Monday, April 23, 2018

Let Men Think

… it is better that mankind should become atheist by following reason than blindly believe in two hundred millions of gods on the authority of anybody. 

What we want is progress, development, realisation. 
No theories ever made men higher. 
No amount of books can help us to become purer. 

The only power is in realisation, and that lies in ourselves and comes from thinking. Let men think. 
A clod of earth never thinks; but it remains only a lump of earth. 

The glory of man is that he is a thinking being. It is the nature of man to think and therein he differs from animals. 

             - Swami Vivekananda, 
                 Practical Vedanta III, London

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ramanujacharya Jayanti

Shankara, with his great intellect, I am afraid, had not as great a heart. 
Ramanuja's heart was greater. 
He felt for the downtrodden, he sympathised with them. 
He took up the ceremonies, the accretions that had gathered, made them pure so far as they could be, and instituted new ceremonies, new methods of worship, for the people who absolutely required them. 
At the same time he opened the door to the highest spiritual worship from the Brahmin to the Pariah. 
That was Ramanuja's work. 

                        - Swami Vivekananda, 
                               Address at Madras, 
                                  Lectures From Colombo to Almora

All is Mythology!

These spheres and devils and gods and reincarnations and transmigrations are all mythology; so also is this human life. 
The great mistake that men always make is to think that this life alone is true. They understand it well enough when other things are called mythologies, but are never willing to admit the same of their own position. 
The whole thing as it appears is mere mythology, and the greatest of all lies is that we are bodies, which we never were nor ever can be. 
                          - Swami Vivekananda, 
                            Jnana-Yoga, New York

Friday, April 20, 2018

Shankaracharya Jayanti

                (Translation by Swami Vivekananda of a poem 
                     by Sri Shankaracharya)
              I am neither the mind, nor the intellect, 
                        nor the ego, nor the mind - stuff;
             I am neither the body, nor the changes of the body;
             I am neither the senses of hearing, taste, smell, 
                          or sight,
             Nor am I the ether, the earth, the fire, the air;

             I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, 
                           Bliss Absolute --
            I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham).

            I am neither the Prana, nor the five vital airs;
            I am neither the materials of the body, 
                           nor the five sheaths;
            Neither am I the organs of action, 
                          nor object of the senses;
            I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, 
                            Bliss Absolute --
            I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham).

            I have neither aversion nor attachment, 
                        neither greed nor delusion;
            Neither egotism nor envy, neither 
                         Dharma nor Moksha;
            I am neither desire nor objects of desire;
I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, 
                Bliss Absolute --
         I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham).

         I am neither sin nor virtue, neither pleasure nor pain;
              Nor temple nor worship, 
              nor pilgrimage nor scriptures,
        Neither the act of enjoying, 
               the enjoyable nor the enjoyer;

I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, 
            Bliss Absolute --
        I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham).

        I have neither death nor fear of death, nor caste;
        Nor was I ever born, nor had I parents, 
                   friends, and relations;
        I have neither Guru, nor disciple;
I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, 
               Bliss Absolute --
        I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham).

        I am untouched by the senses, 
        I am neither Mukti nor knowable;
        I am without form, without limit, 
              beyond space, beyond time;
        I am in everything; I am the basis of the universe;
                 everywhere am I.

        I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, 
                   Bliss Absolute --
       I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham).

Best Attitude For Work

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I Am Life Itself

The idea that you are Mr. So-and-so can never be true; 
it is a day-dream. Know this and be free. 

This is the Advaita conclusion. 

"I am neither the body, nor the organs, nor am I the mind; 
I am Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss absolute; I am He." 

This is true knowledge; all reason and intellect, and everything else is ignorance. 
Where is knowledge for me, for I am knowledge itself! 
Where is life for me, for I am life itself! 
I am sure I live, for I am life, the One Being, and nothing exists except through me, and in me, and as me. I am manifested through the elements, but I am the free One. 

                  - Swami Vivekananda, 
                    Talk in New York

Monday, April 16, 2018

Great Hinduism

Here I find a quotation from a speech by Sir Monier Williams, professor of Sanskrit in the Oxford University. It is very strange as coming from one who every day expects to see the whole of India converted to Christianity. 

"And yet it is a remarkable characteristic of Hinduism that it neither requires nor attempts to make converts. Nor is it at present by any means decreasing in numbers, nor is it being driven out of the field by two such proselytizing religions as Mahomedanism [sic] and Christianity. On the contrary, it is at present rapidly increasing. And far more remarkable than this is that, it is all receptive, all embracing and all comprehensive. It claims to be the one religion of humanity, of human nature, of the entire world. It cares not to oppose the progress of Christianity nor of any other religion. For it has no difficulty in including all other religions within its all embracing arms and ever widening fold. And in real fact Hinduism has something to offer which is suited to all minds. Its very strength lies in its infinite adaptability to the infinite diversity of human characters and human tendencies. It has its highly spiritual and abstract side suited to the philosophical higher classes. Its practical and concrete side suited to the man of affairs and the man of the world. Its aesthetic and ceremonial side suited to the man of poetic feeling and imagination. Its quiescent and contemplative side suited to the man of peace and lover of seclusion.

