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Swami Vivekananda


Swami Vivekananda’s
 in Chicago,1893   


Swami Vivekananda’s Statues

150th Birth Anniversary




Year Date Event
1863 January 12 Birth in Kolkata
1879   Enters Presidency College
1880   Transfers to General Assembly Institution
1881 November First meeting with Sri Ramakrishna
1882-1886   Association with Sri Ramakrishna
1884   Passes B. A. Examination
    Father passes away
1885   Sri Ramakrishna's last illness
1886 August 16 Sri Ramakrishna passes away
  Fall Establishes Baranagar Math
  December 24 Informal vow of sannyasa at Antpur
1887 January Formal vows of sannyasa at Baranagar Monastery
1890- 1893 Travels all over India as itinerant monk
1892 December 24 At Kanyakumari, South India
1893 February 13 First public lecture, Secunderabad, South India
  May 31 Sails for America from Mumbai
  July 25 Lands at Vancouver, Canada
  July 30 Arrives in Chicago
  August Meets Professor John Ft. Wright of Harvard University
  September 11 First address at Parliament of Religions, Chicago
  September 27 Final address at Parliament of Religions
  November 20 Begins mid-western lecture tour
1894 April 14 Begins lectures and classes on East Coast
  May 16 Speaks at Harvard University
  July-August At Green Acre Religious Conference
  November Founds Vedanta Society of New York
1895 January Begins classes in New York
  June 4-18 At Camp Percy, New Hampshire
  June-August At Thousand Island Park on St. Lawrence river, N.Y.
  August-September In Paris
  October-November Lectures in London
  December 6 Sails for New York
1896 March 22-25 Speaks at Harvard University, offered Eastern Philosophy chair
  April 15 Returns to London
  May-July Gives classes in London
  May 28 Meets Max Muller in Oxford
  August-September In the Europe for six weeks
  October-November Gives classes in London
  December 30 Leaves Naples for India
1897 January 15 Arrives in Colombo, Sri Lanka
  February 6-15 In Chennai
  February 19 Arrives in Kolkata
  May 1 Establishes Ramakrishna Mission Association, Kolkata
  May-December Tours northwest India
1898 January Returns to Kolkata
  May Begins North India pilgrimage with Western devotees
  August 2 At Amarnath, Kashmir
  December 9 Consecrates Belur Math
1899 March 19 Establishes Advaita Ashrama at Mayavati
  June 20 Leaves India for second visit to the West
  July 31 Arrives in London
  August 28 Arrives in New York City
  August-November At Ridgely Manor, New York
  December 3 Arrives in Los Angeles
1900 February 22 Arrives in San Francisco
  April 14 Founds Vedanta Society in San Francisco
  June Final classes in New York City
  July 26 Leaves for Europe
  August 3 Arrives in Paris for International Exposition
  September 7 Speaks at Congress of History of Religions at Exposition
  October 24 Begins tour of Vienna, Constantinople, Greece and Cairo
  November 26 Leaves for India
  December 9 Arrives at Belur Math
1901 January Visits Mayavati
  March-May Pilgrimage in East Bengal and Assam
1902 January-February Visits Bodh Gaya and Varanasi
  March Returns to Belur Math
  July 4 Mahasamadhi

Swami Vivekananda’s Address to the Parliament of World Religions, Chicago, 1893

Listen to Swami Vivekananda’s Address
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WELCOME ADDRESS: Sept 11, 1893

Sisters and Brothers of America,
It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.

My thanks also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration.

I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation.

I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings:

"As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee."

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, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me."

Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.

Hindi translation

अमेरिकावासी बहनो तथा भाइयो,
आपने जिस सौहार्द और स्नेह के साथ हम लोगों का स्वागत किया हैं, उसके प्रति आभार प्रकट करने के निमित्त खड़े होते समय मेरा हृदय अवर्णनीय हर्ष से पूर्ण हो रहा हैं। संसार में संन्यासियों की सब से प्राचीन परंपरा की ओर से मैं आपको धन्यवाद देता हूँ; धर्मों की माता की ओर से धन्यवाद देता हूँ; और सभी संप्रदायों एवं मतों के कोटि-कोटि हिंदुओं की ओर से भी धन्यवाद देता हूँ।

