15 April 2013

Swami Vivekananda: Stirring Quotes And Utterances

Swami Vivekananda image
We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.
—Swami Vivekananda
Image source: Wikimedia Commons


    All the powers in the universe are already ours.
    —Swami Vivekananda
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • 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.[Source]
  • A rich man had a garden and two gardeners. One of these gardeners was very lazy and did not work; but when the owner came to the garden, the lazy man would get up and fold his arms and say, "How beautiful is the face of my master", and dance before him. The other gardener would not talk much, but would work hard, and produce all sorts of fruits and vegetables which he would carry on his head to his master who lived a long way off. Of these two gardeners, which would be the more beloved of his master? Shiva is that master, and this world is His garden, and there are two sorts of gardeners here; the one who is lazy, hypocritical, and does nothing, only talking about Shiva's beautiful eyes and nose and other features; and the other, who is taking care of Shiva's children, all those that are poor and weak, all animals, and all His creation. Which of these would be the more beloved of Shiva? Certainly he that serves His children. He who wants to serve the father must serve the children first. He who wants to serve Shiva must serve His children — must serve all creatures in this world first. It is said in the Shâstra that those who serve the servants of God are His greatest servants. So you will bear this in mind.[Source]
  • After so much austerity, I have understood this as the real truth— God is present in every jiva; there is no other God besides that, 'Who serves jiva, serves God indeed.[Source]
  • All great undertakings are achieved through mighty obstacles.— You valiant one, put forth your manly efforts; Wretched people under the grip of lust and gold deserve to be looked upon with indifference.[Source]
  • All knowledge is within us. All perfection is there already in the soul. But this perfection has been covered up by nature; layer after layer of nature is covering this purity of the soul. What have we to do? Really we do not develop our souls at all. What can develop the perfect? We simply take the evil off; and the soul manifests itself in its pristine purity, its natural, innate freedom.[Source]
  • All noble undertakings are fraught with obstacles. It is quite in the nature of things. Keep up the deepest mental poise. Take not even the slightest notice of what puerile creatures may be saying against you. Indifference, indifference, indifference![Source]
  • All pleasures are old, and they want new ones. Do you not see how many foolish things they are inventing every day, just to titillate the nerves for a moment, and that done, how there comes a reaction? The majority of people are just like a flock of sheep. If the leading sheep falls into a ditch, all the rest follow and break their necks. In the same way, what one leading member of a society does, all the others do, without thinking what they are doing.[Source]
  • 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 believe now-a-days. You can do anything and everything, without even the guidance of any one.[Source]
  • All the misery we have is of our own choosing; such is our nature. The old Chinaman, who having been kept in prison for sixty years was released on the coronation of a new emperor, exclaimed, when he came out, that he could not live; he must go back to his horrible dungeon among the rats and mice; he could not bear the light. So he asked them to kill him or send him back to the prison, and he was sent back. Exactly similar is the condition of all men. We run headlong after all sorts of misery, and are unwilling to be freed from them. Every day we run after pleasure, and before we reach it, we find it is gone, it has slipped through our fingers. Still we do not cease from our mad pursuit, but on and on we go, blinded fools that we are.[Source]
  • All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark. Know that there is no darkness around us. Take the hands away and there is the light which was from the beginning. Darkness never existed, weakness never existed. We who are fools cry that we are weak; we who are fools cry that we are impure.[Source]
  • Always discriminate—your body, your house, the people around, and the world are all unreal like a dream. Always think that this body is only an inert instrument. And the Atman within is your real nature.
  • Amidst this chaos there is harmony, throughout these discordant sounds there is a note of concord; and he who is prepared to listen to it will catch the tone.[Source]
  • And, oh, how my heart ached to think of what we think of the poor, the low, in India. They have no chance, no escape, no way to climb up. The poor, the low, the sinner in India have no friends, no help — they cannot rise, try however they may. They sink lower and lower every day, they feel the blows showered upon them by a cruel society, and they do not know whence the blow comes. They have forgotten that they too are men.[Source]
  • Are great things ever done smoothly? Time, patience, and indomitable will must show.[Source]
  • Are you unselfish? That is the question. If you are, you will be perfect without reading a single religious book, without going into a single church or temple.
    Human skeleton
    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.
    —Swami Vivekananda
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • "Arise, awake, sleep no more; within each of you there is the power to remove all wants and all miseries. Believe this, and that power will be manifested. [Source]
  • Arise, awake and Stop not till the Goal is Reached.
  • 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.[Source]
  • Astrology and all these mystical things are generally signs of a weak mind; therefore as soon as they are becoming prominent in our minds, we should see a physician, take good food, and rest.[Source]


  • Be brave and be sincere; then follow any path with devotion, and you must reach the Whole. Once lay hold of one link of the chain, and the whole chain must come by degrees.[Source]
  • Be free; hope for nothing from anyone. I am sure if you look back upon your lives you will find that you were always vainly trying to get help from others which never came. [Source]
  • Be moral. Be brave. Be a heart-whole man. Strictly moral, brave unto description. 
  • 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 marvellous work.[Source]
  • Be not in despair; the way is very difficult, like walking on the edge of a razor; yet despair not, arise, awake, and find the ideal, the goal.
  • Be perfectly unselfish, be steady and work on. We will do great things; do not fear... One thing more. Be the servant of all, and do not try in the least to govern others. That will excite jealousy and destroy everything... Go on. You have worked wonderfully well. We do not wait for help, we will work it out, my boy, be self-reliant, faithful and patient. Do not antagonise my other friends, live in harmony with all. My eternal love to all.[Source]
  • Be of good cheer and believe that we are selected by the Lord to do great things, and we will do them.
  • Be perfectly resigned, perfectly unconcerned; then alone can you do any true work. No eyes can see the real forces; we can only see the results. Put out self, forget it; just let God work, it is His business.[Source]
  • Be strong, my young friends; that is my advice to you. You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of the Gita. These are bold words; but I have to say them, for I love you. I know where the shoe pinches.
  • Be the servant if you will rule. That is the real secret.[Source]
  • 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 sympathizing.[Source]
  • Beggar's love is no love at all. The first sign of love is when love asks nothing, [when it] gives everything.[Source]
  • Bold words and bolder deeds are what we want. Awake, awake, great ones! The world is burning with misery. Can you sleep? Let us call and call till the sleeping gods awake, till the God within answers to the call. What more is in life? What greater work?
    Bread! Bread!
    I do not believe in a God,
    who cannot give me bread here,
    giving me
    eternal bliss in heaven.
    —Swami Vivekananda
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Blows are what awaken us and help to break the dream. They show us the insufficiency of this world and make us long to escape, to have freedom.[Source]
  • Bread! Bread! I do not believe in a God, who cannot give me bread here, giving me eternal bliss in heaven.[Source]
  • Bring all light into the world. Light, bring light! Let light come unto everyone; the task will not be finished till everyone has reached the lord. Bring light to the poor; and bring more light to the rich, for they require it more than the poor. Bring light to the ignorant, and more light to the educated, for the vanities of  the education of our time are tremendous! Thus bring light to all and leave the rest unto the Lord, for in the words of the same Lord, 'To work you have the right and not to the fruits thereof.' 'Let not your work produce results for you, and at the same time may you never be without work.'[Source]