"Indeed, the Hindus were Spinozists 2,000 years before the birth of Spinoza, Darwinians centuries before the birth of Darwin, and evolutionists centuries before the doctrine of evolution had been accepted by the Huxleys of our time, and before any word like evolution existed in any language of the world."

This, as coming from one of the staunchest defenders of Christianity, is wonderful indeed. But he seems to have got the idea quite correct. 

                               - Swami Vivekananda, 
                                 in a Letter to Mrs G W Hale from New York (July 1894)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Essential Goodness

Of this I am certain that not one aspiration, well-guided or ill-guided in my life, has been in vain, but that I am the resultant of all my past, both good and evil. 
I have committed many mistakes in my life; but mark you, 
I am sure of this that without every one of those mistakes 
I should not be what I am today, and so am quite satisfied to have made them. 

I do not mean that you are to go home and willfully commit mistakes; do not misunderstand me in that way. 
But do not mope because of the mistakes you have committed, but know that in the end all will come out straight. 

It cannot be otherwise, because goodness is our nature, purity is our nature, and that nature can never be destroyed. Our essential nature always remains the same. 
                - Swami Vivekananda, 
                 Practical Vedanta IV, London

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Oneness Of Everything

You must always remember that the one central ideal of Vedanta is this oneness. 
There are no two in anything, no two lives, nor even two different kinds of life for the two worlds. … … 
Everything is that One, the difference is in degree and not in kind. 

The Vedanta entirely denies such ideas as that animals are separate from men, and that they were made and created by God to be used for our food. …
 If man's life is immortal, so also is the animal's. The difference is only in degree and not in kind. The amoeba and I are the same, the difference is only in degree; and from the standpoint of the highest life, all these differences vanish.

Swami Vivekananda, 
  Practical Vedanta I, London

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Free Will?

Man is really free, the real man cannot but be free. 
It is when he comes into the world of Maya, into name and form, that he becomes bound. 

Free will is a misnomer. 
Will can never be free. 

How can it be? It is only when the real man has become bound that his will comes into existence, and not before. 
The will of man is bound, but that which is the foundation of that will is eternally free. 
So, even in the state of bondage which we call human life or god-life, on earth or in heaven, there yet remains to us that recollection of the freedom which is ours by divine right. 

- Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, New York

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Good is Nearer Self than Evil

Though evil and good are both conditioned manifestations of the soul, yet evil is the most external coating, and good is the nearer coating of the real man, the Self. 
And unless a man cuts through the layer of evil he cannot reach the layer of good, and unless he has passed through both the layers of good and evil he cannot reach the Self. 

He who reaches the Self, what remains attached to him? 
A little Karma, a little bit of the momentum of past life, 
but it is all good momentum. 
Until the bad momentum is entirely worked out and past impurities are entirely burnt, it is impossible for any man to see and realise truth. 

                 - Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, New York

Friday, April 6, 2018

From Lower Truth to Higher Truth

This is one of the great points to be remembered, that those who worship God through ceremonials and forms, however crude we may think them to be, are not in error. 

It is the journey from truth to truth, from lower truth to higher truth. 
Darkness is less light; evil is less good; impurity is less purity. 
It must always be borne in mind that we should see others with eyes of love, with sympathy, knowing that they are going along the same path that we have trodden. 

If you are free, you must know that all will be so sooner or later, and if you are free, how can you see the impermanent? If you are really pure, how do you see the impure?

Swami Vivekananda, Practical Vedanta II, London

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

No More Exclusiveness for Advaita

For various reasons, such as the exclusiveness of the teachers and foreign conquest, those thoughts were not allowed to spread. Yet they are grand truths; and wherever they have been working, man has become divine. 
… …and the time is coming when these thoughts will be cast abroad over the whole world. 

Instead of living in monasteries, instead of being confined to books of philosophy to be studied only by the learned, instead of being the exclusive possession of sects and of a few of the learned, they will all be sown broadcast over the whole world, so that they may become the common property of the saint and the sinner, of men and women and children, of the learned and of the ignorant. 
They will then permeate the atmosphere of the world, and the very air that we breathe will say with every one of its pulsations, "Thou art That". 
And the whole universe with its myriads of suns and moons, through everything that speaks, with one voice will say, "Thou art That". 

              - Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, New York

Monday, April 2, 2018

Three Steps of Indian Philosophy

These are the salient points of the three steps which 
Indian religious thought has taken in regard to God. 

