The legend who popularized the sloka “Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached” from Katha Upanishad that inspired millions and has been serving as a lamp light to the world since decades died at a very young age of 39 years.
While there is no suspicion on his death, what has remained a mystery is how the legend attained his death. Swami Vivekananda, born as Narendranath Datta, the monk who literally gave rebirth to Hinduism with his speech beginning with “Sisters and brothers of America” at Chicago’s “Parliament of the World’s Religions” on 15th September 1893 had entered his room after asking his colleagues not to disturb him, on the last day of his life.
4th July 1902, the day when Swami Vivekananda died was not a usual day. From meditation to teachings to future planning, there was something unusual in the monk. It seemed like he tried to pour in all his knowledge during his lecture to his disciples that day.
Swami Vivekananda began his day by meditating for 3 hours. Later on, he taught Shukla-Yajur-Veda, Sanskrit grammar and the philosophy of yoga to disciples. Swami Vivekananda had also discussed on Vedic college in the Ramakrishna Math after his class.
After 7 PM he went to his room and asked his followers to disturb him, until informed. But at 9:10 PM, the great monk had left the earth. While we try to find out the reason for his death, his disciples had then claimed that he attained Mahasamadhi. They said the rupture of a blood vessel in his brain claimed the monk’s life. They also said rupture was due to his brahmarandhra (an opening in the crown of his head) being pierced when he attained Mahasamadhi.
The last rituals was conducted on the bank of the Ganges in Belur. The funeral pyre of sandalwood was lit beside his guru Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who had died sixteen years earlier.
Swami Vivekananda knew about his death?
Well, this thought cannot be denied as in the year 1986, Swami Vivekananda had said to Swami Abhedananda that he was going to live only 5 or 6 years more. Upset by this, Swami Abhedananda protested against this statement. But the reply given by Swami Vivekananda will not be forgotten for centuries to come as he said “You do not understand. My soul is getting bigger and bigger every day, so much so that the body can hardly contain it. Anyway, it may burst this cage of flesh and bone”.
This gives us a hint that Swami Vivekananda perhaps knew about his death. But the Hindu society lost the monk who revived it.
What can be the condition of the followers when a great monk left them? One of the disciples who was with Swami Vivekananda said “At this, Nivedita could no longer suppress her grief. She got up and began to circle the blazing funeral pyre. Seeing her close to the pyre, Swami Brahmananda was concerned that her skirt would catch fire. He conveyed this to Swami Nirbhayananda, who then took Nivedita’s hand and led her away from the pyre. He made her sit on the bank of the Ganges and tried to console her”.
Sister Nivedita, who spent her earlier days in Ireland had met Swami Vivekananda in 1895 in London. Later on she was attracted towards Hinduism and settled in India. Sister Nivedita had met Swami Vivekananda just 2 days prior to his death. On that day he was observing a fast as it was “Ekadashi”.
But when his disciplines were having food on that day, Swami Vivekananda served them himself. He even poured water on the hands of Sister Niveditha after she had food. But she objected to this and said “It is I who should do these things for you, Swamiji! Not you, for me!”.
She didn’t know that this would be her last conversion will the monk who revived Hinduism, as three days later (on July 5th) she received a later from Swami Saradananda from Belur Math through a monk which conveying the message of Swami Vivekananda’s death. What is a surprise is on 4th July, the day when Swami Vivekananda died, sister Nivedita had dreamed of Sri Ramakrishna leaving his body a second time.
Source: Speaking Tree