SWAMI VIVEKANANDA
THE MODERN WORLD PROPHET


Swami Vivekananda, known in his pre-monastic life as Narendranath Datta, was born in an affluent family in Kolkata on 12 January 1863. His father,Vishwanath Datta, was a successful attorney with interests in a wide range of subjects, and his mother, Bhuvaneshwari Devi, was endowed with deep devotion, strong character and other qualities. A precocious boy, Narendra excelled in music, gymnastics and studies. By the time he graduated from Calcutta University, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. Born with a yogic temperament, he used to practise meditation even from his boyhood, and was associated with Brahmo Movement for some time.

With Sri Ramakrishna

Some thing about Sri Ramakrishna...


Ramakrishna (About this sound Ramkṛiṣṇo Pôromôhongśo ) (18 February 1836 – 16 August 1886), born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay[1] (Gôdadhor Chôṭṭopaddhae), was a famous mystic of 19th-century India. His religious school of thought led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda He is also referred to as "Paramahamsa" by his devotees, as such he is popularly known as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

Ramakrishna was born in a poor Brahmin Vaishnava family in rural Bengal. He became a priest of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, dedicated to the goddess Kali, which had the influence of the main strands of Bengali bhakti tradition.[1] The most widely known amongst his first spiritual teachers was an ascetic woman, called Bhairavi Brahmani, who was skilled in Tantra and Vaishnava bhakti. Later an Advaita Vedantin ascetic taught him non-dual meditation, and according to Ramakrishna, he experienced nirvikalpa samadhi under his guidance. Ramakrishna also practised other religions, notably Islam and Christianity, and said that all religions lead to the same God - WIKI
At the threshold of youth Narendra had to pass through a period of spiritual crisis when he was assailed by doubts about the existence of God. It was at that time he first heard about Sri Ramakrishna from one of his English professors at college. One day in November 1881, Narendra went to meet Sri Ramakrishna who was staying at the Kali Temple in Dakshineshwar. He straightaway asked the Master a question which he had put to several others but had received no satisfactory answer: “Sir, have you seen God?” Without a moment’s hesitation, Sri Ramakrishna replied: “Yes, I have. I see Him as clearly as I see you, only in a much intenser sense.” 
Apart from removing doubts from the mind of Narendra, Sri Ramakrishna won him over through his pure, unselfish love. Thus began a guru-disciple relationship which is quite unique in the history of spiritual masters. Narendra now became a frequent visitor to Dakshineshwar and, under the guidance of the Master, made rapid strides on the spiritual path. At Dakshineshwar, Narendra also met several young men who were devoted to Sri Ramakrishna, and they all became close friends.

Difficult Situations

After a few years two events took place which caused Narendra considerable distress. One was the sudden death of his father in 1884. This left the family penniless, and Narendra had to bear the burden of supporting his mother, brothers and sisters. The second event was the illness of Sri Ramakrishna which was diagnosed to be cancer of the throat. In September 1885 Sri Ramakrishna was moved to a house at Shyampukur, and a few months later to a rented villa at Cossipore. In these two places the young disciples nursed the Master with devoted care. In spite of poverty at home and inability to find a job for himself, Narendra joined the group as its leader.


Beginnings of a Monastic Brotherhood

Sri Ramakrishna instilled in these young men the spirit of renunciation and brotherly love for one another. One day he distributed ocher robes among them and sent them out to beg food. In this way he himself laid the foundation for a new monastic order. He gave specific instructions to Narendra about the formation of the new monastic Order. In the small hours of 16 August 1886 Sri Ramakrishna gave up his mortal body.

After the Master’s passing, fifteen of his young disciples (one more joined them later) began to live together in a dilapidated building at Baranagar in North Kolkata. Under the leadership of Narendra, they formed a new monastic brotherhood, and in 1887 they took the formal vows of sannyasa, thereby assuming new names. Narendra now became Swami Vivekananda (although this name was actually assumed much later.) 


Awareness of Life’s Mission

After establishing the new monastic order, Vivekananda heard the inner call for a greater mission in his life. While most of the followers of Sri Ramakrishna thought of him in relation to their own personal lives, Vivekananda thought of the Master in relation to India and the rest of the world. As the prophet of the present age, what was Sri Ramakrishna’s message to the modern world and to India in particular? This question and the awareness of his own inherent powers urged Swamiji to go out alone into the wide world. So in the middle of 1890, after receiving the blessings of Sri Sarada Devi, the divine consort of Sri Ramakrishna, known to the world as Holy Mother, who was then staying in Kolkata, Swamiji left Baranagar Math and embarked on a long journey of exploration and discovery of India.

