Narendra Nath Dutta who later adopted the widely renowned name Swami Vivekananda was one of the most influential and a revolutionary figure who is accredited with introducing Hindu Philosophy and Yoga to the world. He was the first Indian to be invited to speak at the World’s Parliament of Religion in 1893. And after the speech at the parliament, nothing was the same!
Narendra Nath Dutta was born on 12th January 1863 in Calcutta to a simple Bengali family. Interested in spirituality from a young age, he always had a deep desire to unravel the myths and beliefs of Hindu Mythology. In his earlier days, he was highly influenced by the BrahmSamaj but later found solace and stability after meeting who turned out to be his Guru, Ramakrishna Paramhansa.
He introduced Narendra to the true beliefs of Hinduism and what it means to be a Monk. Although the relationship between them was cut short due to the demise of Ramakrishna, the teachings instilled In Narendra’s heart by his Guru lived eternally.
Over the years he traveled throughout the nation spreading the truth about Hinduism and Yoga. In 1893, he first visited the West for the purpose of attending the World’s Parliament of Religions. There he became the first Indian to be invited to speak about the Hindu religion. After his speech, he received a standing ovation from the attendees of the parliament. In his speech, he stated, “I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true”.
Swami Vivekananda was widely accepted and respected for he never imposed religion on any individual. He also respected the belief of other religions which gathered him followers among other religions too. He was believed to be the most ideal man that ever lived. He preached unselfishness, love to the fellows, mental discipline, and respect for the downtrodden.
His teachings of Nationalism were even used by many influential freedom fighters to ignite the fire for freedom of India. Even after so many years of his death, his teachings are still carried in the name of his guru Sri Ramkrishna Mission which he himself founded.
On his 154th birth anniversary, the world remembers the way of living that he taught. PM Narendra Modi expressed his salutations and mentioned that Swamiji was his personal inspiration. Many other leaders like Ex-Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi through digital platforms expressed gratitude to the spiritual leaders for their extraordinary contribution to the world. Not long ago, Twitter was trending with #SwamiVivekanandain February 2020, when the outgoing US President Donald Trump during his visit to India had mispronounced Swami Vivekananda’s name while mentioning the relationship he had with the USA and his teachings that still live on.
Twitter was flooded with netizens reacting and trolling the US President for such a blunder. Many condemned the act as it was a disrespect for such an influential spiritual leader. Today, on Swamiji’s 154th birth anniversary, Twitter is on fire again with #SwamiVivekananda. The Left and the Right-wing supporters battle to claim ‘ownership’ of Swami Vivekananda. Twitter is flooding with different interpretations of Swamiji’s teachings.
As the world commemorates the teachings, Swamiji imparted to the world and the ways of development as an individual and for the institution which are even put to practice nowadays, the tussle among Twitterati to establish the supremacy of one group over the other is proving all Swamiji’s teachings of fellow love to be futile.