Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Instinct, Reason, Inspiration

We find in all beings three sorts of instruments of knowledge.
The first is instinct, which you find most highly developed in animals; this is the lowest instrument of knowledge.

What is the second instrument of knowledge?
Reasoning. You find that most highly developed in man.   You find a mighty barrier before reason, beyond which reasoning cannot go; yet it always feels impatient to get into the region of the Infinite beyond.

This world, this universe which our senses feel, or our mind thinks, is but one atom, so to say, of the Infinite, projected on to the plane of consciousness; and within that narrow limit, defined by the network of consciousness, works our reason, and not beyond.

Therefore, there must be some other instrument to take us beyond, and that instrument is called inspiration.

So instinct, reason, and inspiration are the three instruments of knowledge. Instinct belongs to animals, reason to man, and inspiration to God-men.

                   - Swami Vivekananda,
                    Talk in Pasadena, California

Monday, May 28, 2018

Do Not Destroy

I would ask mankind to recognize this maxim, "Do not destroy". 
Iconoclastic reformers do no good to the world. 
Break not, pull not anything down, but build. 
Help, if you can; if you cannot, fold your hands and stand by and see things go on. Do not injure, if you cannot render help. Say not a word against any man's convictions so far as they are sincere. 

Secondly, take man where he stands, and from there give him a lift. If it be true that God is the center of all religions, and that each of us is moving towards Him along one of these radii, then it is certain that all of us must reach that center.
And at the center, where all the radii meet, all our differences will cease; but until we reach there, differences there must be. All these radii converge to the same center.

                     - Swami Vivekananda, 
                       Talk in Pasadena, California

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Personal God - Part of Phenomenon

… this universe itself is the absolute, the unchangeable, the noumenon; and the phenomenon constitutes the reading thereof. 
For you will first find that all phenomena are finite. 
Every phenomenon that we can see, feel, or think of, is finite, limited by our knowledge, and the Personal God as we conceive of Him is in fact a phenomenon. 
The very idea of causation exists only in the phenomenal world, and God as the cause of this universe must naturally be thought of as limited, and yet He is the same Impersonal God. 

                         - Swami Vivekananda, 
                          Practical Vedanta III, London

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Personal Preserved in Impersonal

Often the doubt comes to us that if we arrive at the idea of the Impersonal God, the personal will be destroyed, 
if we arrive at the idea of the Impersonal man, 
the personal will be lost. 
But the Vedantic idea is not the destruction of the individual, but its real preservation. 

We cannot prove the individual by any other means but by referring to the universal, by proving that this individual is really the universal. If we think of the individual as separate from everything else in the universe, it cannot stand a minute. 
Such a thing never existed. 

        - Swami Vivekananda, 
          Practical Vedanta III, London

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Infinite Power

We are in reality that Infinite Being, and our personalities represent so many channels through which this Infinite Reality is manifesting Itself; and the whole mass of changes which we call evolution is brought about by the soul trying to manifest more and more of its infinite energy. 
We cannot stop anywhere on this side of the Infinite; our power, and blessedness, and wisdom, cannot but grow into the Infinite. 

Infinite power and existence and blessedness are ours, and we have not to acquire them; they are our own, and we have only to manifest them.

-  Swami Vivekananda, 
Practical Vedanta III, London

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Difference of Degree and not Kind

We must not look down with contempt on others. 
     All of us are going towards the same goal.
The difference between weakness and strength is one of  degree;
the difference between virtue and vice is one of degree;
the difference between heaven and hell is one of degree;
the difference between life and death is one of degree;
all differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind,
because oneness is the secret of everything.

                    - Swami Vivekananda,
                    Practical Vedanta I, London

Friday, May 18, 2018

Brahman Everywhere

… when the soul has realised that everything is full of the Lord, of Brahman, it will not care whether it goes to heaven, or hell, or anywhere else; whether it be born again on this earth or in heaven. 
These things have ceased to have any meaning to that soul, because every place is the same, every place is the temple of the Lord, every place has become holy and the presence of the Lord is all that it sees in heaven, or hell, or anywhere else. 

