16 April 2013

Swami Vivekananda On Life

Everything is conscious 
which rebels against nature: 
there, consciousness is manifested. 
Just try to kill a little ant, 
even it will once resist 
to save its life.
—Swami Vivekananda
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
    In this page, we'll make a  collection of Swami Vivekananda's quotes on Life
    • Desire is infinite. Its fulfilment is very limited.. There is no end to our desires; but when we go to fulfil them, the difficulty comes. It has been so with the most primitive minds, when their desires were [few]. Even [these] could not be accomplished. Now, with our arts and sciences improved and multiplied, our desires cannot be fulfilled [either]. On the other hand, we are struggling to perfect means for the fulfilment of desires, and the desires are increasing. ...[Source]
    • Difference is the sauce of life; it is the beauty, it is the art of everything. Difference makes all beautiful here. It is variety that is the source of life, the sign of life.[Source]
    • 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. Practising such strength, renunciation will gradually come, and then you will see the portals of heaven are wide open to you.
    • Every moment of your life you feel that you are free. We cannot live, talk, or breathe for a moment without feeling that we are free; but, at the same time, a little thought shows us that we are like machines and not free.[Source]
    • Everyone is trying to make himself and everybody else believe that this world is all very fine, that he is perfectly happy. But when man stops to question his motives in life, he will see that the reason he is struggling after this and that is because he cannot help himself. He must move on. He cannot stop, so he tries to make himself believe that he really wants this and that. The one who actually succeeds in making himself believe that he is having a good time is the man of splendid physical health. This man responds to his desires instantly, without question. He acts in response to that power within him, urging him on without a thought, as though he acted because he wanted to. But when he has been knocked about a good deal by nature, when he has received a good many wounds and bruises, he begins to question the meaning of all this; and as he gets hurt more and thinks more, he sees that he is urged on by a power beyond his control and that he acts simply because he must. Then he begins to rebel, and the battle begins.[Source]
    • Every one acts according to his own nature. We are all in process of growth. From this standpoint one man is not better than another.[Source]
    • Everything is conscious which rebels against nature: there, consciousness is manifested. Just try to kill a little ant, even it will once resist to save its life. Where there is struggle, where there is rebellion, there is the sign of life, there consciousness is manifested.[Source]
    • He whom the sages have been seeking in all these places is in our own hearts; the voice that you heard was right, says Vedanta, but the direction you gave to the voice was wrong.
    • I do not trust the man who never weeps; he has a big block of granite where the heart should be. [Source]
    • I find in travelling in various countries that beneath the surface differences that we find in dress and food and little details of manners, man is man all the world over; the same wonderful human nature is everywhere represented.[Source]
    • I was once travelling in the desert in India. I travelled for over a month and always found the most beautiful landscapes before me, beautiful lakes and all that. One day I was very thirsty and I wanted to have a drink at one of these lakes; but when I approached that lake it vanished. Immediately with a blow came into my brain the idea that this was a mirage about which I had read all my life; and then I remembered and smiled at my folly, that for the last month all the beautiful landscapes and lakes I had been seeing were this mirage, but I could not distinguish them then. The next morning I again began my march; there was the lake and the landscape, but with it immediately came the idea, "This is a mirage." Once known it had lost its power of illusion. So this illusion of the universe will break one day. The whole of this will vanish, melt away. This is realization.[Source]
    • 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.
    • . . . It is all misery, this Samsâra, don't you see![Source]
    • It is impossible that all difference can cease; it must exist; without variation life must cease.[Source]
    • . . . Life is a series of fights and disillusionments. . . . The secret of life is not enjoyment, but education through experience. But, alas, we are called off the moment we begin really to learn. That seems to be a potent argument for a future existence. . . . Everywhere it is better to have a whirlwind come over the work. That clears the atmosphere and gives us a true insight into the nature of things. It is begun anew, but on adamantine foundations. . . .[Source]
    • Man is higher than all animals, than all angels; none is greater than man.
    • Man is like an infinite spring, coiled up in a small box, and that spring is trying to unfold itself; and all the social phenomena that we see the result of this trying to unfold. All the competitions and struggles and evils that we see around us are neither the causes of these unfoldments, nor the effects. As one of our great philosophers says — in the case of the irrigation of a field, the tank is somewhere upon a higher level, and the water is trying to rush into the field, and is barred by a gate. But as soon as the gate is opened, the water rushes in by its own nature; and if there is dust and dirt in the way, the water rolls over them. But dust and dirt are neither the result nor the cause of this unfolding of the divine nature of man. They are coexistent circumstances, and, therefore, can be remedied.[Source]
    • Man, therefore, according to the Vedanta philosophy, is the greatest being that is in the universe, and this world of work the best place in it, because only herein is the greatest and the best chance for him to become perfect. Angels or gods, whatever you may call them, have all to become men, if they want to become perfect. This is the great centre, the wonderful poise, and the wonderful opportunity — this human life.[Source][Recommended video: Human Planet Trailer of BBC One]