We have seen that it began with the Personal, the extra - cosmic God. 
It went from the external to the internal cosmic body, 
God immanent in the universe, and ended in 
identifying the soul itself with that God, and 
making one Soul, a unit of all these various manifestations in the universe. 

This is the last word of the Vedas. 
It begins with dualism, goes through a qualified monism and ends in perfect monism. 

   - Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, US

Friday, March 30, 2018

Little I Never Existed!

… man, after this vain search after various gods outside himself, completes the circle, and 
comes back to the point from which he started -- the human soul, and 
he finds that the God whom he was searching in hill and dale, whom he was seeking in every brook, in every temple, in churches and heavens, that God whom he was even imagining as sitting in heaven and ruling the world, 
is his own Self. 

I am He, and He is I. 
None but I was God, and this little I never existed. 

           - Swami Vivekananda, 
                 Jnana-Yoga, US

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Souls From Animal Bodies

People in this country think it too horrible that man should come up from an animal. 
What will be the end of these millions of animals? 
Are they nothing? If we have a soul, so have they, and if they have none, neither have we. It is absurd to say that man alone has a soul, and the animals none. 
I have seen men worse than animals.

The human soul has sojourned in lower and higher forms, migrating from one to another, according to the Samskaras or impressions, but it is only in the highest form as man that it attains to freedom.

- Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, US

Monday, March 26, 2018

Condemn None

Condemn none; if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so.
If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brother, and let them go their own way. 
Dragging down and condemning is not the way to work.
Never is work accomplished in that way. 

We spend our energies in condemning others. 
Criticism and condemnation is a vain way of spending our energies, for in the long run we come to learn that all are seeing the same thing, are more or less approaching the same ideal, and that most of our differences are merely differences of expression.
- Swami Vivekananda, 
   Practical Vedanta I, London

Friday, March 23, 2018

Do Not Injure

The Advaitist or the qualified Advaitist does not say that dualism is wrong; it is a right view, but a lower one. 
It is on the way to truth; therefore let everybody work out his own vision of this universe, according to his own ideas. 

Injure none, deny the position of none; take man where he stands and, if you can, lend him a helping hand and put him on a higher platform, but do not injure and do not destroy. All will come to truth in the long run. 

"When all the desires of the heart will be vanquished, then this very mortal will become immortal"-- then the very man will become God.
- Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, US

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Vast Mass of Superstition

Any new thought, especially of a high kind, creates a disturbance, tries to make a new channel, as it were, in the brain matter, and that unhinges the system, throws men off their balance. 
They are used to certain surroundings, and have to overcome a huge mass of ancient superstitions, ancestral superstition, class superstition, city superstition, country superstition, and behind all, the vast mass of superstition that is innate in every human being.

Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, US

Monday, March 19, 2018

Religion Without Devil

There are people in this country who, if I told them there was no such being as the devil, will think all religion is gone. Many people have said to me, how can there be religion without a devil? 

How can there be religion without someone to direct us? How can we live without being ruled by somebody? 

We like to be so treated, because we have become used to it. We are not happy until we feel we have been reprimanded by somebody every day. 
The same superstition! 

                - Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, London

Friday, March 16, 2018

Vain Imaginations

The whole of this universe is one Unity, one Existence, physically, mentally, morally and spiritually.

We are looking upon this one Existence in different forms and creating all these images upon It. To the being who has limited himself to the condition of man, It appears as the world of man. To the being who is on a higher plane of existence, It may seem like heaven.

There is but one Soul in the universe, not two. It neither comes nor goes. It is neither born, nor dies, nor reincarnates. How can It die? Where can It go? 
All these heavens, all these earths, and all these places are vain imaginations of the mind. They do not exist, never existed in the past, and never will exist in the future.
        - Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, US

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Back to Equilibrium

To go back to Brahman from which we have been projected is the great struggle of life. 
Whether people know it or not does not matter. 

In the universe, whatever we see of motion, or struggles in mineral or plants or animals is an effort to come back to the centre and be at rest. 
There was an equilibrium, and that has been destroyed; and all parts and atoms and molecules are struggling to find their lost equilibrium again. 

In this struggle they are combining and re-forming, giving rise to all the wonderful phenomena of nature. All struggles and competitions in animal life, plant life, and everywhere else, all social struggles and wars are but expressions of that eternal struggle to get back to that equilibrium.

            - Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga

Monday, March 12, 2018

You are the Creator of Your Own Destiny

… blame none for your own faults, stand upon your own feet, and take the whole responsibility upon yourselves. 
Say, "This misery that I am suffering is of my own doing, and that very thing proves that it will have to be undone by me alone." 

That which I created, I can demolish; that which is created by some one else I shall never be able to destroy. 

Therefore, stand up, be bold, be strong. 
Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, 
and know that you are the creator of your own destiny.

Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, New-York