Monday, October 21, 2019

Bliss Absolute

All hatred is "killing the self by the self"; therefore, love is the law of life. To rise to this is to be perfect; but the more "perfect" we are, the less work can we do. 

The Sattvika see and know that all this world is mere child's play and do not trouble themselves about that. We are not much disturbed when we see two puppies fighting and biting each other. We know it is not a serious matter. 
The perfect one knows that this world is Maya. 

Life is called Samsara -- it is the result of the conflicting forces acting upon us. 
Materialism says, "The voice of freedom is a delusion." 
Idealism says, "The voice that tells of bondage is but a dream." 
Vedanta says, "We are free and not free at the same time." That means that we are never free on the earthly plane, but ever free on the spiritual side. 

The Self is beyond both freedom and bondage. We are Brahman, we are immortal knowledge beyond the senses, we are Bliss Absolute. 

                 - Swami Vivekananda, 
                     Discourses on Jnana-Yoga, US

Truth, Purity, and Unselfishness


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Four Yogas

Every man must develop according to his own nature. 
As every science has its methods, so has every religion. The methods of attaining the end of religion are called Yoga by us, and the different forms of Yoga that we teach, are adapted to the different natures and temperaments of men. 
We classify them in the following way, under four heads:

(1) Karma-yoga -- the manner in which a man realizes his own divinity through works and duty.
(2) Bhakti-yoga -- the realisation of the divinity through devotion to, and love of, a Personal God.
(3) Raja-yoga -- the realisation of the divinity through the control of mind.
(4) Jnana-yoga -- the realisation of a man's own divinity through knowledge.  

                 - Swami Vivekananda, 
                    The Goal and Methods of Realisation, 
                     Notes from Lectures and Discourses 


Graveyard of Infinite Past


Saturday, October 19, 2019

God Doesn't Need Help!

It is in ignorance that struggle remains, because we are all really atheists. Real theists cannot work. 
We are atheists more or less. We do not see God or believe in Him. He is g-o-d to us, and nothing more. 
There are moments when we think He is near, but then we fall down again. … … 

The next time you see these silly phrases about the world and how we must all help God and do this or that for Him, remember this. Do not think such thoughts; they are too selfish. All the work you do is subjective, is done for your own benefit. God has not fallen into a ditch for you and me to help Him out by building a hospital or something of that sort. 

He allows you to work. He allows you to exercise your muscles in this great gymnasium, not in order to help Him but that you may help yourself. 
Do you think even an ant will die for want of your help? 
Most arrant blasphemy!

                      - Swami Vivekananda, 
                         Work is Worship, 
                         Notes from Lectures and Discourses 


Pure and Heroic Action


Thursday, October 17, 2019

All MySelf

There is another way of looking at the truth we have been discussing: the Hindu way. 
We claim that Buddha's great doctrine of selflessness can be better understood if it is looked at in our way. 

In the Upanishads there is already the great doctrine of the Atman and the Brahman. The Atman, Self, is the same as Brahman, the Lord. This Self is all that is; It is the only reality. Maya, delusion, makes us see It as different. 
There is one Self, not many. That one Self shines in various forms. 

Man is man's brother because all men are one. A man is not only my brother, say the Vedas, he is myself. Hurting any part of the universe, I only hurt myself. I am the universe. 
It is a delusion that I think I am Mr. So-and-so -- that is the delusion.  

                        - Swami Vivekananda, 
                           ‘Buddha’s Message to the World’, 
                            Talk at San Francisco   


Glass of Different Colors and Thickness


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Moksha and Dharma

Now what is that good which is to be pursued? 
The good for him who desires Moksha is one, and the good for him who wants Dharma is another. 

This is the great truth which the Lord Shri Krishna, the revealer of the Gita, has tried therein to explain, and upon this great truth is established the Varnashrama system and the doctrine of Svadharma etc. of the Hindu religion.
अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्र: करुण एव च |
निर्ममो निरहंकार: समदु:खसुख: क्षमी ||  (Gita, XII. 13.)
 --"He who has no enemy, and is friendly and compassionate towards all, who is free from the feelings of 'me and mine', even-minded in pain and pleasure, and forbearing"-- these and other epithets of like nature are for him whose one goal in life is Moksha.

