married Sharadamani, a minor girl, in 1860 (she later came to Dakshineshwar
and served him till the end).
    He sought religious salvation in the traditional way of renunciation,
meditation and devotion. He emphasised that there were several roads to god
and salvation and that service of man was service of god.
Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902)
Originally known as Narendranath Datta, he was born in 1863 in Calcutta.
His first visit to Ramakrishna, his future guru, was in 1881, and made
frequent visits to him thereafter. He established a monastery at Baranagar
(1887) after the death of his guru.
    He made an extensive tour of India which brought him into close contact
with the people and enabled him to realise the true condition of India. He also
attended the World Parliament of Religions (1893) at Chicago (USA) and
raised the prestige of India and Hinduism very high. From USA, he visited
Europe and returned to India in 1897.
    Meanwhile he started publishing two papers-the monthly Prabudha
Sharata in English and the fortnightly Udbodhana in Bengali. Later he made
his second visit to USA in 1899 and also spoke at the Congress of the History
of Religions at Paris (1900). He returned to India in 1900 and soon expired in
1902 due to ill-health.
His socio-religious ideas and reforms He popularised his guru’s religious
message and tried to put it in a form that would suit the needs of
contemporary Indian society. He stressed that social action was essential
without which knowledge was useless in this world. Further, he condemned
the caste system and the current Hindu emphasis on rituals, ceremonies, etc.
and urged the people to imbibe the spirit of liberty, equality and free thinking.
    He proclaimed the essential oneness of all religions. Vedanta according to
him was a fully rational system.
Theosophical Society
Founded in New York (USA) in 1875 by Madam H.P. Blavatsky (1831–91),
a Russian lady, and H.S. Olcott (1832–1907), an American colonel, with
three main objects: