Saturday, December 30, 2017

Dual Nature of Things

The Vedanta philosophy is neither optimistic nor pessimistic. 
It voices both these views and takes things as they are. 
It admits that this world is a mixture of good and evil, happiness and misery, and that to increase the one, one must of necessity increase the other. 

There will never be a perfectly good or bad world, because the very idea is a contradiction in terms. The great secret revealed by this analysis is that good and bad are not two cut-and-dried, separate existences. There is not one thing in this world of ours which you can label as good and good alone, and there is not one thing in the universe which you can label as bad and bad alone. 

The very same phenomenon which is appearing to be good now, may appear to be bad tomorrow. The same thing which is producing misery in one, may produce happiness in another.
- Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, London

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Different Language Expressions

The difference between the language of the highest philosophers and the utterances of babies is one of degree and not of kind. 
What you call the most correct, systematic, mathematical language of the present time, and the hazy, mystical, mythological languages of the ancients, differ only in degree. 

All of them have a grand idea behind, which is, as it were, struggling to express itself; and often behind these ancient mythologies are nuggets of truth; and often, I am sorry to say, behind the fine, polished phrases of the moderns is arrant trash. 

                    - Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, London

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Ancient Superstition and Modern Superstition

If people should laugh at religion because most religions declare that men must believe in mythologies taught by such and such a prophet, they ought to laugh more at these moderns. 
In modern times, if a man quotes a Moses or a Buddha or a Christ, he is laughed at; but let him give the name of a Huxley, a Tyndall, or a Darwin, and it is swallowed without salt. "Huxley has said it", that is enough for many. 
We are free from superstitions indeed! 

That was a religious superstition, and this is a scientific superstition; only, in and through that superstition came life - giving ideas of spirituality; in and through this modern superstition come lust and greed. 

               - Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, London

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve

If I, as an Oriental, have to worship Jesus of Nazareth, there is only one way left to me, that is, to worship him as God and nothing else. 
Have we no right to worship him in that way, do you mean to say? 
If we bring him down to our own level and simply pay him a little respect as a great man, why should we worship at all? 

Our scriptures say, "These great children of Light, who manifest the Light themselves, who are Light themselves, they, being worshipped, become, as it were, one with us and 
we become one with them."

  - Swami Vivekananda in his sublime talk on 
    ‘Christ, The Messenger’ at Los Angles, California (1900)

Friday, December 22, 2017

Religion - Real and Living

The power of religion, broadened and purified, is going to penetrate every part of human life. 
So long as religion was in the hands of a chosen few or 
of a body of priests, it was in temples, churches, books, dogmas, ceremonials, forms, and rituals. 
But when we come to the real, spiritual, universal concept, then, and then alone, religion will become real and living; 
it will come into our very nature, live in our every movement, penetrate every pore of our society, and be infinitely more a power for good than it has ever been before.

Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, London

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Happiness in Spirit only

Happiness is only found in the Spirit. Therefore the highest utility for mankind is to find this happiness in the Spirit. … 

As soon as I think that I am a little body, I want to preserve it, to protect it, to keep it nice, at the expense of other bodies; then you and I become separate. 
As soon as this idea of separation comes, it opens the door to all mischief and leads to all misery. 

This is the utility that if a very small fractional part of human beings living today can put aside the idea of selfishness, narrowness, and littleness, this earth will become a paradise tomorrow; but with machines and improvements of material knowledge only, it will never be. 
                             - Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, London

Monday, December 18, 2017

Love - Motive Power in the Universe

What manifests itself as attraction in the sentient and the insentient, in the particular and in the universal, is the love of God. 
It is the one motive power that is in the universe. 

Under the impetus of that love, Christ gives his life for humanity, Buddha even for an animal, the mother for the child, the husband for the wife. 
It is under the impetus of the same love that men are ready to give up their lives for their country, and strange to say, under the impetus of the same love, the thief steals, the murderer murders. 
Even in these cases, the spirit is the same, but the manifestation is different. This is the one motive power in the universe.
Swami Vivekananda, Talk in New York

Friday, December 15, 2017

Love, Lover, and Beloved Are One

We always begin as dualists. God is a separate Being, and I am a separate being. 
Love comes between, and man begins to approach God, and God, as it were, begins to approach man. 
Man takes up all the various relationships of life, as father, mother, friend, or lover; and the last point is reached when he becomes one with the object of worship. 

