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Swami Vivekananda, known in his pre-monastic life as Narendra Nath Datta, was born into an affluent family in Kolkata on 12 January 1863.
However, his philosophical mind was restless, and the Brahmo Samaj could not satisfy his quest for the true meaning of life. A group of chosen young men had gathered around Sri Ramakrishna and had begun to receive spiritual guidance from him. After the Master’s passing away, Vivekananda set out on a long, extensive pilgrimage throughout India, and came to realise the abject poverty, illiteracy and degradation of the Indians at large.
He approached many Indian princes of the time to see if they could do anything for the common people of India. Vivekananda attended the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Illinois, and earned great applause for beginning his address with the famous words, “Sisters and brothers of America.”  It was Vivekananda’s arrival in the USA that started the beginning of Western interest in Hinduism—not as merely an exotic Eastern oddity, but as a vital religious and philosophical tradition.
Eventually, in 1895, the periodical called The Brahmavadin was started in Madras, with money supplied by Vivekananda, for the purpose of teaching Vedanta. After spreading India’s ancient wisdom in the USA and England for four years, he returned to India in 1897. He founded two other monasteries—one at Mayavati, near Almora in the Himalayas, called Advaita Ashrama; and another at Madras.
His tours, hectic lecturing schedule, private discussions and correspondence, not to mention the privations he had endured during his early years of wandering, had taken their toll on his health.  He was suffering from asthma, diabetes and other physical ailments.
My ideal indeed can be put into a few words and that is: to preach unto mankind their divinity, and how to make it manifest in every movement of life. Swami Vivekananda believed that the essence of Hinduism was best expressed in the Vedanta philosophy, based on the interpretation of Adi Shankara. Do this either by work, or worship, or mental discipline, or philosophy—by one, or more, or all of these—and be free.
Swami Vivekananda belonged to that branch of Vedanta that held that no one can be truly free until all of us are. Vivekananda did not advocate the emerging area of parapsychology and astrology saying that this form of curiosity doesn’t help in spiritual progress but actually hinders it. Our first duty is not to hate ourselves; because to advance we must have faith in ourselves first and then in God. Faith, faith, faith in ourselves, faith in God – this is the secret of greatness… Have faith in yourselves, and stand up on that faith and be strong; that is what we need. The Hindus were bold, to their credit be it said, bold thinkers in all heir ideas, so bold that one spark of their though frightens the so-called bold thinkers of the West.
In my opinion, a race must first cultivate a great respect for motherhood, through the sanctification and inviolability of marriage. Sita is the name in India for everything that is good, pure, and holy; everything that in woman we call woman. My whole ambition in life is to set in motion a machinery which will bring noble ideas to the door of everybody, and then let men and women settle their own fate. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance.
The religion of the Vedanta can satisfy the demands of the scientific world, by referring it to the highest generalisation and to the law of evolution. One idea that I see clear as daylight is that misery is caused by ignorance and nothing else. Would to God that all men were so constituted that in their minds all these elements of philosophy, mysticism, emotion, and of work were equally present in full!
The ideal of womanhood in India is motherhood – that marvelous, unselfish, all-suffering, ever-forgiving mother. By education I do not mean the present system, but something in the line of positive teaching. The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion–is it worth the name?
These conceptions of the Vedanta must come out, must remain not only in the forest, not only in the cave, but they must come out to work at the bar and the bench, in the pulpit, and in the cottage of the poor man, with the fishermen that are catching fish, and with the students that are studying.
So long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them! Bhartendu Sood, in his article, in the editorial page of “Times of India,” makes exactly this point, and that in practicing only the asanas one is practicing only one limb of Yoga.