  • Calm and silent and steady work, and no newspaper humbug, no name-making, you must always remember.[Source]
  • Cease not, brother, to send up petitions day and night, cease not to say day and night — THY WILL BE DONE.
"Ours not to question why,
Ours but to do and die."[Source]
  • Come, be men! Come out of your narrow holes and have a look abroad. ...Let us struggle for higher and better things; look not back, no, not even if you see the dearest and nearest cry. Look not back, but forward!
  • Come out into the broad light of day, come out from the little narrow paths, for how can the infinite soul rest content to live and die in small ruts?[Source]
  • 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. 
  • "Comfort" is no test of truth; on the contrary, truth is often far from being "comfortable."[Source]
  • 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.
  • Courage! Everything will come about by degrees. From all of you I want this that you must discard for ever self-aggrandisement, faction-mongering, and jealousy. You must be all-forbearing, like Mother Earth. If you can achieve this, the world will be at your feet.[Source]
  • Cowards only sin, brave men never, no, not even in mind.
  • Cultivate the virtue of obedience, but, you must not sacrifice your own faith. No centralization is possible unless there is obedience to superiors. No great work can be done without this centralization of individual forces...


    "Do not be afraid of a small beginning.
    Great things come afterwards."
    —Swami Vivekananda
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
    • Death is better than a vegetating ignorant life; it is better to die on the battle-field than to live a life of defeat.
    • Desire, ignorance, and inequality—this is the trinity of bondage.
    • Despair not; remember the Lord says in the Gita, "To work you have the right, but not to the result." Gird up your loins, my boy. I am called by the Lord for this. I have been dragged through a whole life full of crosses and tortures, I have seen the nearest and dearest die, almost of starvation; I have been ridiculed, distrusted, and have suffered for my sympathy for the very men who scoff and scorn. Well, my boy, this is the school of misery, which is also the school for great souls and prophets for the cultivation of sympathy, of patience, and, above all, of an indomitable iron will which quakes not even if the universe be pulverised at our feet.[Source]
    • 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 ships in the waters of life. Take care especially of that, i.e. be unselfish even unto death, and work.[Source]
    • Do not figure out big plans at first, but, begin slowly, feel your ground and proceed up and up. 
    • Do not look back upon what has been done. Go ahead!
    • Do not stand on a high pedestal and take 5 cents in your hand and say, "here, my poor man", but be grateful that the poor man is there, so by making a gift to him you are able to help yourself. It is not the receiver that is blessed, but it is the giver. Be thankful that you are allowed to exercise your power of benevolence and mercy in the world, and thus become pure and perfect.
    • Do not try to be a ruler. He is the best ruler who can serve well. Be truth unto death. The work we want— we do not seek wealth, name or fame.
    • Do not wait for anybody or anything. Do whatever you can. Build your hope on none.
    • Doing good to others is virtue (dharma); injuring others is sin. Strength and manliness are virtue; weakness and cowardice  are sin. Independence is virtue; dependence is in. Loving others is virtue; hating others is sin. Faith in God and in one's own self is virtue, doubt is sin. Knowledge of oneness is virtue; seeing diversity is sin.


    Cartoon, a man standing, dressed like a chef
    Each work has to pass
    through these stages
    —ridicule, opposition,
    and then acceptance.
    —Swami Vivekananda
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
    • 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.
    • 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. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms are but secondary details. 
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Every action that helps us manifest our divine nature more and more is good; every action that retards it is evil.
    • Every individual is a centre for the manifestation of a certain force. This force has been stored up as the resultant of our previous works, and each one of us is born with this force at our back.
    • 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]
    • Every work has got to pass through hundreds of difficulties before succeeding. Those that persevere will see the light, sooner or later.[Source]
    • Everything must be sacrificed, if necessary, for that one sentiment: universality,
    • Everything will come in time. Now, go on working. Set yourself to some work for the good of men sunk in ignorance and delusion. You will see that such experiences will come of themselves.[Source]
    • 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.


    A scared man
    Fear is death,  fear is sin,
    fear is hell,
    fear is unrighteousness,
    fear is wrong life.
    —Swami Vivekananda
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
    • 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.
    • Faith, sympathy— fiery faith and fiery sympathy! Life is nothing, death is nothing, hunger nothing, cold nothing. Glory unto the Lord— march on, the Lord is our General. Do not look back to see who falls— forward— onward! Thus and thus we shall go on, brethren. One falls, and another takes up the work
    • Fear is death, fear is sin, fear is hell, fear is unrighteousness, fear is wrong life. All the negative thoughts and ideas that are in the world have proceeded from this evil spirit of fear.[Source]
    • Feel like Christ and you will be a Christ; feel like Buddha and you will be a Buddha. It is feeling that is the life, the strength, the vitality, without which no amount of intellectual activity can reach God.
    • Fill the brain with high thoughts, highest ideals, place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work.
    • First, believe in the world—that there is meaning behind everything.
    • First get rid of the delusion “I am the body”, then only will we want real knowledge.
    • Fortune is like a flirt; she cares not for him who wants her, but she is at the feet of him who does not care for her. Money comes and showers itself upon one who does not care for it; so does fame come in abundance until it is a trouble and a burden. They always come to the Master. The slave never gets anything. The Master is he who can live in spite of them, whose life does not depend upon the little, foolish things of the world.
    • 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.


