Advaita Philosophy, Yoga Philosophy

Swami Vivekanda — Timeline

P.J.Mazumdar


Swami Vivekananda timeline


  • 1863 — Birth of Swami Vivekananda, born on January 12, Monday, in Calcutta. Father Vishwanath Dutta, a famous and important attorney. Mother Bhuvaneswari Devi, a pious lady.

  • 1869 — age 6, started education in pathshala

  • 1871 — entered Pandit Vidyasagar’s school, class 2., Metropolitian Institute.

  • 1877 — Class 8, went to raipur, father transferred there, no education for two years.

  • 1879 — back in Calcutta in same school, joined his old classmates in the same class, passed Entrance examination (Matriculation).

  • 1880 — joined Presidency College in January, Arts section.

  • 1881 — passed FA examination (Higher Secondary, Class XII) from Scottish Church College. Continued his BA studies in same institution.

  • 1881 — met Ramakrishna Paramahamsa for the first time in November in Calcutta, at house of Surendranath Mitra, sang, Master invited him to Dakshineswar.

  • 1881 — December –first great meeting with the Master Ramkrishna Paramahamsa, when he went to Dakshineswar with a friend. Of great importance for both of them. He found the Master’s behaviour rather strange, as he fed him sweets and wept before him. Asked him if he had seen God, famous answer: ‘Yes.’

  • 1882 — January, second meeting, Vivekananda’s first experience of Ramakrishna’s strange power, everything vanished before his eyes when the Master put his foot on his chest, realized that this was no ordinary man.

  • 1882, 83 — continued series of meetings, often went to Dakshineswar, sometimes Master would come to Calcutta to meet him, became favourite disciple.

  • 1884 — January, passed Bachelor of Arts examination from Scottish Church college. Had philosophy as one subject, also logic.

  • 1884 — February 25 – father died. Immediate hardship, search for job. Small jobs now and then – schoolmaster for few months at Metropolitan Iinstitute, his old school,work at an attorney’s office. Continued going to Dakshineswar.

  • 1885 — April, Master had cancer of throat. First symptoms started in December the year before.

  • 1885 — June, Master shifted to Shyampukur in Calcutta for treatment by Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar, homeopath. All disciples gathered there to give him service, Naren also stayed back frequently, although taking care of his mother and sisters also.

  • 1885 — December 11 – shifted to garden house of Cossipore. Most disciples stayed there, including Naren as far as he could but he had to be in Calcutta for law suit for his ancestral house and also was studying for law examinations. 12 disciples in all, the 12 apostles.

  • 1886 — January 1, Master blessed everybody by touching and all had some sort of spiritual experience.

  • 1886 — January 4, gave up his studies for law examinations and stayed almost completely with Master in Cossipore.

  • 1886 — January, Master distributed Gerua clothes to 12 disciples – the beginning of sannyasa– Naren (Swami Vivekananda), Rakhal (Swami Brahmananda), Baburam, Niranjan (Swami Niranjanananda), Yogindra (Swami Yogananda), Tarak (Swami Shivananda), Shashi, Sharat (Swami Saradananda), Kali (Swami Abhedananda), Latu (Swami Adbhutananda), Gopal(Swami Advaitananda) senior and Gopal Junior.

  • 1886 — Around this time first experience of Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

  • 1886 — April short visit to Gaya.

  • 1886 — Sunday, Aug. 15 &ndash Ramakrishna died.

  • 1886 — 1 month later monks took up new residence at a small monastery they established in Baranagore. Lived in great poverty. Next 4 years upto 1890 beginning spent mostly here except for short journeys.

  • 1886 — Christmas day – 12 monks of Baranagore took oath of allegiance and formed a new order, motto – to work for the emancipation of the world, in Antpur at home of Baburam, one of the lay disciples.

  • 1886–1888 — stayed mostly in Baranagore for two years except for short journeys to nearby places. 12 Monks stayed alone in extreme poverty, reading and learning and meditating together. Would go to Calcutta often in connection with law suit.

  • 1887 — January third week– all monks took part in scripturally prescribed ritual for initiation into Sannyasa. Last and final initiation. Thus three initiations in all, first by master in 1886 January, then by themselves took vows in December 1886, then one month later took formal vow in accordance with scriptural ritual.