Discovery of Real India
During his travels all over India, Swami Vivekananda was deeply moved to see the appalling poverty and backwardness of the masses. He was the first religious leader in India to understand and openly declare that the real cause of India’s downfall was the neglect of the masses. The immediate need was to provide food and other bare necessities of life to the hungry millions. For this they should be taught improved methods of agriculture, village industries, etc. It was in this context that Vivekananda grasped the crux of the problem of poverty in India (which had escaped the attention of social reformers of his days): owing to centuries of oppression, the downtrodden masses had lost faith in their capacity to improve their lot. It was first of all necessary to infuse into their minds faith in themselves. For this they needed a life-giving, inspiring message. Swamiji found this message in the principle of the Atman, the doctrine of the potential divinity of the soul, taught in Vedanta, the ancient system of religious philosophy of India. He saw that, in spite of poverty, the masses clung to religion, but they had never been taught the life-giving, ennobling principles of Vedanta and how to apply them in practical life.
Thus the masses needed two kinds of knowledge: secular knowledge to improve their economic condition, and spiritual knowledge to infuse in them faith in themselves and strengthen their moral sense. The next question was, how to spread these two kinds of knowledge among the masses? Through education – this was the answer that Swamiji found.

Need for an Organization 
One thing became clear to Swamiji: to carry out his plans for the spread of education and for the uplift of the poor masses, and also of women, an efficient organization of dedicated people was needed. As he said later on, he wanted “to set in motion a machinery which will bring noblest ideas to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest.” It was to serve as this ‘machinery’ that Swamiji founded the Ramakrishna Mission a few years later. 

Decision to attend the Parliament of Religions
It was when these ideas were taking shape in his mind in the course of his wanderings that Swami Vivekananda heard about the World’s Parliament of Religions to be held in Chicago in 1893. His friends and admirers in India wanted him to attend the Parliament. He too felt that the Parliament would provide the right forum to present his Master’s message to the world, and so he decided to go to America. Another reason which prompted Swamiji to go to America was to seek financial help for his project of uplifting the masses.
Swamiji, however, wanted to have an inner certitude and divine call regarding his mission. Both of these he got while he sat in deep meditation on the rock-island at Kanyakumari. With the funds partly collected by his Chennai disciples and partly provided by the Raja of Khetri, Swami Vivekananda left for America from Mumbai on 31 May 1893.


The Parliament of Religions and After
His speeches at the World’s Parliament of Religions held in September 1893 made him famous as an ‘orator by divine right’ and as a ‘Messenger of Indian wisdom to the Western world’. After the Parliament, Swamiji spent nearly three and a half years spreading Vedanta as lived and taught by Sri Ramakrishna, mostly in the eastern parts of USA and also in London.

Awakening His Countrymen
He returned to India in January 1897. In response to the enthusiastic welcome that he received everywhere, he delivered a series of lectures in different parts of India, which created a great stir all over the country. Through these inspiring and profoundly significant lectures Swamiji attempted to do the following:

 to rouse the religious consciousness of the people and create in them pride in their cultural heritage;
 to bring about unification of Hinduism by pointing out the common bases of its sects;
 to focus the attention of educated people on the plight of the downtrodden masses, and to expound his plan for their uplift by the application of the principles of Practical Vedanta.

Founding of Ramakrishna Mission
Soon after his return to Kolkata, Swami Vivekananda accomplished another important task of his mission on earth. He founded on1 May 1897 a unique type of organization known as Ramakrishna Mission, in which monks and lay people would jointly undertake propagation of Practical Vedanta, and various forms of social service, such as running hospitals, schools, colleges, hostels, rural development centres etc, and conducting massive relief and rehabilitation work for victims of earthquakes, cyclones and other calamities, in different parts of India and other countries.

Belur Math
In early 1898 Swami Vivekananda acquired a big plot of land on the western bank of the Ganga at a place called Belur to have a permanent abode for the monastery and monastic Order originally started at Baranagar, and got it registered as Ramakrishna Math after a couple of years. Here Swamiji established a new, universal pattern of monastic life which adapts ancient monastic ideals to the conditions of modern life, which gives equal importance to personal illumination and social service, and which is open to all men without any distinction of religion, race or caste. 

Disciples
It may be mentioned here that in the West many people were influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s life and message. Some of them became his disciples or devoted friends. Among them the names of Margaret Noble (later known as Sister Nivedita),Captain and Mrs SevierJosephine McLeod and Sara Ole Bull, deserve special mention. Nivedita dedicated her life to educating girls in Kolkata. Swamiji had many Indian disciples also, some of whom joined Ramakrishna Math and became sannyasins.

