The divine experiences of Swami Vivekananda are recorded in a scattered way
in many books. They can be found in titles such as Life of Swami Vivekananda
by His Eastern and Western Disciples, Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda,
Master as I Saw Him, Ramakrishna Lila Prasanga etc. Swamiji never was
interested in such things and was very much averse when any one tried to
highlight such things in his own life or even in the life of Sri
Ramakrishna. He never encouraged such moods to be expressed in public. He
used to tell that these are the hindrances in the spiritual path and should
be kept secret to oneself. One should be able to digest these divine moods
than only one can proceed further in his pursuit.
For your satisfaction I am pasting hereunder following passages from the
book Sri Ramakrishna and His divine Play translation of Sri Ramakrishna Lila
Prasanga by Swami Chetanananda, few divine experiences in the life of Swami
Vivekananda narrated by himself to Swami Saradananda the author Lila
Narendra's second visit; his wonderful experience through the Master's
Narendra said: "I had no idea that the Dakshineswar temple was so far from
Calcutta because I had been there only once before, and that was by
carriage. I used to visit Dasharathi Sanyal, Satkari Lahiri, and other
friends at Baranagore and thought that Rasmani's temple garden was somewhere
near their houses. But this time it seemed as if the journey would never
end, however far I walked. After asking many people the way, I arrived at
Dakshineswar at last and went straight to the Master's room. I found him
sitting, deep in meditation, on the smaller bed that stands beside the
bigger one. There was no one with him. When he saw me, he joyfully called me
to him and made me sit down on one end of the bed. He was in an ecstatic
mood. He muttered something to himself that I couldn't understand, looked
hard at me, and then arose and approached me. I thought we were about to
have another crazy scene. Scarcely had that thought passed through my mind
when he placed his right foot on my body. Immediately I had a wonderful
experience. My eyes were wide open, and I saw that everything in the room,
including the walls themselves, was rapidly whirling around me and receding.
At the same time, it seemed to me that my consciousness of self, together
with the entire universe, was about to vanish into a vast, all-devouring
void. This destruction of my self-consciousness seemed to me the same thing
as death. Terrified, I felt death right before me, very close. Unable to
control myself, I cried out loudly: 'Ah, what are you doing to me? Don't you
know I have parents at home?' When the Master heard this, he gave a loud
laugh. Then he touched my chest with his hand and said: 'All right, let it
stop now. It needn't be done all at once. It will happen in its own good
time.' To my amazement, the extraordinary vision vanished as suddenly as it
had come. I returned to my normal state and saw things inside and outside
the room standing as still as before.
Narendra's resolve to know the cause of that experience and not be
overwhelmed again in the future.
"Although it has taken so long to describe all this, it actually happened in
only a few moments. And yet it changed my whole way of thinking. I was
bewildered and kept trying to analyze what had happened. I saw how this
experience had begun and ended in obedience to the will of this
extraordinary man. I had read about mesmerism and hypnotism in books, and I
wondered if this was something like that. But my heart refused to believe
that it was, for even people of great willpower can create such conditions
only in weak minds. And my mind was by no means weak. In fact, up to then I
had been proud of my intelligence and willpower. Ordinary people are
overwhelmed and become puppets under the influence of a great personality,
but this man hadn't bewitched me or reduced me to that condition. On the
contrary, when I first met him, I had decided that he was mad. Why then
should I have suddenly found myself in this state? I couldn't come to any
conclusion. It seemed an utter mystery to me. Then I remembered the words of
a great poet, 'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of
in your philosophy' I thought that this might be one of those things. After
much reflection, I concluded that this mystery could not be solved. I
determined to be on my guard lest he exert more influence over me in the
Narendra's speculations about the Master and his determination to understand
"The next moment I thought: How can I consider this person mad when he was
able to destroy the strong structure of my mind at will - a mind that is
endowed with tremendous willpower - and reshape it as if it were a lump of
clay, making it think as he wished? But during my first visit he took me
aside and said so many strange things; how can I believe them to be true, or
to be anything other than an eccentric outburst? Because I couldn't
determine the cause of the wonderful experience I've just described, I could
come to no firm resolution about this person, who was as pure and simple as
a child. From my boyhood I have always used observation, investigation,
reasoning, and argumentation to form an opinion about a person or a thing,
but on that day my character was dealt a terrible blow, which distressed my
heart. Consequently, a fierce determination arose in my mind to truly
understand the nature and power of this wonderful man by any possible means.