The eight stages of ashtanga yoga are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratihara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. Pranayama is control of breath; it purifies and removes distractions, facilitating concentration and meditation. Samadhi or enlightenment can be achieved only when we follow these eight stages in the order prescribed by Patanjali. The Bhagavad Gita describes yoga as a state of equanimity, achieved by cultivating a detached but unified outlook, serenity of mind, skill in action and the ability to stay attuned to the glory of the Self or atman and the Supreme or Bhagavan. According to Krishna, the root of all suffering and discord is the agitation of mind caused by selfish desire. Traversing the path of yoga is not that easy since it calls for lot of restraint, discipline and devotion. Even these early stages of samadhi are very beneficial for the mind body system and move the practitioner closer to total absorption. The whole process of Yoga is to unite the separate individual self with the Universals self. If you would like the message of meditation to spread, please click the LIKE button below share this article on Facebook. Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. The Essence of Mind is like the sky; sometimes it is shadowed by the clouds of Thought-flow. Vipassana meditation brings peace of mind to the youth of India, at least around Mumbai, according to the Hindustan Times. Vipassana is taught as a living practice of the Buddha’s teaching and it has been passed on for millennia. Vipassana is taught over a ten day period (though there are longer retreats) and is open to anyone that wants to practice this type of meditation. While there is an open duologue with the meditation teacher, silence is observed between the participants.
The idea of meditating ten to twelve hours a day for days on end may seem a bit extreme to the uninitiated. But according to the Hindustan Times young people around Mumbai are embracing Vipassana meditation in order to relieve stress.
Another reason for the youth to attend the intense retreat is to develop concentration skills that will help them in their studies and career.
Advertising executive Labony Kaushal, 25, admits the only reason she thought of giving Vipassana a shot was to alleviate her boredom.
The first day, called Zero Day, is where an audio-visual explains the techniques of meditation to the new arrivals… and little else. Ask Kaushal whether she’s noticed any permanent changes and she says, “ I was an angry person who’d react without thinking of the consequences, but I’ve become more patient now. Clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Seema Hingorrany admits she’s seen a substantial rise in the number of young patients opting for Vipassana, and cites stress as the main reason. Hingorrany says that she gets emails and calls from patients asking what the right age for Vipassana is, but she opines, “It’s not about being the right age, but having the right reason.
For those who return from their retreat successfully, Hingorrany notices a change in their composition.
The big surprise for most of the students is, as it was for Kaushal, by the tenth day there’s the realization that Vipassana meditation brings peace of mind, that at some point the meditators slip into effortless effort, discover detached involvement and maintain a peaceful alertness. If you found this article useful … please click the LIKE button below to share it on Facebook. By the term religion, I am using it in the broadest sense, meaning thereby self realization or knowledge of the self. One of the first practices in mind-training is to bring your attention to a point of focus, witness the rising images and thoughts and then let go of the distractions. About dealing with distraction and, seeing them as your adversaries, Zen master Wolfgang Kopp, expressed it this way, “many are of the opinion that once the evil intellect is suppressed, the ardently desired nirvana will automatically reveal itself. Distractions are not your enemy, you should treat them with the same kindness that you would your five year old who innocently wanders away from you.
Speaking of children and distractions, Olivia Rosewood wrote a wonderful post about meditation, children and distractions. On my second trip to India, my meditation teacher felt it was in my best interest to sit in the basement of the ashram for several hours a day first in a mantra practice, and then sitting in silence. You may not have learned to meditate while being blasted from one side with prayers to Shiva or distracted by wedding music on the other. Meditation, as Olivia points out, is a practice and it’s a gentle practice, so if you face a thousand distractions, whether in the mind, the body or the environment, like the young child you gently return to your meditation a thousand times, without judgment. With the consistency of practice you will naturally let go of trying to control your mind, as you strive for stillness, and as Sally Kempton said, “simply let it be.” The paradox is that when that happens you will be able to deal with all the distractions in your meditation.
When we ask the question “What is Spirit,” the answer that all the wisdom traditions have in common is known as the perennial philosophy, which as three basic threads of commonality. The deeper reality that underlies the world of ordinary physical and mental reality is, according to the great traditions, a Spiritual or Divine reality that really exists, known to some as God or Holy Spirit, for others its described as the ground of being.
