onSwami Vivekananda (Bengali: [ born Narendra Nath Datta(Bengali:
Bibekānondo; 12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), Norendro Nath Dot-to), was an Indian Hindu
monk and chief disciple of the 19th-century saintRamakrishna. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century. He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India, and contributed to the concept of nationalism in colonial India. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is ...view middle of the document...
 He belonged to a traditional Bengali Kayastha family and was one of nine siblings. His father, Vishwanath Datta, was an attorney at the Calcutta High Court. Durgacharan Datta, Narendra's grandfather, was a Sanskrit and Persian scholar who left his family and became a monk at age twenty-five. Narendra's mother, Bhuvaneswari Devi, was a devout housewife. The progressive, rational attitude of Narendra's father and the religious temperament of his mother helped shape his thinking and personality.
In 1871 Narendra enrolled at Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's Metropolitan Institution, where he studied until his family moved to Raipur in 1877. In 1879, after his family's return to Calcutta, he received first-division marks in thePresidency College entrance examination. That year, he was the only student at his college who received first-division marks. Narendra was an avid reader and was interested in a wide range of subjects, including philosophy, religion, history, social science, art and literature. He was also interested in Hindu scriptures, including the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. Narendra was trained inIndian classical music, and regularly participated in physical exercise, sports and organised activities.
Narendra became a member of a Freemasonry lodge and a breakaway faction of the Brahmo Samaj led by Keshub Chandra Sen and Debendranath Tagore. His initial beliefs were
shaped by Brahmo concepts, which included belief in a formless God and the deprecation of idolatry. At this time, Narendra met Debendranath Tagore (the leader of Brahmo Samaj) and asked if he had seen God. Instead of answering his question, Tagore said "My boy, you have the Yogi's eyes." Not satisfied with his knowledge of philosophy, Narendra wondered if God and religion could be made a part of one's growing experiences and deeply internalised. He asked several prominent Calcutta residents if they had come "face to face with God", but none of their answers satisfied him.
Narendra's first introduction to Ramakrishna occurred in a literature class at General Assembly's Institution when he heard Professor William Hastie lecturing on William Wordsworth's poem, The Excursion. While explaining the word "trance" in the poem, Hastie suggested that his students visit Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar to understand the true meaning of trance. This prompted some of his students (including Narendra) to visit Ramakrishna.
(left) Ramakrishna, guru of Vivekananda (right) Vivekananda in Cossipore 1886
In November 1881,.[a] when Narendra was preparing for his upcoming F. A. examination, Ram Chandra Dattaaccompanied him to Surendra Nath Mitra's, house where Ramakrishna was invited to deliver a lecture. At this meeting, Ramakrishna asked young Narendra to sing. Impressed by...