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Swami Vivekananda

  • Context (PIB): Swami Vivekananda’s Jayanti is celebrated on January 12 every year.

Swami Vivekananda

Birth and Early Life

  • He was born on January 12, 1863, in Kolkata, India. His early name was Narendranath Datta.
  • The teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahansa influenced him during his youth.

Preachings

  • Advocated for religious tolerance and harmony among different faiths.
  • He stressed the universality of religions and the commonality of spiritual truths.
  • He emphasised the teachings of Vedanta as a way to realise the divinity within oneself.
  • He propounded the idea of service to humanity as a form of worship.

Chicago World Parliament of Religions (1893)

  • He achieved global recognition for his speech at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago.
  • He introduced Hindu philosophy and spirituality to the Western world with his famous address beginning with “Sisters and Brothers of America.

Vivekananda’s Service to Humanity

  • He founded the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 to propagate the teachings of his guru, Ramakrishna Paramahansa.
  • He set up the Ramakrishna Math (Belur Math) in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • He believed in “Daridra Narayana” – serving the poor and needy as a service to God.
  • He promoted the idea of spiritual nationalism, emphasising that India’s strength lies in its spiritual heritage.
  • He encouraged a synthesis of modern scientific thinking with ancient spiritual wisdom.
  • He introduced Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world.
  • He emphasised the need for education that nurtures character and instils a sense of duty.
  • He advocated for an education system that combines Western science with Indian spiritual values.

Death

  • Vivekananda passed away on July 4, 1902, at the age of 39.
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