No matter how you describe it all the wisdom traditions agree that the reason we suffer, and the primary difficulty that we need to resolve is the feeling of separation, the loss of connection to the deeper reality; we feel isolated, cut off from our own essential nature. Even when you know that your essential nature is spirit, you can easily be deluded by the incessant activity of your mind and ego . Some of the traditions define the ego as self-image, personality or pride, and it’s the inner turbulence created by this self-centered preoccupation that keeps us feeling separate and from realizing true self-awareness.
These ego patterns can be buried deep within us and can require years of meditative practice to unravel.
With a regular practice, the expansive awareness you enter during meditation begins to permeate your life outside of your meditation sessions.
Each one has a special nature peculiar to himself which he must follow and through which he will find his way to freedom.
The very essence of the Hindu Philosophy is that a man is a Spirit, and not that man is a body and may have a Spirit also. How is this dream to be broken, how shall we wake up from this dream that we are little men and women, and all such things? It is through you that the sun shines and the stars shed their luster, and the earth becomes beautiful. Of all the photographs associated with the life of Swami Vivekananda, a few are especially memorable.
A picture of Swami Vivekananda sitting on stage at the historic Parliament of Religions, in Chicago, in 1893. The Parliament of Religions was the platform that catapulted Swami Vivekananda from a relatively unknown monk, to a world famous and beloved teacher of Vedanta.
On 11th September 1893, Swami Vivekananda arose for the first time, to address an august gathering of 7,000 people, with the words “Sisters and Brothers of America” (instead of the customary “Ladies and Gentlemen”). This simple, yet sincere greeting from an unknown monk, so moved the audience that the entire hall immediately stood up to an applause which lasted for a full two minutes (Vivekananda a Biography, page 133: World, India).

Newspapers of the time report, that by the time his speech ended, the crowd was so enamored that people were clamoring over benches to get near him.
Let me tell you that I did have a power and this is it — never once in my life did I allow myself to have even one sexual thought. A souvenir from the 1893 meeting of the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, bearing a quote of Swami Vivekananda along with his signature. A self-autographed picture of Swami Vivekananda’s hand, dated April 6th 1895, which appears in the palmistry book “Language of the Hand”.
The above picture of Swami Vivekananda’s hand appears in the palmistry book “Language of the Hand” by Cheiro, who was a celebrated astrologer and clairvoyant of those times. In the book, Cheiro himself does not analyze the palm, but offers it as an example of famous hands, which palmistry enthusiasts could use in their study and analysis. The answer is that he was likely introduced to Cheiro through his American friends, in whose homes he often stayed as a guest. Thus the appearance of Vivekananda’s hand in an astrology book stands in sharp contrast to his utter disdain for astrology and all things occult!
By registering, you may receive account related information, our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. By subscribing, you will receive our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. Swami Vivekananda, known in his pre-monastic life as Narendra Nath Datta, was born in an affluent family in Kolkata on 12 January 1863.
At the threshold of youth Narendra had to pass through a period of spiritual crisis when he was assailed by doubts about the existence of God.
Apart from removing doubts from the mind of Narendra, Sri Ramakrishna won him over through his pure, unselfish love. Sri Ramakrishna instilled in these young men the spirit of renunciation and brotherly love for one another. After the Master’s passing, fifteen of his young disciples (one more joined them later) began to live together in a dilapidated building at Baranagar in North Kolkata.
After establishing the new monastic order, Vivekananda heard the inner call for a greater mission in his life. During his travels all over India, Swami Vivekananda was deeply moved to see the appalling poverty and backwardness of the masses. One thing became clear to Swamiji: to carry out his plans for the spread of education and for the uplift of the poor masses, and also of women, an efficient organization of dedicated people was needed.
