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 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.

Unselfishness is God. One may live on a throne, in a golden palace, and be perfectly unselfish; and then he is in God. Another may live in a hut and wear rags, and have nothing in the world; yet, if he is selfish, he is intensely merged in the world.

We are ever free if we believe it, only have faith enough. You are the soul, free and eternal, ever free, ever blessed. Have faith enough and you will be free in a minute. Everything in time, space, and causation is bound. The soul is beyond all time, all space, all causation. That which is bound is nature, not soul. Therefore proclaim your freedom and be what you are --- ever free, ever blessed.

We get caught. How? Not by what we give but by what we expect. We get misery in return for our love: not from the fact that we love but from the fact that we want love in return. There is no misery where there is no want. Desire, want, is the father of all misery. Desires are bound by the laws of success and failure. Desires must bring misery.

We must get beyond emotionalism if we want the power to renounce. Emotion belongs to the animals. They are creatures of emotion entirely.

What about this marvelous experience of standing alone, discarding all help, breasting the storms of life, of working without any sense of recompense, without any sense of putrid duty, and of working a whole life, joyful, free -- not goaded on to work like slaves by false human love or ambition?Nature grinds all of us. Keep count of the ounce of pleasure you get. In the long run, nature did her work through you, and when you die your body will make other plants grow. Yet we think all the time that we are getting pleasure ourselves. Thus the wheel goes round.

What we want is to see the man who is harmoniously developed...great in heart, great in mind, [great in deed]....We want the man whose heart feels intensely the miseries and sorrows of the world.....And [we want] the man who not only can feel but can find the meanings of things, who delves deeply into the heart of nature and understanding. [We want] the man who will not even stop there, [but] who wants to work out [the feeling and meaning by actual deeds]. Such a combination of head, heart, and hand is what we want.

When the devotee has reached this point he is no more impelled to ask whether God can be demonstrated or not, whether He is omnipresent and omniscient, or not. To him He is only the God of Love; He is the highest ideal of love, and that is sufficient for all his purposes; He, as love, is self-evident; it requires no proof to demonstrate the existence of the beloved to the lover. The magistrate-Gods of other forms of religion may require a good deal of proof to prove them, but the Bhakta does not and cannot think of such Gods at all. To him God exists entirely as love.

Wherever you see the most humanitarian ideas fall into the hands of the multitude, the first result you notice is degradation. It is learning and intellect that help to keep things safe. It is the cultured among a community that are the real custodians of religion and philosophy in their purest form. It is that form which serves as the index for the intellectual and social condition of a community.

Work a little harder at meditation and it comes. 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.

You cannot teach a child any more than you can grow a plant. All you can do is on the negative side — you can only help. It is a manifestation from within; it develops its own nature — you can only take away obstructions.

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 search for truth is the expression of strength — not the groping of a weak, blind man.

The utility of this science is to bring out the perfect man, and not let him wait and wait for ages, just a plaything in the hands of the physical world, like a log of drift-wood carried from wave to wave, and tossing about in the ocean. This science wants you to be strong, to take the work in your own hand, instead of leaving it in the hands of Nature, and get beyond this little life. This is the great idea.

The whole universe is only the self with variations, one tune made bearable by variations. Sometimes there are discords, but they only make the subsequent harmony more perfect.

There is no change whatsoever in the soul --- Infinite, Absolute, Eternal, Knowledge, Bliss and Existence.

Think always, I am ever-pure, ever-knowing, and ever-free. How I can do anything evil? Can I ever be fooled like ordinary people with the insignificant charms of lust and wealth? Strengthen the mind with such thoughts. This will surely bring real good.

This is a great lesson for us all to learn, that in all matters the two extremes are alike; the extreme positive and the extreme negative are always similar; when the vibrations of light are too slow we do not see them, nor do we see them when they are too rapid. So with sound; when very low in pitch we do not hear it, when very high we do not hear it either. Of like nature is the difference between resistance and non-resistance. One man does not resist because he is weak, lazy, and cannot, not because he will not; the other man knows that he can strike an irresistible blow if he likes; yet he not only does not strike, but blesses his enemies. The one who from weakness resists not commits a sin, and as such cannot receive any benefit from the non-resistance; while the other would commit a sin by offering resistance.

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