Wikipedia says:

On 4 July 1902 (the day of his death) Vivekananda awoke early, went to the monastery at Belur Math and meditated for three hours. He taught Shukla-Yajur-Veda, Sanskrit grammar and the philosophy of yoga to pupils, later discussing with colleagues a planned Vedic college in the Ramakrishna Math. At 7:00 p.m. Vivekananda went to his room, asking not to be disturbed; he died at 9:20 p.m. while meditating.

According to his disciples, Vivekananda attained mahasamādhi; the rupture of a blood vessel in his brain was reported as a possible cause of death. His disciples believed that the rupture was due to his brahmarandhra (an opening in the crown of his head) being pierced when he attained mahasamādhi.

This article however says:

The fateful evening of July 4, 1902, Vivekananda passed away following a third heart attack, completing 39 years, five months and 24 days.

I don't understand how one can one plan a heart attack on oneself. Is this possible through yoga?

Did Vivekananda have a history of heart problems?

Why do we have two different accounts of Vivekananda's death? What's the true story?

  • Don't have references off hand now hence the comment, Yogis can do that, happens all the time in Jain and Buddhist traditions as well. Raghupati yogi couple of decades backs induced a dozen "heart attacks" in a span of few hours before he decided to "leave" the body. He was from "Shastanga" yoga tradition which needs initiation by a "Guru"
    – Akhil
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 20:09
  • yogis can choose when to die. they don't plan a 'heart attack'. they plan to separate the prana from the body through yoga. a symptom of that is the heart-stopping. if you have ever forcefully held your breath for a long time (2+ minutes), you'll feel an agony sensation near your groin (where the muladhara chakra sits) - because that is where prana starts to leave the body. if you learn to control it, you can make it rise upwards and make it leave through one of the 7 chakras.
    – ram
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 5:37
  • 2
    Perhaps one must concentrate on how he lived!! Commented May 5, 2018 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


There is a detailed chronology of the last day of Swami Vivekananda in the Bengali Best Seller 'Achena Ajana Vivekananda' by Sankar.

9:00 pm: The Swami was lying face up.He turned on his left side. For a few second his right hand shook slightly. There were beads of perspiration on his forehead. Then he began to cry like a baby.

9:02-9:10 pm: He exhaled a deep breath. He remained still for 2 minutes and then he again exhaled a deep breadth. His head shook and then fell off from the pillow. His eyes became still and an unearthly glow began to emit from his smiling face.

9:30 pm: Everyone came running in thinking that the Swami has enetered Samadhi. Swami Bodhananda checked the pulse and then began crying. One person told someone to immediately bring Dr. Mahendra Majumdar to the Belur Math. Swamis Premananda and Nischayananda started to recite Ramakrishna's name in the Swami's ears to bring him down from Samadhi.

10:30 pm: Dr. Majumdar, Swamis Brahmananda and Saradananda came almost at the same time to Belur Math. Baikuntha Sanyal also came. Dr. Majumdar examined the body and saw the heart has stopped. He tried to artificially stimulate the heart.

12:am: Dr. Majumdar informed the inmates that the Swamiji has passed away. His diagnosis was that stoppage of the heart caused the death of the Swami.

Vivekananda lived 39 years 5 months and 24 days. He has kept his word since he had told his intimates that he will not see 40.

About 3 months before his death (28 March 1902) the Swami told his disciple Nivedita that 'he has given everything that he could give. Now he will have to go'.

Two days before his death he told his intimates that the spiritual power in Belur will create a powerful movement for 1500 years.

Three days before his death (1st July 1902) while walking the grounds of the Belur Math the Swami showed his disciples a spot on the bank of the Ganga and told them to cremate his body there.

My free translation of Achena Ajana Vivekananda by Sankar.

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