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The Hindu Monk of India Shri Swami Vivekananda by Abhiram Jetty, 8th Grade, TX

Swami Vivekananda, or Narendranath Datta, was born on the 12th of January, 1863, and is a Hindu monk and philosopher. He is credited with influencing Indian darsanas (teachings or practices) of Vedanta and Yoga to Western civilization and bringing upon the major recognition of Hinduism as a major world religion.

Swami Vivekananda was instantly inclined towards the idea of spirituality after he was born. He was heavily influenced by his guru (teacher), Ramakrishna, from whom he learned many important spiritual lessons. After his guru passed away, he toured the subcontinent India He then traveled to the United States of America to represent India and Hinduism at the 1893 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Illinois. He conducted many classes and private lessons about spirituality while distributing important pieces of Indian culture to many parts of the world. He is regarded as a patriotic saint and pioneer.

Vivekananda was a great student when he was growing up. In 1881, Narendra first met Ramakrishna, who became his main source of spiritual knowledge after his father passed away in 1884.

His first meeting with Ramakrishna proved to completely change and influence his life. Even though he did not really think of Ramakrishna as a teacher at first and did not agree with his ideals, he did like his personality and essence. Ramakrishna never questioned Narendra’s beliefs and answered Narendra’s arguments patiently, considering it. He encouraged Narendra to “try to see the truth from all angles”.

Narendra only prayed for knowledge and devotion. He then grew to realize that he should do everything for the sake of realizing God and became a true disciple of Ramakrishna by accepting him as his guru. He spent more time with his guru while Ramakrishna became ill with throat cancer and gained immense spiritual wisdom during Ramakrishna’s final days. This is when Narendra achieved nirvikalpa samadhi (a state of spiritual consciousness).

After the death of Ramakrishna, Narendra created a monastery and became a leader serving the monastery. This is also when Narendra took the name “Swami Vivekananda”. The name “Vivekananda” means “the bliss of discerning wisdom” from the Sanskrit words viveka and ānanda.

Vivekananda started his first journey to the US on May 31, 1893. Vivekananda was accepted to represent Hinduism in