The Master treated Narendra as if he had known him for a long time.
"Thus was my mind occupied with various thoughts and resolutions throughout
the day. After this last incident, the Master became quite a different
person. He began to feed me lovingly as he had during my first visit, and he
treated me as cordially as if he had known me for a long time. He behaved
with me exactly like a man who meets an old friend or relative after a long
separation. But feeding and entertaining me, talking to me and making jokes
with me, didn't seem to satisfy him. His affectionate behaviour created a
good deal of anxiety in me. As the day was coming to a close, I asked leave
to go. This seemed to make him unhappy, and as on the previous occasion he
demanded a promise: 'Say that you will come back soon.' So on that day I
promised as before, and then I returned home."
Narendra's third visit
We do not know how long it was before Narendra returned. After encountering
the Master's miraculous power, Narendra had an intense desire to know him,
so it seems it must not have been long before he came back to Dakshineswar.
His eagerness must have brought him back to the Master as soon as he was
able. Because he was attending college, the third visit probably took place
on a weekend. When Narendra wanted to investigate something, he lost all
interest in food, sleep, or relaxation; he would take no rest until he had
mastered the situation. So, quite naturally he was extremely anxious to
understand the Master. It is certain that during the third visit Narendra
was extremely cautious and very much on his guard lest he fall under a
hypnotic spell as before. But what happened was inconceivable. We shall now
present what the Master and Narendra told us about it.
Narendra loses outer consciousness at the Master's touch.
On that day the Master invited Narendra for a walk in Jadu Mallick's garden,
just south of the Dakshineswar compound, either because the temple complex
was crowded with devotees or for some other reason. Jadu and his mother were
very devoted to the Master, and they had left a standing order with the
manager that if the Master wished to walk in the garden when they were
absent, the parlour facing the Ganges should be kept open for him. On that
day the Master walked with Narendra in the garden on the bank of the Ganges.
As the Master and Narendra talked about various things, they eventually came
to the parlour, where the Master sat down and soon went into samadhi.
Narendra sat nearby, closely watching the Master's condition, when the
Master suddenly touched him, just as he had on the previous occasion.
Although Narendra was on his guard, he was completely overwhelmed by that
powerful touch. This time he became completely unconscious, not partially as
before. When he regained his normal consciousness after some time, he saw
the Master passing his hand over his chest and smiling at him, sweetly and
Narendra did not tell us anything about what he experienced when he lost his
outer consciousness. We thought that he did not tell us about it because it
was a secret. But one day in the course of conversation the Master told us
what had happened during that incident and we realized that Narendra had no
memory of it.
The Master asks Narendra various questions while he is in that state.
The Master told us: "That day, after Narendra lost consciousness of his
current incarnation, I asked him many questions, such as who he really was,
where he had come from, why he had come [been born] how long he would stay
in this world, and so forth. He entered his innermost being and found the
correct answers to my questions. These answers confirmed what I'd already
learned about him in visions. It's forbidden to reveal those things, but I
can tell you this: On the day he knows who he really is, he will no longer
remain in this world. With a strong effort of will, he will immediately give
up his body through the power of yoga. Narendra is a great soul, perfect in
Later the Master described to us one of his earlier visions concerning
Narendra. We shall mention it here for the reader's convenience, but when
the Master told us about it, it seemed that he had this vision before
Narendra first visited Dakshineswar.