It was when these ideas were taking shape in his mind in the course of his wanderings that Swami Vivekananda heard about the World’s Parliament of Religions to be held in Chicago in 1893. Soon after his return to Kolkata, Swami Vivekananda accomplished another important task of his mission on earth.
In early 1898 Swami Vivekananda acquired a big plot of land on the western bank of the Ganga at a place called Belur to have a permanent abode for the monastery and monastic Order originally started at Baranagar, and got it registered as Ramakrishna Math after a couple of years. It may be mentioned here that in the West many people were influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s life and message. His father was Vishwanath Datta, a well-known Kolkata attorney, and his mother, Bhuvaneshwari Devi, was endowed with deep devotion, strong character and other noble qualities.
Encouraged by one of his relatives, Naren met the Bengali saint Sri Ramakrishna in November 1881. Later, in 1888, Vivekananda left the monastery as a parivrajaka—a wandering monk, “without fixed abode, without ties, independent, and a stranger wherever he goes.” His sole possessions were a kamandalu (water pot), staff, and his two favorite books—The Bhagavad Gita and The Imitation of Christ. A few years after the Parliament, Vivekananda started Vedanta centres in New York City and London, and lectured at major universities on Hinduism. Vivekananda wrote a stream of letters to India, giving advice and sending money to his followers and brother monks. This became his Mantra, and he coined the concept of daridra narayana seva – the service of God in and through (poor) human beings. Even the desire for personal salvation has to be given up, and only tireless work for the salvation of others is the true mark of the enlightened person. Let them know what our forefathers as well as other nations have thought on the most momentous questions of life. That the explanation of a thing comes from within itself is still more completely satisfied by Vedanta. They call to every man, woman, and child whatever be their occupation, wherever they may be. For the few who may not know the ‘asana’ (meaning posture) are the poses that are generically referred in Western pop culture as Yoga. While practicing the postures will keep you fit and toned, if they are practiced with only that intention, fitness and good health will be the only benefit.
The five yamas are non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy and non-covetousness. Pratyahara is withdrawal of the senses during meditation that enables you to focus on the Supreme Power and establish a cosmic link.
The last three, which would not be possible without the previous steps, are concerned with reconditioning the mind. A yogi acquires equanimity and a detached outlook before developing a flat tummy or toned body.
It is a mental state that looks with equal ease at happiness and sorrow, at misery and luxury, and treats success and failure alike. The only way to douse the flame of desire is by simultaneously stilling the mind through self-discipline and engaging in a higher form of activity. Sood points out that the first five steps are preliminary steps need to reach the final three.
Yoga is the practice of reentering our original state, the state of perfection, a state of perfect self-realization.
Then the wind of the Guru’s inner teaching blows away he drifting clouds; Yet the Thought-flow itself is the illumination.
During this time the practitioner stays at the center, cutting all ties with the outside world. During the first three plus days the focus of practice is, appropriately enough, mental concentration, which is in preparation for formal meditation.
In fact at the Vipassana centers around Mumbai, India, (as with all Vipassana centers) there is an evaluation process, like a doctors certificate, required to determine the fitness of the practitioner. In the beginning most students find the meditation practice to seem more like torture instead of the deep inner peace they are seeking. There are many types of distractions that arise during meditation, they can be a thought that catches your attention, sometimes they’re a sensation in the body or they can be noises in our environment. The problem is that in trying to ‘control’ your thoughts it is easy to get caught up in the idea that they are your adversaries.
It cannot be stressed enough that this belief has not the least to do the true practice of Zen. As parents of young children it can sometimes feel as if there are almost insurmountable obstacles to a peaceful meditation.
His most poignant recommendation, from my point of view, is not to yell harshly at your child when they interrupt your meditation practice.
