Swami Vivekananda was born on this day, January 12th, in 1863 in Kolkata. Here is a quote from the wiki entry on him.
Swami Vivekananda was born in an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta in 1863. Swami’s parents influenced his thinking—the father by his rational mind and the mother by her religious temperament. From his childhood, he showed inclination towards spirituality and God realization. While searching for a man who could directly demonstrate the reality of God, he came to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and became his disciple. As a guru, Ramakrishna taught him Advaita Vedanta (non-dualism) and that all religions are true, and service to man was the most effective worship of God. After the death of his Guru, Vivekananda became a wandering monk, touring the Indian subcontinent and getting first-hand knowledge of India’s condition. He later sailed to Chicago and represented India as a delegate in the 1893 Parliament of World Religions. An eloquent speaker, Vivekananda was invited to several forums in the United States and spoke at universities and clubs. He conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating Vedanta and Yoga in America, England and a few other countries in Europe. He also established the Vedanta societies in America and England. Later he sailed back to India and in 1897 founded the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, a philanthropic and spiritual organization.
A deep bow of reverence to this great son of India.
Here’s his Sept 11, 1893 speech he delivered in Chicago. He was only 30 years old. His speech starts with “Sisters and brothers of America, …”
Here are a couple of quotes from him.
The Vedanta recognizes no sin it only recognizes error. And the greatest error, says the Vedanta is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature, and that you have no power and you cannot do this and that.
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The will is not free – it is a phenomenon bound by cause and effect – but there is something behind the will which is free.