The Master's wonderful vision concerning Narendra
The Master said: "One day I found that my mind was soaring high in samadhi
along a luminous path. It soon transcended the stellar universe and entered
the subtle realm of ideas. As it ascended higher and higher, I found the
path lined with ideal forms of gods and goddesses on both sides. My mind
then reached the outer limits of that region, where a luminous, barrier
separates the sphere of relative existence from that of the Absolute. My
mind crossed that barrier to enter the transcendental realm, where no
corporeal being was visible. Even the gods dare not enter that sublime realm
and are content to keep their seats far below. But the next moment I saw
seven venerable rishis seated there in samadhi. It occurred to me that these
rishis must have surpassed not only humans but even the gods in knowledge
and holiness, in renunciation and love. Lost in admiration, I was reflecting
on their greatness when I saw a portion of that undifferentiated luminous
region condense into the form of a divine child. The child came to one of
the rishis, tenderly clasped his neck with his lovely arms and, addressing
him in a sweet voice, tried to drag his mind down from the state of samadhi.
That magic touch roused the rishi from the superconscious state, and he
fixed his half-opened eyes upon the wonderful child. His beaming countenance
showed that the child was the treasure of his heart. In great joy the divine
child spoke to him: 'I am going down. You must go with me.' The rishi
remained mute but his tender look expressed his assent. As he gazed at the
child, he again became immersed in samadhi. I was surprised to see a
fragment of his body and mind then descending to earth in the form of a
bright light. No sooner had I seen Narendra than I recognized him to be that
Narendra's conviction about the Master as a result of his direct experience.
Narendra was completely dumbfounded when the influence of the Master's
divine power put him under the same hypnotic spell for a second time. He
deeply felt the insignificance of his mental and intellectual power compared
to this unsurpassable divine power. His former belief that the Master was a
monomaniac was changed. But we cannot say that this encounter brought him to
understand the meaning and significance of what the Master had told him
privately during his first visit to Dakshineswar. He felt that the Master
must be an extraordinarily great soul
The Master's behaviour during Narendra's visits to Dakshineswar.
When Narendra came to Dakshineswar, the Master quite often went into ecstasy
at the very sight of him. When he later regained some consciousness, he
would have long spiritual talks with Narendra. At such times the Master
would joyfully try to transmit the highest spiritual experiences to Narendra
through words and other means. Sometimes the Master wished to listen to
devotional songs, and as soon as he heard the sweet melodious voice of
Narendra, he would go into samadhi. But this did not interrupt Narendra's
singing. Absorbed, he would continue to sing one song after another for
hours. When the Master again regained partial consciousness, he would
request Narendra to sing a particular song. He would not be completely
satisfied until he had heard Narendra sing "All that exists art Thou."[ii]
After that they would spend some time discussing the various mysteries of
Advaita Vedanta, such as the difference between the jiva and Ishwara, the
real nature of the jiva and of Brahman, and so on. Narendra's presence thus
created a wave of bliss in Dakshineswar.
Narendra joins Hazra in criticizing nondualistic philosophy; in ecstasy, the
Master touches Narendra.
One day the Master told Narendra various things regarding the oneness of
jiva and Brahman according to nondualistic philosophy. Although he listened
attentively, Narendra did not understand. When the Master finished speaking,
Narendra went to see Hazra. While smoking and discussing that topic again,
Narendra said, "Can it ever be possible that the water pot is God, that the
cup is God, that everything we see and all of us are God?" Hazra joined
Narendra in ridiculing the idea, and they both burst into laughter. The
Master was in an ecstatic mood, and when he heard Narendra laughing he came
out of his room, holding his cloth under his arm like a boy. "What are you
talking about?" he asked them. Smiling, he touched Narendra and went into
Narendra's extraordinary experience as a result of the Master's touch.