मैं इस मंच पर से बोलनेवाले उन कतिपय वक्‍ताओं के प्रति भी धन्यवाद ज्ञापित करता हूँ, जिन्होंने प्राची के प्रतिनिधियों का उल्लेख करते समय आपको यह बतलाया हैं कि सुदूर देशों के ये लोग सहिष्णुता का भाव विविध देशों में प्रचारित करने के गौरव का दावा कर सकते हैं। मैं एक ऐसे धर्म का अनुयायी होने में गर्व का अनुभव करता हूँ, जिसने संसार को सहिष्णुता तथा सार्वभौम स्वीकृति, दोनों की ही शिक्षा दी हैं। हम लोग सब धर्मों के प्रति केवल सहिष्णुता में ही विश्‍वास नहीं करते, वरन् समस्त धर्मों को सच्चा मान कर स्वीकार करते हैं। मुझे ऐसे देश का व्यक्ति होने का अभिमान हैं, जिसने इस पृथ्वी के समस्त धर्मों और देशों के उत्पीड़ितों और शरणार्थियों को आश्रय दिया हैं। मुझे आपको यह बतलाते हुए गर्व होता हैं कि हमने अपने वक्ष में यहूदियों के विशुद्धतम शेषअंश को स्थान दिया था, जिन्होंने दक्षिण भारत आकर उसी वर्ष शरण ली थी, जिस वर्ष उनका पवित्र मंदिर रोमन जाति के अत्याचार से धूल में मिला दिया गया था। ऐसे धर्म का अनुयायी होने में मैं गर्व का अनुभव करता हूँ, जिसने महान् जरथुष्‍ट्र जाति के शेषअंश को शरण दी और जिसका पालन वह अब तक कर रहा हैं। भाईयो, मैं आप लोगों को एक स्तोत्र की कुछ पंक्‍तियाँ सुनाता हूँ, जिसकी आवृति मैं बचपन से कर रहा हूँ और जिसकी आवृति प्रतिदिन लाखों मनुष्य किया करते  हैं:

‘जैसे विभिन्न नदियाँ भिन्न-भिन्न स्रोतों से निकलकर समुद्र में मिल जाती हैं, उसी प्रकार हे प्रभो! भिन्न भिन्न रुचि के अनुसार विभिन्न टेढ़े-मेढ़े अथवा सीधे रास्ते से जानेवाले लोग अंत में तुझमें ही आकर मिल जाते हैं।’

यह सभा, जो अभी तक आयोजित सर्वश्रेष्‍ठ पवित्र सम्मेलनों में से एक हैं, स्वतः ही गीता के इस अद्‌भुत उपदेश का प्रतिपादन एवं जगत् के प्रति उसकी घोषणा है:

 ‘जो कोई मेरी ओर आता हैं – चाहे किसी प्रकार से हो – मैं उसको प्राप्‍त होता हूँ। लोग भिन्न मार्ग द्वारा प्रयत्‍न करते हुए अंत में मेरी ही ओर आते हैं।’

सांप्रदायिकता, हठधर्मिता और उनकी बीभत्स वंशधर धर्मांधता इस सुंदर पृथ्वी पर बहुत समय तक राज्य कर चुकी हैं। वे पृथ्वी को हिंसा से भरती रही हैं, उसको बारंबार मानवता के रक्‍त से नहलाती रही हैं, सभ्यताओं को विध्वस्त करती और पूरे पूरे देशों को निराशा के गर्त में डालती रही हैं। यदि ये बीभत्स दानवी न होती, तो मानव समाज आज की अवस्था से कहीं अधिक उन्नत हो गया होता। पर अब उनका समय आ गया हैं, और मैं आंतरिक रूप से आशा करता हूँ कि आज सुबह इस सभा के सम्मान में जो घंटाध्वनि हुई हैं, वह समस्त धर्मांधता का, तलवार या लेखनी के द्वारा होनेवाले सभी उत्पीड़नों का, तथा एक ही लक्ष्य की ओर अग्रसर होनेवाले मानवों की पारस्पारिक कटुता का मृत्युनिनाद सिद्ध हो।

CONCLUDING ADDRESS - Chicago, Sept 27, 1893

The World's Parliament of Religions has become an accomplished fact, and the merciful Father has helped those who labored to bring it into existence, and crowned with success their most unselfish labor.

My thanks to those noble souls whose large hearts and love of truth first dreamed this wonderful dream and then realized it. My thanks to the shower of liberal sentiments that has overflowed this platform. My thanks to this enlightened audience for their uniform kindness to me and for their appreciation of every thought that tends to smooth the friction of religions. A few jarring notes were heard from time to time in this harmony. My special thanks to them, for they have, by their striking contrast, made general harmony the sweeter.

