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

This World will always continue to be a mixture of Good and Evil. Our duty is to sympathize with the weak and to Love even the wrongdoer.

To acquire freedom we have to go beyond the limitations of this universe; it cannot be found here. Perfect equilibrium, or what the Christians call the peace that passeth understanding, cannot be had in this universe, nor in heaven, nor in any place where our mind, and thoughts can go, where the senses can feel, or which the imagination can conceive. No such place can give us the freedom, because all such places would be within our universe, and it is limited by space, time and causation.

To worship God even for the sake of salvation or any other reward is equally degenerate. Love knows no reward. Give your love unto to God, but do not ask anything in return even from Him through pray.

Unity in variety is the plan of nature, and the Hindu has recognized it. Every other religion lays down certain fixed dogmas, and tries to force society to adopt them. It places before society only one coat which must fit Jack and John and Henry, all alike. If it does not fit John or Henry, he must go without a coat to cover his body. The Hindus have discovered that the absolute can only be realized, or thought of, or stated, through the relative, and the images, crosses and crescents are simply so many symbols---so many pegs to hang the spiritual ideas on. It is not that this help is necessary for every one, but those that do not need it have no right to say that it is wrong. Nor is it compulsory in Hinduism.

We are asked: What good is your religion to society? Society is made a test of truth. Now this is very illogical. Society is only a stage of growth through which we are passing....If the social state were permanent, it would be the same as if the baby remained a baby. There can be no perfect man-baby; the words are a contradiction in terms, so there can be no perfect society. Man must and will grow out of such early stages....My Master used to say, Why don't you help your own lotus flower to bloom? The bees will then come of themselves.

We find ourselves in the position for which we are fit, each ball finds its own hole; and if one has some capacity above another, the world will find that out too, in this universal adjusting that goes on. So it is no use to grumble.....what is the use of fighting and complaining? That will not help us to better things. He who grumbles at the little thing that has fallen to his lot to do, will grumble at everything. Always grumbling he will lead a miserable life, and everything will be a failure. But that man who does his duty as he goes, putting his shoulder to the wheel, will see the light, and higher and higher duties will fall to his share.

We must be bright and cheerful. Long faces do not make religion. Religion should be the most joyful thing in the world, because it is the best.

Well, you consider a man as educated if only he can pass some examinations and deliver good lectures...

What the world wants today is twenty men and women who can dare to stand in the street yonder and say that they possess nothing but God. Who will go? Why should one fear? If this is true, what else could matter? If it is not true, what do our lives matter?

When once you consider an action, do not let anything dissuade you. Consult your heart, not others, and then follow its dictates.

Where God is, there is no other. Where the world is, there is no God. These two will never unite. Like light and darkness. That is what I have understood from Christianity and the life of Jesus. Isn’t that also Buddhism? Isn’t that Hinduism? Isn’t that Islam? Isn’t that the teaching of all the great sages and teachers?

Women will work out their destinies — much better, too, than men can ever do for them. All the mischief to women has come because men undertook to shape the destiny of women.

You cannot help anyone, you can only serve

Your godhead is the proof of God Himself. If you are not a prophet, there never has been anything true of God. If you are not God, there never was any God, and never will be. This, says Vedanta, is the ideal to follow. Every one of us will have to become a prophet, and you are that already. Only know it. Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is a sin, this is the only sin — to say that you are weak, or others are weak.

The more we grow in love and virtue and holiness, the more we see love and virtue and holiness outside. All condemnation of others really condemns ourselves. Adjust the microcosm (which is in your power to do) and the macrocosm will adjust itself for you. It is like the hydrostatic paradox, one drop of water can balance the universe. We cannot see outside what we are not inside. The universe is to us what the huge engine is to the miniature engine; and indication of any error in the tiny engine leads us to imagine trouble in the huge one.

The path of devotion is natural and pleasant. Philosophy is taking the mountain stream back to its source by force. It is a quicker method but very hard. Philosophy says, Check everything. Devotion says, Give up all to the stream, have eternal self-surrender. It is a longer way, but easier and happier.

The scriptures of different religions point out different means to attain the ideals of universal love, freedom, manliness, and selfless benevolence. Every religious sect is generally at variance as to its idea of what is virtue and what is vice, and fights with others over the means of attaining virtue and eschewing vice, instead of aiming at realizing the end. Every means is helpful more or less, and the Gita (XVIII.48) says, Every undertaking is attended with defects as fire with smoke; so the means will no doubt appear more or less defective. But as we are to attain the highest virtue through the means laid dozen in our respective scriptures, we should try our best to follow them. Moreover, they should be tempered with reason and discrimination. Thus, as we progress, the riddle of virtue and vice will be solved by itself.

The universe is — objectified God.

The whole universe is one. There is only one Self in the universe, only One Existence, and that One Existence, when it passes through the forms of time, space, causation, is called by different names, buddhi, fine matter, gross matter, all mental and physical forms. Everything in the universe is that One, appearing in various forms. When a little part of it comes, as it were, into this network of time, space and causation, it takes forms. Take off the network, and it is all one.

There is hope for all. None can die; none can be degraded forever. Life is but a playground, however gross the play may be. However we may receive blows, and however knocked about we may be, the Atman is there and is never injured. We are that Infinite.

Things are not bettered, but we are bettered, by making changes in them.

This is a great land, said Swamiji on one occasion in America, but I would not like to live here. Americans think too much of money. They give it preference over anything else. Your people have much to learn. When your nation is as old as ours, you will be wiser.

Those that want to help mankind must take their own pleasure and pain, name and fame, and all sorts of interests, and make a bundle of them and throw them into the sea, and then come to the Lord. This is what all the Masters said and did.

To all women every man save her husband should be as her son. To all men every woman save his own wife should be as his mother. When I look about me and see what you call gallantry, my soul is filled with disgust. Not until you learn to ignore the question of sex and to meet on a ground of common humanity will your women really develop. Until then they are playthings, nothing more. All this is the cause of divorce. Your men bow low and offer a chair, but in another breath they offer compliments. They say, 'Oh, madam, how beautiful are your eyes!' What right have they to do this? How dare a man venture so far, and how can you women permit it? Such things develop the less noble side of humanity. They do not tend to nobler ideals.

Today God is being abandoned by the world because He does not seem to be doing enough for the world. So they say, Of what good is He? Shall we look upon God as a mere municipal authority.

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