Neither good nor bad, neither life nor death -- only the one infinite Brahman exists. 

                           - Swami Vivekananda, 
                              Practical Vedanta II, London

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Wonderful Living God

Thou art all that exists, a wonderful living God who is the only fact in the universe. 
This seems to many to be a terrible contradiction to the traditional God who lives behind a veil somewhere and whom nobody ever sees. 

The priests only give us an assurance that if we follow them, listen to their admonitions, and walk in the way they mark out for us -- then when we die, they will give us a passport to enable us to see the face of God! 
What are all these heaven ideas but simply modifications of this nonsensical priestcraft? 
                              - Swami Vivekananda, 
                                 Practical Vedanta II, London

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Universe As One Person

The whole universe is one person; let go the little things. 
Give up the small for the Infinite, give up small enjoyments for infinite bliss. 
It is all yours, for the Impersonal includes the Personal. 
So God is Personal and Impersonal at the same time. 
And Man, the Infinite, Impersonal Man, is manifesting Himself as person. 

We the infinite have limited ourselves, as it were, into small parts. The Vedanta says that Infinity is our true nature; it will never vanish, it will abide for ever. 

                                 - Swami Vivekananda, 
                                   Practical Vedanta II, London

Friday, May 11, 2018

Greatest Heresy

Your godhead is the proof of God Himself. 
If you are not a prophet, there never has been anything true of God. 
If you are not God, there never was any God, and never will be. 
This, says the Vedanta, is the ideal to follow. 

Every one of us will have to become a prophet, and you are that already. Only know it. Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. 
It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin -- to say that you are weak, or others are weak. 

                             - Swami Vivekananda, 
                              Practical Vedanta I, London

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Same God for All

If you believe there is a God, the animals and the highest creatures must be the same. 
A God who is partial to his children called men, and cruel to his children called brute beasts, is worse than a demon. I would rather die a hundred times than worship such a God. My whole life would be a fight with such a God. 

But there is no difference, and those who say there is, are irresponsible, heartless people who do not know.
Swami Vivekananda, 
Practical Vedanta I, London

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Practical Ideal

All the powers in the universe are already ours. 
It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark. Know that there is no darkness around us. 
Take the hands away and there is the light which was from the beginning. Darkness never existed, weakness never existed. 

We who are fools cry that we are weak; we who are fools cry that we are impure. 
Thus Vedanta not only insists that the ideal is practical, but that it has been so all the time; and this Ideal, this Reality, is our own nature.

Swami Vivekananda, 
  Practical Vedanta I, London

Friday, May 4, 2018

Two Forces Side by Side

Two forces have been working side by side in parallel lines. 
The one says "I", the other says "not I". 
Their manifestation is not only in man but in animals, not only in animals but in the smallest worms. … 

… throughout creation these two forces are working side by side; where you find the one, you find the other too. 
The one is selfishness, the other is unselfishness. 
The one is acquisition, the other is renunciation. 
The one takes, the other gives. 

From the lowest to the highest, the whole universe is the playground of these two forces. 
It does not require any demonstration; it is obvious to all.

- Swami Vivekananda, 
Practical Vedanta IV, London

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Intellect and Heart

Intellect is necessary, for without it we fall into crude errors and make all sorts of mistakes. 
Intellect checks these; but beyond that, do not try to build anything upon it. It is an inactive, secondary help; the real help is feeling, love. 
Do you feel for others? 
If you do, you are growing in oneness. 
If you do not feel for others, you may be the most intellectual giant ever born, but you will be nothing; you are but dry intellect, and you will remain so. 

And if you feel, even if you cannot read any book and do not know any language, you are in the right way. The Lord is yours. 

         - Swami Vivekananda, Practical Vedanta I, London