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

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

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

Author Quotes

This life is a hard fact; work your way through it boldly, though it may be adamantine; no matter, the soul is stronger.

Those whose only aim is to barter the energies of life for gold, or name, or any other enjoyment; those to whom the tramp of embattled cohorts is the only manifestation of power; those to whom the enjoyment of the senses is the only bliss that life c

To him who has nothing in the universe the Lord comes.

Truth is indestructible, virtue is indestructible, purity is indestructible.

Was there ever a more horrible blasphemy than the statement that all the knowledge of God is confined to this or that book? How dare men call God infinite, and yet try to compress Him within the covers of a little book!

We believe that every being is divine, is God. Every soul is a sun covered over with clouds of ignorance; the difference between soul and soul is owing to the difference in density of these layers of clouds.

We have to seize this unstable mind and drag it from its wanderings and fix it on one idea. Over and over again this must be done. By power of will we must get hold of the mind and make it stop and reflect upon the glory of God.

We say that it is freedom that we are to seek and that that freedom is God. It is the same happiness as in everything else; but when man seeks it in something finite, he gets only a spark of it. The thief when he steals gets the same happiness as the man who finds it in God; but the thief gets only a spark with a mass of misery. The real happiness is God. Love is God, freedom is God; and everything that is bondage is not God.

What is the proof of God? Direct perception, Pratyaksha. The proof of this wall is that I perceive it. God has been perceived by all who want to perceive Him. But this perception is no sense perception at all; it is supersensuous, superconscious.

When a genius of a man with some special great power is born, all the best and the most creative faculties of his whole heredity are drawn towards the making up of his personality and squeezed dry, as it were. It is for this reason that we find that all those who are subsequently born in such a family are either idiots or men of very ordinary calibre, and that in time such a family in many cases becomes extinct.

When we really begin to live in the world, then we understand what is meant by brotherhood or mankind, and not before.

Why should a Man be Moral? Because this strengthens his will.

You are in all, and you are all. Whom to avoid, and whom to take? You are the all in all. When this knowledge comes, delusion immediately vanishes.

You must remember that humanity travels not from error to truth, but from truth to truth; it may be, if you like it better, from lower truth to higher truth, but never from error to truth.

The one great advantage of Bhakti is that it is the easiest and most natural way to reach the great divine end in view; it's great disadvantage is that in its lower forms it oftentimes degenerates into hideous fanaticism. The fanatical crew in Hinduism, Mohammedanism, or Christianity, have always been almost exclusively recruited from these worshippers [sic] on the lower planes of Bhakti. That singleness of attachment (Nishthâ) to a loved object, without which no genuine love can grow, is very often also the cause of the denunciation of everything else. All the weak and undeveloped minds in every religion or country have only one way of loving their own ideal, i.e., by hating every other ideal. Herein is the explanation of why the same man who is so lovingly attached to his own ideal of God, so devoted to his own ideal of religion, becomes a howling fanatic as soon as he sees or hears anything of any other ideal.

The Real Man is one and infinite, the omnipresent spirit. And the apparent man, however great he may be, is only a dim reflection of the Real Man, who is beyond. The Real Man, the Spirit, being beyond cause and effect, not bound by time and space, must therefore be free....The apparent man, the reflection, is limited by time, space and causation, and is therefore bound. Or in the language of some of our philosophers, he appears to be bound, but really is not.

The Tapas and the other hard Yogas that were practiced in other Yugas do not work now. What is needed in this Yuga is giving, helping others.

The weak have no place here, in this life or any other life. Weakness leads to slavery. Weakness leads to all kinds of misery, physical and mental. Weakness is death.

Then arises the question, how can all these varieties be true? If one thing is true, its negation is false. How can contradictory opinions be true at the same time? This is the question I intend to answer. But I will first ask you: Are all the religions in the world really contradictory? I do not mean the external forms in which great thoughts are clad. I do not mean the different buildings, languages, rituals, books, etc., employed in various religions, but I mean the internal soul of every religion. Every religion has a soul behind it, and that soul may differ from the soul of another religion; but are they contradictory? Do they contradict or supplement each other---that is the question. I took up the question when I was quite a boy, and have been studying it all my life. Thinking that my conclusion may be of some help to you, I place it before you. I believe that they are not contradictory; they are supplementary. Each religion, as it were, takes up one part of the great universal truth, and spends its whole force in embodying and typifying that part of the great truth. It is therefore addition, not exclusion. That is the idea. Systems after system arises, each one embodying a great idea, and ideals must be added to ideals. And this is the march of humanity. Man never progresses from error to truth, but from truth to truth, from lesser truth to higher truth---but it is never from error to truth.

There is to be found in every religion the manifestation of this struggle towards freedom. It is the groundwork of all morality, of unselfishness, which means getting rid of the idea that men are the same as their little body. When we see a man doing good work, helping others, it means that he cannot be confined within the limited circle of me and mine. There is no limit to this getting out of selfishness. All the great systems of ethics preach absolute unselfishness as the goal.

This faith in themselves was in the hearts of our ancestors, this faith in themselves was the motive power that pushed them forward and forward in the march of civilisation, and if there has been degeneration, if there has been defect, mark my words, you will find that degeneration to have started on the day our people lost faith in themselves.

This life is short, the vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.

Though our castes and institutions are apparently linked with our religion, they are not so. These institutions have been necessary to protect us as a nation, and when this necessity for self-preservation will no more exist, they will die a natural death. But the older I grow, the better I seem to think of these time-honored institutions of India. There was a time when I used to think that many of them were useless and worthless; but the older I grew, the more I seem to feel a diffidence in cursing any one of them, for each one of them is the embodiment of the experience of centuries. A child of but yesterday, destined to die the day after tomorrow, comes to me and asks me to change all my plans; and if I hear the advice of that baby and change all my surroundings according to his ideas, I myself should be a fool, and no one else. Much of the advice that is coming to us from different countries is similar to this. Tell these wiseacres: I will hear you when you have made a society yourselves. You cannot hold on to one idea for two days, you quarrel and fail; you are born like moths in the spring and die like them in five minutes. You come up like bubbles and burst like bubbles too. First form a stable society like ours. First make laws and institutions that remain undiminished in their power through scores of centuries. Then will be the time to talk on the subject with you, but till then, my friend, you are only a giddy child.

To me the very essence of education is concentration of mind, not the collecting of facts. If I had to do my education over again, and had any voice in the matter, I would not study facts at all. I would develop the power of concentration and detachment, and then with a perfect instrument I could collect facts at will.

Truth, purity and unselfishness---wherever these are present, there is no power below or above the sun to crush the possessor thereof. Equipped with these, one individual is able to face the whole universe in opposition.

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Vivekananda, fully Sri or Swami Vivekananda, born Narendra Nath Datta
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Indian Hindu Monk, Religious Leader and Philosopher credited with raising interfaith awareness