        Horse walking
        Go on bravely. 
        Do not expect success in a day or a year.
        —Swami Vivekananda
        Image source: Wikimedia Commons
        • Give up jealousy and conceit. Learn to work unitedly for others. This is the great need of our country.[Source]
        • 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.
        • Go on bravely — never mind about designs and other details at present — "With the horse will come the reins". Work unto death — I am with you, and when I am gone, my spirit will work with you. This life comes and goes — wealth, fame, enjoyments are only of a few days. It is better, far better to die on the field of duty, preaching the truth, than to die like a worldly worm. Advance![Source]
        • God is merciful to those whom He sees struggling heart and soul for realization. But remain idle, without any struggle, and you will see that His grace will never come.
        • 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?[Source]
        • Great things can be done by great sacrifices only. No selfishness, no name, no fame, your or mine, nor my Master's even! Work, work the idea, the plan, my boys, my brave, noble good souls— to the wheel, to the wheel put your shoulders. Stop not to look back for name, for fame, or any such nonsense. Throw self overboard and work.


        A poor African mother with child on her lap
        Have charity towards all beings.
        Pity those who are in distress.
        —Swami Vivekananda
        Image source: Wikimedia Commons
        Personality rights warning 
        • Harmony and peace!... Let things slowly grow. Rome was not built in a day.[Source]
        • Have charity towards all beings. Pity those who are in distress. Love all creatures. Do not be jealous of anyone. Look not to the faults of others.[Source]
        • Have faith in yourselves, and stand up on that faith and be strong; that is what we need.
        • 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.[Source]
        • Have fire and spread all over. Work, work. Be the servant while leading, be unselfish, and never listen to one friend in private accusing another. Have infinite patience, and success is yours.[Source]
        • Have patience and be faithful unto death. Do not fight among yourselves. Be perfectly pure in money dealings... We will do great things yet... So long as you have faith and honesty and devotion, everything will prosper.[Source]
        • He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is an atheist who does not believe in himself.
        • He is free, he is great, who turns his back upon the world, who has renounced everything, who has controlled his passion, and who thirsts for peace. One may gain political and social independence, but if one is a slave to his passions and desires, one cannot feel the pure joy of real freedom. [Source]
        • He who knows how to obey knows how to command Learn obedience first.
        • He who has conquered the internal nature controls the whole universe; it becomes his servant.
        • 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.
        • Hold on to your ideals... .Above all, never attempt to guide or rule others, or, as the Yankees say, 'boss' others. Be the servant of all.
        • How say one is greater and one less? Each is great in his own place.[Source]


          Infinite patience,
          infinite purity,
          and infinite perseverance
          are the secret of success
          in a good cause.
          —Swami Vivekananda
          Image source: Wikimedia Commons
          • I am a Hindu. I am sitting in my own little well and thinking that the whole world is my little well. The Christian sits in his little well and thinks the whole world is his well. The Mohammedan sits in his little well and thinks that is the whole world... That has been the difficulty all the while.[Source]
          • I call him a traitor who, having been educated, nursed in luxury by the heart's blood of the downtrodden millions of toiling poor, never even takes a thought for them. Where, in what period of history your rich men, noblemen, your priests and potentates took any thought for the poor— the grinding of whose faces is the very lifeblood of their power?
          • I consider that the great national sin is the neglect of the masses, and that is one of the causes of our downfall.
          • 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.
          • I hate cowardice; I will have nothing to do with cowards or political nonsense. I do not believe in any politics. God and truth are the only politics in the world, everything else is trash.
          • I want each one of my children to be a hundred times greater than I could ever be. Everyone of you must  be a giant— must, that is my word. Obedience, readiness, and love for the cause— if you have these three, nothing can hold you back.[Source]
          • If a man, day and night, thinks he is miserable, low, and nothing, nothing he becomes. If you say yea, yea, 'I am, I am', so shall you be; and if you say, 'I am not', think that you are not, and day and night meditate upon the fact that you are nothing, ay, nothing you shall be.
          • If I consider myself greater than the ant that crawls on the ground I am ignorant.[Source]
          • If in this hell of a world one can bring a little joy and peace even for a day into the heart of a single person, that much alone is true; this I have learnt after suffering all my life; all  else is mere moonshine.
          • If money help a man to do good to others, it is of some value; but if not, it is simply a mass of evil, and the sooner it is got rid of, the better.
          • Lion's face
            If you are really my children,
            you will fear nothing, stop at nothing.
            You will be like lions.
            —Swami Vivekananda
            Image source: Wikimedia Commons
          • If one millionth part of men and women who live in this world simply sit down and for a few minutes say, "You are all God, O ye men and O ye animals and living beings, you are all the manifestations of the one  living Deity!" the whole world will be changed in half an hour. Instead of throwing tremendous bomb-shells of hatred into every corner, instead of projecting currents of jealousy and of evil thought, in every country people will think that it is all He. He is all that you see and feel. How can you see evil until there is evil in you? How can you see the thief, unless he is there, sitting in the heart of your heart? How can you see the murderer until you are yourself the murderer? Be good, and evil will vanish for you. The whole universe will thus be changed. This is the greatest gain to the society. This is the great gain to the human organism.
          • If you are really my children, you will fear nothing, stop at nothing. You will be like lions. We must rouse India and the whole world. No cowardice. I will take no nay. Do you understand?[Source]
          • If you are really pure, how do you see the impure? For what is within is without. We cannot see impurity without having it inside ourselves.
          • If you can love your wife, you have all the religion in the world. You have the whole secret of religion and Yoga in you. But can you love? That is the question. You say, "I love . . . Oh Mary, I die for you! " [But if you] see Mary kissing another man, you want to cut his throat. If Mary sees John talking to another girl, she cannot sleep at night, and she makes life hell for John. This is not love. This is barter and sale in sex. It is blasphemy to talk of it as love... Everybody talks of love, [yet in the] columns in the newspapers [we read] of divorces every day. When you love John, do you love John for his sake or for your sake? [If you love him for your sake], you expect something from John. [If you love him for his sake], you do not want anything from John. He can do anything he likes, [and] you [will] love him just the same.[Source]
          • If you can think that infinite power, infinite knowledge and indomitable energy lie within you, and if you can bring out that power, you also can become like me.[Source]
          • 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.
          • If you want to be great materially, believe that you are so. I may be a little bubble, and you may be wave mountain-high, but know that for both of us the infinite ocean is the background, the infinite Brahman is our magazine of power and strength, and we can draw as much as we like, both of us. I the bubble and you the mountain-high wave. Believe therefore in yourselves.
          • Imitation, cowardly imitation, never makes for progress. It is verily the sign of awful degradation in a man.... do not imitate, do not imitate! Whenever you are under the thumb of others, you lose your own independence.
            Long road
            In a day when you don't come across 
            any problems — you can be sure 
            that you are travelling 
            in the wrong path.
            —Swami Vivekananda
            Image source: Wikimedia Commons
          • In a day when you don't come across any problems — you can be sure that you are travelling in the wrong path.
          • In one word, this ideal is that you are divine.
          • 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.
          • India wants the sacrifice of at  least a thousand of her young men— men, mind, and not brutes.
          • Infinite patience, infinite purity, and infinite perseverance are the secret of success in a good cause.[Source]
          • It is life to do good, it is death not to do good to others. Ninety per cent of human brutes you see are dead, are ghosts— for none lives, my boys, but he who loves. Feel, my children, feel; feel for the poor, the ignorant, the downtrodden, feel till the heart stops and the brain reels and you think you will go mad — then pour the soul out at the feet of the Lord, and then will come power, help, and indomitable energy.[Source]
          • 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”.
          • It is not the sign of a candid and scientific mind to throw overboard anything without proper investigation.[Source]
          • 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 are not understanding it in the right light. throw the burden on yourselves!
          • It is very good to have a high ideal, but don't make it too high. A high ideal raises mankind, but an impossible ideal lowers them from the very impossibility of the case.[Source]
          • It is the coward and the fool who says, This is my fate – so says the Sanskrit proverb. But it is the strong man who stands up and says, I will make my own fate. It is people who are getting old who talk of fate. Young men generally do not come to astrology.



