Vivekananda, Swami (1863-1902)

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স্বামী বিবেকানন্দ (১৮৬৩-১৯০২)

Swami Vivekananda (12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), born Narendra Nath Datta, was a Hindu monk and chief disciple of the 19th-century saint 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 in the late 19th century. He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India and contributed to the notion of nationalism in colonial India. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is perhaps best known for his inspiring speech beginning with “Sisters and Brothers of America,” through which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.
In 1871 Narendra enrolled at Metropolitan Institution and after some years moved to Presidency College from there he received from there he passed entrance examination in first division in 1879. Since his student days Narendra showed an inclination towards spirituality. Narendra became the member of a Freemason’s lodge and of a breakaway faction of the Brahmo Samaj led by Keshub Chandra Sen and Debendranath Tagore. He asked many spiritual leaders in Calcutta if they had come “face to face with God”, but none of their answers satisfied him. In late 1881 or early 1882 Narendra went to Dakshineswar to meet Ramakrishna. This meeting proved to be a turning point in his life.Though at first Narendra could not accept Ramakrishna and his visions, he could not neglect him either. Eventually he submitted himself as his monastic disciple.In January 1887, Narendra and eight other disciples took formal monastic vows. Narendra took the name of Swami Bibidishananda. Later in 1893, he was given the name Vivekananda by Ajit Singh, the Maharaja of Khetri, who played important roles in collecting funds for his voyage to America. Vivekananda left for Chicago on 31 May 1893 from Bombay assuming the name Vivekananda.
ivekananda visited several cities in Japan, and some places in China and Canada en route to the United States. He arrived at Chicago in July 1893 to attend the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and delivered his epoch making speech introducing Hinduism to peoples of America and the whole world.
Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission at Belur Math in 1897, where he also shifted the Ramakrishna Math founded earlier at Baranagar. He founded two other monasteries—one at Mayavati on the Himalayas, near Almora, called the Advaita Ashrama and another at Madras. Two journals were started, Prabuddha Bharata in English and Udbhodan in Bengali. On 4 July 1902, Vivekananda died at ten minutes past nine p.m. while meditating
Vivekananda influenced India’s independence movement and inspired freedom fighters such as Subhas Chandra Bose, Aurobindo Ghose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bagha Jatin. Once Rabindranath Tagore told French Romain Rolland, “If you want to know India, study Vivekananda. In him everything is positive and nothing negative.”

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Rabindranath Tagore, Gurudev (1861-1941)

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রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর, কবিগুরু (১৮৬১-১৯৪১)

Rabindranath Thakur, anglicised to Tagore (Bengali: রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর) (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941), son of religious reformer, Maharshi Debendranath, sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region’s literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its “profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse”,he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. In translation his poetry was viewed as spiritual and mercurial; his seemingly mesmeric personality, flowing hair, and otherworldly dress earned him a prophet-like reputation in the West. His “elegant prose and magical poetry” remain largely unknown outside Bengal. Tagore introduced new prose and verse forms and the use of colloquial language into Bengali literature. He was highly influential in introducing the best of Indian culture to the West and vice versa, and he is generally regarded as the outstanding creative artist of the modern Indian subcontinent.
As a humanist, universalist internationalist, and strident anti-nationalist he denounced the Raj and advocated independence from Britain. As one of the greatest exponents of the Bengal Renaissance, he advanced a vast canon that comprised paintings, sketches and doodles, hundreds of texts, and some two thousand songs; his legacy endures also in the institution he founded in 1901 an experimental school in rural surroundings at Śantiniketan (“Abode of Peace”), where he sought to blend the best in the Indian and Western traditions. His school, known as Visva-bharati university since 1939, was granted full university status in May 1951.
Tagore modernised Bengali art by spurning rigid classical forms and resisting linguistic strictures. His novels, stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays spoke to topics political and personal. Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World) are his best-known works, and his verse, short stories, and novels were acclaimed—or panned—for their lyricism, colloquialism, naturalism, and unnatural contemplation. His compositions were chosen by two nations as national anthems: India’s Jana Gana Mana and Bangladesh’s Amar Shonar Bangla. More

Rammohun Roy, Roy (1772-1833)

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রাজা রামমোহন রায় (১৭৭২-১৮৩৩)

Raja Ram Mohun Roy also spelled Rammohan, or Ram Mohan (Bengali: রাজা রামমোহন রায়; 22 May 1772 – 27 September 1833), is called the Father of Modern India, and also regarded as the Father of the Bengal Renaissance. He was an Indian religious, social, and educational reformer who challenged traditional Hindu culture and indicated the lines of progress for Indian society under British rule. He, along with Dwarkanath Tagore and other Bengalis, founded the Brahmo Sabha in 1828, which engendered the Brahmo Samaj, an influential Indian socio-religious reform movement during the Bengal Renaissance. His influence was apparent in the fields of politics, public administration, and education, as well as religion. He is known for his efforts to abolish sati, the Hindu funeral practice in which the widow immolated herself on her husband’s funeral pyre, and child marriage. See more