Friday, December 14, 2018

Lack of Faith

We have lost faith. Would you believe me, we have less faith than the Englishman and woman -- a thousand times less faith! 
These are plain words; but I say these, I cannot help it. 
Don't you see how Englishmen and women, when they catch our ideals, become mad as it were; and although they are the ruling class, they come to India to preach our own religion notwithstanding the jeers and ridicule of their own countrymen? 

How many of you could do that? And why cannot you do that? 
Do you not know it? You know more than they do; you are more wise than is good for you, that is your difficulty! 
Simply because your blood is only like water, your brain is sloughing, your body is weak! You must change the body. Physical weakness is the cause and nothing else. 

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sin for Householders

Heroes only enjoy the world. 
Show your heroism; apply, according to circumstances, the fourfold political maxims of conciliation, bribery, sowing dissensions, and open war, to win over your adversary and enjoy the world -- then you will be Dharmika (righteous). 
Otherwise, you live a disgraceful life if you pocket your insults when you are kicked and trodden down by anyone who takes it into his head to do so; 
your life is a veritable hell here, and so is the life hereafter. 

This is what the Shastras say. 
Do your Svadharma -- this is truth, the truth of truths. 
This is my advice to you, my beloved co-religionists. 
Of course, do not do any wrong, do not injure or tyrannise over anyone, but try to do good to others as much as you can. 
But passively to submit to wrong done by others is a sin -- with the householder. 

                    - Swami Vivekananda, 
                        The East and The West 

Monday, December 10, 2018

National Ship for Souls!

Why should you feel ashamed to take the name of Hindu, which is your greatest and most glorious possession? 

This national ship of ours, ye children of the Immortals, my countrymen, has been plying for ages, carrying civilisation and enriching the whole world with its inestimable treasures. 
For scores of shining centuries this national ship of ours has been ferrying across the ocean of life, and has taken millions of souls to the other shore, beyond all misery. 
But today it may have sprung a leak and got damaged, through your own fault or whatever cause it matters not. 

What would you, who have placed yourselves in it, do now? Would you go about cursing it and quarrelling among yourselves! Would you not all unite together and put your best efforts to stop the holes? 
Let us all gladly give our hearts' blood to do this; and if we fail in the attempt, let us all sink and die together, with blessings and not curses on our lips.  

             - Swami Vivekananda, 
                At Dacca, Lectures From Colombo to Almora

Friday, December 7, 2018

Riddle of Virtue and Vice

The scriptures of different religions point out different means to attain the ideals of universal love, freedom, manliness, and selfless benevolence. 
Every religious sect is generally at variance as to its idea of what is virtue and what is vice, and fights with others over the means of attaining virtue and eschewing vice, instead of aiming at realizing the end. 

Every means is helpful more or less, and the Gita (XVIII. 48) says, "Every undertaking is attended with defects as fire with smoke"; so the means will no doubt appear more or less defective. 
But as we are to attain the highest virtue through the means laid down in our respective scriptures, we should try our best to follow them. Moreover, they should be tempered with reason and discrimination. 
Thus, as we progress, the riddle of virtue and vice will be solved by itself. 

              - Swami Vivekananda, 
                 Sayings and Utterances

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Effect of Bauddhas on India

The aims of the Buddhistic and the Vedic religions are the same, but the means adopted by the Buddhistic are not right. 
If the Buddhistic means were correct, then why have we been thus hopelessly lost and ruined? It will not do to say that the efflux of time has naturally wrought this. Can time work, transgressing the laws of cause and effect?

Therefore, though the aims are the same, the Bauddhas for want of right means have degraded India. 

Perhaps my Bauddha brothers will be offended at this remark, and fret and fume; but there's no help for it; the truth ought to be told, and I do not care for the result. 

            - Swami Vivekananda, 
              The East and The West 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Universe - A False Attempt!

Can you thus limit Him who is the substance of all knowledge, Him who is the Sakshi, the witness, without whom you cannot have any knowledge, Him who has no qualities, who is the Witness of the whole universe, the Witness in our own souls? 
How can you know Him? 
By what means can you bind Him up? 

