Vivekananda

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Vivekananda

Vivekananda (vē´vəkənŭn´də), 1863–1902, Hindu mystic, major exponent of Vedanta philosophy. He was born of a well-to-do family in Calcutta (now Kolkata), and his given name was Narendra Nath Datta. As a young man he met Ramakrishna and thereafter devoted himself completely to his teachings. After Ramakrishna's death in 1886, he traveled throughout India as a wandering monk. In 1893 he went to the United States where he represented Hinduism at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. After four years of teaching in the West he returned to India, where he organized the Ramakrishna Mission and engaged in a strenuous campaign to encourage a national renaissance.

See his Complete Works (7 vol., 1922–31); biography by R. Rolland (5th ed. 1960); study by S. L. Mukherji (1971).

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