Vivekananda with his fellow disciples of Ramakrishna.
This I have seen in life—those who are overcautious about themselves fall into dangers at every step; those who are afraid of losing honor and respect, get only disgrace; and those who are always afraid of loss, always lose.
Fear is death, fear is sin, fear is hell, fear is unrighteousness, and fear is wrong life. All the negative thoughts and ideas that are in the world have proceeded from this evil spirit of fear.
Swami Vivekananda was born in 1863 in Calcutta. His parents named him Narendranath Dutta, or Naren for short. As a young man, Vivekananda joined the course in philosophy at the Scottish Churches College of Calcutta (Kolkata), and also became a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a great mystic and devotee of Kali. Ramakrishna was a phenomenal enlightened being, and he saw great potential in Naren. Seeing his capability to percieve, Ramakrishna named him Vivekananda, where Viveka means perception in Sanskrit. Swami Vivekananda went out into the world to spread Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s message. In 1893, he was invited to the World Parliament of Religions, in Chicago. As a representative of Hinduism. he gave several speeches to great acclaim within the Parliament and the world at large. He is credited with playing a big part in bringing an understanding of Hinduism to the Western mindset.
Vivekananda stressed the importance of coming together for the betterment of society and urged Indians to adopt the Indian culture and the path of Karma Yoga, or the yoga of action. According to this, the path to salvation lies through active work in this world in selfless devotion, with bothering about the fruits of one’s actions. The respect that Vivekananda gained in the western part of the world had a great impact on his Indian contemporaries. British ideas of the Hindu way of life had looked at it as a collection of superstitious nonsense and pointless ritualism. Vivekananda’s outspoken defense of the Hindu way of life and his explanation of various facets of Indian culture won him many admirers in the East and the West. He fired the imaganation of Indian youth and became a national hero. His ideals had a big influence on many Independence-era politicians. The great liberal, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, and the fervent socialist, Jawaharlal Nehru, both acknowledged their debts to Vivekananda in their later years.
Though Vivekananda praised the nobler ideas of the Hindu spiritual tradition, he was also an inveterate critic of certain discriminatory practices such as untouchability, which he characterized as a social custom not justified by religion. In 1887, Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission, as an organisation for the dissemination of Ramakrishna’s spiritual path. Vivekananda’s trips to several Western countries paved the way for the global spread of the Ramakrishna Mission. The Mission has published the eight volumes of his collected works, which contain his books on Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Karma Yoga, as well as his numerous speeches.
Taken from : http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hindu2/2014/09/swami-vivekananda-quotes-thoughts/