क्लैब्यं मा स्म गम: पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते |
क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्तोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप ||  (Gita, II. 3.)
 --"Yield not to unmanliness, O son of Pritha! Ill doth it befit thee. Cast off this mean faint-heartedness and arise, O scorcher of thine enemies."
तस्मात्त्वमुत्तिष्ठ यशो लभस्व जित्वा शत्रुन्भुंक्ष्व राज्यं समृध्दम् |
मयैवैते निहिता: पूर्वमेव निमित्तमात्र भव सव्यसाचिन् || (Gita, XI. 33.)
--"Therefore do thou arise and acquire fame. After conquering thy enemies, enjoy unrivalled dominion; verily, by Myself have they been already slain; be thou merely the instrument, O Savyasachin (Arjuna)."
In these and similar passages in the Gita the Lord is showing the way to Dharma

                          - Swami Vivekananda, 
                            The East and The West

Fruits of Freedom of Spirit


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Applied Mine of Strength

The Advaita is the eternal mine of strength
But it requires to be applied. It must first be cleared of the incrustation of scholasticism, and then in all its simplicity, beauty and sublimity be taught over the length and breadth of the land, as applied even to the minutest detail of daily life.
 "This is a very large order"; but we must work towards it, nevertheless, as if it would be accomplished tomorrow. 

Of one thing I am sure--that whoever wants to help his fellow beings through genuine love and unselfishness will work wonders. 

                       - Swami Vivekananda, 
                          in a Letter to S C Mukherjee (1895)


Kashi and its Lord


Monday, October 14, 2019

Renunciation alone is Fearless

In enjoyment is the fear of disease;
 In high birth, the fear of losing caste;
 In wealth, the fear of tyrants;
 In honour, the fear of losing her;
 In strength, the fear of enemies;
 In beauty, the fear of the other sex;
 In knowledge, the fear of defeat;
 In virtue, the fear of scandal;
 In the body, the fear of death.

In this life, all is fraught with fear.
 Renunciation alone is fearless. 

                     - Swami Vivekananda, 
                         Translation of Verse 31 
                           of ‘Vairagya Shatakam’ of Bhartrihari   


Forest of Brutes


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Practice and Not Theory

4. But it falleth out, that many who often hear the Gospel of Christ, are yet but little affected, because they are void of the Spirit of Christ. But whosoever would fully and feelingly understand the words of Christ, must endeavour to conform his life wholly to the life of Christ. 
                 (The Imitation of Christ V.2.)

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S FOOTNOTE (a): 
Bhagavad Gita 2.29
                                 श्रुत्वाप्येनं वेद न चैव कश्चित् |
SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S TRANSLATION: 
                                 Others, hearing of It, do not understand. 

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S FOOTNOTE (b): 
Vivekachudâmani 62
                       न गच्छति विना पानं व्याधिरौषधशब्दत: |
                       विनाSपरोक्षानुभवं ब्रह्मशब्दैर्न मुच्यते ||
PUBLISHER'S TRANSLATION: 
                      A disease does not leave the body by simply 
                      repeating the name of the medicine; one must 
                       take the medicine. Similarly, liberation does not 
                      come by merely saying the word Brahman. 
                      Brahman must be experienced.

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S FOOTNOTE (c): 
Mahâbhârata(critical edition) 12.309.91
                         श्रुतेन किं येन न धर्ममाचरेत् |
PUBLISHER'S TRANSLATION: 
                          Of what avail is reading the Vedas without 
                          practising religion? 

                                 - Swami Vivekananda, 
                                    Bengali Translation of 
                                     ‘The Imitation of Christ’, 1889  

Majestic Internal Nature


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Burning the Dead

The peculiarity you find is that the Semitic races and the Egyptians try to preserve the dead bodies, while the Aryans try to destroy them. 
The Greeks, the Germans, the Romans--your ancestors before they became Christians--used to burn the dead. 

It was only when Charlemagne made you Christians with the sword -- and when you refused, [he] cut off a few hundred heads, and the rest jumped into the water -- that burying came here.

 You see at once the metaphysical significance of burning the dead. The burying of the dead can only remain when there is no idea of the soul, and the body is all. 