Narendra later related this to us: "That day my mind underwent a complete
revolution at the marvellous touch of the Master. I was aghast to realize
that there really was
nothing whatsoever in the entire universe but God. I remained silent,
wondering how long this state of mind would continue. It didn't pass away
all day. I got back home, and I felt just the same there: Everything I saw
was God. I sat down to eat, and I saw
that everything - the plate, the food, my mother who was serving it, and I
myself-everything was God and nothing but God. I swallowed a couple of
mouthfuls and then sat still without speaking. My mother lovingly asked me:
'Why are you so quiet? Why don't you eat?' That brought me back to everyday
consciousness and I began eating again. But from then on I kept having the
same experience, no matter what I was doing - eating, sitting, lying down,
or going to college. It was a kind of intoxication that I can't describe. If
I were crossing a street and saw a carriage coming towards me, I didn't have
the urge to get out of its way for fear of being run over, as I would
ordinarily. I said to myself: 'I am that carriage. There's no difference
between it and me.' During that time, I had no sensation in my hands or my
feet. When I ate food, I felt no satisfaction from it; it was as if someone
else were eating. Sometimes I would lie down in the middle of a meal and
then get up again after a few minutes and go on eating. Thus, it happened on
those days that I would eat far more than usual, but this never upset me. My
mother became alarmed. She thought I was suffering from some terrible
disease. 'He won't live long,' she would say.
"When that first intoxication lost some of its power, I began to see the
world as though I were dreaming. When I went for a walk around Hedua, or
Cornwallis Square [now Azadhind Bagh], I would knock my head against the
iron railings to see if they were dream-railings or real ones. The loss of
feeling in my hands and feet made me afraid that I was becoming paralyzed.
That overwhelming intoxication didn't leave me for some time. When I did at
last return to normal consciousness, I was convinced that the state I'd been
in was a revelation of nondualistic experience. And then I knew that what is
written in the scriptures about this experience is all true. From that time
had no doubts about the truth of nonduality."
The author has an eventful day with Narendra.
On another occasion Narendra described a wonderful incident to us. He told
us about it in the winter of 1884, when we were well acquainted. We believe
that the incident must have taken place during this period, so we are
relating it to the reader here. We remember going to Narendra's house at
Gaur Mohan Mukherjee Street in Simla on that day a little before noon and
staying till eleven at night. Swami Ramakrishnananda was with us. Since our
first meeting, we had felt a divine attraction to Narendra, and this feeling
was intensified a thousand fold that day. Before this we understood the
Master to be a knower of God or a perfected soul. But on that day Narendra's
inspired talks brought a new light to our hearts. We realized that the
extraordinary events recorded in the lives of Jesus, Chaitanya, and other
great teachers of the world, which we had studied but disbelieved, had
parallels in the Master's daily life. With merely a touch, or his desire
that it be so, the Master released from bondage those who had taken refuge
in him and granted them devotion. He granted them samadhi, thus endowing
them with divine bliss. Or he diverted the course of their lives into a
spiritual channel so strong that they attained a vision of God immediately
and were blessed forever. We remember that in the evening Narendra took us
for a walk in Cornwallis Square. On the way he told us of divine experiences
that he had experienced by the grace of the Master. He was absorbed within
himself for a while and then finally expressed his inner bliss with his
Gora[iii] bestows the Nectar of love; Jar after jar he pours it out, And
still there is no end! Sweetest Nitai[iv] is summoning all; Beloved Gora
bids them come; Shantipur[v] is almost drowned, And Nadia is flooded with
Narendra relates an amazing story.
When he had finished singing, Narendra gently soliloquized: "He is actually
distributing love. Love, devotion, knowledge, liberation, and whatever one
desires - Gora [Sri Ramakrishna] is bestowing upon us whatever he wishes.