Everything, the whole universe, is such a false attempt. 
This infinite Atman is, as it were, trying to see His own face, and all, from the lowest animals to the highest of gods, are like so many mirrors to reflect Himself in, and He is taking up still others, finding them insufficient, until in the human body He comes to know that it is the finite of the finite, 
all is finite, there cannot be any expression of the Infinite in the finite. 
Then comes the retrograde march, and this is what is called renunciation, Vairagya. Back from the senses, back! 

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

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Nearer to Heaven Through Football!

First of all, our young men must be strong. Religion will come afterwards. Be strong, my young friends; that is my advice to you. 
You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of the Gita. These are bold words; but I have to say them, for I love you. I know where the shoe pinches. 

I have gained a little experience. You will understand the Gita better with your biceps, your muscles, a little stronger. 
You will understand the mighty genius and the mighty strength of Krishna better with a little of strong blood in you. You will understand the Upanishads better and the glory of the Atman when your body stands firm upon your feet, and you feel yourselves as men. 
Thus we have to apply these to our needs. 

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Only Moksha - Problem with Buddha and Christ!

What does Buddha or Christ prescribe for the man who neither wants Moksha nor is fit to receive it?-- nothing!
Either you must have Moksha or you are doomed to destruction -- these are the only two ways held forth by them, and there is no middle course. You are tied hand and foot in the matter of trying for anything other than Moksha. There is no way shown how you may enjoy the world a little for a time; not only all openings to that are hermetically sealed to you, but, in addition, there are obstructions put at every step.

It is only the Vedic religion which considers ways and means and lays down rules for the fourfold attainment of man, comprising Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. 
Buddha ruined us, and so did Christ ruin Greece and Rome

Then, in due course of time, fortunately, the Europeans became Protestants, shook off the teachings of Christ as represented by Papal authority, and heaved a sigh of relief. 
In India, Kumarila again brought into currency the 
Karma-marga, the way of Karma only, and 
Shankara and Ramanuja firmly re-established the Eternal Vedic religion, harmonising and balancing in due proportions Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.

 - Swami Vivekananda, 
   The East and The West

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Renunciation - The Banner of India

Renunciation, that is the flag, the banner of India, floating over the world, the one undying thought which India sends again and again as a warning to dying races, as a warning to all tyranny, as a warning to wickedness in the world. 

Ay, Hindus, let not your hold of that banner go. Hold it aloft. Even if you are weak and cannot renounce, do not lower the ideal. 
Say, "I am weak and cannot renounce the world", but do not try to be hypocrites, torturing texts, and making specious arguments, and trying to throw dust in the eyes of people who are ignorant. 
Do not do that, but own you are weak. For the idea is great, that of renunciation. 

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

Friday, November 16, 2018

Hinduism - The Universal Religion

[The ancient Indian] sages left it open to all Indian people to worship such great personages, such Incarnations.
 Nay, the greatest of these Incarnations goes further: 
"Wherever an extraordinary spiritual power is manifested by external man, know that I am there; it is from Me that that manifestation comes." 

That leaves the door open for the Hindu to worship the Incarnations of all the countries in the world. The Hindu can worship any sage and any saint from any country whatsoever, and as a fact we know that we go and worship many times in the churches of the Christians, and many, many times in the Mohammedan mosques, and that is good.

 Why not? Ours, as I have said, is the universal religion. 

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

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Strength - Message of the Upanishads

Strength, strength is what the Upanishads speak to me from every page. 
This is the one great thing to remember, it has been the one great lesson I have been taught in my life; strength, it says, strength, O man, be not weak.

 Are there no human weaknesses?-- says man. 
There are, say the Upanishads, but will more weakness heal them, would you try to wash dirt with dirt? Will sin cure sin, weakness cure weakness? 
Strength, O man, strength, say the Upanishads, stand up and be strong. 
Ay, it is the only literature in the world where you find the word "Abhih", "fearless", used again and again; in no other scripture in the world is this adjective applied either to God or to man. Abhih, fearless! 
      - Swami Vivekananda, 
         Address at Madras, 
         Lectures From Colombo to Almora

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Conquer the World with Spirituality

Everything looks propitious, and Indian thought, philosophical and spiritual, must once more go over and conquer the world. 
The problem before us, therefore, is assuming larger proportions every day. It is not only that we must revive our own country -- that is a small matter; I am an imaginative man -- and my idea is the conquest of the whole world by the Hindu race. … …

Up, India, and conquer the world with your spirituality! 
Ay, as has been declared on this soil first, love must conquer hatred, hatred cannot conquer itself. 
Materialism and all its miseries can never be conquered by materialism. Armies when they attempt to conquer armies only multiply and make brutes of humanity. 
Spirituality must conquer the West. 