This kind of meditation is my idea of sheer heaven: the peace, the depth, the inner quiet are so blissful. In India, weddings can last as long as five days, and they are serious about their celebration. As soon as I let go of resisting the sounds around me, I not only stopped giving them attention, but they disappeared deeply into the background, passing through my awareness like a cloud passes peacefully through a sky. Yet anybody who has tried to sit it quiet solitude, even if they were sitting in a cave in the wilderness, as had to deal with distractions in meditation. First, there’s a deeper reality that underlies the world of ordinary physical and mental reality.
Other language used to describe this deeper reality is, Tao, essential nature, emptiness of Self. Millions of us acknowledge our connection to Spirit in church, temple or synagogue and many of us yearn, like the Buddhist monk, to awaken it. Spirit isn’t something outside you, but is intertwined in everything you feel, think and do.
You can go beyond mental conditioning by using the timeless tool of meditation to expand your consciousness and access the field of pure potentiality. You might experience flashes of elation and notice feelings of well-being sweeping over you at unexpected moments. Presented below is a collection of 5 cherished snapshots, along with some enlightening anecdotes from the life of this great teacher of Vedic spirituality.
The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. Swami Vivekananda then went into deep meditation and the photograph was taken at that time. If you enjoyed reading this post about 5 Amazing Photos and Anecdotes from the Life of Swami Vivekananda, then take a moment to share it with your friends and family. His father, Vishwanath Datta, was a successful attorney with interests in a wide range of subjects, and his mother, Bhuvaneshwari Devi, was endowed with deep devotion, strong character and other qualities.
It was at that time he first heard about Sri Ramakrishna from one of his English professors at college.
Thus began a guru-disciple relationship which is quite unique in the history of spiritual masters. Under the leadership of Narendra, they formed a new monastic brotherhood, and in 1887 they took the formal vows of sannyasa, thereby assuming new names.
While most of the followers of Sri Ramakrishna thought of him in relation to their own personal lives, Vivekananda thought of the Master in relation to India and the rest of the world. He was the first religious leader in India to understand and openly declare that the real cause of India’s downfall was the neglect of the masses. After the Parliament, Swamiji spent nearly three and a half years spreading Vedanta as lived and taught by Sri Ramakrishna, mostly in the eastern parts of USA and also in London. In response to the enthusiastic welcome that he received everywhere, he delivered a series of lectures in different parts of India, which created a great stir all over the country.
He founded on 1 May 1897 a unique type of organization known as Ramakrishna Mission, in which monks and lay people would jointly undertake propagation of Practical Vedanta, and various forms of social service, such as running hospitals, schools, colleges, hostels, rural development centres etc, and conducting massive relief and rehabilitation work for victims of earthquakes, cyclones and other calamities, in different parts of India and other countries.
Here Swamiji established a new, universal pattern of monastic life which adapts ancient monastic ideals to the conditions of modern life, which gives equal importance to personal illumination and social service, and which is open to all men without any distinction of religion, race or caste. This incident affected Naren a great deal, and he gradually came to realise that Ramakrishna was an extraordinary man. Vivekananda travelled the length and breadth of India for five years, visiting important centres of learning, acquainting himself with the diverse religious traditions and different patterns of social life. His letters from the West in those days laid down the motive of his campaign for social service. The same year, famine relief work was started by Swami Akhandananda in Murshidabad district. Three days before his death he pointed out the spot for his cremation, where a temple in his memory stands today.
In one of the conversations with his childhood friend Priya Nath Sinha he attributes his physical and mental strengths, and eloquence to the practice of Brahmacharya.

I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth.
We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.
The asana is the third ‘limb’ (anga) of the sage Patanjali’s eight limbs of Yoga known as Ashtanga Yoga.
It looks at the world and happenings around with an open mind, free of biases, fears and has only good and positive thoughts. Yamas and niyamas speak of this self-restraint and discipline, underlining that asanas without yamas and niyamas are simply exercises. There is nothing wrong in it but it can’t be named yoga and we ought to be aware of its limitation when it comes to making a person spiritual.