The seed is put in the ground, and earth and air and water are placed around it. Does the seed become the earth, or the air, or the water? No. It becomes a plant. It develops after the law of its own growth, assimilates the air, the earth, and the water, converts them into plant substance, and grows into a plant.

Similar is the case with religion. The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.

If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world, it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character. In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: "Help and not fight," "Assimilation and not Destruction," "Harmony and Peace and not Dissension."

Hindi translation

विश्‍वधर्म महासभा एक मूर्तिमान तथ्य सिद्‌ध हो गई हैं और दयामय प्रभु ने उन लोगों की सहायता की हैं, तथा उनके परम निःस्वार्थ श्रम को सफलता से विभूषित किया हैं, जिन्होंने इसका आयोजन किया।

उन महानुभावों को मेरा धन्यवाद हैं, जिनके विशाल हृदय तथा सत्य के प्रति अनुराग ने पहले इस अद‌‍भुत स्वप्न को देखा और फिर उसे कार्यरूप में परिणत किया। उन उदार भावों को मेरा धन्यवाद, जिनसे यह सभामंच आप्लावित होता रहा हैं। इस प्रबुद्‌ध श्रोतृमंडली को मेरा धन्यवाद, जिसने मुझ पर अविकल कृपा रखी हैं और जिसने मत-मतांतरों के मनोमालिन्य को हल्का करने का प्रयत्‍न करने वाले हर विचार का सत्कार किया। इस समसुरता में कुछ बेसुरे स्वर भी बीच बीच में सुने गये हैं। उन्हें मेरा विशेष धन्यवाद, क्योंकि उन्होंने अपने स्वरवैचिञ्य से इस समरसता को और भी मधुर बना दिया हैं।

धार्मिक एकता की सर्वसामान्य भित्ति के विषय में बहुत कुछ कहा जा चुका हैं। इस समय मैं इस संबंध में अपना मत आपके समक्ष नहीं रखूँगा। किन्तु यदि यहाँ कोई यह आशा कर रहा हैं कि यह एकता किसी एक धर्म की विजय और बाकी धर्मों के विनाश से सिद्ध होगी, तो उनसे मेरा कहना हैं कि ‘भाई, तुम्हारी यह आशा असम्भव हैं।’ क्या मैं यह चाहता हूँ कि ईसाई लोग हिन्दू हो जाएँ? कदापि नहीं, ईश्‍वर भी ऐसा न करे!  क्या मेरी यह इच्छा हैं कि हिदू या बौद्ध लोग ईसाई हो जाएँ? ईश्‍वर इस इच्छा से बचाए।

बीज भूमि में बो दिया गया और मिट्टी, वायु तथा जल उसके चारों ओर रख दिये गये। तो क्या वह बीज मिट्टी हो जाता हैं, अथवा वायु या जल बन जाता हैं? नहीं, वह तो वृक्ष ही होता हैं, वह अपनी वृद्‌धि के नियम से ही बढ़ता हैं — वायु , जल और मिट्टी को पचाकर, उनको उद्‌भित पदार्थ में परिवर्तित करके एक वृक्ष हो जाता हैं।

ऐसा ही धर्म के संबंध में भी हैं। ईसाई को हिंदू या बौद्ध नहीं हो जाना चाहिए, और न ही हिंदू अथवा बौद्ध को ईसाई ही। पर हाँ, प्रत्येक को चाहिए कि वह दूसरों के सारभाग को आत्मसात् करके पुष्टिलाभ करें और अपने वैशिष्ट्य की रक्षा करते हुए अपनी निजी बुद्‌धि के नियम के अनुसार वृद्‌धि को प्राप्‍त हो।

इस धर्म -महासभा ने जगत् के समक्ष यदि कुछ प्रदर्शित किया हैं, तो वह यह हैं:  उसने सिद्‌ध कर दिया हैं कि शुद्‍धता, पवित्रता और दयाशीलता किसी संप्रदायविशेष की ऐकांतिक संपत्ति नहीं हैं, एवं प्रत्येक धर्म मे श्रेष्‍ठ एवं अतिशय उन्नतचरित स्‍त्री-पुरूषों को जन्म दिया हैं। अब इन प्रत्यक्ष प्रमाणों के बावजूद भी कोई ऐसा स्वप्न देखें कि अन्याम्य सागे धर्म नष्‍ट हो जाएँगे और केवल उसका धर्म ही जीवित रहेगा, तो उस पर मैं अपने हृदय के अंतराल से दया करता हूँ और उसे स्पष्‍ट बतलाए देता हूँ कि शीघ्र ही सारे प्रतिरोधों के बावजूद प्रत्येक धर्म की पताका पर यह लिखा रहेगा — ‘सहायता करो, लडो मत’ ; ‘परभाव-ग्रहण, न कि परभाव-विनाश’ ; ‘समन्वय और शांति, न कि मतभेद और कलह!’