                             - Swami Vivekananda, 
                               Class Talk in London, 
                               May 7, 1896

Science of Vedanta


Friday, October 11, 2019

Stand Thou in the Spirit

Let us worship the spirit in spirit, standing on spirit. 
Let the foundation be spirit, the middle spirit, the culmination spirit. There will be no world anywhere. Let it go and whirl into space -- who cares? 
Stand thou in the spirit! That is the goal. 

We know we cannot reach it yet. Never mind. Do not despair, and do not drag the ideal down. 
The important thing is: how much less you think of the body, of yourself as matter -- as dead, dull, insentient matter; how much more you think of yourself as shining immortal being. The more you think of yourself as shining immortal spirit, the more eager you will be to be absolutely free of matter, body, and senses. 
This is the intense desire to be free.  

                          - Swami Vivekananda, 
                            ‘Discipleship’, Talk at San Francisco

Optimistic Temperament


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Truth Stands on Its Own Authority

My teaching is my own interpretation of our ancient books, in the light which my Master shed upon them. 
I claim no supernatural authority. Whatever in my teaching may appeal to the highest intelligence and be accepted by thinking men, the adoption of that will be my reward. 

All religions have for their object the teaching either of devotion, knowledge, or Yoga, in a concrete form. 
Now, the philosophy of Vedanta is the abstract science which embraces all these methods, and this it is that I teach, leaving each one to apply it to his own concrete form. I refer each individual to his own experiences, and where reference is made to books, the latter are procurable, and may be studied by each one for himself. 

Above all, I teach no authority proceeding from hidden beings speaking through visible agents, any more than I claim learning from hidden books or manuscripts. 
I am the exponent of no occult societies, nor do I believe that good can come of such bodies. 
Truth stands on its own authority, and truth can bear the light of day. 

                 - Swami Vivekananda, 
                   ‘West Minster Gazette’ Interview 
                     (23rd October 1895)


Perfect Unselfishness


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Fooling us with Little Brains

It is a funny world, and the funniest chap you ever saw is 
He -- the Beloved Infinite! Fun, is it not? 
Brotherhood or playmatehood -- a school of romping children let out to play in this playground of the world! 
Isn't it? 

Whom to praise, whom to blame, it is all His play. 
They want explanations, but how can you explain Him? He is brainless, nor has He any reason. 
He is fooling us with little brains and reason, but this time He won't find me napping. I have learnt a thing or two: 
Beyond, beyond reason and learning and talking is the feeling, the "Love", the "Beloved". 

Ay, sake, fill up the cup and we will be mad.

Yours ever in madness, 

                  -Swami Vivekananda, 
                    in a Letter to Francis Leggett 
                      from London (July 1896)

Minds and Bodies


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

All Good Thoughts are Immortal

Start with the idea that we can finish all experience in this world, in this incarnation. 
We must aim to become perfect in this life, this very moment. Success only comes to that life amongst men who wants to do this, this very moment. It is acquired by him who says, "Faith, I wait upon faith come what may". 

Therefore, go on knowing you are to finish this very moment. Struggle hard and then if you do not succeed, you are not to blame. 
Let the world praise or blame you. 
Let all the wealth of the earth come to your feet, or let you be made the poorest on earth. 
Let death come this moment or hundreds of years hence. Swerve not from the path you have taken. 

All good thoughts are immortal and go to make Buddhas and Christs. 

                  - Swami Vivekananda, 
                      Class Notes taken at Greenacre (Maine), 
                      Summer 1894 


Salutations to Great Beings


Monday, October 7, 2019

Mother - Power of all Causation

She [Divine Mother] is the power of all causation. 
She energises every cause unmistakably to produce the effect.
Her will is the only law, and as She cannot make a mistake, nature's laws -- her will -- can never be changed. 

She is the life of the Law of Karma or causation. 
She is the fructifier of every action. Under Her guidance we are manufacturing our lives through our deeds or Karma. 

                       - Swami Vivekananda, Writings


Truly Civilised


Sunday, October 6, 2019

From Dualism to Non-Dualism

The truth about it is that no one has created you -- you have created yourself. 
This is discrimination, this is Vedanta. 

