The birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, born Narendranath Datta, is celebrated on 12th January as Bharat’s National Youth Day. Today we share with you 10 interesting instances from Swamiji’s life.
Narendra took Shri Ramkrishna as his Guru, but not before testing him. One day when Shri Ramkrishna was away he hid a silver coin under his bed. Later when Shri Ramkrishna sat on the bed, he immediately jumped up complaining of pain. Upon checking, the coin was found. This founded Narendra’s trust on the devotee of Maa Kali as a greed-less man and he became his disciple.
Once while in New York, he narrated to his followers that while walking on the streets of Varanasi with Swami Premananda by his side, he got chased by a group of naughty monkeys. When the two young sanyasis started running away, they heard an older sanyasi calling for them. He asked them to face the animals instead of running away. Both stood up against the monkeys and were surprised to see the wild pack of monkeys stopped too. This summarizes that if you want to remove fear, you must do that by facing your enemies.
On his way between Agra and Vrindavan, he saw a man on the roadside who was smoking. He felt the temptation of joining him, but the man on the roadside fidgeted. He said, “Maharaj, you are a sadhu. I am of low caste.” Though the Swami was taken aback for a minute, he instantly recalled that he is a sanyasi who has relinquished all ties. He sat down and smoked with the roadside dweller from “lower caste.”
One day while circumambulating the Govardhan hill, he decided that he would not beg for food anymore. He would accept if anyone offers him willfully. On the first day itself, he started suffering from pangs of hunger as no one offered him food till afternoon. It started to drizzle, and the sanyasi was hopeless. Suddenly someone called him from behind. He wanted to test his fate some more and started to run away from the man. But eventually the man caught up and offered him food. Swamiji’s eyes brimmed up with tears as he realized God was with him.
On his way to Haridwar he met Sharat Chandra Gupta, the assistant station master at Hathras. He instantly became an ardent devotee of Swamiji and insisted on accompanying him on his yatra. Though reluctant at the beginning, Swami Vivekanada gave him diksha and named him Swami Sadananda. In the years to come this disciple would describe himself as “Vivekananda’s dog.” He once described that Vivekanada was such an embodiment of love and a great guru that he even lifted Sadananda’s shoes.
Swami Vivekananda was once determined to take diksha from one Pavhari Baba who lived in a cave in eastern UP and consumed very little food. He had met him once and Baba left a magical impression on Swamiji. But the night preceding the diksha-ceremony, Vivekananda saw Sri Ramakrishna in his dreams looking sadly at him. He woke up with a jolt and decided not to become the baba’s disciple although he remained deeply influenced by him throughout his life.
Once on his way from Ghazipur to Varanasi he learnt that Balaram Basu, the loyal servant of Sri Ramakrishna, had breathed his last. Seeing tears well up in his eyes, Pramadadas Mitra who was accompanying him said, “expressing sorrow doesn’t behove a saint”. Aggressively, the swami responded, “Shall I cast off my heart because I am a sanyasi? Sanyas doesn’t ask for one to grow stone-hearted.”
He had almost died of malaria during his stay in Rishikesh. His pulse had gone down and he was breathing slow. There was no doctor around and he thought his end was near. Then an old saint entered his cottage and treated him with peepul–churna and honey. When he woke up to life, from a state of unconsciousness, he said, “I felt during my unconsciousness that I had to do some great work for God. There is no rest, no peace for me till I complete that mission.”
The Dewan of Alwar once invited him to the ruler’s palace, where the Westernised Maharaja Mangal Singh shamed him for ‘begging’ & ‘idol-worshipping. Swami ji calmly asked the Maharaja why he ignored his state duties to wine & dine with Englishmen and go hunting? He then asked the Dewan to spit on an oil painting of the Maharaja hanging on the wall. The Dewan baulked and the Maharaja became angry. Then Swamiji explained that though the painting is not the Maharaja himself, it was his representation, hence respected by his people. Same is with the Hindu dharma and the devotees of its many gods.
He had maintained that no women would ever enter his monastery. Once, he felt delirious with fever, and one of his disciples went to get his mother to him without the permission of the Swamiji. Enraged to see his mother inside the monastery, he reprimanded the disciple. “Why did you allow a woman to come in? I was the one who made the rule and it is for me that the rule is being broken!” This shows how dedicated he was towards his vows.
On his birth anniversary, the youth of this nation should swear to be as determined as him and work for the cause of Dharma and Bharat.
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