book cover

18 Dec, 2022

Book Review

by Arpit

Book:Swami Vivekananda - A Biography
Author:Swami Nikhilananda
Publisher:Advaita Ashrama

A few books like "The Autobiography of Yogi" and "Aghora series" made me think of the Secrets of human consciousness. "Vivekananda - A Biography" by Advaita Ashrama gave me a similar feeling. It is a book that displays the journey of Swami Vivekananda, a well-known monk of India. He is even regarded as a modern saint of India who gave the real meaning of spirituality to the world.

girl praying

The book starts with the early years of Swami Vivekananda(Narendra). Before the birth of Vivekananda, his mother used to observe religious vows and fasts to get blessed with a son of high esteem. Once a supreme deity appeared in her dream and agreed to be born as her son.

Vivekananda's grandfather had also renounced the world to lead a monastic life in search of God. Vivekananda also resembled his grandfather in many aspects.

“The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature. Have faith in yourselves.” ― Swami Vivekananda

He also used to experience a ball of light changing colours when he was about to sleep in his childhood. Many years later, Ramakrishna Paramhansa justified that it was due to his significant spiritual past.


At an early age, Vivekananda was also influenced by Brahmo Samaj. The first meeting between Vivekananda and Ramakrishna is the most beautiful part of the book. Ramakrishna immediately recognized Vivekananda as his future messenger. He often said to his other disciples that Vivekananda had attained perfection before his birth and that he would give up his body by an act of will through yoga.

“Arise, awake, stop not till the goal is reached.” ― Swami Vivekananda

Then there is a description of how Naren used to call Ramakrishna's visions of Gods and Goddesses a hallucination. He didn't believe in idol worship at a young age due to the influence of Brahmo Samaj. But years later, under the influence of Ramakrishna, he started accepting idol worship. He also meditated on the names of Gods.

The book also contains a journey of Vivekananda as a wandering monk after the death of Ramakrishna. He almost covered the whole India before going to America. His entire expedition to the Parliament of Religions is beautifully described. He sowed the seeds of Vedanta in the soil of America after the parliament of Religions.


The later part of the book is about the journey of Vivekananda's return to India. His second visit to the west, his work to uplift the people of India and his love for poor people is the core and crux of the later part of the book.

“Learn Everything that is Good from Others, but bring it in, and in your own way absorb it; do not become others.” ― Swami Vivekananda

For me, it is one of the best books in the spiritual domain. The words of Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Swami Vivekananda still reverberate in my mind. If you like spirituality and want to read more about the modern saint Swami Vivekananda, definitely give it a try. Also, a special thanks to Manthan, who recommended this book.


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