  • 1888 — first journeys with other companions —
  • 1st trip to Varanasi with Premananda and Fakirbabu, returned to Baranaogore from there.
    2nd trip alone to Varanasi, Ayodha, Lucknow, Agra, Vrindaban (August 1888), then met Sadananda (Sarat Chandra Gupta) at Hathras, then Hrishikesh, planned to go further into the Himalayas from there but had to return after Sadananda fell ill and he himself contracted malaria. Back in Baranagore at end of 1888.

  • 1889 — mostly stayed in Baranagore due to ill health. Went to Kamarpurkur in February, to Simultal in middle of year, rest of the time at Baranagore.

  • 1889 — November Family law suit settled,Swami now feels free at last.

  • 1889 — December last week went to Vaidyanath, then to Allahabad on learning Yogananda was sick there, from there went to Ghazipur.

  • 1890 — January third week arrived in Ghazipur to meet Pavhari Baba, stayed for 3 months, left in first week of April.

  • 1890 — April went to varanasi from Ghazipur to tend to ill companions, returned to Baranagore in 2nd week of April.

  • 1890 — July – final journey away from Baranagore, did not return for seven years.
  • First went along with Akhandananda went to Himalayas in July. First Bhagalpur, then Vaidyanath, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Ayodha, Naini Tal, to Almora on foot meeting Fakir and cucumber on the way, also vision of oneness of microsm with macrosm, in Almora joined by Saradananda and Kripananda, received news of sister’s death. Then to Rudraprayag, Srinagar oneand a half months, Tehri,Mussorie as Sarat had fallen ill agiain, Dehra Dun, on the way joined byTuriyananda, then Hrishikesh, falls ill with diphtheria , then to Haridwar, then Meerut, whole group joined by Advaitananda, so 7 monks in all in Meerut.

  • 1891 — January end goes from Meerut to Delhi alone preparing to be alone, but in Delhi is again met by other monks, annoyed.

  • 1891–1892 — journey completely alone as wandering monk for 2 years, from beginning – Feb 1991 to end – March of 1893,when he left for the US. Not much known of this period. Starts from Delhi after bidding goodbye to his fellow monks.

  • In Jaipur, 1891
    In Jaipur, 1891

    Alwar, episode of picture of Maharaja asked to spit on it, seven weeks, Pandupol temple of Hanumanji, Tahla village temple of Nilakantha Mahadeva, Narayani village worship of Mother, fair, then Jaipur, photo taken,two weeks, Sanskrit grammarian, Ajmer– visited Dargah. April 14 Mount Abu stayed at house of Muslim pleader met when he saw him in cave and was impressed with his looks, introduced to friends including secretary of maharaja who was impreseed and introduced him to Raja, met Raja of Khetri for he first time – June 4, 1891, July 24 left mount abu with Raja for Khetri, stayed in Khetri from August 7 to October 27, then Ajmer again for three weeks, then to Gujarat begging and sleeping outside, then Ahmedabad, finally guest of a Judge after some days, , Wadhwan, Limbdi, first stayed at house of sadhus where they attempted to rob him of Brahmacharya, then at Palace of Thakur of Limbdi, here met Sankaracharya of Puri, first got idea to go to the west to spread Hinduism, then Junagadh, guest of Dewan, met by Abhedananda, stayed in cave in Girnar nearby for some days, Bhuj guest of Dewan, returned ot Junagadh, then to Veruval, Somnath-temple of Somnath, back to Junagadh, then to Porbander, guest of Dewan, Pandit Pandurang translating the Vedas, told swami to go to the west again, met Triguantitita, fellow monk, then as wandering monk to Darka, stayed at math of Sankaracharya, then Bet–dwarka, Mandvi, Narayan Sarovar, Ashapuri, then again Mandvi, joined by Akhandananda, then Bhuj, stayed with Raja, then again Porbander at house of Dewan, then again Junagadh, Palitana, Nadiad &nsadh; saw pictures of Ravi Verma, then Baroda, stayed with Minister, then Mahabaleswar at end of April or beginning of May 1892,, remained till June, met again by Abhedananda, then Pune, Khandwa in later part of June 1892, stayed at pleader’s house whom he impressed, brief visit to Indore, mentioned his plans to go to Parliament of Religions in the US about which he had heard in Kathiwar, then Bombay in last week of july, stayed for two months, returned to Pune where he stayed at Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s house who was impressed with him although he did not know him, then to Kolhapur, then Belgaum, guest of Bhate and subdivisional forest officer Haripada Mitra, impressed everyone there, told again of his plans to go to Chicago, left on October 27, then Margao in goa, then dharwar, then Bangalore, at first guest of doctor, then of dewn then of Maharaja of Mysore, then Trichur, then Cranganore, Ernakulam, then Trivandrum on December 13, left on December 22, then Kanyakumari on Decembr 25,meditated for three days, then Madurai, met Raja of Ramnad, Rameswaram, then Pondicherry, argument with bigot, then Madras stayed with Babu Manmathan Bhattachary.

