Friday, August 31, 2018

Idea of God in India

The idea of God was nowhere else ever so fully developed as in this motherland of ours, for the same idea of God never existed anywhere else. Perhaps you are astonished at my assertion; but show me any idea of God from any other scripture equal to ours; they have only clan-gods, the God of the Jews, the God of the Arabs, and of such and such a race, and their God is fighting the Gods of the other races. 

But the idea of that beneficent, most merciful God, our father, our mother, our friend, the friend of our friends, the soul of our souls, is here and here alone. 

And may He who is the Shiva of the Shaivites, the Vishnu of the Vaishnavites, the Karma of the Karmis, the Buddha of the Buddhists, the Jina of the Jains, the Jehovah of the Christians and the Jews, the Allah of the Mohammedans, 
the Lord of every sect, the Brahman of the Vedantists, 
He the all-pervading, whose glory has been known only in this land -- may He bless us, may He help us, may He give strength unto us, energy unto us, to carry this idea into practice. 

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

You Manufacture Your Body

The Omnipresent Lord has been hidden through ignorance, and the responsibility is on yourself. 

You have not to think that you were brought into the world without your choice and left in this most horrible place, but to know that you have yourself manufactured your body bit by bit just as you are doing it this very moment. 
You yourself eat; nobody eats for you. You assimilate what you eat; no one does it for you. You make blood, and muscles, and body out of the food; nobody does it for you. 
So you have done all the time. 

One link in a chain explains the infinite chain. If it is true for one moment that you manufacture your body, it is true for every moment that has been or will come. 
And all the responsibility of good and evil is on you. 
This is the great hope. What I have done, that I can undo.

And at the same time our religion does not take away from mankind the mercy of the Lord. That is always there. 
On the other hand, He stands beside this tremendous current of good and evil. He the bondless, the ever-merciful, is always ready to help us to the other shore, for His mercy is great, and it always comes to the pure in heart. 

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

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Kiss of My Love

"Let the world love its many, we have but one Beloved - the Lord. We care not what they say; we are only afraid when they want to paint our Beloved and give Him all sorts of monstrous qualities. Let them do whatever they please - for us He is only the beloved - my love, my love, my love, and nothing more."

"Who cares to know how much power, how much quality He has - even that of doing good! We will say once for all: 
We love not for the long purse, we never sell our love, we want not, we give."

"You, philosopher, come to tell us of His essence, His powers, His attributes - fool! We are here dying for a kiss of His lips."
"Take your nonsense back to your own home and send me a kiss of my Love - can you?"

"Fool! whom art thou bending thy tottering knees before, in awe and fear? I took my necklace and put it round His neck; and, tying a string to it as a collar, I am dragging Him along with me, for fear He may fly away even for a moment - that necklace was the collar of love, that string the ecstasy of love. 
Fool! you know not the secret - the Infinite One comes within my fist under the bondage of love." 
"Knowest thou not that the Lord of the Universe is the bond slave of love?" 
"Knowest thou not that the Mover of the Universe used to dance to the music of the ringing bracelets of the shepherdesses of Vrindaban?"

Excuse my mad scribbling, excuse my foolery in trying to express the inexpressible. It is to be felt only.
Swami Vivekananda, 
in a Letter to Hale Sisters 
from Chicago (June 1894)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Glorious Soul

What a mine of strength is in this Impersonal God, when all superstitions have been thrown overboard, and man stands on his feet with the knowledge -- I am the Impersonal Being of the world! 
What can make me afraid? 
I care not even for nature's laws. Death is a joke to me. 

Man stands on the glory of his own soul, the infinite, the eternal, the deathless -- that soul which no instruments can pierce, which no air can dry, nor fire burn, no water melt, the infinite, the birthless, the deathless, 
without beginning and without end, 
before whose magnitude the suns and moons and all their systems appear like drops in the ocean, before whose glory space melts away into nothingness and time vanishes into non-existence. 

This glorious soul we must believe in. Out of that will come power.  
                    - Swami Vivekananda, Address at Jaffna, 
                      Lectures From Colombo to Almora

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Castes and Institutions of India

Though our castes and our institutions are apparently linked with our religion, they are not so. 
These institutions have been necessary to protect us as a nation, and when this necessity for self-preservation will no more exist, they will die a natural death. 

But the older I grow, the better I seem to think of these 
time-honoured institutions of India. 
There was a time when I used to think that many of them were useless and worthless; but the older I grow, the more I seem to feel a diffidence in cursing any one of them, for each of them is the embodiment of the experience of centuries. 
A child of but yesterday, destined to die the day after tomorrow, comes to me and asks me to change all my plans; and if I hear the advice of that baby and change all my surroundings according to his ideas, I myself should be a fool, and no one else. 