As I look back upon the history of my country, I do not find in the whole world another country which has done quite so much for the improvement of the human mind.

I loved my motherland dearly before I went to America and England. After my return, every particle of dust of this land seems sacred to me.

From the very start, we must have to understand the mission of our own race, the destiny it has to fulfill, the place it has so occupy in the march of nations, the note which it has to contribute to the harmony of races.

I find among nations one great ideal which forms the backbone, so to speak, of that race. With some it is politics, with others it is social culture; others again may have intellectual culture and so on for their national background. But this, our motherland, has religion and religion alone for it basis, for its backbone, for the bedrock upon which the whole building of it s life has been based.

Each nation has a main current in life; in India it is religion. Make it strong and the waters on either side must move along with it.

In other countries a man may be political first, and then he may have a little religion, but here in India the first and the foremost duty of our lives is to be spiritual first, and then if there is time, let other things come.

Here in India, it is religion that forms the very core of the national heart. It is the backbone, the bed-rock, the foundation upon which the national edifice has been built. Politics, power, and even intellect form a secondary consideration here. Religion, therefore, is the one consideration in India.

In religion lies the vitality of India, and so long as the Hindu race do not forget the great inheritance of their forefathers, there is no power on earth to destroy them.

They say, "You can only be helped, you can only be good by ceasing to be what you are. It is useless to help Hindus." These people do not know the history of races. There will be no more India if they change their religion and their institutions, because that is the vitality of that race. It will disappear; so, really you will have nobody to help.

If there is any land on this earth that can lay claim to be the blessed Punya Bhumi, to be the land to which all souls on this earth must come to account for Karma, the land to which all the souls in the world must come for its last home, the land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness, above all, the land of introspection and of Spirituality - it is India. Here is life giving water with which must be quenched the fire of materialism burning millions of hearts in other lands.

Say, brother: "The soil of India is my highest heaven, the good of India is my good," and repeat and pray, day and night.

Be Brave and believe in Yourself! 

Be brave! Be strong! Be fearless! Once you have taken up the spiritual life, fight as long as there is any life in you. Even though you know you are going to be killed, fight till you "are killed." Don’t die of fright. Die fighting. Don’t go down till you are knocked down.

Stand up, be bold, be strong. Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny. All the strength and succor you want is within yourself. Therefore make your own future.

Be strong! Don’t talk of ghosts and devils. We are the living devils. The sign of life is strength and growth. The sign of death is weakness. Whatever is weak, avoid! It is death. If it is strength, go down into hell and get hold of it! There is salvation only for the brave.

My child, what I want is muscles of iron and nerves of steel, inside which dwells a mind of the same material as that of which the thunderbolt is made.

Brave, bold men and women, these are what we want. What we want is vigor in the blood, strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel, not softening namby-pamby ideas. Avoid all these. Avoid all mystery. There is no mystery in religion.

Bear in mind, my children, that only cowards and those who are weak commit sin and tell lies. The brave are always moral. Try to be moral, try to be brave, try to be sympathising.

Have faith that you are all, my brave lads, born to do great things! Let not the barks of puppies frighten you -- no, not even the thunderbolts of heaven -- but stand up and work!

"The earth is enjoyed by heroes" - this is the unfailing truth. Be a hero. Always say, "have no fear."

Be a hero. Always say, "I have no fear." Tell this to everyone - "Have no fear."

Freedom can never be reached by the weak. Throw away all weakness. Tell your body that it is strong, tell your mind that it is strong, and have unbounded faith and hope in yourself.

Fear is death, fear is sin, fear is hell, fear is unrighteousness. All the negative thoughts and ideas that are in this world have proceeded from this evil spirit of fear.

Anything that brings spiritual, mental, or physical weakness, touch it not with the toes of your feet.