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

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Upanishads - The Authority

Truly has it been said of the Upanishads by Ramanuja that they form the head, the shoulders, the crest of the Vedas, and surely enough the Upanishads have become the Bible of modern India
The Hindus have the greatest respect for the Karma Kanda of the Vedas, but, for all practical purposes, we know that for ages by Shruti has been meant the Upanishads, and the Upanishads alone. 

We know that all our great philosophers, whether Vyasa, Patanjali, or Gautama, and even the father of all philosophy, the great Kapila himself, whenever they wanted an authority for what they wrote, every one of them found it in the Upanishads, and nowhere else, for therein are the truths that remain for ever.

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

Saturday, November 10, 2018

If You Are a Hindu

Mark me, then and then alone you are a Hindu when the very name sends through you a galvanic shock of strength. 
Then and then alone you are a Hindu when every man who bears the name, from any country, speaking our language or any other language, becomes at once the nearest and the dearest to you. 
Then and then alone you are a Hindu when the distress of anyone bearing that name comes to your heart and makes you feel as if your own son were in distress. 
Then and then alone you are a Hindu when you will be ready to bear everything for them, like the great example I have quoted at the beginning of this lecture, of your great Guru Govind Singh. … … 

Mark me, every one of you will have to be a Govind Singh, if you want to do good to your country. You may see thousands of defects in your countrymen, but mark their Hindu blood. They are the first Gods you will have to worship even if they do everything to hurt you, even if everyone of them send out a curse to you, you send out to them words of love. 

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

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Immortal India

This is the ancient land where wisdom made its home before it went into any other country, the same India whose influx of spirituality is represented, as it were, on the material plane, by rolling rivers like oceans, where the eternal Himalayas, rising tier above tier with their snowcaps, looks as it were into the very mysteries of heaven. 
Here is the same India whose soil has been trodden by the feet of the greatest sages that ever lived. Here first sprang up inquiries into the nature of man and into the internal world. Here first arose the doctrines of the immortality of the soul, the existence of a supervising God, an immanent God in nature and in man, and here the highest ideals of religion and philosophy have attained their culminating points. 

This is the land from whence, like tidal waves, spirituality and philosophy have again and again rushed out and deluged the world, and this is the land from whence once more such tides must proceed in order to bring life and vigour into the decaying races of mankind. 
It is the same India which has withstood the shocks of centuries, of hundreds of foreign invasions, of hundreds of upheavals of manners and customs. 
It is the same land which stands firmer than any rock in the world, with its undying vigour, indestructible life. 
Its life is of the same nature as the soul, without beginning and without end, immortal; and we are the children of such a country.

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

Friday, November 2, 2018

Speaking and Not Doing - National Habit!

In spite of the greatness of the Upanishads, in spite of our boasted ancestry of sages, compared to many other races, 
I must tell you that we are weak, very weak. 
First of all is our physical weakness. That physical weakness is the cause of at least one-third of our miseries. 

We are lazy, we cannot work; we cannot combine, we do not love each other; we are intensely selfish, not three of us can come together without hating each other, without being jealous of each other. 
That is the state in which we are -- hopelessly disorganised mobs, immensely selfish, fighting each other for centuries as to whether a certain mark is to be put on our forehead this way or that way, writing volumes and volumes upon such momentous questions as to whether the look of a man spoils my food or not! 
This we have been doing for the past few centuries. 

We cannot expect anything high from a race whose whole brain energy has been occupied in such wonderfully beautiful problems and researches! 
And are we not ashamed of ourselves? 
Ay, sometimes we are; but though we think these things frivolous, we cannot give them up. We speak of many things parrot-like, but never do them; speaking and not doing has become a habit with us. 