What wonderful power!" He was silent for a while and then continued. "One
night, I was lying on my bed with the door bolted. Suddenly he attracted
me - or rather the soul that lives in this body - and drew me to
Dakshineswar. He talked with me about various topics, gave me advice, and
finally allowed me to return home. He can do anything - this. Gora of
Dakshineswar can do anything!"
Narendra's unusual experience at the author's house.
The evening shadows melted into a darkness so deep that we could notsee each
other. But it was not necessary to do so: Narendra's fiery spiritual
feelings penetrated our hearts, creating a divine intoxication that left us
reeling. We felt as though the real world that we had perceived for so long
had disappeared into a dream. We then realized the truth of what worldly
people believe to be nothing but a fabrication: the beginningless, infinite
God had become manifest as a finite human being out of His unconditional
grace and was destroying the bondage of jivas and setting in motion the
wheel of dharma. We did not notice how the time passed, but suddenly we
heard the bell strike nine. Reluctantly, we prepared to take leave of
Narendra, but he said, "Let us go-I'll accompany you for a short distance."
As we walked we began discussing a similar topic, which absorbed us until we
reached our home in Champatala. We realized that it was not right for us to
have let Narendra come such a long distance. We brought him inside, gave him
some refreshment, accompanied him to his home, and then returned home once
more. We vividly remember another incident: When Narendra entered our house,
he suddenly stood still, exclaiming: "I have seen this house before! It's
amazing! I'm familiar with its corridors, rooms, and everything!" Elsewhere
we have told the reader that Narendra sometimes had such experiences and
what he said was their cause, so we will not repeat that here (see V.5.2).
Extraordinary experiences in Narendra's early life. He saw a light while
We have already mentioned that narendra was born with wonderful spiritual
tendencies. For that reason, the spiritual experiences that he had before he
met the Master were unique. The reader will understand this if we cite a few
examples here. Narendra said: "As far back as I can remember, I'd see a
marvellous point of light between my eyebrows as soon as I shut my eyes to
go to sleep. I watched it and paid great attention as it went through
various changes. To see it better, I would lie on my bed like one
prostrating before a deity, with forehead touching the ground. That
marvellous point of light would change colours and grow bigger and bigger
until it took the form of a ball, finally bursting and covering my body from
head to foot with a white liquid light. As soon as that happened I lost
outer consciousness and fell asleep. I used to believe this was how
everybody went to sleep, and I was under that impression for a long time.
When I grew older and began to practise meditation, that point of light
would appear to me as soon as I closed my eyes, and I'd concentrate upon it.
At that time I was practising meditation with a few friends, following the
instructions of Devendra Nath Tagore. We told each other about our visions
and experiences, and I discovered that none of them had ever seen that point
of light or had gone to sleep as I did.
Memories of past lives awaken when he sees a particular place, person, or
"From my very childhood, whenever I came in contact with a particular
object, person, or place, it would sometimes seem as if I were already
acquainted with it. I'd try to recall when, but couldn't bring it to mind.
Nonetheless, I was not convinced that I had never seen it before. This
happened quite often. Perhaps I would be discussing various topics with my
friends at a particular place. Someone would say something, and immediately
the thought would flash in my mind that sometime past, in this very house,
I'd had the same discussion with these friends, and on that occasion this
person had said the same thing. After long deliberation I couldn't ascertain
when I'd had such a discussion with them. When I became aware of the
doctrine of reincarnation, I thought that perhaps I might have been familiar
with those places and people in a previous life and that partial memories
concerning them sometimes surfaced in my mind. Later, I realized that such a
conclusion wasn't reasonable. It now seems to me that before I was born I
must have somehow seen, as in motion pictures, the people and things I would
come in contact with in this life. [vi] Those memories now arise in my mind
from time to time."
[i] The Master described this vision to us in his unique, simple language.
It is not possible for us to reproduce that language exactly. Having no
alternative, we have briefly described this vision keeping his language as
far as possible. When at another time we asked him about the divine child in
the vision, we learned that the Master himself had assumed the form of that
[ii] I have joined my heart to Thee: all that exists art Thou;
Thee only have I found, for Thou art all that exists.
