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India celebrates Swami Vivekananda's 154th birth anniversaryIndia Blooms News Service
The day is also observed as National Youth Day in India.
Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Datta in Kolkata on Jan 12, 1863, West Bengal (then undivided Bengal).
A cynic in his formative years, Vivekananda's life and beliefs changed following his meeting with his guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa.
Following Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa's demise, Vivekananda took it upon himself to spread the word of his master and thus took the life of a parivrajaka (wanderer).
From 1888 to 1893 he travelled extensively in India.
In 1893, Swami Vivekananda attended the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago, USA, representing the Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), where he made the famous speech about Oriental culture and the influence of Hinduism.
Swami Vivekananda's speech in Chicago was considered groundbreaking since he introduced Hinduism to America and rest of the world and called for religious tolerance and an end to fanaticism.
Vivekananda is said to have prophesised his own death (of not living more than 40 years).
He died at the young age of 39 years, five months and 24 days.
Among his greatest work is the Ramakrishna Mission, an organisation deeply rooted to the Vedanta Movement.
On his birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "We offer salutations to the great Swami Vivekananda & remember his powerful thoughts & ideals that continue shaping the minds of generations."
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "Remembering Swami Vivekananda today.His message to live fearlessly, with courage & strength of purpose will continue to inspire & guide us."
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, "Homage to Swami Vivekananda on his birth anniversary."
Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar hailed Vivekananda's spirit and tweeted, "In #SwamiVivekananda, one finds the perfect convergence of love for Divine & love for the nation. This is so relevant for today's youth."