Fiery patriot, social crusader, philosopher or world renouncer-who really was Swami Vivekananda? Appropriated and interpreted in diverse ways, the controversial fi gure of Vivekananda has fascinated and intrigued successive generations. This short, critical biography explores the thought, ideas and work of Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), providing rare insights into the understanding of this complex and multilayered personality. Steering clear of hagiography, the author unravels and celebrates the contradictions and ambiguities of Vivekananda's life and ideas. Accessible and absorbing, this new edition, brought out on the occasion of the Swami's 150th birth anniversary, helps us appreciate why Vivekananda remains relevant today, with a large following in India and abroad.