Thursday, February 28, 2019

Perfect Rest of Meditation

Meditation means the mind is turned back upon itself. 
The mind stops all the [thought-waves] and the world stops. Your consciousness expands. … … 
You do not feel the body or anything else. 
When you come out of it after the hour, you have had the most beautiful rest you ever had in your life. 

That is the only way you ever give rest to your system. 
Not even the deepest sleep will give you such rest as that. 
The mind goes on jumping even in deepest sleep. 
Just those few minutes [in meditation] your brain has almost stopped. Just a little vitality is kept up. You forget the body. You may be cut to pieces and not feel it at all. You feel such pleasure in it. You become so light. 
This perfect rest we get in meditation. 

                         - Swami Vivekananda, 
                            Talk at San Francisco

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Eastern and Western Ways

Who knows which is the truer ideal? 
The apparent power and strength, as held in the West, or 
the fortitude in suffering, of the East?

The West says, "We minimize evil by conquering it." 
India says, "We destroy evil by suffering, until evil is nothing to us, it becomes positive enjoyment." 

Well, both are great ideals. Who knows which will survive in the long run? … …

We are both intent upon the same work, which is the annihilation of evil. You take up your method; let us take up our method. … …

My message in life is to ask the East and West not to quarrel over different ideals, but to show them that the goal is the same in both cases, however opposite it may appear. As we wend our way through this mazy vale of life, let us bid each other Godspeed. 

                  - Swami Vivekananda, 
                     Talk at Pasadena, California 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Infinite Power and Wisdom Within

... the Vedantic and other philosophers of the Indian schools hold that knowledge is not to be acquired from without. 
It is the innate nature of the human soul and the essential birthright of every man. 
The human soul is the repository of infinite wisdom; 
what external agency can illuminate it? … … 

We also read in our scriptures various other methods of unfolding this inborn infinite power and knowledge, such as devotion to God, performance of work without attachment, practicing the eightfold accessories of the Yoga system, or constant dwelling on this knowledge, and so on. 

The final conclusion, however, is this, that through the practice of one or more or all of these methods together man gradually becomes conscious of his inborn real nature, and the infinite power and wisdom within, latent or veiled, becomes at last fully manifest. 

                     - Swami Vivekananda, 
                        Introductory article in 
                           Bengali written for Udbodhan 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Sledge-hammer Blows of Modern Science

Is it not curious that, whilst under the terrific onset of modern scientific research, all the old forts of Western dogmatic religions are crumbling into dust; 

whilst the sledge-hammer blows of modern science are pulverising the porcelain mass of systems whose foundation is either in faith or in belief or in the majority of votes of church synods; 

whilst Western theology is at its wit's end to accommodate itself to the ever-rising tide of aggressive modern thought; 

whilst in all other sacred books the texts have been stretched to their utmost tension under the ever-increasing pressure of modern thought, and the majority of them are broken and have been stored away in lumber rooms; 

whilst the vast majority of thoughtful Western humanity have broken asunder all their ties with the church and are drifting about in a sea of unrest, 

the religions which have drunk the water of life at that fountain of light, the Vedas -- Hinduism and Buddhism -- alone are reviving?

                -Swami Vivekananda, 
                ‘Reply to the Madras Address’     

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Despondency is Not Religion

Despondency is not religion, whatever else it may be. 
By being pleasant always and smiling, it takes you nearer to God, nearer than any prayer. 
How can those minds that are gloomy and dull love? 
If they talk of love, it is false; they want to hurt others. 

Think of the fanatics; they make the longest faces, and all their religion is to fight against others in word and act. 
Think of what they have done in the past, and of what they would do now if they were given a free hand. They would deluge the whole world in blood tomorrow if it would bring them power. By worshipping power and making long faces, they lose every bit of love from their hearts. 

So the man who always feels miserable will never come to God. 
It is not religion, it is diabolism to say, "I am so miserable." 
Every man has his own burden to bear. If you are miserable, try to be happy, try to conquer it. 

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

Monday, February 11, 2019

Intense Realisation

Is it true that there is a God? If it be true, can I see Him? 
Can I realise the truth? 

The Western mind may think all this very impracticable, but to us it is intensely practical. 

For this idea men will give up their lives. You have just heard how from the earliest times there have been persons who have given up all comforts and luxuries to live in caves, and hundreds have given up their homes to weep bitter tears of misery, on the banks of sacred rivers, in order to realise this idea -- not to know in the ordinary sense of the word, not intellectual understanding, not a mere rationalistic comprehension of the real thing, not mere groping in the dark, but intense realisation, much more real than this world is to our senses. 
That is the idea. 

             - Swami Vivekananda, 
                Talk on ‘My Master’ 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

All are YOU

Advaita and Advaita alone explains morality. 
Every religion preaches that the essence of all morality is to do good to others. 
And why? Be unselfish. And why should I? 
Some God has said it? He is not for me. 
Some texts have declared it? Let them; that is nothing to me; let them all tell it. And if they do, what is it to me? … …

What is the reason that I should be moral? 

You cannot explain it except when you come to know the truth as given in the Gita: "He who sees everyone in himself, and himself in everyone, thus seeing the same God living in all, he, the sage, no more kills the Self by the self." 

Know through Advaita that whomsoever you hurt, you hurt yourself; they are all you.  

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

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Veda - Word of God

The Hindus think the Vedas are the direct knowledge of God, that God has created the whole universe in and through the Vedas, and that the whole universe exists because it is in the Vedas. 
The cow exists outside because the word "cow" is in the Vedas; man exists outside because of the word in the Vedas. 

Here you see the beginning of that theory which later on Christians developed and expressed in the text: 
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God." 
It is the old, ancient theory of India. Upon that is based the whole idea of the scriptures. And mind, every word is the power of God. The word is only the external manifestation on the material plane. So, all this manifestation is just the manifestation on the material plane; and the Word is the Vedas, and Sanskrit is the language of God.  

                     - Swami Vivekananda, 
                        At Pasadena, California  

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Think of God Alone

The mind should always go towards God. No other things have any right to withhold it. It should continuously think of God, though this is a very hard task; yet it can be done by persistent practice. 

What we are now is the result of our past practice. Again, practice makes us what we shall be. So practise the other way; one sort of turning round has brought us this way, turn the other way and get out of it as soon as you can. Thinking of the senses has brought us down here -- to cry one moment, to rejoice the next, to be at the mercy of every breeze, slave to everything. 
This is shameful, and yet we call ourselves spirits. 
Go the other way, think of God; let the mind not think of any physical or mental enjoyment, but of God alone. 

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

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Ancient Vedanta

Away back, where no recorded history, nay, not even the dim light of tradition, can penetrate, 
has been steadily shining the light, sometimes dimmed by external circumstances, at others effulgent, 
but undying and steady, shedding its lustre not only over India, 
but permeating the whole thought-world with its power, silent, unperceived, gentle, yet omnipotent, like the dew that falls in the morning, unseen and unnoticed, yet bringing into bloom the fairest of roses: 
this has been the thought of the Upanishads, 
the philosophy of the Vedanta. 

Nobody knows when it first came to flourish on the soil of India. 
                        - Swami Vivekananda, 
                          Address at Calcutta, 
                         Lectures From Colombo to Almora