Vivekananda, fully Sri or Swami Vivekananda, born Narendra Nath Datta

Vivekananda, fully Sri or Swami Vivekananda, born Narendra Nath Datta
1863
1902

Indian Hindu Monk, Religious Leader and Philosopher credited with raising interfaith awareness

Author Quotes

The nearer we are to God, the less we will have occasions to cry or weep. The further we are from God, the more will long faces come. The more we know God, the more misery vanishes.

The powers of the mind should be concentrated and the mind turned back upon itself; as the darkest places reveal their secrets before the penetrating rays of the sun, so will the concentrated mind penetrate its own innermost secrets.

The Self when it appears behind the universe is called God. The same Self when it appears behind this little universe—the body—is the soul.

The Vedanta teaches that Nirvana can be attained here and now, that we do not have to wait for death and reach it. Nirvana is the realization of the Self; and after having once known that, if only for an instant, never again can one be deluded by the mirage of the personality. Having eyes, we must see the apparent, but all the time we know what it is; we have found out its true nature. It is the screen that hides the Self, which is unchanging. The screen opens and we find the Self behind it. All change is in the screen. In the saint, the screen is thin, and the reality can almost shine through. In the sinner the screen is thick, and we are liable to lose sight of the truth that the Atman is there, as well as behind the saint's screen. When the screen is wholly removed, we find it really never existed--- that we were the Atman and nothing else, even the screen is forgotten.

The wind of divine grace is always blowing. You just need to spread your sail. Whenever you do anything, do it with your whole heart concentrated on it. Think day and night, I am of the essence of that Supreme Being-Consciousness-Bliss. What fear and anxiety have I?

There is no sin nor virtue: there is only ignorance. By realization of non-duality this ignorance is dispelled.

This attachment of Love to God is indeed one that does not bind the soul but effectively breaks all its bondages.

This is the gist of all worship: to be pure and to do good to others. He who sees Shiva in the poor, in the weak, and in the diseased, really worships Shiva. And if he sees Shiva only in the image, his worship is but preliminary. He who has served and helped one poor man seeing Shiva in him, without thinking of his caste or creed or race or anything, with him Shiva is more pleased than with the man who sees Him only in temples

Those who have succeeded in attaching or detaching their minds at will have succeeded in Pratyahara, which means gathering towards, checking the outgoing powers of the mind, freeing it from the thralldom of the senses. When we can do this, we shall really possess character; then alone we shall have taken a long step towards freedom. Before that, we are mere machines.

To define God is — grinding the already ground; for He is the only being we know.

Truth does not pay any homage to any society, ancient and modern. Society has to pay homage to Truth or die. Societies should be molded upon truth, and truth has not to adjust itself to society....That society is the greatest, where the highest truths become practical. That is my opinion; and if society is not fit for the highest truths, make it so; and the sooner, the better.

Vedanta shows that everything that is joyful in this life is but a particle of that real joy, because that is the only joy there is. Every moment we are enjoying the absolute bliss, though covered up, misunderstood and caricatured. Wherever there is any blessing, blissfulness, or joy, even the joy of the thief in stealing, it is that Absolute Bliss coming out, only it has become obscured, muddled up, as it were, with all sorts of extraneous conditions, and misunderstood.

We are suffering from our own karma. It is not the fault of God. What we do is our own fault, nothing else. Why should God be blamed?

We have lost faith in ourselves. Therefore to preach the Advaita aspect of the Vedanta is necessary to rouse up the hearts of men, to show them the glory of their souls. It is therefore that I preach this Advaita, and I do so not as a sectarian, but upon universal and widely acceptable grounds.

We must remember that our religion lays down distinctly and clearly, that every one who wants salvation must pass through the stage of Rishihood---must become a Mantra-drashta, must see God. That is salvation; that is the law laid down by our Scriptures.

What I want to propagate is a religion that will be equally acceptable to all minds; it must be equally philosophic, equally emotional, equally mystic, and equally conducive to action. If professors from the colleges come, scientific men and physicists, they will court reason. Let them have it as much as they want.....Similarly, if the mystic comes, we must welcome him, be ready to give him the science of mental analysis, and practically demonstrate it before him. And if emotional people come, we must sit, laugh, and weep with them in the name of the Lord; we must drink the cup of love and become mad. If the energetic worker comes, we must work with him, with all the energy that we have. And this combination will be the ideal of the nearest approach to a universal religion. Would to God that all men were so constituted that in their minds all these elements of philosophy, mysticism, emotion, and of work were equally present in full! That is the ideal, my ideal of a perfect man. Everyone who has one or two of these elements of character, I consider one-sided; and this world is almost full of such one-sided men, with knowledge of that one road only in which they move; and anything else is dangerous and horrible to them. To become harmoniously balanced in all these four directions is my ideal of religion.

Whatever you are doing, put your whole mind on it. If you are shooting, your mind should be only on the target. Then you will never miss. If you are learning your lessons, think only of the lesson. In India boys and girls are taught to do this.

When we can attach the mind to—or detach it from—the sense at our will, we shall really possess character. Then alone we shall have taken a long step towards freedom; before that, we are mere machines.

Whose meditation is real and effective? Who can really surrender to the will of God? Only the person whose mind has been purified by selfless work.

Work unto death—I am with you, and when I am gone, my spirit will work with you. This life comes and goes—wealth, fame, enjoyments are only of a few days. It is better, far better, to die on the field of duty, preaching the truth, than to die like a worldly worm. Advance!

You must bear in mind that religion does not consist in talk, or doctrines or books, but in realization; it is not learning, but being.

The next great upheaval which is to bring about a new epoch will come from Russia or China.

The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: 'Whosoever comes to me, though whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.'

The so-called great men of the world may all be seen to become jealous of each other for a small name, for a little fame, and for a few bits of gold. So long as this jealousy exists in a heart, it is far away from the perfection of Ahimsa.

The Vedas say the whole world is a mixture of independence and dependence, of freedom and slavery, but through it all shines the soul independent, immortal, pure, perfect, holy. For if it is independent, it cannot perish, as death is but a change, and depend upon conditions; if independent, it must be perfect, for imperfection is again a condition, and therefore dependent. And this immortal and perfect soul must be the same in the highest God as well as in the humblest man, the difference between them being only in the degree in which this soul manifests itself.

Author Picture
First Name
Vivekananda, fully Sri or Swami Vivekananda, born Narendra Nath Datta
Birth Date
1863
Death Date
1902
Bio

Indian Hindu Monk, Religious Leader and Philosopher credited with raising interfaith awareness