But one does not understand it before realisation. Therefore the aspirant should begin with the dualistic standpoint, that the Lord is causing the good actions, while he is doing the evil. 
This is the easiest way to the purification of the mind. 

Hence you find dualism so strong among the Vaishnavas. It is very difficult to entertain Advaitic (non-dualistic) ideas at the outset. But the dualistic standpoint gradually leads to the realisation of the Advaita. 

                        - Swami Vivekananda, 
                           Conversations and Dialogues, 
                                recorded by Priya Nath Sinha



Playmates of Mother


Saturday, October 5, 2019

Infinite Mother

This highest Energy-love-beauty is a person, an individual, the Infinite Mother of this universe -- the God of gods -- 
the Lord of lords, omnipresent yet separate from the universe -- the Soul of souls, yet separate from every soul -- 
the Mother of this universe, because She has produced it -- 
its Ruler, because She guides it with the greatest love and in the long run brings everything back to Herself. 

Through Her command the sun and moon shine, the clouds rain, and death stalks upon the earth. 

                         - Swami Vivekananda, Writings


Basis of Civilisation


Friday, October 4, 2019

Eternal Subject

All philosophy and scriptures have come from the plane of relative knowledge of subject and object. But no thought or language of the human mind can fully express the Reality which lies beyond the plane of relative Knowledge! 
Science, philosophy, etc. are only partial truths. So they can never be the adequate channels of expression for the transcendent Reality. 

Hence viewed from the transcendent standpoint, everything appears to be unreal -- religious creeds, and works, I and thou, and the universe -- everything is unreal! 
Then only it is perceived: "I am the only reality; I am the all-pervading Atman, and I am the proof of my own existence." 

Where is the room for a separate proof to establish the reality of my existence? I am, as the scriptures say, "नित्यमस्मत् प्रसिद्धम् -- always known to myself as the eternal subject" (Vivekachudamani, 409). 
I have seen that state, realised it. You also see and realise it and preach this truth of Brahman to all. 
Then only will you attain to peace. 

                    - Swami Vivekananda, 
                       Conversations and Dialogues, 
                        recorded by Sharat Chandra Chakravarty  


Renunciation


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Kindergartens of Religion

For thousands of years millions and millions all over the world have been taught to worship the Lord of the world, the Incarnations, the saviours, the prophets. 
They have been taught to consider themselves helpless, miserable creatures and to depend upon the mercy of some person or persons for salvation. 

There are no doubt many marvellous things in such beliefs. But even at their best, they are but kindergartens of religion, and they have helped but little. Men are still hypnotised into abject degradation. 

However, there are some strong souls who get over that illusion. The hour comes when great men shall arise and cast off these kindergartens of religion and shall make vivid and powerful the true religion, the worship of the spirit by the spirit.  

               - Swami Vivekananda, 
                 ‘Is Vedanta the Future Religion’, 
                 Talk at San Francisco   


Art


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

God of Vedanta

What is the God of Vedanta? 
He is principle, not person. You and I are all Personal Gods.
The absolute God of the universe, the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe, is impersonal principle. 
You and I, the cat, rat, devil, and ghost, all these are Its persons -- all are Personal Gods. 

You want to worship Personal Gods. It is the worship of your own self. If you take my advice, you will never enter any church. 
Come out and go and wash off. Wash yourself again and again until you are cleansed of all the superstitions that have clung to you through the ages. Or, perhaps, you do not like to do so, since you do not wash yourself so often in this country -- frequent washing is an Indian custom, not a custom of your society.  

                       - Swami Vivekananda, 
                         ‘Is Vedanta the Future Religion’, 
                          Talk at San Francisco   

Enjoyment of God and World


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Desires - Endless Suffering

The circle of vision has become so narrow, so degraded, so beastly, so animal! None is desiring anything beyond this body. 
Oh, the terrible degradation, the terrible misery of it! 

What little flesh, the five senses, the stomach! What is the world but a combination of stomach and sex? Look at millions of men and women -- that is what they are living for. Take these away from them and they will find their life empty, meaningless, and intolerable. Such are we. And such is our mind; it is continually hankering for ways and means to satisfy the hunger of the stomach and sex. 
All the time this is going on. 

