Pre-monastic name :
Kali Prasad Chandra
Date of Birth : 2 October 1866
Place of Birth : North Kolkata
Born in a fairly well-to-do family, Kali had a great eagerness to
learn yoga from his boyhood. He gained a good grounding in Sanskrit
and English. At the age of 18, when he was studying for the school
final examination, he went to Dakshineswar and met Sri Ramakrishna.
Under the guidance of the Master, Kali practised meditation and was
soon blessed with several visions.
Kali became a frequent visitor to Dakshineswar. He served the Master
during his last illness. After the Masters passing away, he joined
the Baranagar Math and underwent sannyasa ordination, assuming the
name Swami Abhedananda. At the Baranagar Math he used to shut himself
up in a room and do intense meditation or study. This earned him the
sobriquet Kali Tapasvi. He spent several years visiting places of
pilgrimage on foot.
In 1896 Swami Vivekananda brought him to London for Vedanta work
there. The next year he crossed over to USA and was given charge of
the newly founded New York Vedanta centre. His profundity of
scholarship, incisive intellect and oratorical power elicited
widespread admiration, and people thronged to listen to him. He was
also a prolific writer and his books on life after death, etc are
After his long and successful work in America Swami Abhedananda
returned to India in 1923. Soon he established a separate organization
named Ramakrishna Vedanta Math and started living at the new centre.
However, he maintained cordial relationship with his brother monks at
Belur Math which he visited occasionally. He presided over the
Parliament of Religions at the Town Hal, Kolkata, as a part of the
celebration of the Birth Centenary of Sri Ramakrishna.
He left the mortal frame on 8 September 1939.
Of all the contributions that Swami Abhedananda made to Ramakrishna
Movement, the most widely appreciated and enduring one is his
composition of sublime and beautiful hymns (in Sanskrit) on Sri
Ramakrishna and Sri Sarada Devi. His hymn to Holy Mother beginning
with Prakritim paramam abhayam varadam, which is sung in many ashramas
and homes, is unrivalled in the depth of conception and felicity of
For further reading
: 1. Swami Abhedananda, a Spiritual Biography, By Moni Bagchi
2. Amar Jivan-katha (in Bengali), By Swami Abhedananda