Thursday, January 31, 2019

Faith in Ancestors

I am one of the proudest men ever born, but let me tell you frankly, it is not for myself, but on account of my ancestry. 

The more I have studied the past, the more I have looked back, more and more has this pride come to me, and it has give me the strength and courage of conviction, raised me up from the dust of the earth, and set me working out that great plan laid out by those great ancestors of ours. 

Children of those ancient Aryans, through the grace of the Lord may you have the same pride, may that faith in your ancestors come into your blood, may it become a part and parcel of your lives, may it work towards the salvation of the world! 

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

Monday, January 28, 2019


Strength is goodness, weakness is sin. 
If there is one word that you find coming out like a bomb from the Upanishads, bursting like a bomb-shell upon masses of ignorance, it is the word fearlessness. 
And the only religion that ought to be taught is the religion of fearlessness.  

Either in this world or in the world of religion, it is true that fear is the sure cause of degradation and sin. 
It is fear that brings misery, fear that brings death, fear that breeds evil. 
And what causes fear? Ignorance of our own nature. 

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

Friday, January 25, 2019

Ishta - The Chosen Way

Just as there are certain varieties in human nature, so it is necessary that there should be an equal number of forms in religion; and the more there are, the better for the world. 
… …  
Would to God that religions multiplied until every man had his own religion, quite separate from that of any other! 
This is the idea of the Bhakti-Yogi.

The final idea is that my religion cannot be yours, or yours mine. Although the goal and the aim are the same, yet each one has to take a different road, according to the tendencies of his mind; … … 
The choosing of one's own road is called in the language of Bhakti, Ishta, the chosen way. 

                  - Swami Vivekananda, 
                    Addresses on Bhakti-Yoga, New York

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Character and Steadiness

The nation is sinking, the curse of unnumbered millions is on our heads -- those to whom we have been giving ditch-water to drink when they have been dying of thirst and while the perennial river of water was flowing past, 
the unnumbered millions whom we have allowed to starve in sight of plenty, the unnumbered millions to whom we have talked of Advaita and whom we have hated with all our strength, the unnumbered millions for whom we have invented the doctrine of Lokachara (usage), to whom we have talked theoretically that we are all the same and all are one with the same Lord, without even an ounce of practice. 

"Yet, my friends, it must be only in the mind and never in practice!" Wipe off this blot. "Arise and awake." 
What matters it if this little life goes? Everyone has to die, the saint or the sinner, the rich or the poor. The body never remains for anyone. 
Arise and awake and be perfectly sincere. Our insincerity in India is awful; what we want is character, that steadiness and character that make a man cling on to a thing like grim death.  

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

Monday, January 21, 2019

Unselfishness - The Test of Religion

If there is dirt and dust on a mirror, we cannot see our image. So ignorance and wickedness are the dirt and dust that are on the mirror of our hearts. 
Selfishness is the chief sin, thinking of ourselves first. 
… … unselfishness is the test of religion. 

He who has more of this unselfishness is more spiritual and nearer to Shiva. Whether he is learned or ignorant, he is nearer to Shiva than anybody else, whether he knows it or not. And if a man is selfish, even though he has visited all the temples, seen all the places of pilgrimage, and painted himself like a leopard, he is still further off from Shiva. 

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Bengali Shastras

The Bengali Shastras are the Vamachara Tantras. 
They are published by the cart-load, and you poison the minds of your children with them instead of teaching them your Shrutis. 

Fathers of Calcutta, do you not feel ashamed that such horrible stuff as these Vamachara Tantras, with translations too, should be put into the hands of your boys and girls, and their minds poisoned, and that they should be brought up with the idea that these are the Shastras of the Hindus? 

If you are ashamed, take them away from your children, and let them read the true Shastras, the Vedas, the Gita, the Upanishads. 

           - Swami Vivekananda, 
             Address at Calcutta (1897), 
             Lectures From Colombo to Almora

[Note: In 19th Century Bengal this problem of Vamachara texts and practices was rampant.]

Monday, January 14, 2019

What Makes Men Miserable?

What makes men miserable? 
Because they are slaves, bound by laws, puppets in the hand of nature, tumbled about like playthings. 
We are continually taking care of this body that anything can knock down; and so we are living in a constant state of fear. 

… …

How are we to free ourselves from this is the question.
Utilitarians say, "Don't talk of God and hereafter; we don't know anything of these things, let us live happily in this world." 
I would be the first to do so if we could, but the world will not allow us. As long as you are a slave of nature, how can you?
The more you struggle, the more enveloped you become. 

                         - Swami Vivekananda, 
                          Addresses on Bhakti-Yoga, New York

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Slow and Silent Work

To many, Indian thought, Indian manners, Indian customs, Indian philosophy, Indian literature are repulsive at the first sight; but let them persevere, let them read, let them become familiar with the great principles underlying these ideas, and it is ninety-nine to one that the charm will come over them, and fascination will be the result. 

Slow and silent, as the gentle dew that falls in the morning, unseen and unheard yet producing a most tremendous result, has been the work of the calm, patient, all-suffering spiritual race upon the world of thought.  

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

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Eternal Fountain of Spirituality

There is an eternal fountain of spirituality in our scriptures, and nowhere on earth, except in this land of renunciation, do we find such noble examples of practical spirituality. 
I have had a little experience of the world. Believe me, there is much talking in other lands; but the practical man of religion, who has carried it into his life, is here and here alone. 

Talking is not religion; parrots may talk, machines may talk nowadays. But show me the life of renunciation, of spirituality, of all-suffering, of love infinite. 
This kind of life indicates a spiritual man. 

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

Friday, January 4, 2019

Necessity of Religion

Religions and sects are not the work of hypocrites and wicked people who invented all these to get a little money, as some of our modern men want to think. 
However reasonable that explanation may seem, it is not true, and they were not invented that way at all. 

They are the outcome of the necessity of the human soul. They are all here to satisfy the hankering and thirst of different classes of human minds, and you need not preach against them. 
The day when that necessity will cease, they will vanish along with the cessation of that necessity; and so long as that cremains, they must be there in spite of your preaching, in spite of your criticism. 

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

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Hinduism - Universal Religion

[The ancient Indian] sages … left it open to all Indian people to worship such great personages, such Incarnations. 
Nay, the greatest of these Incarnations goes further:
"Wherever an extraordinary spiritual power is manifested by external man, know that I am there; it is from Me that that manifestation comes." 

That leaves the door open for the Hindu to worship the Incarnations of all the countries in the world. 
The Hindu can worship any sage and any saint from any country whatsoever, and as a fact we know that we go and worship many times in the churches of the Christians, and many, many times in the Mohammedan mosques, and that is good. 
Why not? Ours, as I have said, is the universal religion. 

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