          • Know that every time you feel weak, you not only hurt yourself but also the cause. Infinite faith and strength are the only conditions of success.
          • Know that talking ill of others in private is a sin. You must wholly avoid it. Many things may occur to the mind, but, it gradually makes a mountain of a molehill if you try to express them. Everything is ended if you forgive and forget. 
          • Know you are the Infinite, then fear must die. Say ever, "I and my Father are one."[Source]


          Praying, painting
          Let each one of us pray
          day and night
          for the downtrodden millions
          in India...
          —Swami Vivekananda
           Image source: Wikimedia Commons
          • Learn to be the witness. If two dogs are fighting on the street and I go out there, I get mixed up in the fight; but if I stay quietly in my room, I witness the fight from the window. So learn to be the witness.[Source]
          • Let each one of us pray day and night for the downtrodden millions in India who are held fast by poverty, priestcraft, and tyranny— pray day an 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.
          • 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.[Source]
          • Let positive, strong, helpful thoughts enter into your brains from very childhood. Lay yourselves open to these thoughts, and not to weakening and paralysing ones.
          • Let us be true. Nine-tenths of our life's energy is spent in trying to make people think us that which we are not. That energy would be more rightly spent in becoming that which we would like to be.[Source]
          • Let us work without desire for name or fame or rule over the others. Let us be free from the triple bonds of lust, greed of gain, and anger. And the truth is with us.
          • Look upon every man, woman, and everyone 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.
          • Love is higher than work, than Yoga, than knowledge.[Source]
          • Loving only the good in God and nature — even a child does that. You should love the terrible and the painful as well. A father loves the child, even when he is giving him trouble.[Source]


          My Master used to say, 
          "The vulture rise higher and higher 
          until he becomes a speck, 
          but his eye is always on the piece of 
          rotten carrion on the earth."
          —Swami Vivekananda
          Image source: Wikimedia Commons
          • Man is born to conquer nature and not to follow it. [Source]
          • Mercy is heaven itself; to be good, we have all to be merciful. Even justice and right should stand on mercy.
          • Men are more valuable than all the wealth of the world. 
          • Man never dies, nor is he ever born; bodies die, but he never dies.[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]
          • 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.
          • Most of what you talk of as social reform does not touch the poor masses.[Source]
          • 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.[Source]
          • My claim is that all is not — only God is! That makes all the difference.[Source]
          • My Master used to say, "The vulture rise higher and higher until he becomes a speck, but his eye is always on the piece of rotten carrion on the earth."[Source]
          • My method of treatment is to take out by the roots the very causes of the disease and not to keep them merely suppressed. [Source]
          • My sons, all of you be men. This is what I want! If you are even a little successful, I shall feel my life has been meaningful.[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]
          • Nature, body, mind go to death, not we. We neither go nor come. The man Vivekananda is in nature, is born and dies; but the Self we see as Vivekananda is never born and never dies. It is the eternal and unchangeable Reality.
          • Neither numbers nor powers nor wealth nor learning nor eloquence nor anything else will prevail, but purity, living the life, in one word anubhuti, realization. Let there be a dozen of lion-souls in each country, lions who have broken their own bonds, who have touched the Infinite, whose whole soul is gone to Brahman, who care neither for wealth nor power nor fame, and these will be enough to shake the world.
          • Neither seek nor avoid; take what comes. It is liberty to be affected by nothing. Do not merely endure; be unattached.
          • Never mind the struggles, the mistakes. I never heard a cow tell a lie, but it is only a cow— never a man. So never mind these failures, these little backslidings;  hold the ideal a thousand times, and if you fail a thousand times, make the attempt once more.
            Impossible means I m possible
            Never think
            there is anything impossible...
            It is the greatest heresy 
            to think so.
            —Swami Vivekananda
             Image source: Own work

          • Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin ? to say that you are weak, or others are weak.[Source]
          • Nightmares always begin pleasantly — only at the worst point [the] dream is broken — so death breaks [the] dream of life.[Source]
          • Nobody will come to help you if you put yourself forward as a leader. . . . Kill self first if you want to succeed.[Source]
          • No great work can be achieved by humbug. It is through love, a passion for truth, and tremendous energy, that all undertakings are accomplished.
          • 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.
          • No need for looking behind. FORWARD! We want infinite energy, infinite zeal, infinite courage, and infinite patience, then only will great things achieved.[Source]
          • Nothing else is necessary but these — love, sincerity, and patience.[Source]
          • Nothing is gained except by sacrifice.... The holiest function of our human consciousness, the noblest, do not make it unclean! Do not degrade it to the level of the brutes.... Make yourselves decent men! ... Be chaste and pure! ... There is no other way. Did Christ find any other way? ... If you can conserve and use the energy properly, it leads you to God. Inverted, it is hell itself ....[Source]


          A human figure walking
          Onward, my brave boys
           — money or no money— 
          men or no men!
          —Swami Vivekananda
          Image source: Wikimedia Commons
          • Oh, if only you knew yourselves! You are souls; you are Gods. If ever I feel like blaspheming, it is when I call you man. [Source]
          • One who leans on others cannot serve the God of Truth.
          • Onward, my brave boys— money or no money— men or no men! Have you love? Have you God? Onward and forward to the breach, you are irresistible.[Source]
          • 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.
          • Our first duty is not to hate ourselves, because to advance we must have faith in ourselves first and then in God. Those who have no faith in themselves can never have faith in God.
          • Our idea of God is the reflection of ourselves.[Source]
          • Our mistakes have places here. Go on! Do not look back if you think you have done something that is not right. Now, do you believe you could be what you are today, had you not made those mistakes before? Bless your mistakes, then. They have been angels unawares. Blessed be torture! Blessed be happiness Do not care what be your lot. Hold on to the ideal. March on! Do not look back upon little mistakes and things. In this battlefield of ours, the dust of mistakes must be raised. Those who are so thin-skinned that they cannot bear the dust, let them get out of the ranks.


          • Pay no attention whatsoever to newspaper nonsense or criticism. Be sincere and do your duty. Everything will come all right. Truth must triumph.
          • Perfect sincerity, holiness, gigantic intellect, and all-conquering will. Let only a handful of men work with these, and the whole world will be revolutionized.
          • Perfection does not come from belief or faith. Talk does not count for anything. Parrots can do that. Perfection comes through selfless work.
          • Perfection is always infinite. We are the Infinite already. You and I, and all beings, are trying to manifest that infinity.
          • Persevere on, my brave lads, We have only just begun. Never despond! Never say enough![Source]
            Purity, patience and perseverance 
            overcome all obstacles.
            All great things must of necessity be slow.
            —Swami Vivekananda
            Image source: Own work
          • Pray all the time, read all the scriptures in the world, and worship all the gods there are ...but unless you realize the Truth, there is no freedom.
          • Purity, patience and perseverance overcome all obstacles. All great things must of necessity be slow.[Source 
          • Purity, perseverance, and energy— these three I want.[Source]


          Again and again you hear this objection advanced: 
          "What good can religion do? 
          Can it take away the poverty of the poor?" 
          Supposing it cannot, would that prove the untruth of religion? 
          Suppose a baby stands up among you 
          when you are trying to demonstrate an astronomical theorem, 
          and says, "Does it bring gingerbread?" 
          "No, it does not", you answer. 
          "Then," says the baby, "it is useless."
          Babies judge the whole universe from their own standpoint, 
          that of producing gingerbread, 
          and so do the babies of the world.
          —Swami Vivekananda
          Image source: Wikimedia Commons
          •  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.
          • Religion does not live on bread, does not dwell in a house. Again and again you hear this objection advanced: "What good can religion do? Can it take away the poverty of the poor?" Supposing it cannot, would that prove the untruth of religion? Suppose a baby stands up among you when you are trying to demonstrate an astronomical theorem, and says, "Does it bring gingerbread?" "No, it does not", you answer. "Then," says the baby, "it is useless." Babies judge the whole universe from their own standpoint, that of producing gingerbread, and so do the babies of the world. We must not judge of higher things from a low standpoint. Everything must be judged by its own standard and the infinite must be judged by the standard of infinity. Religion permeates the whole of man's life, not only the present, but the past, present, and future. It is, therefore, the eternal relation between the eternal soul and the eternal God. Is it logical to measure its value by its action upon five minutes of human life? Certainly not. These are all negative arguments.[Source]
          • Religion is the idea which is raising the brute unto man, and man unto God. 
          • Religion is not attained through the ears, nor through the eyes, nor yet through the brain. No scriptures can make us religious. We may study all the books that are in the world, yet we may not understand a word of religion or of God. We may talk all our lives and yet may not be the better for it; we may be the most intellectual people the world ever saw, and yet we may not come to God at all.[Source]
          • Resist not evil done to yourself, but you may resist evil done to others.[Source]