"I am you, and you are I; and worshipping you, I worship myself; and in worshipping myself, I worship you." 
There we find the highest culmination of that with which man begins. … … 

That God who at first was a Being somewhere, became resolved, as it were, into Infinite Love. 
Man himself was also transformed. He was approaching God, he was throwing off the vain desires, of which he was full before. 
With desires vanished selfishness, and, at the apex, he found that Love, Lover, and Beloved were One. 

                                     - Swami Vivekananda, Talk in New York

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Religion - The Manifestation of Vast Organism called Humanity

We should get beyond the prattle of men who think that religion is merely a mass of frothy words, that 
it is only a system of doctrines; 
to whom religion is only a little intellectual assent or dissent; to whom religion is believing in certain words which their own priests tell them; 
to whom religion is something which their forefathers believed; 
to whom religion is a certain form of ideas and superstitions to which they cling because they are their national superstitions. 

We should get beyond all these and look at humanity as one vast organism, slowly coming towards light -- a wonderful plant, slowly unfolding itself to that wonderful truth which is called God -- and the first gyrations, the first motions, towards this are always through matter and through ritual. 

                                - Swami Vivekananda, Talk in New York

Monday, December 11, 2017

Common Points in All Religions

… we find that in almost every religion these are the three primary things which we have in the worship of God -- 
forms or symbols, names, God-men. 
All religions have these, but you find that they want to fight with each other. 
One says, "My name is the only name; my form is the only form; and my God-men are the only God-men in the world; yours are simply myths." … … 

This idea is not limited to any religion, nation, or class of persons; people are always thinking that the only right thing to be done by others is what they themselves are doing. 

And it is here that the study of different religions helps us. 
It shows us that the same thoughts that we have been calling ours, and ours alone, were present hundreds of years ago in others, and sometimes even in a better form of expression than our own.
                  - Swami Vivekananda, Talk in New York

Friday, December 8, 2017

Many Sciences Originated From India

There is no end to the power a man can obtain. This is the peculiarity of the Indian mind, that when anything interests it, it gets absorbed in it and other things are neglected. 

You know how many sciences had their origin in India. Mathematics began there. You are even today counting 1, 2, 3, etc. to zero, after Sanskrit figures, and you all know that algebra also originated in India, and that gravitation was known to the Indian thousands of years before Newton was born.

Swami Vivekananda, Talk in Los Angeles

Thursday, December 7, 2017

God in Good and Evil

It is not so easy to be good. What are you but mere machines until you are free? 
Should you be proud because you are good? Certainly not. 
You are good because you cannot help it. 
Another is bad because he cannot help it. If you were in his position, who knows what you would have been. 

The woman in the street, or the thief in the jail, is the Christ that is being sacrificed that you may be a good man. 
Such is the law of balance. 

All the thieves and the murderers, all the unjust, the weakest, the wickedest, the devils, they are all my Christ! 

I owe a worship to the God Christ and to the demon Christ! That is my doctrine, I cannot help it. 
My salutation goes to the feet of the good, the saintly, and to the feet of the wicked and the devilish!

Swami Vivekananda, Talk in Los Angeles

Monday, December 4, 2017

Secret of Success - Unselfishness

The great secret of true success, of true happiness, then, is this: the man who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish man, is the most successful. 

It seems to be a paradox. 

Do we not know that every man who is unselfish in life gets cheated, gets hurt? 
Apparently, yes. 
"Christ was unselfish, and yet he was crucified." 

True, but we know that his unselfishness is the reason, 
the cause of a great victory -- the crowning of millions upon millions of lives with the blessings of true success.

           - Swami Vivekananda, Talk in Los Angeles

Friday, December 1, 2017

Born Idolaters

We are all born idolaters, and idolatry is good, because it is in the nature of man. Who can get beyond it? Only the perfect man, the God-man. The rest are all idolaters. 

So long as we see this universe before us, with its forms and shapes, we are all idolaters. This is a gigantic symbol we are worshiping. He who says he is the body is a born idolater. 

We are spirit, spirit that has no form or shape, spirit that is infinite, and not matter. Therefore, anyone who cannot grasp the abstract, who cannot think of himself as he is, except in and through matter, as the body, is an idolater. 
And yet how people fight among themselves, calling one another idolaters! In other words, each says, his idol is right, and the others' are wrong.

- Swami Vivekananda, Talk in New York