Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

Swa­mi Vivek­a­nanda in San Fran­cis­co

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.”