“Live and let live” was the belief of the prophet of a new age better known as Swami Vivekananda. Narendranath Dutta or ‘BIley’ as he was affectionately known took birth in an affluent Simla st. family to Vishwanath Dutta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi in 1863.
From his very childhood, he showed sparks of brilliance and excelled in many a sport. He was an excellent orator along with being proficient at physical activities. Throughout his life, he championed and heralded the cause of the labouring classes of the country. “Religion doesn’t lie in theory, but in practice” was all he longed to preach.
He sought god through his service to the mankind. Vivekananda entirely believed on those whose hearts blood has contributed to all the progress that has been made in the world, contrary to those who believe in the few philosophical works or a dozen epics penned down by the ancestors to be more significant. He had pointed out the neglect of the masses to be a great national sin contributing to the drastic downfall of the great nation.
The Great Russian litterateur Leo Tolstoy praises Swamiji’s excellent polemics about God. He was indeed inquisitive about the truth leading to the realisation of God.The thirst was quenched by his ‘to-be’ guru Ramakrishna Paramhansa Dev, who responded the best. Sri Ramakrishna was convinced that it was only Narendranath who could understand and disseminate his teachings. A practical man, Swamiji believed in “first bread then religion”.
So, in honour of his then-inanimate guru, he and his disciples started the Ramakrishna Math at Belur to be a source of ‘daily bread’ for the needy.
To reshape and remodel the country Swamiji felt the need of a band of fiery patriots. To spread his word he left for Chicago to attend the World Parliament of Religions in 1893. There he addressed the gathering as “Sisters and Brothers of America” which was received with a thunderous standing ovation. Through his speech he became an overnight phenomenon and everyone wanted a piece of him. Swamiji continued to travel the length and breadth of the States and Europe to preach his ideologies. He had gained innumerable followers worldwide with the Scots-Irish Sister, Nivedita being the most notable.
Worn out from his ceaseless errands he returned to his motherland in 1897 and breathed his last on 1902.
Swami Vivekananda left behind an eternal legacy to inspire generations to come. He was the torch bearer to a new dynamic India. He was the man in whom even Kabiguru Rabindranath found “Everything positive and nothing negative.”
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