Go on bravely. Do not expect success in a day or a year. Always hold on to the highest. Be steady. Avoid jealousy and selfishness. Be obedient and eternally faithful to the cause of truth, humanity, and your country, and you will move the world. Remember it is the person, the life, which is the secret of power -- nothing else.... Jealousy is the bane of all slaves. It is the bane of our nation. Avoid that always.

What is the use of talking of one’s mistakes to the world? They cannot thereby be undone. For what one has done one must suffer; one must try and do better. The world sympathizes only with the strong and the powerful.

To succeed you must have tremendous perseverance, tremendous will. "I will drink the ocean," says the persevering soul, "at my will mountains will crumble." Have that sort of energy, that sort of will, work hard, and you will reach the goal.

Nothing shall be done in haste. Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success and, above all, love.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. 

What work do you expect from men of little hearts? Nothing in the world. You must have an iron will if you would cross the ocean. You must be strong enough to pierce mountains.

As long as we believe ourselves to be even the least different from God, fear remains with us; but when we know ourselves to be the One, fear goes; of what can we be afraid?

Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success and, above all, love.

Develop Will Power

All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in our own mind.

It is our own mental attitude which makes the world what it is for us. Our thought make things beautiful, our thoughts make things ugly. The whole world is in our own minds. Learn to see things in the proper light. First, believe in this world, that there is meaning behind everything. Everything in the world is good, is holy and beautiful. If you see something evil, think that you do not understand it in the right light. Throw the burden on yourselves! 

If the mind is intensely eager, everything can be accomplished—mountains can be crumbled into atoms.

Have you got the will to surmount mountain-high obstructions? If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right?

"Face the brutes." That is a lesson for all life - face the terrible, face it boldly. Like the monkeys, the hardships of life fall back when we cease to flee before them.

All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that. Do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. Stand up and express the divinity within you.

There is no help for you outside of yourself; you are the creator of the universe. Like the silkworm you have built a cocoon around yourself…. Burst your own cocoon and come out as the beautiful butterfly, as the free soul. Then alone you will see Truth.

Be not afraid, for all great power throughout the history of humanity has been with the people. From out of their ranks have come all the greatest geniuses of the world, and history can only repeat itself. Be not afraid of anything. You will do marvelous work.

Don't look back - forward, infinite energy, infinite enthusiasm, infinite daring, and infinite patience - then alone can great deeds be accomplished.

Go on saying, "I am free." Never mind if the next moment delusion comes and says, "I am bound." Dehypnotize the whole thing.

I, for one, thoroughly believe that no power in the universe can withhold from anyone anything they really deserve.

There are hundreds of thousands of microbes surrounding us, but they cannot harm us unless we become weak, until the body is ready and predisposed to receive them. There may be a million microbes of misery floating about us. Never mind! They dare not approach us, they have no power to get a hold on us, until the mind is weakened. This is the great fact: strength is life, weakness is death. Strength is felicity, life eternal, immortal. Weakness is constant strain and misery: weakness is death.

Let people say whatever they like, stick to your own convictions, and rest assured, the world will be at your feet. They say, "Have faith in this fellow or that fellow", but I say, "Have faith in yourself first", that's the way. Have faith in yourself -- all power is in you -- be conscious and bring it out. Say, "I can do everything." "Even the poison of a snake is powerless if you can firmly deny it." Beware! No saying "nay", no negative thoughts! Say, "Yea, Yea," "So'ham, So'ham"--"I am He! I am He!"

Hold to the idea, "I am not the mind, I see that I am thinking, I am watching my mind act," and each day the identification of yourself with thoughts and feelings will grow less, until at last you can entirely separate yourself from the mind and actually know it to be apart from yourself.


Perfect sincerity, holiness, gigantic intellect, and an all - conquering will. Let only a handful of men work with these, and the whole world will be revolutionised.

Good motives, sincerity, and infinite love can conquer the world. One single soul possessed of these virtues can destroy the dark designs of millions of hypocrites and brutes.

Who will give the world light? Sacrifice in the past has been the Law, it will be, alas, for ages to come. The earth's bravest and best will have to sacrifice themselves for the good of many, for the welfare of all.

This is the first lesson to learn: be determined not to curse anything outside, not to lay the blame upon anyone outside, but stand up, lay the blame on yourself. You will find that is always true. Get hold of yourself.

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.

No one should be judged by their defects. The great virtues a person has are his or her especially. But their errors are the common weakness of humanity and should never be counted in estimating a person’s character.