Last Days

In June 1899 he went to the West on a second visit. This time he spent most of his time in the West coast of USA. After delivering many lectures there, he returned to Belur Math in December 1900. The rest of his life was spent in India, inspiring and guiding people, both monastic and lay. Incessant work, especially giving lectures and inspiring people, told upon Swamiji’s health. His health deteriorated and the end came quietly on the night of 4 July 1902. Before his Mahasamadhi he had written to a Western follower:

 “It may be that I shall find it good to get outside my body, to cast it off like a worn out garment. But I shall not cease to work. I shall inspire men everywhere until the whole world shall know that it is one with God.

SOME AMAZING INCIDENTS IN SWAMI'S LIFE:


Before he left London, one of his British friends put this question to him: `Swami, how do you like now your motherland after four years’ experience of the luxurious, glorious, powerful West?’ Swamiji said: `India I loved before I came away. Now the very dust of India has become holy to me, the very air is now to me holy; it is now the holy land, the place of pilgrimage, the Tirtha!’
Now the very dust of India has become holy to me !


In America, Swamiji was watching some boys. They were standing on the bridge trying to shoot at egg-shells that  were floating on the river, but they always missed the target. Swamiji took the gun and aimed at the shells. He fired twelve times and every time he hit an egg-shell. The boys asked Swamiji: ‘Well Mister, how did you do it?’ Swamiji said ‘ Whatever you are doing, put your whole mind on it. If you are shooting, your mind should be only on the target. Then you will never miss. If you are learning your lessons, think only of the lesson. In my country boys are taught to do this.’
Power of concentration


One morning in Sarnath, after visiting the temple of Mother Durga, the Swami was passing through a place, where there was a large tank of water on one side and a high wall on the other. Here, he was surrounded by a troop of large monkeys. They were not willing to allow him to pass⠦and there was no other way. As he tried to walk past them, they howled and shrieked and clutched at his feet. As they pressed closer, he began to run; but the faster he ran, the bolder the monkeys got and they attempted to bite at him. When it seemed impossible for him to escape, he heard an old sannyasi calling out to him: ⠜Face the brutes!⠝ The words brought him to his senses. He stopped running and turned majestically to boldly face the irate monkeys. As soon as he did that, they fell back and fled! With reverence and gratitude he gave the traditional greeting to the sannyasi, who smilingly responded with the same, and walked away.
Be Bold.. Be Strong.. Be Heroes..



Swami Vivekananda was having a long trek in the Himalayas when he found an old man extremely exhausted standing hopelessly at the foot of an upward slope. The man said to Swamiji in frustration, ‘Oh, Sir, how to cross it; I cannot walk any more; my chest will break.’
Swamiji listened to the old man patiently and then said, ‘Look down at your feet. The road that is under your feet is the road that you have passed over and is the same road that you see before you; it will soon be under your feet.’ These words emboldened the old man to resume his onward trek.
Bring light to the ignorant and bring more light to the intelligent..
___________________________________________________________


SWAMI PASSES HIS MOTHER'S TEST



Before leaving for abroad for the first time to preach Hinduism, Vivekanand's mother wanted to know whether he is all perfect for this mission or not, she invited him for dinner. Vivekanand enjoyed the food that had the additional flavor of his mother's special love and affection. After the delicious dinner, Vivekanand's mother offered Vivekanand a dish of fruits and a knife. Vivekanand cut the fruit, ate it and after that his mother said, "Son, can you please give me the knife, I need it." Vivekanand immediately responded by giving the knife.

Vivekanand's mother calmly said, "Son, you have passed my test and I heartily bless you for going abroad." Vivekanand surprisingly asked, "Mother, how did you test me? I did not understand."

Mother replied, "Son, when I asked for the knife, I saw how you handed it to me, you gave the knife by holding its sharp edge and kept the wooden handle of knife towards me. This way, I would not get hurt when I take it and this means you took care of me. And this was your test in which you passed.

The person who thinks of others welfare rather than thinking about self has got the right of preaching the world and you have got that right. You have all my blessings."
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.......
In the United States, a Christian had invited Swami Vivekananda to his home with the intention to mock the Swami's religiosity. He welcomed the Swami at home and showed the latter his book rack. He pointed towards a pile of books which were placed in such a way that the Bhagavad Githa was placed at the bottom of the pile, followed by other religious books and the Bible was placed at the top of the pile. 

He then questioned the Swami, "I usually do my reading here. Don't you like the way I arranged my books?"

The Swami replied, "I sure do. The books are very organized and arranged neatly. The ones on the top stand firmly because the foundation is exceedingly strong."

 He started wearing the saffron turban...


Once Swami ji was in Rajasthan, walking in the desert, thirsty, hungry and in pain.. Scorching heat was taking a toll on him...  He was barely able to walk.. and after sometime he couldnt walk no more and he fell down... Thats when he saw some village ladies carrying water in matkas ( Pot). One of the lady rushed towards him and said " drink some water son, drink some water" and gave her dupata and said wear this as a turban, it will help you  to beat the Sun. Swami ji said Maa I know its you. You always come to my rescue. It was Maa Durga ( Goddess Parvathy- wife of God Shiva, God Shiva being the father of the universe, his wife Goddess Parvathy is the Matha or mother of the Universe ). From that day onwards he started wearing the saffron turban.