          Say, "I can do everything."
          "Even if poison of a snake is powerless
          if you can firmly deny it."
          —Swami Vivekananda
          Image source: Wikimedia Commons
          • Say, "I can do everything." "Even if poison of a snake is powerless if you can firmly deny it." 
          • Say "So'ham, So'ham" whatever comes. Tell yourself this even in eating, walking, suffering. Tell the mind this incessantly—that what we see never existed, that there is only "I". Flash—the dream will break! Think day and night, this universe is zero, only God is. Have intense desire to get free.
          • Say, "This misery that I am suffering is of my own doing, and that very thing proves that it will have to be undone by me alone." 
          • Self-sacrifice, not self-assertion, is the law of the highest universe... Selflessness alone will solve the problem. [Source]
          • Selfishness is the chief sin, thinking of ourselves first. He who thinks, 'I will eat first. I will have more money than others, and I will possess everything', he who thinks, 'I will get to heaven before others, I will get mukti before others' is the selfish man. The unselfish man says, 'I will be last, I do not care to go to heaven, I will even go to hell if by doing so I can help my brothers.' This unselfishness is the test of religion. He who has more of this unselfishness is more spiritual and nearer to Shiva.
          • Silly fools tell you that you are sinners, and you sit down in a corner and weep. It is foolishness, wickedness, downright rascality to say that you are sinners! You are all God. See you not God and call Him man?[Source]
          • So'ham — I am He. Repeat the idea constantly, voluntarily at first; then it becomes automatic in practice. It percolates to the nerves. So this idea, by rote, by repetition, should be driven even into the nerves.[Source]
          • So long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold  every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them! I call those men who strut about in their finery, having to all their money by grinding the poor, wretches, so long as they do not do anything for those two hundred millions who are now no better that hungry savages.
          • Some people are so afraid of losing their individuality. Wouldn’t it be better for the pig to lose his pig-individuality if he can become God? Yes. But the poor pig does not think so at the time. Which state is my individuality? When I was a baby sprawling on the floor trying to swallow my thumb? Was that the individuality I should be sorry to lose? Fifty years hence I shall look upon this present state and laugh, just as I now look upon the baby state. Which of these individualities shall I keep?
          • Stand as a rock; you are indestructible. You are the Self (atman), the God of the universe.
          • 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.
          • Stand upon the Self, only then can we truly love the world. Take a very high stand; knowing our universal nature, we must look with perfect calmness upon all the panorama of the world.
          • Strength is in goodness, in purity.[Source]
          • Strength is the sign of vigour, the sign of life, the sign of hope, the sign of health, and the sign of everything that is good. As long as the body lives, there must be strength in the body, strength in the mind, strength in the hand.
          • Strength, strength it is that we want so much in this life, for what we call sin and sorrow have all one cause, and that is our weakness. With weakness comes ignorance, and with ignorance comes misery.
          • Struggle, struggle, was my motto for the last ten years. Struggle, still say I. When it was all dark, I used to say, struggle; when light is breaking in, I still say, struggle. Be not afraid, my children. Look not up in that attitude of fear towards that infinite starry vault as if it would crush you.[Source]
          • Such questions as, "Why did God create the universe?" "Why did the All - perfect create the imperfect?" etc., can never be answered, because such questions are logical absurdities. Reason exists in nature; beyond nature it has no existence. God is omnipotent, hence to ask why He did so and so is to limit Him; for it implies that there is a purpose in His creating the universe. If He has a purpose, it must be a means to an end, and this would mean that He could not have the end without the means. The questions, why and wherefore, can only be asked of something which depends upon something else.[Source]


