the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing
Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century.
He is perhaps best known for his speech which began,
"Sisters and brothers ofAmerica ...," in which he introduced Hinduism at the
towards spirituality. He was influenced by his guru, Ramakrishna, from whom he learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self; therefore, service to God could be rendered by service to mankind. After Ramakrishna's death, Vivekananda toured the Indian subcontinent extensively and acquired first-hand knowledge of the conditions prevailing in British India. Vivekananda conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating tenets of Hindu philosophy in the United States, England and Europe. In India, Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint and his birthday is celebrated there as National Youth Day.