    • Men can never be united unless there is a bond of common interest. You can never unite people merely by getting up meetings, societies, and lectures if their interests be not one and the same.[Source]
    • Mind you, the great benefit in this life is struggle.[Source]
    • "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Thus said the old Jewish saint when suffering the greatest calamities that could befall man, and he erred not. Herein lies the whole secret of Existence. [Source]
    • Nightmares always begin pleasantly — only at the worst point [the] dream is broken — so death breaks [the] dream of life.[Source]
    • Once when I was in Varanasi, I was passing through a place where there was a large tank of water on one side and a high wall on the other. It was in the grounds where there were many monkeys. The monkeys of Varanasi are huge brutes and are sometimes surly. They now took it into their heads not to allow me to pass through their street, so they howled and shrieked and clutched at my feet as I passed. As they pressed closer, I began to run, but the faster I ran, the faster came the monkeys and they began to bite at me. It seemed impossible to escape, but just then I met a stranger who called out to me, "Face the brutes." I turned and faced the monkeys, and they fell back and finally fled. 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. If we are ever to gain freedom, it must be by conquering nature, never by running away. Cowards never win victories. We have to fight fear and troubles and ignorance if we expect them to flee before us... Fly from evil and terror and misery, and they will follow you. Face them, and they will flee.[Source]
    • Our great defect in life is that we are so much drawn to the ideal, the goal is so much more enchanting, so much more alluring, so much bigger in our mental horizon, that we lose sight of the details altogether. [Source]
    • This world is the great gymnasium 
      where we come 
      to make ourselves strong.
      —Swami Vivekananda
      Image source: Wikimedia Commons
    • The essence of Vedanta is that there is but one Being and that every soul is that Being in full, not a part of that Being.
    • The first manifest effect of life is expansion. You must expand if you want to live. The moment you have ceased to expand, death is upon you, danger is ahead.[Source]
    • The sign of life is expansion; we must go out, expand, show life, or degrade, fester, and die. There is no other alternative.[Source]
    • The life of every man is, in a manner, the life of the past. It comes to him through heredity, through surroundings, through education, through his own reincarnation — the past of the race. [Source]
    • The faculty of organization is entirely absent in our nature, but this has to be infused. The great secret is— absence of jealousy, the indomitable perseverance and the undying faith in himself.
    • The most practical man would call life neither good nor evil.[Source]
    • The whole life is a succession of dreams.[Source]
    • This I have seen in life—those who are overcautious about themselves fall into dangers at every step; those who are afraid of losing honour and respect, get only disgrace; and those who are always afraid of loss, always lose.
    • This is the bane of human nature, the curse upon mankind, the root of all misery — this inequality. This is the source of all bondage, physical, mental, and spiritual.[Source]
    • This life is full of shocks, but the effects pass away anyhow, that is the hope.[Source]
    • This world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.[Source]
    • We seem to be walking in dreams.
      —Swami Vivekananda
      Image source: Wikimedia Commons
    • Three things are necessary to make every man great, every nation great: 1. Conviction of the powers of goodness, 2. Absence of jealousy and suspicion, 3) Helping all who are trying to be end and do good.
    • Try to expand. Remember the only sign of life is motion and growth. You must send the passed resolution to Dr. J. H. Barrows. . .  . . . Keep on steadily. So far we have done wonderful things. Onward, brave souls, we will gain! Organise and found societies and go to work, that is the only way.[Source]
    • Unity in variety is the plan of creation, individuality in universality.[Source]
    • We find that man, as it were, is always surrounded by something greater than himself, and he is trying to grasp the meaning of this. Man will ever [seek] the highest ideal. [Source]
    • We seem to be walking in dreams. Dreams are all right in a dream-mind; but as soon as you want to grasp one of them, it is gone. Why? Not that it was false, but because it is beyond the power of reason, the power of the intellect to comprehend it. Everything in this life is so vast that the intellect is nothing in comparison with it. It refuses to be bound by the laws of the intellect! It laughs at the bondage the intellect wants to spread around it. And a thousandfold more so is this the case with the human soul. "We ourselves" — this is the greatest mystery of the universe.[Source]
    • When we are healthy and young, we think that all the wealth of the world will be ours, and when later we get kicked about by society like footballs and get older, we sit in a corner and croak and throw cold water on the enthusiasm of others. Few men know that with pleasure there is pain, and with pain, pleasure; and as pain is disgusting, so is pleasure, as it is the twin brother of pain.[Source]

    Each soul has a star

    Excerpts from a letter written by Swami Vivekananda to Mrs Ole Bull, one the occasion of the loss of her father, dated 20 January 1895—[Source]
    Each soul is a star, and all stars are set in that infinite azure, that eternal sky, the Lord. There is the root, the reality, the real individuality of each and all. Religion began with the search after some of these stars that had passed beyond our horizon, and ended in finding them all in God, and ourselves in the same place. The whole secret is, then, that your father has given up the old garment he was wearing and is standing where he was through all eternity. Will he manifest another such garment in this or any other world?

    See also

      1. Swami Vivekananda quotes on mind

      This  post was last updated on: 27 December 2013, 9:05 pm IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
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