            Jesus with a sheep
            The only way is love and sympathy.
            The only worship is love.
            —Swami Vivekananda
            Image source: Wikimedia Commons
            • Take care! Beware of everything that is untrue; stick to truth and we shall succeed, maybe slowly, but surely.[Source]
            • Take courage and work on. Patience and steady work — this is the only way. Go on; remember — patience and purity and courage and steady work. . . . So long as you are pure, and true to your principles, you will never fail.[Source]
            • Take risks in your life. If you win, you can lead! If you lose, you can guide!
            • Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that 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, that is way great spiritual giants are produced.
            • Tell the truth boldly, whether it hurts or not. Never pander to weakness. If truth is too much for intelligent people and sweeps them away, let them go; the sooner the better.
            • Thank God for giving you this world as a moral gymnasium to help your development, but never imagine you can help the world.
            • That man has reached immortality who is disturbed by nothing material.[Source]
            • The baby in its ignorance thinks that its doll is the only possession that is to be coveted in this whole universe.[Source]
            • The brave alone can afford to be sincere. Compare the lion and the fox.[Source]
            • The brave alone do great things, not the cowards.[Source]
            • "The earth is enjoyed by heroes"— this is the unfailing truth. Be a hero. Always say, "I have no fear". 
            • The first end of life is knowledge; the second end of life is happiness. Knowledge and happiness lead to freedom.[Source]
            • The goal of mankind is knowledge... Pleasure is not the goal of man, but knowledge. Pleasure and happiness come to an end. It is a mistake to suppose that pleasure is the goal. The cause of all the miseries we have in the world is that men foolishly think pleasure to be the ideal to strive for... Now this knowledge is inherent in man. No knowledge comes from outside: it is all inside. What we say a man "knows," should, in strict psychological language, be what he "discovers" or "unveils"; what man "learns" is really what he discovers by taking the cover off his own soul, which is a mine of infinite knowledge... We say Newton discovered gravitation. Was it sitting anywhere in a corner waiting for him? It was in his own mind; the time came and he found it out. All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in your own mind.[Source]
            • The highest manifestation of strength is to keep ourselves calm and on our own feet.
            • The history of the world is the history of a few men who had faith in themselves. The faith calls the divinity within. You can do anything. You fail only when you do not strive sufficiently to manifest infinite power.
            • The idea of the continuity of life is foolish. We can never get rid of death until we get rid of life.[Source]
            • The idea of heaven must pass away. The idea of heaven after death where the good live a life of eternal happiness is a vain dream, without a particle of meaning or sense in it. Wherever there is happiness there must follow unhappiness sometime. Wherever there is pleasure there must be pain. This is absolutely certain, every action has its reaction somehow. The idea of freedom is the only true idea of salvation -- freedom from everything, the senses, whether of pleasure or pain, from good as well as evil.[Source]
            • The ideal of faith in ourselves is of the greatest help to us. If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practised, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would have vanished. Throughout the history of mankind, if any motive power has been more potent than another in the lives of all great men and women, it is that of 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.
            • The main difference between men and the animals is the difference in their power of concentration. All success in any line of work is the result of this.[Source]
            • The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them.
              Human eyes cartoon
              The remedy for weakness
              is not 
              brooding over weakness, 
              but thinking of strength.
              —Swami Vivekananda
              Image source: Wikimedia Commons
            • The only way is love and sympathy. The only worship is love.
            • The power of purity—it is a definite power.
            • The powers of the mind are like the rays of the sun when they are concentrated they illumine.
            • The remedy for weakness is not brooding over weakness, but thinking of strength.
            • The soul has neither sex, nor caste, nor imperfection.[Source]
            • The solution of the Vedanta is that we are not bound, we are free already. Not only so, but to say or to think that we are bound is dangerous— it is a mistake, it is self-hypnotism. As soon as you say, 'I am bound', 'I am weak'. 'I am helpless', woe unto you; you rivet one more chain upon yourself. Do not say it, do not think it. 
            • The true philosopher strives to destroy nothing, but to help all.
            • The Vedanta recognises no sin, it only recognises error. And the greatest error, says the Vedanta, is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature, and that you have no power and you cannot do this and that. Every time you think in that way, you, as it were, rivet one more link in the chain that binds you down, you add one more layer of hypnotism on to your own soul. Therefore, whosoever thinks he is weak is wrong, whosoever thinks he is impure is wrong, and is throwing a bad thought into the world. This we must always bear in mind that in the Vedanta there is no attempt at reconciling the present life — the hypnotised life, this false life which we have assumed — with the ideal; but this false life must go, and the real life which is always existing must manifest itself, must shine out. No man becomes purer and purer, it is a matter of greater manifestation. The veil drops away, and the native purity of the soul begins to manifest itself. Everything is ours already — infinite purity, freedom, love, and power.[Source]
            • The weak have no place here, in this life or in any other life.
            • The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.
            • There are two extremes into which men are running; one is extreme optimism, when everything is rosy and nice and good; the other, extreme pessimism, when everything seems to be against them. The majority of men have more or less undeveloped brains. One in a million we see with a well-developed brain; the rest either have peculiar idiosyncrasies, or are monomaniacs.[Source]
            • There can be no love so long as there is lust— even a speck of it, as it were, in the heart. None but men of great renunciation, none but mighty giants among men, have a right to that Love Divine. If that highest ideal of love is held out to the masses, it will indirectly tend to stimulate its worldly which dominates the heart of man— for, meditating on love to God by thinking of oneself as His wife or beloved, one would very likely be thinking most of the time of one's own wife— the result is too obvious to point out...
            • There is a great tendency in modern times to talk too much of work and decry thought. Doing is very good, but that comes from thinking. Little manifestations of energy through the muscles are called work. But where there is no thought, there will be no work. Fill the brain, therefore, with high thoughts, highest ideals, place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work. Talk not about impurity, but say that we are pure. We have hypnotised ourselves into this thought that we are little, that we are born, and that we are going to die, and into a constant state of fear.[Source]
            • 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.[Source]
            • There is one thing to be remembered: that the assertion—I am God—cannot be made with regard to the sense-world.
            • There is only one sin. That is weakness.... The only saint is that soul that never weakens, faces everything, and determines to die game.
            • There is really but one Self in the universe, all else is but Its manifestations.[Source]
            • Think of me as one who has done all his duty and is now dead and gone. Think that the whole work is upon your shoulders. Think that you, young men of our motherland, are destined to do this. Put yourselves to the task. Lord bless you. Leave me, throw me quite out of sight. Preach the new ideal, the new doctrine, the new life. Preach against nobody, against no custom. Preach neither for nor against caste or any other social evil. Preach to let "hands off", and everything will come right.[Source]
            • 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.
            • This is the first lesson to learn: be determined not to curse anything outside, not to lay the blame upon any one outside, but be a man, stand up, lay the blame on yourself. You will find, that is always true. Get hold of yourself.[Source]
            • This life is a hard fact; work your way through it boldly, though it may be adamantine; no matter, the soul is stronger.
            • This world is not for cowards. Do not try to fly. Look not for success or failure. Join yourself to the perfectly unselfish will and work on. Know that the mind which is born to succeed joins itself to a determined will and perseveres. You have the right to work, but do not become so degenerate as to look for results. Work incessantly, but see something behind the work. Even good deeds can find a man in great bondage. Therefore be not bound by good deeds or by desire for name and fame. Those who know this secret pass beyond this round of birth and death and become immortal.[Source]
              Sleeping young person
              This world is slowly going on; 
              let it go slowly. 
              Why are you in a hurry? 
              Sleep well and keep your nerves in good order; 
              eat right food, 
              and have sympathy with the world.
              —Swami Vivekananda
              Image source: Wikimedia Commons
            • This world is slowly going on; let it go slowly. Why are you in a hurry? Sleep well and keep your nerves in good order; eat right food, and have sympathy with the world.[Source]
            • Those who die, merely suffering the woes of life like cats and dogs, are they human beings? The worthy are those who, even when agitated by the sharp interaction of pleasure and pain, are discriminating and, knowing them to be of an evanescent nature, become passionately devoted to the Atman. This is all the difference between human beings and animals.
            • Those who work at a thing heart and soul not only achieve success in it but through their absorption in that they also realize the supreme truth—Brahman. Those who work at a thing with their whole heart receive help from God.
            • Three things are necessary to make every man great, every nation great:  1) Conviction of the power of goodness 2) Absence of jealousy and suspicion 3) Helping all who are trying to be and do good.
            • Through the grace of God all paths become easy. Your work is to serve the poor and miserable, without any distinction of caste or colour, and you have no need to think about the results. Your duty is to go on working, and then everything will follow of itself.[Source]
            • 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.
            • To succeed, you must have tremendous perseverance, tremendous will. 'I will drink the ocean', says the persevering soul, 'at my will mountains will crumble up.' Have that sort of energy, that sort of will, work hard, and you will reach the goal.[Source]
            • To work with undaunted energy! What fear! Who is powerful enough to thwart you.
            • Trust not to the so-called rich, they are more dead than alive. The hope lies in you — in the meek, the lowly, but the faithful. Have faith in the Lord; no policy, it is nothing. Feel for the miserable and look up for help — it shall come.[Source]
            • Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true. [Source]

            • Understanding human nature is the highest knowledge, and only by knowing it can we know God. It is also a fact that the knowledge of God is the highest knowledge, and only by knowing God can we understand human nature.


