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Swami Vivekananda was just Narendranath Dutta before he shook the world with his speech at the World Religious Parliament in 1893 in the city of Chicago. He won the hearts of all present and attending with hiss opening words of ‘Brothers and Sisters’.

Swami was born in the holy lands of Kolkata in 1863. He was a curious child with sharp intellect when it came to studies. Apart from scholarship, he was a gifted athlete and competed in various events like swimming, wrestling, and several other sports.

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He was always religious inclined and loved to read the stories of fabled heroes in Ramayana and Mahabharata. He was also good at debating especially religious scholars and leaders.

One such philosopher, named Ramakrishna Paramhansa became his spiritual guru. Inspired by his teachings he even opened an institution knows as Ramakrishna Mission as an homage to his teacher.

He was a great proponent of Vedanta and the values embedded in the Vedas (Hindu scriptures). He believed Vedanta to comprise of universal virtues of tolerance, harmony, and balance between diverse cultures and faiths.

For his work, he was lauded by national leaders like Bose, Nehru, etc, and revered by leaders from other countries as well. He became an ambassador of the Hindu religion and engaged in debates and discussions with other religious leaders across the globe.

His magnetic personality and calm demeanor made him an ideal for men and women all over the world. However, his insistence on Hindu scriptures also invited some criticism from secular corners and other religious denominations.

Nevertheless, he worked tirelessly to inspire the Youth of India and desired them to develop zeal toward character transformation, self-actualization of potential and espouse an attitude of service to the nation and humankind as a whole.

His birthday, 12th January, is thus, celebrated as the ‘the National Youth Day’ as a reminder to his commitment to educating and developing the potential of young India.