One of India’s most prolific spiritual leaders, Swami Vivekananda was instrumental in introducing the Indian philosophies of Vedanta to the western world.
He was born in Kolkata on January 12, 1863, and was named Narendra Nath Datta. He was a devout follower of an Indian saint named Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, whose ideologies inspired him. In 1887, he along with other disciples of Ramakrishna Paramhansa took formal vows of sanyasa and renounced the worldly pleasures. He later established the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission.
To spread his message across the globe, he went to the US to attend the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. There he delivered a landmark speech that touched on topics like universal acceptance, tolerance, and religion. The speech got him a standing ovation and the Art Institute of Chicago commemorated it with several rare photos and several plaques with his quotes and signature.