Swami Vivekananda

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Swami Vivekananda was born as Narendranath in Calcutta, the capital of British India, on 12 January 1863 during the Makar Sankranti festival. He belonged to a traditional Bengali Kayastha (a caste of Hindus) family. There was precedence of ascetics in his family—Narendra's grandfather Durga Charan Datta renounced the world and became a monk at the age of twenty five.[10]Narendra's father Vishwanath Datta was an attorney of Calcutta High Court.[11] Vishwanath Datta had a liberal, progressive outlook on social and religious matters.[12] Narendra's mother, Bhuvaneswari Devi[nb 1], was a pious woman. Before the birth of Narendra, she yearned for a son and asked a relative at Varanasi to make religious offerings to the god Shiva.[14] According to traditional accounts, Bhuvaneswari Devi had a dream in which Shiva said that he would be born as her son.[15] Bhuvaneswari Devi accepted the child as a boon from Shiva and named himVireswara, meaning "powerful god" in Bengali.[14] The rational approach of his father and the religious temperament of his mother helped shape young Narendra's thinking and personality.[16][17] He learnt the power of self-control from his mother.[17] In later life, Narendra often quoted a saying of his mother, "Remain pure all your life; guard your own honour and never transgress the honour of others. Be very tranquil, but when necessary, harden your heart."[18] He was adept in meditation and could enter the state of samadhi (a higher level of concentrated meditation).[17] He would often visualise a light while falling asleep and had a vision of Gautama Buddha during his meditation.[19] During his childhood, he was fascinated by the wandering ascetics and monks.[17]

The house of 3, Gour Mohan Mukherjee street, Kolkata, where Vivekananda was born,[20] now it is maintained by theRamakrishna Mission. Narendra had interest and a wide range of scholarship in philosophy, religion, history, the social sciences, arts, literature, and other...
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