Let us work without desire for name or fame or rule over others. Let us be free from the triple bonds of lust, greed of gain, and anger. And this truth is with us!

Please everyone without becoming a hypocrite or a coward.

Out of purity and silence comes the word of power.

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore love for love's sake, because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.

- The Knowledge

By the Vedas no books are meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different times. Just as the law of gravitation existed before its discovery, and would exist if all humanity forgot it, so is it with the laws that govern the spiritual world.

Books are infinite in number and time is short. The secret of knowledge is to take what is essential. Take that and try to live up to it.

Experience is the only teacher we have. We may talk and reason all our lives, but we shall not understand a word of truth until we experience it ourselves.

Impurity is a mere superimposition under which your real nature has become hidden. But the real you is already perfect, already strong.

Every action that helps us manifest our divine nature more and more is good; every action that retards it is evil.

First get rid of the delusion "I am the body," then only will we want real knowledge.

First, believe in the world that there is meaning behind everything.

Jnana teaches that the world should be given up, but not on that account to be abandoned. To be in the world but not of it—is the true test of the sannyasin.

Mind you, this is life's experience: if you really want the good of others, the whole universe may stand against you and cannot hurt you. It must crumble before your power of the Lord Himself in you if you are sincere and really unselfish.


Meditation means the mind is turned back upon itself. The mind stops all the thought-waves and the world stops. Your consciousness expands. Every time you meditate you will keep your growth.

Meditation consists in this practice of dissolving everything into the ultimate Reality - spirit.

Try a little harder, and meditation 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. Not even the deepest sleep will give you such a rest as that.


Work for the idea, not the person.

Live for an ideal, and leave no place in the mind for anything else. Let us put forth all our energies to acquire that which never fails--our spiritual perfection. If we have true yearning for realization, we must struggle, and through struggle growth will come. We shall make mistakes, but they may be angels unawares.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

Live for an ideal and that one ideal alone. Let it be so great, so strong, that there may be nothing else left in the mind; no place for anything else, no time for anything else.

Above all, beware of compromises. Hold on to your own principles in weal or woe and never adjust them to others’ "fads" through the greed of getting supporters. Your Atman is the support of the universe - whose support do you stand in need of?

Even the greatest fool can accomplish a task if it were after his or her heart. But the intelligent ones are those who can convert every work into one that suits their taste.

Faith, faith, faith in ourselves, faith, faith in God -- this is the secret of greatness. If you have faith in all the three hundred and thirty millions of your mythological gods, and in all the gods which foreigners have now and again introduced into your midst, and still have no faith in yourselves, there is no salvation for you. Have faith in yourselves, and stand up on that faith and be strong; that is what we need. Why is it that we three hundred and thirty millions of people have been ruled for the last one thousand years by any and every handful of foreigners who chose to walk over our prostrate bodies? Because they had faith in themselves and we had not.

Fill the brain with high thoughts, highest ideals, place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work.

Look here--we shall die! Bear this in mind always, and then the spirit within will wake up. Only then will meanness vanish from you, practicality in work will come, you will get new vigor in mind and body, and those who come in contact with you will also feel that they have really got something uplifting from you.

If you think that you are bound, you remain bound; you make your own bondage. If you know that you are free, you are free this moment. This is knowledge, knowledge of freedom. Freedom is the goal of all nature.


"I do not want to get material life, do not want the sense-life, but something higher." That is renunciation. Then, by the power of meditation, undo the mischief that has been done.

The highest ideal is eternal and entire self-abnegation, where there is no 'I', but is Thou'.

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and everything else shall be added unto you." This is the one great duty, this is renunciation. Live for an ideal, and leave no place in the mind for anything else.

Discriminate within yourself between the real and the unreal. Have you not read the Vedanta? Even when you sleep, keep the sword of discrimination at the head of your bed, so that covetousness cannot approach you even in dream. Practicing such strength, renunciation will gradually come, and then you will see the portals of heaven are wide open to you.

Avoid excessive merriment. A mind in that state never becomes calm; it becomes fickle. Excessive merriment will always be followed by sorrow. Tears and laughter are near kin. People so often run from one extreme to the other.

Desire, want, is the father of all misery. Desires are bound by the laws of success and failure. Desires must bring misery. The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the person who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.

Give up all desire for enjoyment in earth or heaven. Control the organs of the senses and control the mind. Bear every misery without even knowing that you are miserable. Think of nothing but spiritual freedom.

