Swami Vivekananda

News Excerpt: 

President Droupadi Murmu paid tributes to the spiritual leader and social reformer Swami Vivekananda on his birth anniversary.

About Swami Vivekananda:

  • He was born on January 12, 1863, in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and he died on July 4, 1902, near Calcutta. 
  • He was a Hindu spiritual leader and reformer who strove to reconcile Indian spirituality with Western practical advancement, arguing that the two supplemented and complemented one another.
  • He carried on the free-thinking philosophy of his guru, Ramakrishna Paramhansa forward into a new paradigm.

Swami Vivekananda’s Teachings and works

  • His lectures, letters, and poems are published as ‘The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’. 
  • Swamiji, as Vivekananda is affectionately known, believed it was best to teach universal principles rather than personalities. Therefore, his teaching and writing focused on Vedanta philosophy and not Sri Ramakrishna.
  • Life as Monk: Vivekananda left Math in 1886 and went on a tour of India on foot as a ‘Parivrajak’. He witnessed the adversities of life that the common people faced, and their ailments, and vowed to dedicate his life to bring relief to the suffering.
  • Lecture at the World Parliament of Religions: He attended the World Parliament of Religions being held in Chicago, America in 1893 and represented India, Hinduism, and his Guru Sri Ramakrishna’s philosophies there. On 11 September 1893, he took the stage and stunned everyone with his opening line “My brothers and sisters of America”. He went on to describe the principles of Vedanta and their spiritual significance, putting Hinduism on the map of World Religion.
  • Vedanta Society: He spent the next two and a half years in America and founded the Vedanta Society of New York in 1894. He also traveled to the United Kingdom to preach the tenets of the Vedanta and Hindu Spiritualism to the Western world. He encouraged the practice of Advaita Vedanta in people’s daily life linked with society.
  • Ramakrishna Mission: He founded the Ramakrishna Mission on May 1, 1897, at Belur Math near Calcutta. The goals of the Ramakrishna Mission were based on the ideals of Karma Yoga and its primary objective was to serve the poor and distressed population of the country. 
  • Poems: He wrote poems and hymns in Bengali, English, and Sanskrit, some of which are sung daily in Vedanta centers worldwide.
  • Brahmo Samaj: He joined the Brahmo Samaj (Society of Brahma), dedicated to eliminating child marriage and illiteracy and determined to spread education among women and the lower castes.

Philosophy of Vedanta by Swami Vivekananda

The Philosophy of Vivekananda owes its origin from the thoughts of Advaita, being inspired by Sri Rama Krishna, in such a way he accepts the theory, “Brahman alone is real, true all else is false. I am Brahman.”

  • The central idea of Vedanta is oneness. According to Vivekananda “There are no two in anything, no two lives. There is but one life, one world, one Existence, everything is that one, the difference is in degree and not in kind”.
  • The Vedanta philosophy, as it is generally called at the present day, really comprises all the various sects that now exist in India. 
  • The word Vedanta literally means the end of the Vedas, the Vedas being the scriptures of the Hindus.
  • Advaita Vedantists--the non-dualists--reject the theory of the soul, and, having nearly the whole range of the Upanishads in their favor, build their philosophy entirely upon them.
  • Religion, according to Vivekananda must provide men with strength and inspiration in all situations of life.

About National Youth Day:

India celebrates 12 January as the National Youth Day in honor of Swami Vivekananda, whose birth anniversary falls on that day. Since 1984, the nation has marked the day by urging the youth to live up to the values, principles and beliefs that Vivekananda embraced. 

  • As a part of National Youth Day celebrations, India organizes an annual National Youth Festival from January 12 to 16. The host state for the Festival this year is Maharashtra.The theme of this year’s festival is “Viksit Bharat@ 2047: Yuva ke liye, yuv a ke dwara”.


  • Swami Vivekananda exposed to the world the true pillars of India's national unity. 
  • He demonstrated how a diverse nation may be brought together by a sense of humanity and brotherhood. 
  • Vivekananda stressed the shortcomings of Western civilization and India's role in overcoming them. 
  • Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose reportedly said, "Swamiji balanced the East and the West, religion and science, past and present. His lessons have given our nation extraordinary self-esteem, self-reliance, and self-assertion."

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