Swami Vivekananda, his earlier name was Narendranatha Dutta was born on 12th january 1863, the auspicious day of Makarasankranthi. His father, Viswanatha Dutta was a lawyer. Mother Bhuvaneshwari Devi considered her son as a gift of the Lord Shiva. From the childhood days itself he has a deep desire to help others. As Naren grew, his sharp intellect and spirit of inquiry began to raise many doubts about the existence of God. The meeting with Sree Ramakrishna changed Naren’s life. He felt deeply drawn to Sri Ramakrishna.
He became chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. During travels Swamiji was pained to see the pitiable condition of his country men. He wanted a solution which would be in conformity with the religious and cultural traditions of india. Swamiji decided to go to west to broadcast India’s spiritual message and seek help from them to improve the conditions in India. His speech at the Parliament of Religions had an electrifying effect and everyone burst to thunderous clapping. Swamiji said that service to humanity was equivalent to worship of God.
Birth and childhood Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Datta (in short, Narendra) in Calcutta, the capital of British India, on 12 January 1863 during the Makar Sankranti festival. He belonged to a traditional Bengali Kayastha (a caste of Hindus) family and was one of nine siblings. His father, Vishwanath Datta, was an attorney of Calcutta High Court. Durgacharan Datta, Narendra’s grandfather, was a Sankrit and Persian scholar who left his family and became a monk at the age of twenty five. Narendra’s mother Bhuvaneswari Devi was a religious housewife.
The progressive rational approach of Narendra’s father and the religious temperament of his mother helped shape his thinking and personality. Narenda was interested in spirituality from a young age, and used to play by meditating before the images of deities such as Shiva, Rama, and Sita. He was fascinated by the wandering ascetics and monks. Narendra was naughty and restless as a child, and his parents often faced trouble controlling him. His mother told— “I prayed to Shiva for a son and he has sent me one of his demons. Early and college education
Institution where he studied until his family moved to Raipur in 1877. In 1879, after the family returned to Calcutta, he received first division marks in Presidency College’s entrance examination. In that year, he was the only student of his college obtaining first division marks. Narendra was an avid reader,and was interested in a wide range of subjects such as philosophy, religion, history, social science, art, and literature. He evinced interest in the Hindu scriptures such as the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas.
He was trained in Indian classical music,and regularly participated in various forms of physical exercises, sports, and organisational activities. Narendra studied western logic, western philosophy, and European history at the General Assembly’s Institution (now known as the Scottish Church College). In 1881 he passed the Fine Arts examination and in 1884 he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree. He studied the works of David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Baruch Spinoza, Georg W. F. Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, John Stuart Mill, and Charles Darwin.
Narendra became fascinated with the evolutionism of Herbert Spencer and had correspondence with him;he translated Spencer’s book Education (1861) into Bengali. While studying Western philosophers, he thoroughly acquainted himself with Sanskrit scriptures and Bengali literature. Dr. William Hastie, principal of General Assembly’s Institution, wrote, “Narendra is really a genius. I have travelled far and wide but I have never come across a lad of his talents and possibilities, even in German universities, among philosophical students. “Some accounts regard Narendra as a srutidhara—a man with prodigious memory.