If you want to be a Yogi, you must be free, and place yourself in circumstances where you are alone and free from all anxiety. One who desires a comfortable and nice life and, at the same time, wants to realize the Atman is like the fool who, wanting to cross the river, caught hold of a crocodile mistaking it for a log of wood.

It is always for greater joy that you give up the lesser. This is practical religion—the attainment of freedom, renunciation. Renounce the lower so that you may get the higher. Renounce! Renounce! Sacrifice! Give up! Not for zero. Not for nothing, but to get the higher.

Neither seek nor avoid; take what comes. It is liberty to be affected by nothing. Do not merely endure; be unattached.

Everything can be sacrificed for truth, but truth cannot be sacrificed for anything.

If you want to have life, you have to die every moment for it. Life and death are only different expressions of the same thing looked at from different standpoints; they are the falling and the rising of the same wave, and the two form one whole.


Our duty is to encourage every one in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth.

Look upon every man, woman, and every one as God. You cannot help anyone, you can only serve: serve the children of the Lord, serve the Lord Himself, if you have the privilege.

If the Lord grants that you can help any one of his children, blessed you are; do not think too much of yourselves. Blessed you are that that privilege was given to you when others had it not. Do it only as a worship.

I should see God in the poor, and it is for my salvation that I go and worship them. The poor and the miserable are for our salvation, so that we may serve the Lord, coming in the shape of the diseased, coming in the shape of the lunatic, the leper, and the sinner!

So long as the millions die in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them.

Let each one of us pray day and night for the down - trodden millions in India who are held fast by poverty, priestcraft, and tyranny -- pray day and night for them. I care more to preach religion to them than to the high and the rich. I am no metaphysician, no philosopher, nay, no saint. But I am poor, I love the poor. I see what they call the poor of this country, and how many there are who feel for them! What an immense difference in India! Who feels there for the two hundred millions of men and women sunken forever  in poverty and ignorance? Where is the way out? Who feels for them? They cannot find light or education. Who will bring the light to them -- who will travel from door to door bringing education to them? Let these people be your God -- think of them, work for them, pray for them incessantly -- the Lord will show you the way.

You must give your body, mind, and speech to "the welfare of the world". You have read --" look upon your mother as God, look upon your father as God"-- but I say the poor, the illiterate, the ignorant, the afflicted -- let these be your God." Know that service to these alone is the highest religion.

Who will bring light to the poor? Who will travel from door to door bringing education to them? Let these people be your God—think of them, work for them, pray for them incessantly. The Lord will show you the way.

In the world take always the position of the giver. Give everything and look for no return. Give love, give help, give service, give any little thing you can, but keep out barter. Make no conditions and none will be imposed. Let us give out of our own bounty, just as God gives to us.

All the wealth in the world cannot help one little Indian village if the people are not taught to help themselves. Our work should be mainly educational, both moral and intellectual.

A few heart-whole, sincere, and energetic men and women can do more in a year than a mob in a century.

Do not be afraid of a small beginning, great things come afterwards. Be courageous. Do not try to lead your brethren, but serve them. The brutal mania for leading has sunk many a great ship in the waters of life. Take care especially of that, i.e. be unselfish even unto death, and work.

Each work has to pass through these stages—ridicule, opposition, and then acceptance. Those who think ahead of their time are sure to be misunderstood.

Great work requires great and persistent effort for a long time. Character has to be established through a thousand stumbles.

Bless people when they revile you. Think how much good they are doing by helping to stamp out the false ego. Hold fast to the real Self. Think only pure thoughts, and you will accomplish more than a regiment of mere preachers. Out of purity and silence comes the word of power.

By doing well the duty which is nearest to us, the duty which is in our hands now, we make ourselves stronger; and improving our strength in this manner step by step, we may reach a state in which it shall be our privilege to do the most coveted and honored duties in life and in society.

Do not hate anybody, because that hatred which comes out from you must, in the long run, come back to you. If you love, that love will come back to you, completing the circle.

Him I call a Mahatman (great soul) whose heart bleeds for the poor, otherwise he is a Duratman (wicked soul). Let us unite our wills in continued prayer for their good. We may die unknown, unpitied, unbewailed, without accomplishing anything -- but not one thought will be lost. It will take effect, sooner or later.

If you really want the good of others, the whole universe may stand against you and cannot hurt you. It must crumble before your power of the Lord Himself in you if you are sincere and really unselfish.

