Friday, June 25, 2010

Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Mission

Swami Vivekananda [1863-1902]
Swami Vivekananda was born in 1863. He was a great disciple of Sree Ramakrishna. His original name was Narendranath Datta. He popularized Sree Ramakrishna’s religious message.
Vivekananda stressed social action. Like his guru, Vivekanda proclaimed the essential oneness of all religions and condemned any narrowness in religious matters. He was convinced of the superior approach of the Indian philosophical tradition. He declared Vedanta as a fully rational system.
Vivekananda criticised Indians for having lost touch with rest of the world and become stagnant and mummified. According to him, “motion is the sign of life”. He condemned the caste system and the current Hindu emphasis on rituals and superstitions. He urged the people to imbibe the spirit of liberty, equality and free-thinking. He popularized the Upanishad words, “ Awake! Arise! Stop not till the goal is reached". He condemned weakness. He said, “Weakness is the cause of all sin. Avoid all weakness; weakness is sin, weakness is death”. He argued that the aim of religion was the spiritual integration of mankind. He said, “Our religion is in the kitchen. Our god is in in the cooking pot”.
Vivekananda was a great humanist. He was shocked by the poverty, misery, and suffering of the common people of the country. According to Romain Rolland, “Vivekanand was energy personified, and action was his message to men”. In 1893, he attended the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago. He created a sensation in the great assembly by his brilliance and nobility. He came back to India in 1897 and was given a hero’s welcome. He published the monthly ‘Prabuddha Bharata’ in English and the fortnightly ‘ Udbodhana’ in Bengali.

On May 1,1897 the Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission to carry on humanitarian relief and social work. The Mission had many branches in different parts of the country and carried on social service by opening schools, hospitals, orphanages, libraries, etc. It laid emphasis on social service.Swami Vivekananda also founded the Belur Math.

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