Swami Vivekananda

Last Updated: February 5, 2018

Definition - What does Swami Vivekananda mean?

Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) was a Hindu monk who played a key role in introducing yoga and Hindu philosophy to the Western world. He was a follower of Ramakrishna, a 19th-century yogi and mystic. Born Narendranath Datta, Swami Vivekananda came from an affluent Calcutta family.

Swami Vivekananda melded Advaita Vedanta philosophy with yoga and Tantra, as well as his guru's teachings of divine manifestation. He emphasized mental discipline and selfless work, along with worship, to reach the ultimate goal of freeing the soul.

Yogapedia explains Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda gained world prominence in 1893 with his talk at the World Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago. Not only did he introduce and raise awareness of Indian philosophy in the West, he spurred a revival of Hinduism back home in India. For more than two years afterward, he traveled the United States and England promoting yoga and Hinduism.

In 1894, Swami Vivekananda founded the Vedanta Society of New York, which still exists. Three years later, he founded the Ramakrishna Mission near Calcutta, which continues to serve the poor and disadvantaged through social service programs and education.

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