It is only by doing good to others that one attains to one's own good.

It is only work that is done as a free-will offering to humanity and to nature that does not bring with it any binding attachment.

Be cheerful. . . . Hold on to your own ideal. . . . Above all, never attempt to guide or rule others, or, as the Yankees say, "boss" others. Be the servant of all.

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore love for love’s sake, because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.

Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers and let them go their own way.


Come out into the universe of Light. Everything in the universe is yours, stretch out your arms and embrace it with love. If you ever felt you wanted to do that, you have felt God. 

Realize yourself. That is all there is to do. Know yourself as you are—infinite spirit. That is practical religion. Everything else is impractical, for everything else will vanish.

Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship or psychic control or philosophy - by one or more or all of these and be free.

All that is real in me is God; all that is real in God is I. The gulf between God and human beings is thus bridged. Thus we find how, by knowing God, we find the kingdom of heaven within us.

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.

You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.

After every happiness comes misery; they may be far apart or near. The more advanced the soul, the more quickly does one follow the other. What we want is neither happiness nor misery. Both make us forget our true nature; both are chains--one iron, one gold; behind both is the Atman, who knows neither happiness nor misery. These are states, and states must ever change; but the nature of the Atman is bliss, peace, unchanging. We have not to get it, we have it; only wash away the dross and see it.

Always discriminate--your body, your house, the people and the world are all absolutely unreal like a dream. Always think that the body is only an inert instrument. And the Atman within is your real nature.

As long as we believe ourselves to be even the least different from God, fear remains with us; but when we know ourselves to be the One, fear goes; of what can we be afraid?

All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in our own mind.

As soon as I think that I am a little body, I want to preserve it, to protect it, to keep it nice, at the expense of other bodies; then you and I become separate.

As body, mind, or soul, you are a dream; you really are Being, Consciousness, Bliss (satchidananda). You are the God of this universe.

God is self-evident, impersonal, omniscient, the Knower and the Master of nature, the Lord of all. He is behind all worship and it is being done according to Him, whether we know it or not.

God is very merciful to those whom He sees struggling heart and soul for spiritual realization. But remain idle, without any struggle, and you will see that His grace will never come.

Come out into the universe of Light. Everything in the universe is yours, stretch out your arms and embrace it with love. If you every felt you wanted to do that, you have felt God.

God is not to be reached by the weak. Never be weak. You have infinite strength within you. How else will you conquer anything? How else will you come to God?

In this external world, which is full of finite things, it is impossible to see and find the Infinite. The Infinite must be sought in that alone which is infinite, and the only thing infinite about us is that which is within us, our own soul. Neither the body, nor the mind, nor even our thoughts, nor the world we see around us, is infinite.

If one who lives in the Lord becomes miserable, what is the use of living in Him? What is the use of such a God? Throw Him overboard into the Pacific Ocean. We do not want Him.

Let the mind be cheerful but calm. Never let it run into excesses, because every excess will be followed by a reaction.


All who have actually attained any real religious experience never wrangle over the form in which the different religions are expressed. They know that the soul of all religions is the same and so they have no quarrel with anybody just because he or she does not speak in the same tongue.

Despondency is not religion, whatever else it may be.

I do not believe in a God or religion which cannot wipe the widow's tears or bring a piece of bread to the orphan's mouth. However sublime be the theories, however well - spun may be the philosophy -- I do not call it religion so long as it is confined to books and dogmas. The eye is in the forehead and not in the back. Move onward and carry into practice that which you are very proud to call your religion and God bless you!

If superstition enters, the brain is gone.

Let each one of us pray day and night for the downtrodden millions who are held fast by poverty, priestcraft, and tyranny. Pray day and night for them. I care more to preach religion to them than to the high and the rich.

We must approach religion with reverence and with love, and our heart will stand up and say, this is truth, and this is untruth.

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.

To believe blindly is to degenerate the human soul. Be an atheist if you want, but do not believe in anything unquestioningly.

Anything that is secret and mysterious in these systems of yoga should be at once rejected. The best guide in life is strength. In religion, as in all other matters, discard everything that weakens you, have nothing to do with it.

The first sign of your becoming religious is that you are becoming cheerful.

Learning and wisdom are superfluities, the surface glitter merely, but it is the heart that is the seat of all power. It is not in the brain but in the heart that the Atman, possessed of knowledge, power, and activity, has its seat.


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