Vipassana is described as the essence of the teachings of Buddha, the experience of his teachings, because he attained the experience of the truth in meditation, so meditation is truly the essence of the teaching.
Each day thereafter new practices or steps are introduced, until day ten when the silence ends. I thought that 10 days of not talking to anyone would be good for me, since I’m not a very talkative person anyway.” Kaushal didn’t do any research before signing up, which she recommends for anyone who’s rolling the idea around in their head. I got a headache on the first day, which is something they warn you of because your body is not used to it,” she recalls. And every day, it felt like I was running a never-ending race,” she says, adding, “But by the final day, I didn’t want to come back to Mumbai. They feel themselves very resistant to the forced timetable (like getting up at four or four thirty in the morning), the sparse facilities, instructions of the teacher, all the discipline and even the technique itself.
Olivia notes how many of her friends, who are moms, become frustrated when they try to meditate because of the distractions and interruptions created by their young children.
You are sitting quietly on your silk pillow, breathing, perhaps repeating a mantra silently. Except that just outside of the ashram was a graveyard, and wandering that graveyard shouting out prayers to Shiva for his own personal reasons until sunset was a devoted older man gifted not only with loud voice that carried well, but also gifted with a bullhorn.
Second, that within each of us there exist a quality that is a part of this greater reality. Whatever language that is used to describe this sacred reality, it’s the reason, meaning and purpose of life. Known to the Hindus as Atman, to the Buddhist as Buddha nature, to the Christians as Soul and to Jews as the Divine spark within. However we choose to acknowledge it, whether we are Christian and seek to embody the Holy Spirit or like the Sufi mystic long to unite with it, there is a natural and deep desire to realize this deeper reality. Meditation allows the mind to become quiet and experience the silence and peace of pure awareness. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.
Weak men, when they lose everything and feel themselves weak, try all sorts of uncanny methods of making money, and come to astrology and all these things. One day in November 1881, Narendra went to meet Sri Ramakrishna who was staying at the Kali Temple in Dakshineshwar. Narendra now became a frequent visitor to Dakshineshwar and, under the guidance of the Master, made rapid strides on the spiritual path. This left the family penniless, and Narendra had to bear the burden of supporting his mother, brothers and sisters. As the prophet of the present age, what was Sri Ramakrishna’s message to the modern world and to India in particular? The immediate need was to provide food and other bare necessities of life to the hungry millions.
He too felt that the Parliament would provide the right forum to present his Master’s message to the world, and so he decided to go to America. Among them the names ofMargaret Noble (later known as Sister Nivedita), Captain and Mrs Sevier, Josephine McLeodand Sara Ole Bull, deserve special mention. By the time he graduated from Calcutta University, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. Ramakrishna had wanted them to take to monastic life and had symbolically given them saffron clothes. He developed a sympathy for the suffering and poverty of the masses and resolved to uplift the nation. Ultimately, he concluded that these distinctions fade into nothingness in the light of the oneness that the devotee experiences in Moksha.
We are to put the chemicals together, the crystallisation will be done by nature according to her laws. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. The earth’s bravest and best will have to sacrifice themselves for the good of many, for the welfare of all. Sage Patanjali expected seekers to embrace yama and niyama before coming to the third stage, asana. It is true that there is a sequence to the eight limbs which makes up the daily practice and that total samadhi is the result of the previous seven limbs being fully developed, however, there are different levels of samadhi.
The tenth day is preparation for reentry into the everyday world, and the course end on the morning of the eleventh day. It is practice for dealing with life as peacefully and receptively as possible, not just superficially, but on the inside, too. While the words used to describe it differ, all the traditions agree that there is something that connects us all to the greater reality. Numerous studies also show the many health benefits of meditation, including lowered blood pressure, stress reduction and increased immune function. It becomes a plant, it develops after the law of its own growth, assimilates the air, the earth, and the water, converts them into plant substance, and grows into a plant. At Dakshineshwar, Narendra also met several young men who were devoted to Sri Ramakrishna, and they all became close friends.
