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

Friday, October 19, 2018


Question: How did we come to lose this Shraddha?

Swamiji: We have had a negative education all along from our boyhood. We have only learnt that we are nobodies.
Seldom are we given to understand that great men were ever born in our country. Nothing positive has been taught to us. We do not even know how to use our hands and feet! 
We master all the facts and figures concerning the ancestors of the English, but we are sadly unmindful about our own. We have learnt only weakness. Being a conquered race, we have brought ourselves to believe that we are weak and have no independence in anything. 
So, how can it be but that the Shraddha is lost? 
The idea of true Shraddha must be brought back once more to us, the faith in our own selves must be reawakened, and, then only, all the problems which face our country will gradually be solved by ourselves. 

     - Swami Vivekananda, 
       Conversations and Dialogues, 
       at Calcutta, Surendra Nath Sen Diary 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Truth is Strengthening

We have wept long enough. No more weeping, but stand on your feet and be men. 
It is a man-making religion that we want. It is man-making theories that we want. It is man-making education all round that we want. 

And here is the test of truth -- anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject as poison; there is no life in it, it cannot be true. Truth is strengthening. Truth is purity, truth is all-knowledge; truth must be strengthening, must be enlightening, must be invigorating. 

These mysticisms, in spite of some grains of truth in them, are generally weakening. Believe me, I have a lifelong experience of it, and the one conclusion that I draw is that it is weakening. 

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

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Gift of India

Those that tell you that Indian thought never went outside of India, those that tell you that I am the first Sannyasin who went to foreign lands to preach, do not know the history of their own race. 

Again and again this phenomenon has happened. 
Whenever the world has required it, this perennial flood of spirituality has overflowed and deluged the world. 
Gifts of political knowledge can be made with the blast of trumpets and the march of cohorts. Gifts of secular knowledge and social knowledge can be made with fire and sword. 
But spiritual knowledge can only be given in silence like the dew that falls unseen and unheard, yet bringing into bloom masses of roses. 

This has been the gift of India to the world again and again. Whenever there has been a great conquering race, bringing the nations of the world together, making roads and transit possible, immediately India arose and gave her quota of spiritual power to the sum total of the progress to the world. 

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

Friday, October 12, 2018

Ancient Reformers

Did India ever stand in want of reformers? 
Do you read the history of India? Who was Ramanuja? Who was Shankara? Who was Nanak? Who was Chaitanya? Who was Kabir? Who was Dadu? 

Who were all these great preachers, one following the other, a galaxy of stars of the first magnitude? 
Did not Ramanuja feel for the lower classes? Did he not try all his life to admit even the Pariah to his community? Did he not try to admit even Mohammedans to his own fold? 
Did not Nanak confer with Hindus and Mohammedans, and try to bring about a new state of things? 

They all tried, and their work is still going on. The difference is this. They had not the fanfaronade of the reformers of today; they had no curses on their lips as modern reformers have; their lips pronounced only blessings. 
They never condemned. 

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Idol Worship

Take a thousand idols more if you can produce Ramakrishna Paramahamsas through idol-worship, and may God speed you! 
Produce such noble natures by any means you can. 
Yet idolatry is condemned! 

Why? Nobody knows. 

Because some hundreds of years ago some man of Jewish blood happened to condemn it? 
That is, he happened to condemn everybody else's idols except his own. 

If God is represented in any beautiful form or any symbolic form, said the Jew, it is awfully bad; it is sin. 
But if He is represented in the form of a chest, with two angels sitting on each side, and a cloud hanging over it, 
it is the holy of holies. 
If God comes in the form of a dove, it is holy. But if He comes in the form of a cow, it is heathen superstition; 
condemn it! 

That is how the world goes. 

That is why the poet says, "What fools we mortals be!" 
How difficult it is to look through each other's eyes, and that is the bane of humanity. That is the basis of hatred and jealousy, of quarrel and of fight. 

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

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Inheritance from the Buddhists

You read in books written by men who had never studied the rise and fall of Buddhism that the spread of Buddhism was owing to the wonderful ethics and the wonderful personality of Gautama Buddha. 
I have every respect and veneration for Lord Buddha, but mark my words, the spread of Buddhism was less owing to the doctrines and the personality of the great preacher, than to the temples that were built, the idols that were erected, and the gorgeous ceremonials that were put before the nation. 
Thus Buddhism progressed. 

The little fire-places in the houses in which the people poured their libations were not strong enough to hold their own against these gorgeous temples and ceremonies; but later on the whole thing degenerated. It became a mass of corruption of which I cannot speak before this audience; but those who want to know about it may see a little of it in those big temples, full of sculptures, in Southern India; and this is all the inheritance we have from the Buddhists. 

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

Friday, October 5, 2018

Do Not Deny the God Within You

Let every man and woman and child, without respect of 
caste or birth, weakness or strength, hear and learn that 
behind the strong and the weak, behind the high and the low, behind every one, there is that Infinite Soul, 
assuring the infinite possibility and the infinite 
capacity of all to become great and good. 

Let us proclaim to every soul: 
उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत -- arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached. Arise, awake! 

Awake from this hypnotism of weakness. 
None  is really weak; the soul is infinite, omnipotent, and 
Stand up, assert yourself, proclaim the God within you, do not deny Him! 

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

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


If we are inseparable from God, have we no individuality?
Oh, yes: that is God. Our individuality is God. 
This is not the individuality you have now; 
you are coming towards that. 

Individuality means what cannot be divided. 
How can you call this individuality? 
One hour you are thinking one way, and the next hour another way, and two hours after, another way. 
Individuality is that which changes not -- is beyond all things, changeless. 
It would be tremendously dangerous for this state to remain in eternity, because then the thief would always remain a thief and the blackguard a blackguard. 
If a baby died, he would have to remain a baby. The real individuality is that which never changes and will never change; and that is the God within us. 

                    - Swami Vivekananda, 
                     On the Vedanta Philosophy, 
                     Notes from Lectures and Discourses

Monday, October 1, 2018

Law and Freedom

Just as the greatest emperors sometimes play with dolls, 
so He [God] is playing with this nature; and what we call law is this. We call it law, because we can see only little bits which run smoothly. All our ideas of law are within the little bit. 
It is nonsense to say that law is infinite … 
… As a matter of fact, we get gradually outside of law, 
until we get out altogether, but with the added experience of a whole life. 
In God and freedom we began, and freedom and God will be the end. These laws are in the middle state through which we have to pass. 
Our Vedanta is the assertion of freedom always. 
The very idea of law will frighten the Vedantist; and eternal law is a very dreadful thing for him, because there would be no escape. If there is to be an eternal law binding him all the time, where is the difference between him and a blade of grass? We do not believe in that abstract idea of law. 
                              - Swami Vivekananda, 
                                Law and Freedom, 
                               Notes from Lectures and Discourses