Sunday, April 30, 2017

Shankaracharya Jayanti

In the Upanishads the arguments are often very obscure. 
By Buddha the moral side of the philosophy was laid stress upon, and by Shankaracharya, the intellectual side. 
He worked out, rationalised, and placed before men the wonderful coherent system of Advaita. …

… In the old Upanishads we find sublime poetry; their authors were poets. … 
They never preached, nor philosophised, nor wrote. Music came out of their hearts. 

In Buddha we had the great, universal heart and universal patience, making religion practical and bringing it to everyone's door. 
In Shankaracharya we saw tremendous intellectual power, throwing the scorching light of reason upon everything. We want today that bright sun of intellectuality joined with the heart of Buddha, the wonderful infinite heart of love and mercy. This union will give us the highest philosophy. 

Science and religion will meet and shake hands. Poetry and philosophy will become friends. This will be the religion of the future, and if we can work it out, we may be sure that it will be for all times and peoples.

                           - Swami Vivekananda, 
                                Jnana-Yoga, London

Friday, April 28, 2017

Working without Motive

Every good thought that we send to the world without thinking of any return, will be stored up there and break one link in the chain, and make us purer and purer, until we become the purest of mortals. 
Yet all this may seem to be rather quixotic and too philosophical, more theoretical than practical. 
I have read many arguments against the Bhagavad-Gita, and many have said that without motives you cannot work. They have never seen unselfish work except under the influence of fanaticism, and, therefore, they speak in that way.

- Swami Vivekananda, 
Karma-Yoga (Classes in New York

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Give up Fruits of Work

"To work you have the right, but not to the fruits thereof." Man can train himself to know and to practise that, says the Karma-Yogi. When the idea of doing good becomes a part of his very being, then he will not seek for any motive outside. Let us do good because it is good to do good; he who does good work even in order to get to heaven binds himself down, says the Karma-Yogi. Any work that is done with any the least selfish motive, instead of making us free, forges one more chain for our feet.
So the only way is to give up all the fruits of work, to be unattached to them. Know that this world is not we, nor are we this world; that we are really not the body; that we really do not work. We are the Self, eternally at rest and at peace.

- Swami Vivekananda, 
Karma-Yoga (Classes in New York) 

Monday, April 24, 2017

And this is Maya

With every breath, every impulse of our heart asks us to be selfish. At the same time, there is some power beyond us which says that it is unselfishness alone which is good. 
Every child is a born optimist; he dreams golden dreams. In youth he becomes still more optimistic. It is hard for a young man to believe that there is such a thing as death, such a thing as defeat or degradation. Old age comes, and life is a mass of ruins. Dreams have vanished into the air, and the man becomes a pessimist. Thus we go from one extreme to another, buffeted by nature, without knowing where we are going. ... ... 
 Then, there is the tremendous fact of death. The whole world is going towards death; everything dies. 
All our progress, our vanities, our reforms, our luxuries, our wealth, our knowledge, have that one end -- death. That is all that is certain. ... ... 
Death is the end of life, of beauty, of wealth, of power, of virtue too. Saints die and sinners die, kings die and beggars die. They are all going to death, and yet this tremendous clinging on to life exists. Somehow, we do not know why, we cling to life; we cannot give it up. 
And this is Maya.

Swami Vivekananda, 
Jnana-Yoga, London

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Karmayogi's Way

Karma-Yoga … is a system of ethics and religion intended to attain freedom through unselfishness, and by good works.

The Karma-Yogi need not believe in any doctrine whatever. He may not believe even in God, may not ask what his soul is, nor think of any metaphysical speculation. He has got his own special aim of realizing selflessness; and he has to work it out himself. 
Every moment of his life must be realization, because he has to solve by mere work, without the help of doctrine or theory, the very same problem to which the Jnani applies his reason and inspiration and the Bhakta his love.

- Swami Vivekananda, 
Karma-Yoga (Classes in New York

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Generalization from Particular

One peculiarity of the Hindu mind is that it always inquires for the last possible generalization, leaving the details to be worked out afterwards. 
The question is raised in the Vedas, "What is that, knowing which, we shall know everything?" Thus, all books, and all philosophies that have been written, have been only to prove that by knowing which everything is known. 
If a man wants to know this universe bit by bit he must know every individual grain of sand, which means infinite time; he cannot know all of them. Then how can knowledge be? 
How is it possible for a man to be all-knowing through particulars? 
The Yogis say that behind this particular manifestation there is a generalization. 
Behind all particular ideas stands a generalized, an abstract principle; grasp it, and you have grasped everything. 
                                                   - Swami Vivekananda, 
                                                   Raja-Yoga (Classes in New York)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Don't Contribute to Your Blows!

We get only that for which we are fitted. Let us give up our pride and understand this, that never is misery undeserved. There never has been a blow undeserved: there never has been an evil for which I did not pave the way with my own hands. We ought to know that. Analyse yourselves and you will find that every blow you have received, came to you because you prepared yourselves for it. You did half, and the external world did the other half: that is how the blow came. That will sober us down. 
At the same time, from this very analysis will come a note of hope, and the note of hope is: "I have no control of the external world, but that which is in me and nearer unto me, my own world, is in my control. If the two together are required to make a failure, if the two together are necessary to give me a blow, I will not contribute the one which is in my keeping; and how then can the blows come? If I get real control of myself, the blow will never come."

    -  Swami Vivekananda, Talk in Los Angeles

Friday, April 7, 2017

Need of Symbols

From time to time, there have been reformers in every religion who have stood against all symbols and rituals. 
But vain has been their opposition, for so long as man will remain as he is, the vast majority will always want something concrete to hold on to, something around which, as it were, to place their ideas, something which will be the center of all the thought-forms in their minds. ...

It is vain to preach against the use of symbols, and why should we preach against them? 
There is no reason why man should not use symbols. They have them in order to represent the ideas signified behind them. 
This universe is a symbol, in and through which we are trying to grasp the thing signified, which is beyond and behind. 

                                 - Swami Vivekananda, 
                                  Talk in New-York