The second event was the illness of Sri Ramakrishna which was diagnosed to be cancer of the throat. This question and the awareness of his own inherent powers urged Swamiji to go out alone into the wide world. Another reason which prompted Swamiji to go to America was to seek financial help for his project of uplifting the masses.
The rest of his life was spent in India, inspiring and guiding people, both monastic and lay.
Born with a yogic temperament, he used to practise meditation even from his boyhood, and was associated with the Brahmo Samaj reform movement for some time. He eventually accepted Sri Ramakrishna as his master and became completely dedicated to him.
Keeping in line with their master’s wish, the group founded a monastery at Baranagar and began to live together.
Living mainly on bhiksha (alms), Vivekananda travelled mostly on foot and by railway, using tickets bought by admirers whom he met on the way. He wanted education taken to the peasant’s doorstep, so that the peasant’s children could work and learn at the same time.
I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. The eightfold path is to take the practitioner towards moral, physical and spiritual uplift. Samadhi means a completely still or settled mind, and the first stage of samadhi (samprajnata), is the initial settling down of the mind, that right from the beginning of the practice, helps bring together the practice of all eight limbs.
One early morning, I wandered out to this gentleman in the graveyard and asked him why he shouted, and why the bullhorn?
Experts agree that meditation is as essential to overall health as good diet and regular exercise.
Born with a yogic temperament, he used to practise meditation even from his boyhood, and was associated with Brahmo Movement for some time. In September 1885 Sri Ramakrishna was moved to a house at Shyampukur, and a few months later to a rented villa at Cossipore. So in the middle of 1890, after receiving the blessings of Sri Sarada Devi, the divine consort of Sri Ramakrishna, known to the world as Holy Mother, who was then staying in Kolkata, Swamiji left Baranagar Math and embarked on a long journey of exploration and discovery of India. It was in this context that Vivekananda grasped the crux of the problem of poverty in India (which had escaped the attention of social reformers of his days): owing to centuries of oppression, the downtrodden masses had lost faith in their capacity to improve their lot.
Swamiji had many Indian disciples also, some of whom joined Ramakrishna Math and became sannyasins. Incessant work, especially giving lectures and inspiring people, told upon Swamiji’s health. During these travels he met and stayed with scholars, dewans, rajas and people from all walks of life—Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Pariahs (low-caste workers) and government officials. His correspondence with the Maharaja of Mysore on the subject reveal how genuine and palpable his ideas were.
It was during this time that Naren took for himself the name Vivekananda (meaning “the bliss of discernment”), in keeping with the monastic traditions of India.
Vivekananda reached Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent, on 24 December 1892.
Even the least thing well done brings marvellous results; therefore let everyone do what little he can. If you can’t resume your practice, whether it is energy cultivation or silent sitting, then practice is over and the game is on. He said it with the sweetest smile that I realized there was nothing more for us to talk about.
In spite of poverty at home and inability to find a job for himself, Narendra joined the group as its leader. With the funds partly collected by his Chennai disciples and partly provided by the Raja of Khetri, Swami Vivekananda left for America from Mumbai on 31 May 1893. He swam through the sea and started meditating on a lone rock for three days on the past, present and future of India.
If the fisherman thinks that he is the Spirit, he will be a better fisherman; if the student thinks he is the Spirit, he will be a better student.
Swamiji found this message in the principle of the Atman, the doctrine of the potential divinity of the soul, taught in Vedanta, the ancient system of religious philosophy of India. The rock is today a primary tourist destination and is called the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. He saw that, in spite of poverty, the masses clung to religion, but they had never been taught the life-giving, ennobling principles of Vedanta and how to apply them in practical life.
Thus the masses needed two kinds of knowledge: secular knowledge to improve their economic condition, and spiritual knowledge to infuse in them faith in themselves and strengthen their moral sense.

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