In this world of over seven billion souls, sometimes, we feel the absence of one man and then suddenly we find that he is there in all men. That was Swami Vivekananda. He was not merely of a physical being but a presence or a phenomenon, if one would so like to characterize him. His original name was Narendra Nath Dutta and he was born on 9th January, 1862 in Calcutta (now Kolkat.a). Like Gandhiji and Shivaji and even Mother Teresa, it was his mother who had the earliest and perhaps the greatest influence on him in his life.
Before becoming a monk, he had got much drilling in several fields. For instance, he had got a very good education, according to the standards of those times: Then he had got himself groomed in various youthful activities such aar iding, swimming, wrestling, boxing, .etc. He was a great lover of music besides sports. Even as a young, boisterous boy, he had streaks of love for certain things, which foretold about the things to come to him and about him. Such were his love for English poetry, that of Romantic poets of nature like Wordsworth and Shelley and for philosophers like Herbert Spencer and John Stuart Mill. Thus his mental make-up had the formative elements of both head and heart, emotion and intellect in equal balance and this made him perhaps after the Buddha, the greatest rationalist thinker of India, if not of the world, who drew immense admiration even from stalwarts like Tagore.
The story of his first meeting with his teacher and mentor Ramkrishna Paramhans is well known. When he went to his master, he put the straight question, “Have you seen God, sir?” Straight carnethe answer’, ”Yes, I have as much as I see you now.” Young Vivekananda perhaps never expected such an answer and even if we do not need to lay much stress on the effect on Vivekananda of the miraculous touch of his body by the great saint, we can realize the influence of such a forthright reply and the fact that the young Vivekananda instantaneously began to...
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