    1892 – At madras, subscription taken up for journey to Chicago, short visit to Hyderabad in February 10, gave lectures, friends with many nobles who offered to support him, met famous yogi there, returned to Madras. Committee under Alasinga Perumal collected money for him March and April, also contributed by Maharaja of Mysore and Raja of Ramnad, collected Rs 4000.

    Second week of April, called by Raja of Khetri for new born son’s celebration, went via Bombay, met Brahmananda and Turiyananda, told them of plans to go abroad, reached April 21, stayed three weeks, may 10 left for Bombay, resumed use of name Vivekananda he had used in Rajputana earlier, in south had used name of Sachidananda, reached Bombay, Raja of Khetri’s secretary cut his ticket and also outfitted him royally.

  • 1892 — other monks shift from Baranagore to Alambazar near Dakshineswar temple.

  • 1893 — Leaves Bombay for Chicago on May 31, 1893.

  • Sea trip-on Peninsular, first Colombo, saw Buddhist temples there, then Malay,, then Hong Kong, impressed with the Chinese business, saw monastery in China, then landed at Kobe in Japan, took land route to Yokohama for next trip, went through Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo, much impressed with them, found India was regarded as holy land, went on Empress of India from Yokohama on July 14 and landed at Vancouver on July 25, then by train to Chicago on July 30.

  • 1893 — lands in Chicago on July 30, finds parliament months later, heads to Boston, finds friends, some lectures, back in Chicago in time for opening.

  • 1893 — September11 – opening session of Parliament of religions. Opening speech.

  • Opening day of Parliament of Religions, Chicago
    Opening day of Parliament of Religions, 1893

  • 1894 — spent in lecturing throughout America, under lecturing organisations. At Detroit meets Sister Nivedita. Beginning of winter arrives in New York, cuts off lecturing organisations, organises in poor quarters. Gives several lectures.

  • 1895 — first teaching course from Feb. to June, explained the Upanishads, taught Gyan and Raja yoga. June – finishes the book Raja Yoga.

  • 1895 — June to July in Thousand Island park with select group of disciples, 12, including Sister Nivedita. Decides plan of action, to ‘train individuals’. Initiates several disciples, Sister Christine plus J J Goodwin, Englishman.

  • 1895 — August to December – visits England. Actual stay from September to end of November, rest in ship. Here gives several lectures, pleased with his work.

  • 1895 — December – private classes on Karma Yoga in New York.

  • 1896 — February – private classes on Bhakti Yoga – gives lectures all over America again. Starts Vedanta society in New York. Offered chair of oriental philosophy in Harvard University, Chair of Sanskrit in Columbia University. Declines.

  • 1896 — April – leaves America for England–stays there till July. Gives classes on Gyan Yoga. May-meets Max Mueller. Here also meets Sister Nivedita (Margaret Noble), Mr. and Mrs. Sevier.

  • 1896 — July – leaves for Switzerland, in retreat there in mountains. Then through Germany to Kiel to meet Professor Deussen.

  • 1896 — October returned to England, stayed there till December 16.

  • 1896 — short journey through Italy – saw Vatican, Milan where he saw Leonardo Da Vinci paintings. Then on ship back to India.

