Swami Vivekananda, a great and genuine God-man, saint, philosopher and the creator of Modern Hinduism was leading disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He deeply influenced the Western World with his ‘Vedanta Movement’ and gave Hinduism a new meaning and relevance. He systematized and synthesized various Hindu thoughts and ideals in order to make them more acceptable, comprehensible, and practical. Swami Vivekananda was born as Narendra Nath Datta on 12th January, 1863 in Calcutta, India. It is he who is now known to the whole world as ‘Vivekananda’ (the bliss of knowledge and discrimination.) this name was given to him in recognition of his spiritual merits and achievements. His father’s name was Vishwanath Datta and his mother’s name was Bhubaneshwari. The progressive rational approach of his father and the religious temperament of his mother helped in shaping his thinking and personality. He was an average student, but a voracious reader. His favorite subjects included philosophy, arts and literature, religion, history and social sciences. Narendra was a healthy in body and intelligent in mind.
He was a prodigy from his youth and had a well -developed all round personality. He was gifted with deep spiritual knowledge and power of concentration. From the very beginning; he spent good deal of time in meditation. In 1879, when his family moved back to Calcutta, he passed his examination from the Presidency College. He subsequently studied Western Logic, Western philosophy and history of the European Nations. He first met Ramakrishna (a holy saint) at his ashram and temple at Dakhineshwara. His meeting with Ramakrishna in November 1881 proved to be a turning point in Narendra’s life. Ramakrishna revolutionized Narendra’s mind and he began to have many new spiritual experiences. In, 1884, his father died due to a sudden heart stroke leaving Narendra and his mother bankrupt. Narendra went to America in 1892 and represented India in the ‘Parliament of Religions’. He began his speech with “sisters and brothers of America”. To these words he got a standing ovation from a crowd of seven thousand, which lasted for two minutes. With this most brilliant, moving and impressive speech, he won laurels, many friends, admirers, and converts to Hinduism.
His visit to England was equally successful. Vivekananda believed that a country’s future depends on its people; his teaching focused on the development of the mass. He emphasized that a success was an outcome of focused thought and action. Vivekananda wanted to unite the diverse races into one nation. His thoughts, actions and ideas influenced many great personalities like Subhas Chandra Bose, Bagha Jatin, Mahatma Gandhi, Rajagopalachari and Jamshedji Tata. Vivekananda is considered as a patriotic saint and his birthday (12th January) is celebrated every year as National Youth Day. Vivekananda showed the right path to self-realization and God-realization. He taught and preached that all religions have different paths to the same goal. After about fifty years of Vivekananda’s death, the UNO was formed. Thus, Swami Vivekananda helped in creating and spreading truth, co-operation and friendship among everyone.