Swami Vivekananda was born on 12th January 1863 in Calcutta. His father, Vishwanath Datta was a barrister and a novelist and his mother were Bhubaneswari Devi. Swami Ji’s birth name was Narendranath Datta. He was a very sharp student since his childhood. He was the only student to receive a first-division in the entrance examination of Presidency College. Apart from his subjects, he loved reading a wide range of subjects like philosophy, religion, history, social science, ancient scriptures like the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Puranas. Narendra also studied Western philosophies which he then translated into the Bengali language. Swami Vivekananda was known for his sharp memory and ability at speed reading.
In 1880, he came in contact with the Brahmo Samaj and that was the start and breakthrough of his spiritual journey. He met Ramkrishna, his Guru, in 1881 in Dakhineswar. Swamiji was highly influenced by the thoughts of his Guru. In 1886 Swamiji took monistic vows and that is when he became Swami Vivekananda from Narendranath Dutta. In 1888, he left to travel the whole country with only two books in his hand: the Bhagavad Gita and The Imitation of Christ. He decided to preach and uplift his country and the fellow countrymen. In 1893, after visiting Japan & China, he went to America where he participated in the Parliament of religions. In the Parliament of religion, he opened his speech with,” Sisters and Brothers of America” after which he received heavy applause and a standing ovation. The western media named him, “The Cyclonic monk from India”. His teachings focused on human development and he believed in compassion, morality, and spirituality.