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Mine of Strength

What we need is strength, but who will give us strength? 
There are thousands to weaken us, and of stories we have had enough. 
Every one of our Puranas, if you press it, gives out stories enough to fill three-fourths of the libraries of the world. 
Everything that can weaken us as a race we have had for the last thousand years. It seems as if during that period the national life had this one end in view, viz how to make us weaker and weaker till we have become real earthworms, crawling at the feet of every one who dares to put his foot on us. 
Therefore, my friends, as one of your blood, as one that lives and dies with you, let me tell you that we want strength, strength, and every time strength. And the Upanishads are the great mine of strength. Therein lies strength enough to invigorate the whole world; the whole world can be vivified, made strong, energised through them. 
They will call with trumpet voice upon the weak, the miserable, and the downtrodden of all races, all creeds, and all sects to stand on their feet and be free. 

Freedom, physical freedom, mental freedom, and spiritual freedom are the watchwords of the Upanishads. 

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

Monday, October 29, 2018

Away Beyond Vanities of Life

Such is the career of men pursuing the vanities of life, children dreaming golden dreams only to find that they are but vain, and old men chewing the cud of their past deeds, and yet not knowing how to get out of this network. 
This is the world. 

Yet in the life of every one there come golden moments; in the midst of the deepest sorrows, nay, of the deepest joys, there come moments when a part of the cloud that hides the sunlight moves away as it were, and we catch a glimpse, in spite of ourselves of something beyond -- 
  away, away beyond the life of the senses; 
  away, away beyond its vanities, its joys, and its sorrows; 
  away, away beyond nature, or our imaginations of 
     happiness here or hereafter; 
  away beyond all thirst for gold, or for fame, or for name, 
    or for posterity. 

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

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Upanishads - The Source of All Ideals

… upon severe analysis you will always find that the essence of Buddhism was all borrowed from the same Upanishads; even the ethics, the so-called great and wonderful ethics of Buddhism, were there word for word, in some one or other of the Upanishads; 
and so all the good doctrines of the Jains were there, minus their vagaries. 

In the Upanishads, also, we find the germs of all the subsequent development of Indian religious thought. 

Sometimes it has been urged without any ground whatsoever that there is no ideal of Bhakti in the Upanishads. 
Those that have been students of the Upanishads know that that is not true at all. There is enough of Bhakti in every Upanishad if you will only seek for it; but many of these ideas which are found so fully developed in later times in the Puranas and other Smritis are only in the germ in the Upanishads. The sketch, the skeleton, was there as it were. 
It was filled in in some of the Puranas. 

But there is not one full-grown Indian ideal that cannot be traced back to the same source -- the Upanishads. 

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

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Three Things for Great Achievements

Three things are necessary for great achievements. 
First, feel from the heart. What is in the intellect or reason? 
It goes a few steps and there it stops. But through the heart comes inspiration. Love opens the most impossible gates; love is the gate to all the secrets of the universe. 
Feel, therefore, my would-be reformers, my would-be patriots! … …

You may feel, ... but instead of spending your energies in frothy talk, have you found any way out, any practical solution, some help instead of condemnation, some sweet words to soothe their [poor Indian masses] miseries, to bring them out of this living death?

Yet that is not all. 
Have you got the will to surmount mountain-high obstructions? If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right? … … 
Have you got that steadfastness? 

If you have these three things, each one of you will work miracles. You need not write in the newspapers, you need not go about lecturing; your very face will shine. 

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Caste of Purity and Culture Vs Caste of Dollars

Remember always that there is not in the world any other country whose institutions are really better in their aims and objects than the institutions of this land. 
I have seen castes in almost every country of the world, but nowhere is their plan and purpose so glorious as here. 
If caste is thus unavoidable, I would rather have a caste of purity and culture and self-sacrifice, than a caste of dollars. 

Therefore utter no words of condemnation. 
Close your lips and let your hearts open. 
Work out the salvation of this land and of the whole world, each of you thinking that the entire burden is on your shoulders. 

Carry the light and the life of the Vedanta to every door, and rouse up the divinity that is hidden within every soul. 

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

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Need of Vedantic Ideas for World

Outcasting in its most horrible forms would often come down upon the head of a man in the West if he dared to say a word against his country's accepted religion. 
They talk glibly and smoothly here in criticism of our caste laws. If you go to the West and live there as I have done, you will know that even some of the biggest professors you hear of are arrant cowards and dare not say, for fear of public opinion, a hundredth part of what they hold to be really true in religious matters.
Therefore the world is waiting for this grand idea of universal toleration. 

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