I do hope and believe that the great Indian monk, Swami Vivekananda requires no introduction as he, in his very short life of 39 years became famous, not merely in India but in the whole world.

The objective of this post is to highlight some of the interesting events from his brilliant and illustrious life. There are so many anecdotes and events indeed which would show the brilliance and strength of character of this ‘YugaPurush’, the great disciple of Swami Ramakrishna.

Here are just a few interesting anecdotes from the Swami’s life.

* Narendra (Real name of Swami Vivekananda) had a reputation as a master story-teller even in childhood.When he spoke, people tended to listen in rapt attention, due to the charm of his words. One day in school, Narendra was seen talking with his friends who were oblivious of the fact that the teacher had started the class! Angry over the lack of attention, the teacher demanded to know from the students as to what he had been teaching. He was amazed when it was only Narendra, who had been doing all the talking, who could answer him correctly.

When the miffed teacher asked all other students to stand up on the bench by way of punishment, Narendra stood too, saying gallantly that he too deserved the punishment, since it was he doing the talking!.

*Once at Varanasi, Swamiji was chased by a group of monkeys. As he started instinctively running, an old sage there called out to him and said, ‘Stop and turn back. When you face them boldly, they will go away. When he did so, Swamiji found to his amazement that the monkeys backed off and ran away.

Many years later, Swamiji said: 'If you ever feel afraid of anything, always turn round and face the fear .Never think of running away.'

* While in America, Swamiji was once idly watching some boys trying to shoot at egg-shells that were floating on the river, but they were mostly missing. Swamiji took the gun from them and reportedly fired twelve times scoring a hit every time. When the amazed boys asked him how he could do it, Swamiji said, “Whatever you are doing, put your whole mind on it.

“Total concentration is the key to success.”

*The Swami's stupendous performance at the Parliament of Religions made him very famous throughout the world. He now had many followers and disciples in the US also. But this did not go to his head. He did not become vain at his success; in fact, he had no thought for himself at all.
His heart bled for his India. Though on a personal level, he had scored great success, he wasn’t happy at heart. The contrast between the opulent America and his own poor India made him very sad.

He appealed to God, "O Mother, what do I care for name and fame when my motherland remains sunk in utmost poverty! Please guide me to help my countrymen!”

When one of his white friends asked him with a bit of sarcasm, “Swami, how do you find your motherland after experiencing the luxurious West?” Swamiji said in all humility,
“`I loved India before I came away. Now the very dust of India has become holy to me, the very air is now to me holy; it is now the holy land, the place of pilgrimage, the Tirtha!"

* On his return from US & Europe trip, Swamiji arranged a grand feast for the workers of the Belur Math. They were happy to partake of the feast. Seeing their joy, Swamiji was happy and said, “God is pleased only when we make others happy by offering food or other services with the spirit of worship.”

“Give and do not look back,” was his motto.

Adapted from


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