Much of the advice that is coming to us from different countries is similar to this. Tell these wiseacres: "I will hear you when you have made a stable society yourselves. You cannot hold on to one idea for two days, you quarrel and fail; you are born like moths in the spring and die like them in five minutes. You come up like bubbles and burst like bubbles too. First form a stable society like ours. First make laws and institutions that remain undiminished in their power through scores of centuries. Then will be the time to talk on the subject with you, but till then, my friend, you are only a giddy child."  

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

Monday, August 20, 2018

Ishta - Unique Way

Such an idea as that there is but one way for everybody is injurious, meaningless, and entirely to be avoided. 
Woe unto the world when everyone is of the same religious opinion and takes to the same path. 
Then all religions and all thought will be destroyed. 

Variety is the very soul of life. When it dies out entirely, creation will die. When this variation in thought is kept up, we must exist; and we need not quarrel because of that variety. 
Your way is very good for you, but not for me. 
My way is good for me, but not for you. 
My way is called in Sanskrit, my "Ishta". 

Mind you, we have no quarrel with any religion in the world.
We have each our Ishta. But when we see men coming and saying, "This is the only way", and trying to force it on us in India, we have a word to say; we laugh at them. 
For such people who want to destroy their brothers because they seem to follow a different path towards God -- for them to talk of love is absurd. Their love does not count for much. 
How can they preach of love who cannot bear another man to follow a different path from their own? 
If that is love, what is hatred?  

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

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Europeanised Indian with no Backbone

There are two great obstacles on our path in India, 
the Scylla of old orthodoxy and the Charybdis of modern European civilisation. 
Of these two, I vote for the old orthodoxy, and not for the Europeanised system; for the old orthodox man may be ignorant, he may be crude, but he is a man, he has a faith, he has strength, he stands on his own feet; while the Europeanised man has no backbone, he is a mass of heterogeneous ideas picked up at random from every source -- and these ideas are unassimilated, undigested, unharmonised. He does not stand on his own feet, and his head is turning round and round. 
Where is the motive power of his work?-- in a few patronising pats from the English people. 
His schemes of reforms, his vehement vituperations against the evils of certain social customs, have, as the mainspring, some European patronage. 

Why are some of our customs called evils? 
Because the Europeans say so. That is about the reason he gives. 
I would not submit to that. 

Stand and die in your own strength; if there is any sin in the world, it is weakness; avoid all weakness, for weakness is sin, weakness is death. 

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

Thursday, August 16, 2018

All are our bodies

In every man and in every animal, however weak or wicked, great or small, resides the same omnipresent, omniscient soul.
 The difference is not in the soul, but in the manifestation. Between me and the smallest animal, the difference is only in manifestation, but as a principle he is the same as I am, he is my brother, he has the same soul as I have. 

This is the greatest principle that India has preached. The talk of the brotherhood of man becomes in India the brotherhood of universal life, of animals, and of all life down to the little ants -- all these are our bodies.  

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

British Rule in India

Your questions have tapped the very source of pessimism, however. 
British rule in modern India has only one redeeming feature, though unconscious; it has brought India out once more on the stage of the world; it has forced upon it the contact of the outside world. 
If it had been done with an eye to the good of the people concerned, as circumstances favored Japan with, the results could have been more wonderful for India. No good can be done when the main idea is blood-sucking. 
On the whole the old regime was better for the people, as it did not take away everything they had, and there was some justice, some liberty.

A few hundred, modernized, half-educated, and denationalized men are all the show of modern English India -- nothing else. The Hindus were 600 million in number according to Ferishta, the Mohammedan historian, in the 12th century -- now less than 200 million.

In spite of the centuries of anarchy that reigned during the struggles of the English to conquer, the terrible massacre the English perpetrated in 1857 and 1858, and the still more terrible famines that have become the inevitable consequence of British rule (there never is a famine in a native state) and that take off millions, there has been a good increase of population, but not yet what it was when the country was entirely independent -- that is, before the Mohammedan rule. Indian labor and produce can support five times as many people as there are now in India with comfort, if the whole thing is not taken off from them.

This is the state of things -- even education will no more be permitted to spread; freedom of the press stopped already, (of course we have been disarmed long ago), the bit of self-government granted to them for some years is being quickly taken off. We are watching what next! For writing a few words of innocent criticism, men are being hurried to transportation for life, others imprisoned without any trial ; and nobody knows when his head will be off.

