Swami Vivekananda

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vivekananda, Swami


(pseudonym of Narendranath Datta). Born Jan. 12, 1863, in Calcutta; died Jan. 4, 1902, in Belur. Indian thinker and humanitarian, religious reformer, and public figure; disciple of Ramakrishna.

Vivekananda studied philosophy at the University of Calcutta in 1880-84. In 1893 he visited the USA, Great Britain, and Japan with the aim of propagating the teachings of Vedanta, and in 1897 he founded the reformative religious society Mission of Ramakrishna. He was the outstanding exponent of Yoga. Vivekananda was the ideologist of the so-called Indian Renaissance, which expressed India’s striving for national independence and social prosperity. He opposed oppression, racism, and expansionist tendencies. He regarded India’s colonial status as resulting from the loss of its national individuality. Vivekananda believed in social justice and linked its realization with the activity of the “lower classes,” who “would put an end to the inequality of property and establish their own rule.” (The Complete Works, vol. 4, Mayavati, 1950, p. 401). However, Vivekananda set his hopes not on the revolutionary activity of the popular masses but on the upbringing of the individual in the spirit of Vedanta and on the creation of individual and national character. The social function of the “universal” reformed religion advocated by Vivekananda was to provide help to the needy and hungry. The democratic content of Vivekananda’s teachings contributed to the liberation movement in India.


In Russian translation: Prakticheskaia Vedanta. [Moscow, 1912.]
Karma-ioga, 2nd ed. Petrograd, 1916.
Bkhakti-ioga. St. Petersburg, 1914.
Filosofiia ioga. Sosnitsa, 1911.


Komarov, E. N. “Iz istorii natsionarno-osvoboditel’nogo dvizheniia i obshchestvennoi mysli v Bengali v kontse XIX-nachale XX vv.” In Natsional’no-osvoboditel’noe dvizhenie v Indii i deiatel’nost’ B. G. Tilaka. Moscow, 1958.
Rolland, R. “Zhizn’ Vivekanandy.” Sobr. soch., vol. 19. Leningrad, 1936.
Datta, B. Swami Vivekananda: Patriot-Prophet. Calcutta, 1954.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.