Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)
Swami Vivekananda was the chief monastic disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and the bearer of his message to the West. Swamiji, as he was affectionately known, introduced the liberal and universal teachings of Vedanta to the Western world at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. The enthusiastic response to his message and personality marked the beginning of the Vedanta movement in the United States and the founding of centers in many of the major cities of the country. Swamiji, on his return to India, also founded the Ramakrishna Order of Monks and the Ramakrishna Mission, which carries on educational and social service work throughout India and the world in addition to spreading the spiritual teachings of Sri Ramakrishna.
Swamiji’s main emphasis was on the direct experience of truth. “Religion is not in books, nor in theories, nor in dogmas, nor in talking, nor even reasoning. It is being and becoming.”