Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Sri Ramakrishna Tithi Puja

"When the lotus opens, the bees come of their own accord to seek the honey; so let the lotus of your character be full-blown, and the results will follow." This is a great lesson to learn.

My Master taught me this lesson hundreds of times, yet I often forget it. Few understand the power of thought. If a man goes into a cave, shuts himself in, and thinks one really great thought and dies, that thought will penetrate the walls of that cave, vibrate through space, and at last permeate the whole human race. Such is the power of thought; be in no hurry therefore to give your thoughts to others. First have something to give. He alone teaches who has something to give, for teaching is not talking, teaching is not imparting doctrines, it is communicating. Spirituality can be communicated just as really as I can give you a flower. ...
...Therefore first make character — that is the highest duty you can perform. Know Truth for yourself, and there will be many to whom you can teach it after wards; they will all come. This was the attitude of my Master. He criticized no one. For years I lived with that man, but never did I hear those lips utter one word of condemnation for any sect. He had the same sympathy for all sects; he had found the harmony between them. A man may be intellectual, or devotional, or mystic, or active; the various religions represent one or the other of these types. Yet it is possible to combine all the four in one man, and this is what future humanity is going to do. That was his idea. He condemned no one, but saw the good in all.
                            - Swami Vivekananda, 
                            'My Master' delivered in US and England



Saturday, February 25, 2017

Heart over Intellect

Intellect has been cultured with the result that hundreds of sciences have been discovered, and their effect has been that the few have made slaves of the many -- that is all the good that has been done. Artificial wants have been created; and every poor man, whether he has money or not, desires to have those wants satisfied, and when he cannot, he struggles, and dies in the struggle. This is the result. 
Through the intellect is not the way to solve the problem of misery, but through the heart. If all this vast amount of effort had been spent in making men purer, gentler, more forbearing, this world would have a thousand-fold more happiness than it has today. 
Always cultivate the heart; through the heart the Lord speaks, and through the intellect you yourself speak.

-  Swami Vivekananda, Class-Talk in New York

Friday, February 24, 2017

Mahashivaratri

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THE DANCE OF SHIVA 

  Lo, the God is dancing
-- shiva the all-destroyer and Lord of creation,

   The Master of Yoga and the wielder of Pinaka[Trident].
His flaming locks have filled the sky,

   Seven worlds play the rhythm
As the trembling earth sways almost to dissolution,

   Lo, the Great God Shiva is dancing.

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SHIVA IN ECSTASY

   Shiva is dancing, lost in the ecstasy of Self, 
                     sounding his own cheeks.

   His tabor is playing and the garland of 
skulls is swinging in rhythm.

   The waters of the Ganga are roaring 
among his matted locks.

   The great trident is vomiting fire, and 
the moon on his forehead is fiercely flaming.

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      - Songs by Swami Vivekananda 
               (translated from Bengali)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Universe as God

The man who says, here is this world, and there is no (Personal) God, is a fool; because if there is a world, there will have to be a cause, and that is what is called God. You cannot have an effect without knowing that there is a cause. God will only vanish when this world vanishes; then you will become God (Absolute), and this world will be no longer for you. So long as the dream that you are a body exists, you are bound to see yourself as being born and dying; but as soon as that dream vanishes, so will the dream vanish that you are being born and dying, and so will the other dream that there is a universe vanish. That very thing which we now see as the universe will appear to us as God (Absolute), and that very God who has so long been external will appear to be internal, as our own Self.

-   Swami Vivekananda, Class-Talk in New York

Friday, February 17, 2017

"I am, I am"

Bodies and minds change; misery, happiness, good and evil come and go; days and years roll on; 
            life comes and goes; but He dies not. 
The same voice, "I am, I am," is eternal, unchangeable. 
    In Him and through Him we know everything. 
         In Him and through Him we see everything. 
In Him and through Him we sense, we think, we live, and we are.   And that "I," which we mistake to be a little "I," 
limited, is not only my "I," but yours, the "I" of everyone, of the animals, of the angels, of the lowest of the low. 

That "I am" is the same in the murderer as in the saint, 
                the same in the rich as in the poor, the same in man 
                    as in woman, the same in man as in animals. 
From the lowest amoeba to the highest angel, He resides in  
   every soul, and eternally declares, "I am He, I am He." 

When we have understood that voice eternally present there, when we have learnt this lesson, 
the whole universe will have expressed its secret. 

Nature will have given up her secret to us. Nothing more remains to be known. 
Thus we find the truth for which all religions search, that all this knowledge of material sciences is but secondary. 
That is the only true knowledge which makes us one with this Universal God of the Universe. 

                                  - Swami Vivekananda, 
                                   Lecture in England





Friday, February 10, 2017

Books and Religion

Books cannot teach God, but they can destroy ignorance; their action is negative. 
To hold to the books and at the same time open the way to freedom is Shankara's great achievement. 
But after all, it is a kind of hair-splitting. Give man first the concrete, then raise him to the highest by slow degrees. 
This is the effort of the various religions and explains their existence and why each is suited to some stage of development. 
The very books are a part of the ignorance they help to dispel. Their duty is to drive out the ignorance that has come upon knowledge. 
"Truth shall drive out untruth." You are free and cannot be made so. So long as you have a creed, you have no God. 
"He who knows he knows, knows nothing." Who can know the Knower? 
There are two eternal facts in existence, God and the universe, the former unchangeable, the latter changeable. 
The world exists eternally. Where your mind cannot grasp the amount of change, you call it eternally. . . .
 You see the stone or the bas - relief on it, but not both at once; yet both are one.
                          - Swami Vivekananda

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Work and Worship for Advaita

Work and worship ... are necessary to take away the veil, to lift off the bondage and illusion. They do not give us freedom; but all the same, without effort on our own part we do not open our eyes and see what we are.
Shankara says ... that Advaita-Vedanta is the crowning glory of the Vedas; but the lower Vedas are also necessary, because they teach work and worship, and through these many come to the Lord. Others may come without any help but Advaita.
Work and worship lead to the same result as Advaita.
-Swami Vivekananda