Rodney Sen, founder of the livingroom yoga school coogee beach and his Indian ancestors have been guided by the teachings and philosophy of Swami Vivekananda which is based on different aspects of religion, education, character building as well as social issues pertaining to India.

Swami Vivekananda (12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), born Narendra Nath Datta, was an Indian Hindu monk. He was a key figure in the introduction of Indian philosophies and Yoga to the western world. Swami Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Dutta in Calcutta, the capital of British India, during the Makar Sankranti festival.

Narendra’s mother, Bhuvaneswari Devi, was a pious woman. Before the birth of Narendra, she yearned for a son and asked a relative at Varanasi to make religious offerings to the god Shiva. According to traditional accounts, Bhuvaneswari Devi had a dream in which Shiva said that he would be born as her son. Bhuvaneswari Devi named him Vireswara, meaning “powerful god” in Bengali. He was adept in meditation and could enter the state of Samadhi (a higher level of concentrated meditation). He would often visualise a light while falling asleep and had a vision of Gautama Buddha during his meditation. During his childhood, he was fascinated by the wandering ascetics and monks.

Narendra’s guru, Ramakrishna, taught him that all religions are true and that service to man was the most effective worship of God. After the death of his guru, Vivekananda became a wandering monk, extensively touring the Indian subcontinent and acquiring first-hand knowledge of conditions in India. He later travelled to the United States and represented India as a delegate in the 1893 Parliament of World Religions which opened on 11 September 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition and gave his first brief address.

The New York Herald wrote, “Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation.”

In India Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint of modern India and his birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day. Rabindranath Tagore’s suggestion was – “If you want to know India, study Vivekananda. In him everything is positive and nothing negative.”

Vivekananda died at ten minutes past 9pm on 4 July 1902 while he was meditating. According to his disciples, this was Mahasamadhi, the act of consciously and intentionally leaving one’s body at the time of death. According to his disciples, Brahmarandhra —the aperture in the crown of the head —must have been pierced when he attained Mahasamadhi. Vivekananda had fulfilled his own prophecy of not living to be forty years old.