Hindu mystic, major exponent of Vedanta philosophy. He was born of a well-to-do family in Calcutta, and his given name was Narendra Nath Datta. As a young man he met Ramakrishna and thereafter devoted himself completely to his teachings. After Ramakrishnaís death in 1886, he traveled throughout India as a wandering monk. In 1893 he went to the United States where he represented Hinduism at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. After four years of teaching in the West he returned to India, where he organized the Ramakrishna Mission and engaged in a strenuous campaign to encourage a national renaissance.
Source : The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2003 Columbia University Press.