23 October 2014

Swami Vivekananda And The Monkey Chasing Incident


Once, probably in 18881 Swami Vivekananda2 was staying in Varanasi. One day, he was returning after visiting a temple and a troop of monkeys started chasing him. To save himself Swamiji started running. The monkeys also chased him aggressively.
Suddenly a stranger came in front of Swamiji, he witnessed the scene and called out—
Stop. Don't run. Face the brutes.
Vivekananda heard it, turned back and stared at them boldly. The monkeys got confused, they stopped harassing him and went away.


Indian mokey
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Swami Vivekananda himself mentioned about this incidence in one of his lecture. Here is what he recalled—[Source]
Once when I was in Varanasi, I was passing through a place where there was a large tank of water on one side and a high wall on the other. It was in the grounds where there were many monkeys. The monkeys of Varanasi are huge brutes and are sometimes surly. They now took it into their heads not to allow me to pass through their street, so they howled and shrieked and clutched at my feet as I passed. As they pressed closer, I began to run, but the faster I ran, the faster came the monkeys and they began to bite at me. It seemed impossible to escape, but just then I met a stranger who called out to me, "Face the brutes." I turned and faced the monkeys, and they fell back and finally fled. That is a lesson for all life — face the terrible, face it boldly. Like the monkeys, the hardships of life fall back when we cease to flee before them. If we are ever to gain freedom, it must be by conquering nature, never by running away. Cowards never win victories. We have to fight fear and troubles and ignorance if we expect them to flee before us.


  1. It was most probably first half of 1888, although Swami Vivekananda visited Bodh Gaya and Varanasi in January-February 1902 to recover health.
  2. In 1888 he was known as Narendranath Datta, see this article to learn when and how he was named Swami Vivekananda


  • Dr.sanjeev Kumar. Stop Not Till the Goal is Reached. Pustak Mahal. pp. 13–. ISBN 978-81-223-1170-9.

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This page was last updated on: 23 October 2014, 5:19 am IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
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  1. Sir your website is wonderful, great no words for it,
    You are serving Thakur Maa Swamiji in very great manner.

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