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Swami Vivekananda Swami Vivekananda, known for his spiritual genius, is an inspiring personality who is widely known for introducing Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world. He is also famous as the founder of Ramakrishna Mission. He was born to Vishwanath Datta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi, in Kolkata on 12th January, 1863. During his education in the Calcutta University, he acquired vast knowledge of various subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. Since his childhood, he was inclined towards spirituality. His Guru, Ramakrisna Deva had great influence in his early life. His Guru taught him that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self; therefore, service to God could be rendered by service to mankind.  

His speech representing Hinduism, at Chicago's Parliament of Religions in 1893, won him instant fame in America and a ready forum for his spiritual teaching. He was India’s first great cultural ambassador to the West. He introduced the West with the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga. His famous speech at the World’s Parliament of Religions brought him titles like ‘orator by divine right’ and ‘Messenger of Indian wisdom to the Western world’. After the Parliament, Swamiji spent nearly three and a half years spreading Vedanta as lived and taught by Sri Ramakrishna, mostly in the eastern parts of USA and also in London. He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India. He was the first religious leader to speak fervently about the common bases of Hinduism and the common ground of all sects. When Hinduism was challenged by the materialistic life of the West and false propaganda by the Christian missionaries, he came to the defense of Hinduism challenges by integrating the best elements of Western culture in Hindu culture.

He interpreted Hindu sculptures and Hindu way of life to the Western people and thus helped in building bridges between the East and the West.  He talked about the great spiritual heritage of India in the West. in June 1895, Vivekananda gave private lectures to a dozen of his disciples at Thousand Island Park in New York for two months. During one of his visits to US, Vivekananda established Vedanta Societies in San Francisco and New York and founded a shanti ashrama (peace retreat) in California. He translated the Indian philosophy and ideologies in a way that West can understand as well as appreciate them. He indeed brought the East and the West closer by building a bridge of understanding between them. 
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