Who (or what) was Swami Vivekananda in his previous births?

This answer to Why don't we remember our past lives? says:

Swami Vivekananda said he remembered all his past lives. Patanjali says in the Yoga Aphorisms that a man who attains samadhi is able to know all his past lives.

If Vivekananda wrote at length on several topics, why was he silent about his past lives?

What's the harm in writing about ones previous births?

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    Because there is no point dwelling on past lives. Present is what matters, Arise, Awake and stop not till the goal is reached.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 18:55
  • @ChinmaySarupria 'no point dwelling on past lives' - is that so? Ironically, Vivekananda himself lectured on the story of Jada Bharata from the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 19:01
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    In the Complete Works a boyhood friend of his asks the Swami this question. He answered that he knew his past lives, but choose not to speak of them. Volume 5. Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 5:17
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    @sv. Other than satisfying an idle curiosity of your brain, what is your point? Commented May 1, 2017 at 4:23
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    Although I've read most of the text in the complete Volume series, I am not going to cite much about what Vivekananda said or did. To me (yes, very subjective), people like Vivekananda for sure could not have thought in the short term. People of his caliber would have clearly known all the consequences of telling the world about their previous births. Even if he had revealed about it, there is no way to prove that it could be right or wrong. He might have also thought spending energy to convince people about this could be used elsewhere like Giving a lecture on Gita or abt buddha's life.
    – bragboy
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 11:23

1 Answer 1


The Life of Swami Vivekananda by his Eastern and Western disciples - Vol 1

pag 46 of book (57 on pdf), final of 1st paragraph

Thus he went on amid sobs. The next moment he stood before me with folded hands and began to address me, ‘Lord, I know you are that ancient sage, Nara—the Incarnation of Narayana—born on earth to remove the miseries of mankind,' and so on!

So, Sri Ramakrishna recognize him as Nara in his previous life (from Nara-Narayana twins), you can read about them on this question from Keshav Srinivasan on this forum

After that (Swamiji being Nara himself), you can keep tracking some lives

About why was he silent about his past lives? I don't know, it will be a conjecture. Some gurus say is not good to speak about one own spiritual progress, but I have not quotation, I'm pretty sure Rakhal (Swami Brahmananda) say something like this in a book titled "The eternal companion" but I can't find it now.

I believe his sayings was about some experience he attain as a boy, and his own mother tell him not to speak about that because he can "diluted" it and finally loose it, and Sri Ramakrishna confirming that. But not quotation for now.

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    Means Arjuna reincarnated as Swami Vivekananda? 😮 Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 4:14
  • @Rajas. Yes but many monks in RKM have also seen Swamiji as Shiva. They are also many who believe He was one of the Saptarishis.
    – user9969
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 15:01
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    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury in same link share up but now on page 50 (61 on pdf) 3rd paragraph, Sri Ramakrishna tells how Swamiji is one of 7 sages. And (later I can search the text, but in Romain Rolland's The Life of Ramakrishna, Mathur Babu look at Ramakrishna transfigured into Shiva, and Kali, and other Devas
    – Indra
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 16:36
  • @Rajas. yes, that's the meaning. And also there is a quotation I have to search later, of Sri Ramakrishna saying to Swamiji, he himself (Sri Ramakrishna) is avatar. Imagine why Swamiji choose not to speak about his previuos lives ;)
    – Indra
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 16:38
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    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury yes, good point. So, as Rama is another incarnation of same krishna,vishnu,narayana rishi, Sri Ramakrishna should be Narayana, and according to post, Swamiji Nara, which is actually the believe. Om Sri Ramakrishnaya Namaha!!
    – Indra
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 17:09

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