There has been a reign of terror in India for some years. English soldiers are killing our men and outraging our women -- only to be sent home with passage and pension at our expense. We are in a terrible gloom -- where is the Lord? Mary, you can afford to be optimistic, can I? Suppose you simply publish this letter -- the law just passed in India will allow the English Government in India to drag me from here to India and kill me without trial. And I know all your Christian governments will only rejoice, because we are heathens. Shall I also go to sleep and become optimistic? Nero was the greatest optimistic person! They don't think it worth while to write these terrible things as news items even! If necessary, the news agent of Reuter gives the exactly opposite news fabricated to order! Heathen-murdering is only a legitimate pastime for the Christians! Your missionaries go to preach God and dare not speak a word of truth for fear of the English, who will kick them out the next day.

All property and lands granted by the previous governments for supporting education have been swallowed up, and the present Government spends even less than Russia in education. And what education?

The least show of originality is throttled. Mary, it is hopeless with us, unless there really is a God who is the father of all, who is not afraid of the strong to protect the weak, and who is not bribed by wealth. Is there such a God? Time will show.

Swami Vivekananda, 
in a Letter to Mary Hale 
from Ridgely Manor (October 1899)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

All Yogas Leading to Same Goal

There is not really so much difference between knowledge (Jnana) and love (Bhakti) as people sometimes imagine.

 We shall see, as we go on, that in the end they converge and meet and end at the same point.
 So also is it with Raja-Yoga, which when pursued as a means to attain liberation, and not (as unfortunately it frequently becomes in the hands of charlatans and mystery-mongers) as an instrument to hoodwink the unwary, leads us also to the same goal. 

          - Swami Vivekananda, 

Friday, August 10, 2018

God - The Beloved

All of the energies of the human body and mind, howsoever they may express themselves, have the Lord as their one goal, as their Ekayana
All loves and all passions of the human heart must go to God.
He is the Beloved. Whom else can this heart love? 
He is the most beautiful, the most sublime, 
He is beauty itself, sublimity itself. 

Who in this universe is more beautiful than He? 
Who in this universe is more fit to become the husband than He? Who in this universe is fitter to be loved than He? 
So let Him be the husband, let Him be the Beloved.

- Swami Vivekananda, 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Mission of India

Each race, ..., has a peculiar bent, each race has a peculiar raison d'ĂȘtre, each race has a peculiar mission to fulfill in the life of the world. Each race has to make its own result, to fulfill its own mission. 

Political greatness or military power is never the mission of our race; it never was, and, mark my words, it never will be.
But there has been the other mission given to us, which is to conserve, to preserve, to accumulate, as it were, into a dynamo, all the spiritual energy of the race, and that concentrated energy is to pour forth in a deluge on the world whenever circumstances are propitious.  

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

Monday, August 6, 2018

Eternal Life and Law of Karma

We now come to the second principle on which we all agree, not only all Hindus, but all Buddhists and all Jains. 
We all agree that life is eternal. It is not that it has sprung out of nothing, for that cannot be. Such a life would not be worth having. … … 

You know it already that each one of us is the effect of the infinite past; the child is ushered into the world not as something flashing from the hands of nature, as poets delight so much to depict, but he has the burden of an infinite past; for good or evil he comes to work out his own past deeds.
 That makes the differentiation. 
 This is the law of Karma. 

Each one of us is the maker of his own fate. 
This law knocks on the head at once all doctrines of predestination and fate and gives us the only means of reconciliation between God and man.  
Swami Vivekananda, 
Address at Jaffna,
Lectures From Colombo to Almora

Saturday, August 4, 2018

One Generalised Being

The search after the universal is the one search of Indian philosophy and religion. 

The Jnani aims at the wholeness of things, at that one absolute and generalised Being, knowing which he knows everything. 
The Bhakta wishes to realise that one generalised abstract Person, in loving whom he loves the whole universe. 
The Yogi wishes to have possession of that one generalised form of power, by controlling which he controls this whole universe. 

The Indian mind, throughout its history, has been directed to this kind of singular search after the universal in everything -- in science, in psychology, in love, in philosophy. 

              - Swami Vivekananda, 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Slave to Everything

I who am beyond all pleasure and pain, whose reflection is the whole universe, little bits of whose life are the suns and moons and stars -- i am held down as a terrible slave! 
If you pinch my body, I feel pain.
 If one says a kind word, I begin to rejoice. 
See my condition -- slave of the body, slave of the mind, slave of the world, slave of a good word, slave of a bad word, slave of passion, slave of happiness, slave of life, slave of death, slave of everything! 

This slavery has to be broken. How?
 "This Atman has first to be heard, then reasoned upon, and then meditated upon." 

- Swami Vivekananda, 
Talk in New-York