He was born on 2 October 1866 as Kaliprasad Chandra in North Calcutta His father was Rasiklal Chandra and his mother was Nayantara Devi. In 1884, at the age of 18, while studying for the school final examination under the University of Calcutta, he went to Dakshineswar and met Sri Ramakrishna. Thereafter in April 1885, he left home to be with him, during his final illness, first at Shyampukur and then at Cossipur Garden-house near Calcutta.The writings and speeches of Swami Abhedananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, were spread over a long period of spiritual ministration both in America and in India
After his Master's death in 1886, he plunged into intense sadhana (meditations), by shutting himself up in a room at the Baranagarmatha, this gave his the name "Kali Tapaswi" amongst his fellow disciples. After the passing away of Sri Ramakrishna, he formally became a Sanyasi along with Swami Vivekananda and others, and came to be known as "Swami Abhedananda".
For the next ten years, of his life as a monk he travelled extensively throughout India, depending entirely on alms. During this time he met several famous sages like Pavhari Baba, Trailanga Swami and Swami Bhaskaranand. He went to the sources of the Ganges and the Yamuna, and meditated in the Himalayas. He was a forceful orator, prolific writer, yogi and intellectual with devotional fervor.
In 1896, Vivekananda was in London, when he asked Abhedananda to join him, and propagate the message of Vedanta in the West, which he did with great success. He went to USA in 1897, when Vivekananda asked him to take charge of the Vedanta Society in New York, here he preached messages of Vedanta and teachings of his Guru for about 25 years, travelling far and wide to United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Hong Kong. Finally, he returned to India in 1921, after attending the Pan-Pacific Education Conference at Honolulu.
In 1922, he crossed the Himalayas on foot and reached Tibet, where he studied Buddhistic philosophy and Lamaism. In Hemis Monastery, he discovered a manuscript on the lost years of Jesus, which has been incorporated in the book Swami Abhedananda's Journey into Kashmir & Tibet published by the 'Ramakrishna Vedanta Math', Kolkata.
He formed the 'Ramakrishna Vedanta Society' in Kolkata in 1923, which is now known as Ramakrishna Vedanta Math. In 1924, he established Ramakrishna Vedanta Math in Darjeeling in West Bengal. In 1927, he started publishing Visvavani, the monthly magazine from 'Ramakrishna Vedanta Society', which he edited from 1927 to 1938, the magazine is published today as well. In 1936, he presided over the Parliament of Religions at the Town Hall, Kolkata, as a part the Birth Centenary celebrations of Sri Ramakrishna.
He died on 8 September 1939 at Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, he had established at Darjeeling. At the time of his death he was last surviving direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna.
Alambazar Math, 1896 (farewell to Swami Abhedananda leaving for the US)(from left) standing: Swami Adbhutananda, Yogananda, Abhedananda, Trigunatitananda, Turiyananda, Nirmalananda, and Niranjanananda; sitting: Swamis Subodhananda, Brahmananda (on chair), and Akhandananda
Gospel of Ramakrishna, by Swami Abhedananda. Published by The Vedanta Society, 1907. Online version
Vedanta Philosophy; Three Lectures on Spiritual Unfoldment: Three Lectures on Spiritual Unfoldment, by Swami Abhedananda. Published by The Vedanta Society, 1901. Online version
An Apostle of Monism: An Authentic Account of the Activities of Swami Abhedananda in America, by Mary Le Page. Published by Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, 1947.
Swami Abhedananda, the Patriot-saint, by Ashutosh Ghosh. Published by Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, 1967.
Swami Abhedananda centenary celebration, 1966–67: souvenir, containing the most valuable and authentic records of the glorious life of Swami Abhedananda, by Swami Abhedānanda. Published by Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, 1966.
Swami Abhedananda: A Spiritual Biography, by Moni Bagchee. Published by Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, 1968.
The Bases of Indian Culture: Commemoration Volume of Swami Abhedananda, by Amiya Kumer Mazumder, Prajnanananda. Published by Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, 1971.
The Philosophical Ideas of Swami Abhedananda: A Critical Study; a Guide to the Complete Works of Swami Abhedananda, by Prajnanananda. Published by Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, 1971.