Ramakrishna Paramhansa was a priest in the temple of Kali at Dakshineshwar near Calcutta.
He aimed at the universal synthesis of all religions. “In a potter’s shop there are vessels of different shapes & forms- pots, jars, dishes, plates, but all are made of one clay. So god is one but is worshipped in different ages & countries under different names & aspects”.
Narendra Nath Dutta popularly known as Swami Vivekananda emerged as the real Spiritual successor of Ramakrishna Paramhansa.
He was educated in an English school & had read the philosophies of John Stuart Mill, Rousseau, Hegel, Duma, Dante etc.
In 1893, he went to America & attended the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago.
The New York Herald reported- ‘after hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation’ .
He set up Vedanta Society in different cities of USA & made many Americans & English his disciples like –
Saintsberg (Swami Kripanand) &
Milmagret Nobel (Sister Nivedita- Irish disciple of Vivekananda, has a unique position in the history of India’s struggle for freedom).
Set up Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 at Belur near Calcutta & a Mutt at Mayawati near Almora.
The monks of the Mission were engaged in active service of society, alleviating suffering, providing medical aid to the sick & looking after the orphans.
Under the auspices of the Mission, schools were opened & philanthropic centres were established.
Once he remarked – ‘Our religion is confined to our kitchens, & we have become do not touchiest. Our God is in our vessels & our religion is that I am pious, do not touch me’.
One of the most remarkable contributions of Vivekananda was to bring spirituality to the mind & heart of the common people.
Attended the Congress of History of Religions in Paris in 1900. He died in 1902 at the age of 39.
Bipin Chander Pal called him a prophet of Nationalism.
Valentine Chirol, the author of Indian Unrest, described Vivekananda’s teachings as one of the major causes of the nationalist movement.