0 Lord, Beloved of my heart! Thou art the Home of all;
Where indeed is the heart in which Thou dost not dwell?
Thou hast entered every heart: all that exists art Thou.
Whether sage or fool, whether Hindu or Mussalman,
Thou makest them as Thou wilt: all that exists art Thou.
Thy presence is everywhere, whether in heaven or in Kaaba;
Before Thee all must bow, for Thou art all that exists.
From earth below to the highest heaven, from heaven to deepest earth,
I see Thee wherever i look: all that exists art Thou.
Pondering, I have understood; I have seen it beyond a doubt;
I find not a single thing that may be compared to Thee.
To Jafar [the composer] it has been revealed that Thou art all that
exists. - Translator
[iii] Gora is the nickname of Gauranga, or Chaitanya. - Translator
[iv] Nitai is the main disciple of Chaitanya. - Translator
[v] Shantipur and Nadia are places associated with Chaitanya. - Translator
[vi] Narendra described this wonderful experience to us shortly after we
became acquainted, and he told us the cause of the phenomenon towards the
end of his life
Many of our friends have responded to your query which are erproduced here:
Ajith kumar wrote >>>First of all what i felt Swamiji is a culture which is
nothing but humanism.It bounds human beings with of course detached self
reliant as merciful.Avoid call hi and all Swamiji Himself shacked the whole
world with brothersand sisters. Definitely i have read and inspired still
inspiring i will share.Rest all wellYours in the name Sree Rama krishnaAjith
Angsuman Chakraborty wrote >>>
I would recommend you purchase the Complete works of Swami Vivekananda
fromRamakrishna Mission or any other bookstore. In it you can find about
hisexperiences as he shared in his letter's to friends, seniors and others.
His interactions with Ramakrishna Paramhansa can be found in
RamakrishnaKathamrita written by M. Both the sources above are most
authentic on this subject.
Alexander Koudlai wrote >>>
There are a few discriptions of Swami Vivecananda's experiences in the R.
Rolland's books The LIfe of Ramakrishna and The Life of Vivekananda.
Shivram Rama Vishveshwara wrote >>>
Dear Ramya, Happy to see your keenness and interest about Swami Vivekananda.
I personally suggest to go through the book "The life of Vivekananda and and
the Universal Gospel" by Romain Rolland. It is in simple English with facts
and reference.It is avialable in almost all branch centres of Ramakrishna
Mission through out the world or in some estblished book shops. It would be
pleasure to send you a copy through courier, if I had the address. Swami
Vivekananda's life is not merely spritual, it it man making, character
building and above all to find the life's goal and fulfilment. May you find
the goal and fulfilment in life so that your life useful, purposeful and
meaningful. With best prayers, Shivaram
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ramya Krishnamurthy" <ramyamvk@...>
Sent: Monday, June 12, 2006 10:40 AM
Subject: [Uttishthata] Swami Vivekananda's experiences.
> Hi all,
> Has anyone read or heard of any of the experiences
> that Swami Vivekananda had ? He was a great monk who
> took Hinduism to the west, but above all, he was a
> seeker himself... if anyone has information on any of
> the spiriutal experiences he had, please kindly share
> it with the group.
> Thanks !
> Do You Yahoo!?
> Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
> Thought for Today:
> To men who never rise higher than eating, drinking, begetting progeny, and
> dying, the only gain is in sense-enjoyments; and they must wait and go
> through many more births and reincarnations to learn to feel even the
> faintest necessity for anything higher. But those to whom the eternal
> interests of the soul are of much higher value than the fleeting interests
> of this mundane life, to whom the gratification of the senses is but like
> the thoughtless play of the baby, to them, God and the love of God form
> the highest and the only utility of human existence.
> - Swami Vivekananda