            • Virtue is that which tends to our improvement, and vice to our degeneration. Man is made up of three qualities— brutal, human and godly. That which tends to increase the divinity in you is virtue, and that which tends to increase brutality in you is vice.


            Napolean painting
            We are the children 
            of the Almighty,
            we are sparks of the infinite, 
            divine fire. 
            How can we be nothings? 
            We are everything, 
            ready to do everything, 
            we can do everything, 
            and man must do everything.
            —Swami Vivekananda
            Image source: Wikimedia Commons
            • Wait, my child, wait and work on. Patience, patience.[Source]
            • Wait with patience and love and strength. If helpers are not ready now, they will come in time. Why should we be in a hurry? The real working force of all great work is in its almost unperceived beginnings.[Source]
            • We are ever free if we would only 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.
            • We are forever trying to make our weakness look like strength, our sentiment like love, our cowardice like courage, etc. Say to your soul in regard to vanities, weaknesses, etc., "This does not befit thee. This does not befit thee".[Source]
            • We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act.
            • We are suffering from our own karma. It is not the fault of God. What we do is our own fault, nothing else. Why should God be blamed?
            • We are the children of the Almighty, we are sparks of the infinite, divine fire. How can we be nothings? We are everything, ready to do everything, we can do everything, and man must do everything.
            • We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.
            • 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.[Source]
            • 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.
            • We must electrify society, electrify the world. Idle gossip and barren ceremonials won't do.
            • We must overcome difficulty by constant practice. We must learn that nothing can happen to us unless we make ourselves susceptible to it.
            • We would do nothing ourselves and would scoff at others who try to do something— this is the bane and has brought about our downfall as a nation. Want of sympathy and lack of energy are at the root of all misery, and you must therefore give these two up.
            • We reap what we sow. We are the makers of our own fate. None else has the blame, none has the praise.
              Boy and girl figure
              We should not think that
              we are man and women,
              but only that
              we are human beings,
              born to cherish
              and help one another.
              —Swami Vivekananda
              Image source: Wikimedia Commons
            • We should not think that we are man and women, but only that we are human beings, born to cherish and help one another.
            • We want both men and women. There is no distinction of sex in the soul.
            • What is the difference between men and animals? ... "Food and [sleep], procreation of the species, and fear exist in common with the animals. There is one difference: Man can control all these and become God, the master." Animals cannot do it. Animals can do charitable work. Ants do it. Dogs do it. What is the difference then? Men can be masters of themselves. They can resist the reaction to anything.... The animal cannot resist anything. He is held ... by the string of nature everywhere. That is all the distinction. One is the master of nature, the other the slave of nature. What is nature? The five senses....[Source]
            • 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.
            • What the world wants is character. The world is in need of those whose life is one burning love—selfless. That love will make every word tell like a thunderbolt. Awake, awake, great souls! The world is burning in misery. Can you sleep? 
            • What you call majority is mainly composed of fools and men of common intellect.[Source]
            • Whatever retards the onward progress or helps the downward fall is vice; whatever helps in coming up and becoming harmonised is virtue. [Source]
            • Whatever you believe, that you will be. If you believe yourselves to be sages, sages you will be tomorrow. There is nothing to obstruct you.
            • 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 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]
            • When the soul wants to depend upon nothing, not even upon life, that is the height of philosophy, the height of manhood.[Source]
            • When we really begin to live in the world, then we understand what is meant by brotherhood or mankind, and not before.
            • When you think you are a body, you are apart from the universe; when you think; you are a soul, you are a spark from the great Eternal Fire; when you think you are the Atman (Self), you are All.[Source]
            • Who thinks of raising these sunken downtrodden millions? A few hundred graduates do not make a nation, a few rich men do not make a nation. True, our opportunities are less, but sill there is enough to feed and clothe and make 300 millions more comfortable, nay, luxurious.
            • 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.
            • Why are people so afraid? The answer is that they have made themselves helpless and dependent on others. We are so lazy, we do not want to do anything ourselves. We want a Personal God, a Saviour or a Prophet to do everything for us.
            • Work and worship are necessary to take away the veil, to lift off the bondage and illusion.
            • Work hard. Be holy and pure and the fire will come. 
            • Work on, my brave boys. We shall see the light some day.[Source]
            • Work, work, work — let this be your motto.[Source]



              Poor Indian family sitting
              The poor, the illiterate,
              the ignorant, the afflicted
              — let these be your God. 
              Know that services 
              to these alone 
              is the highest religion.
              — Swami Vivekananda
              Image source: Wikimedia Commons
              Personality rights warning
              • You are a part of the Infinite. This is your nature. Hence you are your brother's keeper... When you hurt anyone you hurt yourself, for you and your brother are one.[Source]
              • You are already free and perfect.
              • 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.[Source]
              • You have now to make the character of Mahavira your ideal. See how at the command of Ramachandra he crossed the ocean. He had no care for life or death! He was a perfect master of his senses and wonderfully sagacious. You have now to build your life on this great ideal of personal service. Through that, all other ideals will gradually manifest in life. Obedience to the Guru without questioning, and strict observance of Brahmacharya — this is the secret of success. As on the one hand Hanuman represent the ideal of service, so on the other hand he represents leonine courage, striking the whole world with awe. He has not the least hesitation in sacrificing his life for the good of Rama. A supreme indifference to everything except the service of Rama, even to the attainment of the status of Brahma and Shiva, the great World - gods! Only the carrying out of Shri Rama's best is the one vow of this life! Such whole - hearted devotion is wanted.[Source]
              • You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.[Source]
              • You must give your body, mind, and speech to 'the welfare of the world'. You have read— मातृदेबो भब पितृदेबो भब— 'Look upon your mother as God, look upon your father as God,'— but I say, दरिद्रतृदेबो भब, मूर्खतृदेबो भब— the poor, the illiterate, the ignorant, the afflicted— let these be your God. Know that services to these alone is the highest religion.
              • You must have an iron will if you would cross the ocean. You must be strong enough to pierce mountains.


              See also

              This page was last updated on: 24 May 2014; 10:27 pm IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
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