  • 1897 — January 15 – arrived in Colombo, tumultuous welcome.

  • Colombo 1897
    In Colombo 1897

  • 1897 — January 26 – arrivedin India at Pamban Param, then invited by the Raja of Ramnad to Rameswaram with great pomp, several lectures and meetings, then on to Ramnad. Then onwards with great pomp and ceremony to Madras on Feb. 6. Great reception there. Several meetings and lectures. Then finally by sea to Calcutta on Feb. 15.

  • 1897 — reached Budge Budge in West Bengal on Feb. 19, then by special train to Sealdah in Calcutta. Here met by thousands including some brother disciples of the Master at the station. That evening returned to the Math in Alambazar after 7 years. Greeted by all the disciples.

  • 1897 — February 28 –Grand reception at Calcutta.

  • 1897 — May1 –Ramakrishna mission formed in Calcutta.

  • 1897 — brief illness after mission is formed, recuperates in Almora.

  • 1897 — many works done by monks of the mission against famine and other relief., teaching. Vivekananda went through country spreading his message.

  • 1898 — work against plague in Calcutta, work reorganised. Margaret Noble arrives in January, Ole Bull and Mrs. Mcleod in February, other western disciples, teaching to them.

  • 1898 — middle – took western disciples on a pilgrimage, through Punjab and Lahore, eventually to Kashmir in July.

  • 1898 — June 2, J J Goodwin dies.

  • 1898 — Amarnath Yatra in July, saw Shiva, possessed by Shiva.

  • 1898 — one month later, possessed by the mother, saw her everywhere, composed his famous poem to Kali.

  • 1898 —gave up any thought of nation building through political organisation. All my patriotism is gone. Never a political leader, always a religious one. His idea of reenergizing India was through her spiritual fervour, and through that the uplift of all humans, no thought of political ideas.

  • 1898 — December, returned to Belur where the new math was being built, his own earnings in America and donations from all including Western disciples used for it, consecrated it on December 9.

  • 1899 — Jan2 – Ramakrishna Mission opened in new building in Belur.

  • 1899 — second trip to the west, went through Naples, Marseilles, arrived in London on July 31.

  • 1899 — Aug 16, left for New York. Stayed for 1 year in USA, mostly in California.

  • 1899 — set up many Vedantic centres in US, at San Fransisco, Oakland, Alameda. Gave lectures. Had taken along Turiyananda, set him up in Mont Clair near New York, work of Abhedananda in Vedanta society in full swing. Set up Ashrama in district of Santa Clara.

  • 1900 — July20 left for France. August 1 arrived in France. Stayed there till October. Attended Congress of History of Religions, on the occasion of the Universal Exposition, Eiffel tower unveiled. Enjoyed stay there. Left France in October, toured Vienna and Constantinople, Austria, Greece, Egypt. Mr. Sevier dies in India in October.

  • 1900 — from Egypt sailed for India, arrived in December beginning.

  • 1900 — hearing of death of Sevier, went to their Ashrama directly.

  • 1901 — arrived in Ashrama in Himalayas on jan.3.

  • 1901 — Jan13 – thirty eighth birthday in Ashrama. Uncomfortable with temple to Ramakrishna in Ashrama.

  • 1901 — leaves Ashrama on Jan 18, arrives in Belur Math on Jan 24.

  • 1901 — spent rest of his life in Math. Ill. Swelling of feet and other illnesses from diabetes.

  • 1901 — summer, went on pilgrimage to Dacca and Shillong with his mother. In Assam, heard of Sankardeva, wondered if it was the same as Sankaracharya.

  • 1901 — October, Durga puja celebrated in Belur Math with great pomp except for sacrifices.

  • 1901 — met Okakura from Japan in December.

  • 1902 — went with him to Bodh Gaya and Varanasi at beginning of 1902.

  • 1902 — grand festival on Ramakrishana’s birthday in February.

  • 1902 — Friday, July 4, dies. Although seriously ill for several months, death itself was sudden and unexpected. Had been meditating, had lunch and gave talks on various subjects in the morning. In the evening went for meditation to his room around 7. Then lay down on the bed and attained the final Samadhi around 9 pm. He was thirty nine.




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