SWAMI AND IDOL WORSHIP

1) GOD MAHAVISHNU worshiping GOD SHIVA
2) Lord Ram ( avatar of Mahavishnu) worshiping GOD SHIVA

SWAMI NALANDA: "IF THE MAHAVISHNU WORSHIPS GOD SHIVA IN THE FORM OF A SHIVA LINGA WHY CAN'T WE ,MORTALS WORSHIP IDOLS. PEOPLE WHO STAND AGAINST IDOL WORSHIP LACK KNOWLEDGE AND THEIR SPEECHES MUST BE IGNORED    AS    THE   BARKING   OF    A     STRAY DOG"


Swami Vivekananda once went to the Maharaja of Alvar (a state in India) to meet him. This was the pre-independence era where the British had given powers to the Maharaja, and hence he had become a powerful king.
While talking about religion and faith, the Maharaja and his minister expressed doubts about idol worship. In short, they looked down upon it and made some cutting remarks about the same.
Addressing the minister, Swami Vivekananda said,Take this picture of your King, the Maharaja of Alvar, and spit on it. Can you do it?
There was pin drop silence in the room. Nobody was sure how to react.
Then Swamiji said,Even though he is standing next to you, you have the 'emotion' that Maharaja is there in the picture, hence you cannot spit on it. Similarly, when a Hindu worships an idol, he doesn't say, 'O stone, I am worshipping you.' He has the 'emotion' that God resides in that idol.
The Maharaja was satisfied with the reply and profusely thanked Swami Vivekananda.
*******************************==========================================================
As early as 1879, when Vivekananda was only sixteen, he was once found arguing with Christian missionaries. The missionaries went about distributing Bibles and derogatory material that insulted Hinduism and derided its practices. The discussion developed into a quarrel, in which passersby joined, when a riot was apprehended.
The Christian missionaries misrepresented, vilified and ridiculed the Hindu faith without let or hindrance. They said bathing in the Ganges was sinful, they said everything that the Hindus have, everything that they do is synonymous with superstition; on another occasion, a certain paadri threw a clincher at the Hindu audience, What can your idol do, if I strike it with my stick?
Vivekananda’s answer was quick, “What could your Christ do when he was crucified?”

 SWAMI AND WOMEN 

Swami Vivekananda was a monk who at one time saw women as an obstacle. However on realising the highest truth he saw no distinction between sex and saw in women the presence of the Divine Mother.
Swami Vivekananda worked effortlessly to try and uplift the plight of women, in particular Indian Women.
Long before Swami Vivekananda had become popular through his landmark speeches in Chicago in 1893, he had once gone to meet and stay with Maharaja of Jaipur.  As was the custom, Maharaja a great lover of festivities went out of his way to welcome Swamiji.  There was an issue that he didn’t forsee.  Welcoming rituals included welcoming the guests by prostitutes who were specially called in.
As Swamiji came, Maharaja called the “best and the most expensive prostitute” to welcome him.  Swamiji was a Sanyasi, and Maharaja was unaware of his ways.  On learning that prostitutes were called to sing and dance for him, he locked himself in his room.  He hadn’t yet matured as a Yogi.
The Maharaja came to ask for his forgiveness.  Said that this was the most expensive prostitute for whom he had already paid and turning her away would be insulting her and creating a rift with the whole group.  But Swami Vivekananda would have nothing of it.  He remained holed up in his room.
The prostitute started singing on her own, without the guest in the presence of the hosts.  She sang a divine song of a Saint.  Weeping, crying and yet singing her heart out and her pain… her travails of being “dirt” in front of him, a Saint.  Swamiji couldn’t ignore her singing and walked out of the room and sat in front of her to listen to her singing that night.  That night be wrote in his diary:
”A new revelation has been given to me by the divine. I was afraid… must be some lust within me. That’s why I was afraid. But the woman defeated me completely, and I have never seen such a pure soul.  The tears were so innocent and the singing and the dancing were so holy that I would have missed. And sitting near her, for the first time I became aware that it is not a question who is there outside; it is a question what is.”
Indifference comes sans antagonism.  Swamiji, as a young Sadhak, was suppressing his sexual desires.  He had not become a Yogi yet. (Story from “Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 2″ by Osho)
The grace of divinity in terms of sex is not in suppressing sexuality, but in facing it.  Directly.  And yet being in complete equanimity.
Years later when Swamiji was asked a question on how to fight sexual desires, he replied that one doesn’t have to fight the desire.  If one has reached a certain state, the desire falls off on its own.  




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