Whenever Vishwanath Datta found time he would give his son advice.
"You need fear no one so long as you keep to the path of truth and Dharma (Virtue).
One should not be browbeaten. One should guard one's self-respect. Love of one's religion
should not mean hatred of others religions. Patriotism is essential for man's welfare.
Foreign enemies may invade a country, but they cannot take away people's ancient and
potent culture." He loved to listen to his son's sweet voice. Narendra's face would
become radiant when he sang devotional songs.
His mother was dear to Narendra as his own life, and to him she was a veritable
goddess. In his eyes, there was no one as ready to make sacrifices as the mother. She must
have the highest place not only in the home but also in society. He had great respect for
his father too. But this did not come in the way of his freedom and independent thinking.
He gave expression to what he felt even about his father. "Hospitality is certainly a
great virtue. But is it right to feed the lazy? Is it right to provide them with cigarette
and pipe to smoke?" This he would often question his father. But his father would
say, "You do not understand their misery, my boy. When they much tobacco, they at
least for a while forget the bitterness of their life."
By 1880, Narendra passed his Matriculation and Entrance Examination. He joined a
college. Day by day, his thirst for knowledge increased. He would borrow from the library
books not related to the prescribed courses and read them, and so satisfy his thirst. HE
was particularly fascinated by the secrets of God's creation. Apart from history and
science, he was well read in Western philosophy. As he advanced in his studies, his
thinking faculty developed.Doubts anduncertainties overtook him. He gave up blind beliefs
but could not realize the Truth.
He placed his doubts before eminent scholars and sought their guidance. These scholars
excelled in debate. But their logic did not convince Narendra. Their line of thinking was
stale. It did not convince him, for none of them had direct experience of God.