There is also endless suffering; these desires of the body bring only momentary satisfaction and endless suffering. 
It is like drinking a cup of which the surface layer is nectar, while underneath all is poison. 
But we still hanker for all these things.  

                        - Swami Vivekananda, 
                          ‘Discipleship’, Talk at San Francisco

Aspiration after Infinite


Monday, September 30, 2019

My Life's Work

… to put the Hindu ideas into English and then make out of dry philosophy and intricate mythology and queer startling psychology, a religion which shall be easy, simple, popular, and at the same time meet the requirements of the highest minds -- is a task only those can understand who have attempted it. 

The dry, abstract Advaita must become living -- poetic -- in everyday life; out of hopelessly intricate mythology must come concrete moral forms; and out of bewildering Yogi-ism must come the most scientific and practical psychology -- 
and all this must be put in a form so that a child may grasp it. 

That is my life's work. 

                   - Swami Vivekananda, 
                       in a Letter to Alasinga Perumal 
                        from US (February 1896)


No More Misery


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Die Working for Others

… Put yourself to work, and you will find such tremendous power coming to you that you will find it hard to bear. 
Even the least work done for others awakens the power within; even thinking the least good of others gradually instills into the heart the strength of a lion. 
I love you all ever so much, but I wish you all to die working for others -- i should rather be glad to see you do that!

Disciple: What will become of those, then, who depend on me?
Swamiji: If you are ready to sacrifice your life for others, God will certainly provide some means for them. Have you not read in the Gita (VI. 40) the words of Shri Krishna, 
"न हि कल्याणकृत्कश्चित् दुर्गतिं तात गच्छति -- never does a doer of good, O my beloved, come to grief"?

Disciple: I see, sir. 

                - Swami Vivekananda, 
                  Conversations and Dialogues, 
                   recorded by Sharat Chandra Chakravarty  


Indian Idea of Realizing


Saturday, September 28, 2019

To Work, therefore!

Off with your ideas of Mukti and Bhakti! 
There is only one way in the world, "परोपकाराय हि सतां जीवितं", "परार्थे प्राज्ञ उत्सृजेत्"--"The good live for others alone", "The wise man should sacrifice himself for others". 
I can secure my own good only by doing you good. There is no other way, none whatsoever. . . . 

You are God, I am God, and man is God. It is this God manifested through humanity who is doing everything in this world. Is there a different God sitting high up somewhere? 

To work, therefore!

                  - Swami Vivekananda, 
                    in a Letter to Swami Brahmananda (1895)

Salt of Earth


Friday, September 27, 2019

Background of All Religious Thought


Prarabdha

Take a carriage with two wheels. Suppose I cut one of the wheels from the axle. The other wheel will run for some time by its past momentum and will then fall. 
The body is one wheel, and the soul another; and they are joined by the axle of delusion. Knowledge is the axe which will cut the axle, and the soul will stop immediately--will give up all these vain dreams.

But upon the body is that past momentum, and it will run a little, doing this and that, and then it will fall down. But only good momentum will be left, and that body can only do good.

This is to warn you not to mistake a rascal for a free man. It will be impossible for that [free] man to do evil. So you must not be cheated.  

                    - Swami Vivekananda, 
                       Class on ‘Mundaka Upanishad’, 
                        New York (January 29, 1896)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Lion Out of Cage

He who says he is bound, bound he shall remain. To me, the thought of oneself as low and humble is a sin and ignorance.

 "नायमात्मा बलहीनेन लभ्य -- this Atman is not to be attained by one who is weak." "अस्ति ब्रह्म वदसि चेदस्ति, नास्ति ब्रह्म वदसि चेन्नास्त्येव भविष्यति -- if you say Brahman is , existence will be the result; if you say Brahman is not , non-existent It shall verily become." 

He who always thinks of himself as weak will never become strong, but he who knows himself to be a lion, "निर्गच्छति जगज्जालात् पिन्जरादिव केशरी -- rushes out from the world's meshes, as a lion from its cage." 

                         - Swami Vivekananda, 
                             in a Letter to Swami Ramakrishnananda 
                                 from US (1895)


Power of Suffering