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

When we come to nonattachment, then we can understand the marvelous mystery of the universe: how it is intense activity and at the same time intense peace, how it is work every moment and rest every moment.

Why religions should claim that they are not bound to abide by the standpoint of reason, no one knows. If one does not take the standard of reason there cannot be any true judgement, even in the case of religions. One religion may ordain something very hideous. For instance, the Mohammedan religion allows Mohammedans to kill all who are not of their religion. It is clearly stated in the Koran, Kill the infidels if they do not become Mohammedans. They must be put to fire and sword. Now if we tell a Mohammedan that this is wrong, he will naturally ask: How do you know that? How do you know it is not good? My book says it is. If you say your book is older, there will come the Buddhist, and say, his book is much older still. Then will come the Hindu, and say, his books are the oldest of all. Therefore referring to books will not do. Where is the standard by which you can compare? You will say, look at the Sermon on the Mount, and the Mohammedan will reply, look at the Ethics of the Koran. The Mohammedan will say, who is the arbiter as to which is the better of the two? Neither the New Testament nor the Koran can be the arbiter in a quarrel between them. There must be some independent authority, and that cannot be any book, but something which is universal; and what is more universal than reason? It has been said that reason is not strong enough; it does not always help us to get the Truth; many times it makes mistakes, and therefore the conclusion is that we must believe the authority of a church! That was said to me by a Roman Catholic, but I could not see the logic of it. On the other hand I should say, if reason be so weak, a body of priests would be weaker, and I am not going to accept their verdict but I will abide by my reason, because with all its weakness there is some chance of my getting at truth through it; while by the other means there is no hope at all.

Worship of society and popular opinion is idolatry. The soul has no sex, no country, no place, no time.

You must keep the mind fixed on one object, like an unbroken stream of oil. The ordinary man's mind is scattered on different objects, and at the time of meditation, too, the mind is at first apt to wander. But let any desire whatever arise in the mind, you must sit calmly and watch what sort of ideas are coming. By continuing to watch in that way, the mind becomes calm, and there are no thought waves in it. These waves represent the thought-activity of the mind. Those things that you have thought too deeply, have transformed themselves into a subconscious current, and therefore these come up in the mind in meditation. The rise of these waves, or thoughts, during meditation is an evidence that your mind is tending towards concentration. Sometimes the mind is concentrated on a set of ideas -- this is called meditation with Vikalpa or oscillation. But when the mind becomes almost free from all activities, it melts in the inner Self, which is the essence of infinite Knowledge, One and Itself Its own support.

The observer in the psychic world needs to be very strong and scientifically trained.

The present system of education is all wrong. The mind is crammed with facts before it knows how to think. Control of the mind should be taught first.

The Soul is not composed of any materials. It is unity indivisible. Therefore it must be indestructible.

The Vedas teach that the soul is divine, only held in the bondage of matter; perfection will be reached when this bond will burst, and the word they use for it is, therefore, Mukti - freedom, freedom from the bonds of imperfection, freedom from death and misery.

The world is a grand moral gymnasium wherein we have all to take exercise so as to become stronger and stronger spiritually.

There is one thing to be remembered: that the assertion—I am God—cannot be made with regard to the sense-world.

This competition, cruelty, horror and sighs rending hearts day and night, is the state of things in this world of ours. If this be the creation of a God, that God is worse than cruel, worse than any devil that man ever imagined. Aye, says the Vedanta, it is not the fault of God that this partiality exists, that this competition exists. Who makes it? We ourselves. There is a cloud shedding its rain on all fields alike. But it is only the field that is well cultivated, which gets the advantages of the shower; another field which has not been tilled or taken care of, cannot get that advantage. It is not the fault of the cloud. The mercy of God is eternal and unchangeable; it is we that make the differentiation.

This is the only way to reach the goal, to tell ourselves, and to tell everybody else, that we are divine. And as we go on repeating this, strength comes. He who falters at first will get stronger and stronger, and the voice will increase in volume until the truth takes possession of our hearts, and courses through our veins, and permeates our bodies.

Those who think ahead of their time are sure to be misunderstood.

To get any reason out of the mass of incongruity we call human life, we have to transcend our reason, but we must do it scientifically, slowly, by regular practice, and we must cast off all superstition. We must take up the study of the superconscious state just as any other science. On reason we must have to lay our foundation, we must follow reason as far as it leads, and when reason fails, reason itself will show us the way to the highest plane.

Truth has such a face that anyone who sees that face becomes convinced. The sun does not require any torch to show it; the sun is self-effulgent. If truth requires evidence, what will evidence that evidence?

Want of sympathy and lack of energy are at the root of all misery, and you must therefore give these two up.

We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.

We have seen that it is the subjective world that rules the objective. Change the subject and the object is bound to change; purify yourself, and the world is bound to be purified. This one thing requires to be taught now more than ever before. We are becoming more and more busy about our neighbours, and less and less about ourselves. The world will change if we change; if we are pure, the world will become pure. The question is why I should see evil in others. I cannot see evil unless I be evil. I cannot be miserable unless I am weak. Things that used to make me miserable when I was a child, do not do so now. The subject changed, so the object was bound to change; so says the Vedanta.

We reap what we sow. We are the makers of our own fate. None else has the blame, none has the praise.

What is material and what is not material? When the world is the end and God the means to attain that end, then that is material. When God is the end and the world is only the means to attain that end, spirituality has begun.

Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be. If you think yourselves strong, strong you will be.

When we have become free, we need not go mad and throw up society and rush off to die in the forest or the cave; we shall remain where we were but we shall understand the whole thing. The same phenomena will remain but with a new meaning.

Why should a man be miserable even here in the reign of a just and merciful God?

Ye are the Children of God, the sharers of immortal bliss, holy and perfect beings. Ye divinities on earth---sinners! It is a sin to call a man so; it is a standing libel on human nature.

You must practice at least twice every day, and the best times are towards the morning and the evening. When night passes into day, and day into night, a state of relative calmness ensues. The early morning and the early evening are the two periods of calmness. Your body will have a like tendency to become calm at those times. We should take advantage of that natural condition and begin then to practise.

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