Archive | Swami Vivekananda

Last Days of Swami Vivekananda

Vivekananda3Swami Vivekananda was a close disciple of the great spiritual Master Sri Ramakrishna. After Ramakrishna’s passing, Vivekananda began a whirlwind of activity. He travelled across India, United States and Europe – giving lectures on Vedenta, philosophy and encouraging dynamic action – especially in India. Towards the end of his short life, his hectic schedule told on his health and he retreated to the Himalayas to spend more time in quiet contemplation.

In his final days, he became aware of his limited time left on earth; he was moved to practise more meditation and contemplate on the deepest spiritual truths.

“I am making ready for death. A great tapasya and meditation has come upon me, and I am making ready for death.” – Belur Math, 1902

As his final days came, Swami Vivekananda, a great Vedantist, reveals how his devotion to Mother Kali increased and he began to be more aware of the world beyond this earth of joy and suffering. Continue Reading →

Unity, The Goal of Religion – Swami Vivekananda



” This universe of ours, the universe of the senses, the rational, the intellectual, is bounded on both sides by the illimitable, the unknowable, the ever unknown. Herein is the search, herein are the inquiries, here are the facts; from this comes the light which is known to the world as religion. Essentially, however, religion belongs to the supersensuous and not to the sense plane. It is beyond all reasoning and is not on the plane of intellect. It is a vision, an inspiration, a plunge into the unknown and unknowable, making the unknowable more than known for it can never be “known”. This search has been in the human mind, as I believe, from the very beginning of humanity. There cannot have been human reasoning and intellect in any period of the world’s history without this struggle, this search beyond. In our little universe, this human mind, we see a thought arise. Whence it arises we do not know; and when it disappears, where it goes, we know not either. The macrocosm and the microcosm are, as it were, in the same groove, passing through the same stages, vibrating in the same key.”

– Swami Vivekananda

Unit, The Goal of Religion. The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vol.3

Video of Swami Vivekananda

A video clip featuring personal reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda. Lillian Montgomery who had the opportunity to meet Vivekananda in person shares her experiences. In particular, two qualities she noticed were the power and poise of Vivekananda – an ‘Ocean of Consciousness’

"Swami Vivekananda was so entirely different to anything we had known in America."

"As he spoke, veils just seemed to fall from your eyes, giving an entirely different impression of personality…"

The video was recorded in 1955

Biography of Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda – Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda

When Naren, (Swami Vivekananda ) first came to visit Sri Ramakrishna , he was not altogether impressed with what he saw. His mind doubted this perplexing, unorthodox figure. He left dissatisfied, but, at the same time he felt strangely compelled to return to visit Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar. Sri Ramakrishna, on the other hand, immediately saw in his beloved Naren, tremendous spiritual potential. After his first meeting, he predicted Naren would at one time do great things for his beloved Mother Kali.

At the time, that seemed unlikely because to some Naren appeared quite ordinary, and enjoyed debating about the existence of God. However, the faith Sri Ramakrishna had in his Naren was unprecedented. On one occasion, people started gossiping that Vivekananda had become an atheist. Ramakrishna could not bear to hear people speak ill of Naren. Instinctively he knew the accusations were false; Ramakrishna always maintained the highest faith in Naren.

Naren had tremendous aspiration and inquisitiveness, as a young man, he would ask learned spiritual men whether they had seen God. Unfortunately, he could not find anybody who could answer yes. However, the great Rishi, Debendranath Tagore replied to Vivekananda that although he had not seen God, if he wanted to meet a man who had seen God, he should go and see the Saint of Dakshineswar. When Vivekananda asked Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna replied, without any pride, false modesty or uncertainty that yes, he had seen God; furthermore, he saw God more clearly than he saw his current disciples. Vivekananda was impressed, not just with the answer, but with the unmistakable spiritual authority with which Ramakrishna spoke.

Sri Ramakrishna

At times Naren could not understand why Sri Ramakrishna made such a fuss about him, it led Naren to rebuke Ramakrishna, "why do you give so much attention to me". Ramakrishna replied: "Mother Kali, says to pay no attention, it is only because I see God inside you…."

During his sadhana, Ramakrishna gained mastery over all the occult and kundalini powers. In all sincerity, he offered to give them to his dearest disciple. Vivekandanda’s only reply was "will these help me realise God?" Ramakrishna replied "no, they won’t, but with them you can do great works for the Mother" Vivekananda was uninterested in occult powers he replied to Ramakrishna that if they did not help him realise God he did not want them. This is an example of the sincerity, of the spiritual aspiration of Vivekananda. Like his Master, he realised outer miracles were often worse than useless; both Ramakrishna and Vivekananda wished only to use spiritual power for the inspiration of aspiring humanity.

