New Delhi: Every year, July 4 is observed as the death anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, who is regarded as one of the finest spiritual leaders.
He is best known for his speech at the World Parliament of Religion in Chicago in 1893 which started with the opening remarks, “My brothers and sisters of America.”
He was born on January 12, 1863 in a Bengali family and was originally named Narendranath Datta. His father was Vishwanath Datta, an attorney at the Calcutta high court while his mother, Bhubaneswari Devi was a housewife. From a very young age, Vivekananda was interested in spirituality and would meditate in front of the images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Not many know, Swami Vivekananda scored 47 per cent in the university entrance exam and 46 per cent in the FA (now intermediate Arts) and only 56 per cent in his BA exam.
He was considered a “shrutidhara”, a person with a prodigious memory. Other than studying Sanskrit scriptures and Bengali literature, Vivekananda studied Western philosophers as well.
He became well-known for putting Indian philosophies of Vedanta and yoga on the world map. Through his speeches and lectures, Vivekananda tried to awaken the religious consciousness among people and also uplift the downtrodden using the principles of practical Vedanta. It was with his iconic speech at World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 that he gained wider recognition as he touched upon topics like universal acceptance, tolerance, and religion. The speech also got him a standing ovation at the parliament.
Here are some of his most inspiring quotes:
- In a conflict between the heart and the brain, follow your heart.
- Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; think of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced.
- In a day, when you don’t come across any problems – you can be sure that you are travelling on a wrong path.
- You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.