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Swami Vivekananda & His Love for Food

Swami Vivekananda & His Love for Foods
Photograph of the book 'Ahare Anahare Vivekananda' by Sankar

Book Review and Recommendation of the book, 'Aahare Anahare Vivekananda' by Shankar

Narendranath Datta was born on 12 January 1863, who was later known as Swami Vivekananda, was an Indian Monk, who followed Hindu Religion. He was a philosopher, author, religious teacher and one of the key disciples of Swami Ramakrishna.

Narandranath’s birth took place into the well-known family of the Dattas of Calcutta (now known as Kolkata). It was said that Rammohan Datta, the great grandfather of the Swami was a flourishing lawyer in the city of Kolkata. His Son was Durgaprasad, who later followed the Spiritual line leaving behind a Son Viswanath to perpetuate the line. Narendrath’s father was Viswanath and his mother’s name was Bhuvaneswari. Narendranath’s father was a very generous human and had a passion for music and poetry. It was said during those times, since the family was devoid of any male child, Bhuvaneswari Devi did a special worship of Lord Vireswara (Siva) of Kasi and Narendra Nath was born of a prayer.

It was a very hard life for Swami Vivekananda, especially after the demise of the great saint Swami Ramakrishna. It was during those times and especially after the death of the monk, his devotees and admirers could not support his disciples. Hence the rent accumulated and remained unpaid. It was then Narendranath decided to convert a dilapidated house at Baranagar into a new 'math' (monastery) for the disciples who still remained during those times. This 'math' became the first building of the Ramakrishna Math.

"At the head of all these laws, in and through every particle of matter and force, stands One through whose command the wind blows, the fire burns, the clouds rain, and death stalks upon the earth. And what is His nature? He is everywhere the pure and formless One, the Almighty and the All Merciful. Thou art our Father. Thou art our beloved Friend."


Extract from a prayer Swami Vivekananda delivered at the Chicago World's Parliament of Religions September 1893.

Narendranath in his younger days showed a very high nature of generosity. However, he used to have a high temper for which his mother used to pour cold water on him and used to make him take the name of Shiva. His disciples saw him as an ascetic who has seen that reality cares nothing for the attraction of lust and gold. Swami Vivekananda showed that the monk who understands the riches of this infinite world cares nothing about joys and treasures of the world, which are just like dust and ashes to him.

During early days, there were times when Swami Vivekananda did not have food so that others in the family may be nourished. In those days, the so-called middle class had to go through many financial constraints. As shared by the author, one morning when Swami Vivekananda woke up, he understood that there is less food in the home. He said to her mother that he has an invitation and he needs to go out. Some days he ate little and some days he kept fast. He couldn't tell these things to anyone outside.

Swami Vivekananda & His Love for Food

Swami ji’s life had hardships but one thing about his belief in God was something which kept him going. Swamiji use to like snacks viz. Kachori, whose main ingredients may be gram flour, moong dal and any other variations. There are various forms of Kachori which are lachedar Kachori, Upwas Kachori etc.

Another Snack which Swamiji used to like was Shingara. This was one of the most liked snacks by any Bengali. There were many other variations of the same like Aloo Phulkopir Shingara, which is simply stuffed with a special mixed rice mixture of potatoes and cauliflower.

Swamiji also used to like Rasgulla, which is a milk based sweet, which is made by curdling milk, draining the whey and kneading the milk solids to make balls. Hot syrup is poured in the container and these balls are cooked in the same till the sweet becomes Spongy.

Swami Vivekananda & His Love for Foods
Photograph of the Book 'Ahare Anahare Vivekananda' by Sankar

In the book the author gave a detailed account of the food habits of Swami Vivekananda, specially when he was in London and the United States of America. In different sections in the book, it was written that Swami Vivekananda loved to cook food and would passionately serve the food for his disciples as well as people who needed food the most. The Bengali dish of Shukto and Mochar Dalna were those which delighted his taste specially made by his mother. Shukto, is one of the most popular kind of a stew and which is packed with a variety of vegetables, most notably potatoes, sweet potatoes, bitter gourd (karela), green bananas (kachkola), raw papaya (pepe), brinjal, drumsticks (shojne)and flat beans (sheem). Although green chillies are not added to traditional Shukto, one may add 2 finely chopped chillies if you prefer a spicy curry. Such was the passion that he once said that he is willing to take birth once again for these dishes.

The author Shankar was born on 7 December 1933 in Jasore District of Bangladesh which is at present Bangaon, which is a city and a municipality in North 24 Parganas district in the state of West Bengal, India. It is the headquarters of the Bangaon subdivision.

After the death of his father, he went through various hardships in life and had to work very hard for a living. This book is an extensive research with facts taken from innumerable sources on the life of Swami Vivekananda. His main focus was to bring to the world the extraordinariness of Swami Vivekananda to the world. This entire book is focused on the personal life of the monk and his thoughts. Later the author became Sheriff of Kolkata.

If you like reading Books on Spiritual Persons and learn about the thoughts of great souls in this world, this book may help you learn many facets of life from one of the greatest monks, Swami Vivekananda.

I read the book and if I have to rate the book on 10 Stars and 10 being the highest, I will give the book 9 stars.

(Please Note: The above are my own personal thoughts based on reading this book. Your views, facts, and opinions after reading the book may differ)

This is all from me in this short article. Hope you have liked my personal thoughts and opinions. Please share your views or comments on the Book Review and Recommendation of the book, 'Aahare Anahare Vivekananda' by Shankar.

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