Swami Vivekananda (January 12, 1863 – July 4, 1902), born Narendranath Datta, was an Hindu monk. He was a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian mystic Ramakrishna. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world, and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century. He was a major force in the contemporary Hindu reform movements in India, and contributed to the concept of Indian nationalism as a tool to fight against the British empire in colonial India. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is perhaps best known for his speech which began with the words “Sisters and brothers of America …,” in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.
He spent several years in the United States preaching Vedanta, the basic philosophy of Hinduism. While in New York City he gave classes on the four major yogas (Jnana, Bhakti, Karma and Raja) and has inspired thousands of people throughout the world over the last century with his spiritual insight, wisdom, deep understanding of human nature and compassion.
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