The spiritual sadhana of Ramakrishna was extraordinary, he prayed and meditated with an unparalleled intensity and devotion. He cared not for mental learning and outer forms; Ramakrishna wished only to go directly to the source. Thus Ramakrishna was an embodiment of intuition and spiritual realisation. Despite his dishevelled looks and lack of outer education, learned scholars would come to listen at his feet. But, it was Vivekananda who was the ideal instrument for the spreading of Ramakrishna’s light in the West. Vivekananda was the messenger of Ramakrishna’s realisations. In truth, they were like 1 soul in 2 bodies.

"The Master and the disciple were hardly two distinct individuals. Each helped to shape the other. To our deeper vision, they formed an integral whole."

[1] Sri Chinmoy

Vivekananda relied on the guiding spiritual light of Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna relied on the dedicated service of Vivekananda.

When in America, Vivekananda did not once mention his Master. When asked why, Vivekananda replied that it was too difficult to do justice to the spiritual height of his Master; he worried that people would not understand and appreciate the spiritual greatness of his Master. However, in whatever he did in the West he felt the guiding hand of his Master.

"His life is a searchlight of infinite power thrown upon the whole mass of Indian religious thought. He was the living commentary to the Vedas and to their aim. He had lived in one life the whole cycle of the national religious existence in India."

Swami Vivekananda on Sri Ramakrishna [2]


Mano Chalo First Song by Swami Vivekananda sung to Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar.

Vivekananda speaking at World Parliament of Religions

Ramakrishna Soul of the East


[1] Vivekananda Heart Life

[2] Ramakrishna – Vivekananda

What to Pray for?

What should we pray for?

People pray for many different things. Pray can be a form of desire. We pray for material comforts or release from physical pain. However prayer can be more than just praying for the satisfaction of our material needs. The highest prayer is merely to become one with the highest spiritual realisation.

There is a story of two great Spiritual figures, Sri Ramakrishna and his beloved disciple Swami Vivekananda. Due to the death of his father Swami Vivekananda?s family were living in extreme poverty; his mother started to criticise Vivekananda, saying why did he spend his time praying to God when God could not even provide for the family?s basic needs. Vivekananda felt cut to the bone, so he went to his Spiritual Master Sri Ramakrishna and explained his family?s dire financial predicaments. Sri Ramakrishna compassionately replied to Vivekananda and said if he went to the Temple of Mother Kali and prayed for the boon of financial wealth all his family?s financial problems would be solved.

Encouraged by his master?s promise Vivekananda went to the temple of Mother Kali to pray for money. However Vivekananda was a seeker of the highest order. His inner nature yearned for God. When he entered the temple of the Mother, Vivekananda became absorbed in the spiritual vibrations of the Temple. He felt his consciousness soar as he became enamoured of the bliss of the Mother. In such an exalted spiritual state Vivekananda forgot his desire for financial freedom. His only prayer was

"O Mother, please give me Jnana (wisdom) and Bhakti (devotion)." [1]

After praying and meditating Vivekananda returned to his Master and told him he had forgotten to pray for money in the Presence of Kali. Ramakrishna smiled and advised him to go back into the temple but this time to pray for money. Vivekananda returned but again he became so absorbed in his meditation that he could not bring himself to ask for money. 3 Times Ramakrishna sent Vivekananda into the temple to pray but each time Vivekananda couldn?t bring himself to pray for money. Eventually Ramakrishna compassionately said he would pray on his disciple?s behalf. He would pray that his family would always have enough to pay for the basic essentials of life. After this his family?s dire financial hardship was removed, although they never experience material prosperity.

Vivekananda was a great seeker, who eventually became a spiritual Master in his own right. This story is illustrative of how the human mind often doesn?t know the best thing to pray for. On many occasions we feel that if our desires for more money and wealth can be fulfilled, all our problems will be solved. However no matter how much money we may have we will never attain lasting satisfaction. Real happiness comes from our oneness with God. When we attain oneness with God everything else seems unimportant

The highest prayer uttered by Jesus Christ was

?not my will but thine be done? " [2] Through this prayer Christ surrendered his personal will to the will of God. Christ knew that our human prayers might not be in our best interest, the greatest prayer is merely to become with God.

Later Sri Ramakrishna offered Vivekananda all his occult powers. Ramakrishna even tempted Vivekananda by saying he would be able to use these powers to help others. Vivekananda only replies will this help me realise God. Ramakrishna replied it wouldn?t and so Vivekananda turned down the opportunity to gain occult powers. [3]

It is brings to mind the immortal quote of the Upanishads

What shall I do with the things
that cannot make me immortal? [4]


[1] Vivekananda
[2] Luke 22:42
[3] Vivekananda – Heart Life at Sri Chinmoy Library

Swami Vivekananda Speech at Chicago 1893

Speech from World Parliament of Religions

“It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects…”

Full Speech

Swami Vivekananda Biography

“Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.”

– From Speech of Swami Vivekananda

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