Swami Vivekananda is a transitional moment in the history of yoga because he is the first to bring the ancient art of yoga to the West, where it has had a significant impact.

The life of Swami Vivekananda

Narendranath Dutta was born into an upper-class family in Calcutta in 1863: his father was a jurist and philosopher, and his mother, a devout Hindu, taught him to India’s sacred writings at a young age.

He excelled as a student and later as a pupil.

His primary concern was the topic of God, and at the age of 20, he joined the “Society of God,” a group of intellectuals who explored the future of religions and Hindu reform.

He met the man who would become his guru when he was 17 years old. Know more about Swami Vivekananda from YTTI Rishikesh’s 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh.

Ramakrishna

A mystic who is surrounded by followers In his ashram, he eventually became a sannyasi(renouncer).

Vivekananda is his name; ” Viveka ” means ” discernment ” and ” ananda ” means ” happiness “.

He and Ramakrishna had a long discussion just before he died, during which both are claimed to have experienced ecstasy; following this meeting, his master named him as his successor.

He took over the management of the ashram after Ramakrishna’s death, and on Christmas night, 1887, he formed “The Order of Ramakrishna,” indicating his great kinship with the Christian religion.

In the years that followed, he lived as a saddhu, a wandering and begging monk who traveled across India. He had a kamandalu (water jug) and two books with him at all times: the Bhagavad Gita and the Imitation of Jesus Christ.

This period of his life has strengthened his spiritual consciousness while simultaneously increasing his awareness of societal injustice.
He came to the following conclusions:

  • If you live in material poverty, you will never be able to build your spiritual power. As a result, it is vital to work for people’s social advancement through education.
  • Only when monetary success is subjugated to spiritual prosperity, which is the West’s primary strength, is it truly prosperous. As a result, it is essential to work for the spiritual elevation of all people.

Surprisingly, it was this trek across India that inspired him to share yoga’s principles in the West.

With the support of one of his followers, he was able to start his own business in 1893.

The work of Swami Vivekananda:

Vivekananda’s introduction of Vedanta to the West had a significant impact.

His work, which primarily consisted of conferences, speeches, and interviews, was transmitted by a devout English disciple who made notes in “shorthand.”

It was popularised in France by Romain Rolland, who wrote a book on Swami Vivekananda’s life and the Universal Gospel, and Jean Herbert, who translated and edited numerous of his writings.

Given the shortness of his life, Vivekananda’s work is significant. She stayed devoted to Râmakrishna’s message, which is a religious and philosophical synthesis.

Many thinkers, including Mahatma Gandhi, were impacted by her.

Swami Vivekananda went to the World’s Fair in Chicago

He spoke in the Parliament of Religions on multiple occasions and had a significant impact. On September 11, 1893, the audience of 7,000 people gave him a standing ovation during his inaugural address on Hinduism.

He subsequently began to teach around the United States, attracting a large following.

He then traveled around the world to share Ramakrishna’s teachings.

His successful return to India was well-deserved.

In 1899, he returned to the West and founded the “Ramakrishna Mission” in numerous nations.

According to Nikhilananda’s book, Vivekananda had no malice for Americans mistaking him for a black person.

During his travels in the American Southwest, he was frequently refused admittance to a motel, a restaurant, or a hairdresser because of his dark skin. One of Swami’s disciples asked him why he didn’t just tell them he wasn’t black, but Hindu, while he was telling them these stories. “How?” Vivekananda had responded angrily. Raise me at the expense of others? “This is not why I came to Earth!”

On July 4, 1902, he passed away at the age of 39.

Sister Christine, a German mystic who lived from 1866 to 1930, was one of his most devoted pupils.

Read More: Bhastrika Pranayama

Some of Vivekananda’s ideas are considered classic, while others are considered highly modern

Vivekananda, for example, placed the Advaita Vedanta at the very top of the spiritual hierarchy, putting it in the tradition.

He does, however, deviate from tradition by criticizing it for its cosmic illusionism and fatalistic quietism.

Vivekananda desired to alter the world rather than merely free himself. Some regard him as a revolutionary in his own right, a forerunner to Sri Aurobindo.

Vivekananda does not believe that Vedanta contradicts contemporary science.

Yoga, in his opinion, is a mind science that complements what the West has to offer in the physical sciences.

This mental science does not wish to remove oneself from the world. It permits a man to extend his influence over the cosmos in the same way that physics does. It is a force of transformation, a force of power.

This is why renouncing karma yoga (the yoga of selfless action) for the sake of Jnana Yoga is not an option (yoga of knowledge, of philosophy). Action without knowledge is blind and primitive, while knowledge without action is pointless.

Bhakti yoga (devotional yoga) believes that love is the highest kind of knowledge when the object and subject of knowledge merge into one.

His spiritual convictions led him to reject all superstitions and worship of fictitious gods.

He saw India’s caste system as a social habit that contradicted Vedanta’s precepts. He also stood up against sectarianism, a form of fundamentalism that restricts man to a mental prison rather than universalizing him.

The great religions, he believes, are not doomed to perish. However, because there are several spiritual types, there are various religions that correlate to each of these types. The more general a religion is, the more it is customized to meet the needs of each individual.

Vivekananda’s work Criticisms

He had, according to Mahatma Gandhi,

“kept Hinduism in a glorious state by removing the deadwood of tradition.”

“If you want to know India, study Vivekananda,” Rabindranath Tagore is supposed to have stated. He exudes positivity in every way.”

Vivekananda, according to Michel Hulin, embodies “an appealing combination of history and modernity, but also an explosive mixture of mysticism and scientificity.”

Jean Herbert believes that “Before Swami Vivekananda, the primary objective of most yogic notions was to hasten the yogi’s emancipation, and the latter was unconcerned about affecting the fate of progress of humanity.

Swami Vivekananda demonstrated his devotion to his guru when he took on the dual duty of “improving India’s material problems while also bringing the ferments of high spirituality to the West.”

Read More: Yoga for Beginners Ultimate Guide

Here are a few words from Swami Vivekananda:

Speak softly about your affection for your sibling! love!

Do not discuss religions or doctrines. There is only one of them. All of the rivers flow into the sea. Allow others to go!

The big water spawns a distinct bed down the slope (based on races, ages, and souls). The water is the same… Please, don’t make me laugh. Flow in the direction of the sea.

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