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Swami (“master”) Vivekananda is one of the best known Hindu teachers in the Western world. A disciple of the Bengali saint Ramakrishna (1836–1886), he came to attend the World's Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893. A powerful orator, his inspiring speech at this meeting led to the first formal introduction of Hinduism to the Americans. Vivekananda was also a social reformer and the founder of the Ramakrishna Mission; the Vedanta Societies he inspired have branches in many parts of the world.

Born Narendra Dutta in the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Vivekananda had a traditional upbringing at home and a secular education. In 1881, he met the spiritual teacher Ramakrishna and became his disciple, giving up his educational career and eventually becoming a ...

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