Monday, April 30, 2018

Buddha Purnima

Buddha is the only prophet who said, "I do not care to know your various theories about God. What is the use of discussing all the subtle doctrines about the soul? Do good and be good. And this will take you to freedom and to whatever truth there is." 
He was, in the conduct of his life, absolutely without personal motives; and what man worked more than he? … 

He is the ideal Karma-Yogi, acting entirely without motive, and the history of humanity shows him to have been the greatest man ever born; beyond compare the greatest combination of heart and brain that ever existed, the greatest soul-power that has ever been manifested. 

He is the first great reformer the world has seen.

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

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Renunciation and Spirituality

One moment in infinite time is quite as good as any other moment. 
If you believe in a God, you can see Him even now. 

We think religion begins when you have realised something. It is not believing in doctrines, nor giving intellectual assent, nor making declarations. If there is a God, have you seen Him? If you say "no", then what right have you to believe in Him? 
If you are in doubt whether there is a God, why do you not struggle to see Him? Why do you not renounce the world and spend the whole of your life for this one object? 

Renunciation and spirituality are the two great ideas of India, and it is because India clings to these ideas that all her mistakes count for so little. 

     - Swami Vivekananda, Talk in Pasadena, California

Friday, April 27, 2018

Do You Want Religion?

… man of realisation says, "All this talk in the world about its little religions is but prattle; realisation is the soul, the very essence of religion." 

Religion can be realised. Are you ready? Do you want it? 

You will get the realisation if you do, and then you will be truly religious. Until you have attained realisation there is no difference between you and atheists. 
The atheists are sincere, but the man who says that he believes in religion and never attempts to realise it is not sincere. 

          - Swami Vivekananda, Jnana-Yoga, New York

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Harmony of Religions

We have all been hearing from childhood of such things as love, peace, charity, equality, and universal brotherhood; 
but they have become to us mere words without meaning, words which we repeat like parrots, and it has become quite 
natural for us to do so. 

We cannot help it. 

Great souls, who first felt these great ideas in their hearts, manufactured these words; and at that time many understood their meaning. 
Later on, ignorant people have taken up those words to play with them and made religion a mere play upon words, and not a thing to be carried into practice. 
It becomes "my father's religion", "our nation's religion", "our country's religion", and so forth. It becomes only a phase of 
patriotism to profess any religion, and patriotism is always partial. 

To bring harmony into religion must always be difficult. 
Yet we will consider this problem of the harmony of religions. 
                                     - Swami Vivekananda, 
                          'The Ideal of a Universal Religion' - talk
                                        in Pasadena, California (CW Vol II)

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