge of Hinduism all around the world. He represented Hinduism at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, USA. At the opening ceremony Vivekananda was one of the last speakers to speak. He opened his speech with ‘Brother and Sisters of America.’ Spontaneously the audience rose to its feet to applaud, appreciating the visionary sentiments of Vivekananda. After the Parliament of Religions, he toured many parts of the US as a guest in 1895 and 1896, successfully giving speech. And thus began his journey of becoming a legend. He also introduced the world with the concept of yoga. Vivekananda proved to be an eloquent exponent of Vedanta and the ideals of all religions.
‘I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true.” –Swami Vivekananda.
Swami Vivekananda took his last breath on 4 July 1902 in Belur at a young age of 39. The teachings he offered are widely appreciated and practiced. He told that purity, patience and perseverance can overcome all obstacles. He served several other golden teachings as well which is a huge source of motivation which are relevant even today. Some of them are:
Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be.
It is love and love alone that I preach, and I base my teaching on the great Vedantic truth of the sameness and omnipresence of the Soul of the Universe.
If you have faith in all the three hundred and thirty millions of your mythological gods, and still have no faith in yourselves, there is no salvation for you. Have faith in yourselves, and stand up on that faith and be strong; that is what we need.
In a conflict between heart and brain, follow your heart.
So long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them.
It is impossible to find God outside of ourselves. Our own souls contribute all of the divinity that is outside of us. We are the greatest temple. The objectification is only a faint imitation of what we see within ourselves.
In a day if you don’t come across any problem. Know that you are walking on a wrong path.
Swami himself was hugely inspired by Advaita Vedanta. The term Advaita refers to its idea that the true self, Atman, is the same as the highest metaphysical Reality. According to Advaita Vedanta, everyone is equal, we should treat everyone with love and respect and differences based on caste, religion, and race should be demolished. Swami tells that there is only one god and the path we need to follow is the path of humanity and spirituality. His teachings are the hidden gems for success. There is nothing more great than finding your true self and following what your heart says. For me and for everyone, his teachings will always help us in the bad times and will keep motivating us when in need.