30 November 2013

Swami Vivekananda On Hazrat Muhammad, Islam And Quran

In this page we'll make a collection of Swami Vivekananda's quotes and comments on Hazrat Muhammad, Islam and Quran.

Spelling note: In most of the works of Swami Vivekananda, including the Complete Works, the spelling "Mohammed" has been used. In the article title, we have followed the standard spelling "Hazrat Muhammad" (see the spelling in the Wikipedia article, Encyclopædia Britannica article, AlIslam.org article, Pakistan's Prime Minsiter's website etc). Similarly we have used the spelling Quran in article title, and not Koran.
But in direct quotes of Vivekananda we'll follow the spelling used in the original text and/or Complete Works.

Swami Vivekananda's quotes and comments on Hazrat Muhammad
Hazrat Muhammad painting
Mohammed was the Prophet of equality,
of the brotherhood of man,
the brotherhood of all Mussulmans.
—Swami Vivekananda
 Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Swami Vivekananda told—
  • Mohammed by his life showed that amongst Mohammedans there should be perfect equality and brotherhood. There was no question of race, caste, creed, colour, or sex. The Sultan of Turkey may buy a Negro from the mart of Africa, and bring him in chains to Turkey; but should he become a Mohammedan and have sufficient merit and abilities, he might even marry the daughter of the Sultan. Compare this with the way in which the Negroes and the American Indians are treated in this country! And what do Hindus do? If one of your missionaries chance to touch the food of an orthodox person, he would throw it away. Notwithstanding our grand philosophy, you note our weakness in practice; but there You see the greatness of the Mohammedan beyond other races, showing itself in equality, perfect equality regardless of race or colour.[Source]
  • Mohammed— the Messenger of equality. You ask, "What good can there be in his religion?" If there was no good, how could it live? The good alone lives, that alone survives.[Source]
  • Mohammed was the Prophet of equality, of the brotherhood of man, the brotherhood of all Mussulmans.[Source]

☪ Swami Vivekananda on Islam ☪
In this section you'll find Swami Vivekananda's quotes, comments and views on Islam.
A young Muslim man praying
. . .they turn their faces towards the Caaba when they pray.
These things show that men at the
first stage of religious development
have to make use of something external. . .
—Swami Vivekananda
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Personality rights note: This image depicts one identifiable person, 
Use of such image is restricted in some countries. 
See this article for details.
  • Among Mohammedans the prophets and great and noble persons are worshipped, and they turn their faces towards the Caaba when they pray. These things show that men at the first stage of religious development have to make use of something external, and when the inner self becomes purified they turn to more abstract conceptions.[Source]
  • England has the sword, the material world, as our Mohammedan conquerors had before her. Yet Akbar the Great became practically a Hindu; educated Mohammedan, the Sufis, are hardly to be distinguished from the Hindus; they do not eat beef, and in other ways conform to our usages. Their thought has become permeated with ours.[Source]
  • For our own motherland a junction of the two great systems, Hinduism and Islam — Vedanta brain and Islam body — is the only hope. I see in my mind's eye the future perfect India rising out of this chaos and strife, glorious and invincible , with Vedanta brain and Islam body.[Source]
  • I am firmly persuaded that without the help of practical Islam, theories of Vedantism, however fine and wonderful they may be, are entirely valueless to the vast mass of mankind.[Source]
  • Islam makes its followers all equal — so, that, you see, is the peculiar excellence of Mohammedanism. In many places in the Koran you find very sensual ideas of life. Never mind. What Mohammedanism comes to preach to the world is this practical brotherhood of all belonging to their faith. That is the essential part of the Mohammedan religion; and all the other ideas about heaven and of life etc.. are not Mohammedanism. They are accretions.[Source]
  • It is a mistaken statement that has been made to us that the Mohammedans do not believe that women have souls. I am very sorry to say it is an old mistake among Christian people, and they seem to like the mistake. That is a peculiarity in human nature, that people want to say something very bad about others whom they do not like. By the by, you know I am not a Mohammedan, but yet I have had opportunity for studying this religion, and there is not one word in the Koran which says that women have no souls, but in fact it says they have.[Source]
  • The fact that all these old religions are living today proves that they must have kept that mission intact; in spite of all their mistakes, in spite of all difficulties, in spite of all quarrels, in spite of all the incrustation of forms and figures, the heart of every one of them is sound — it is a throbbing, beating, living heart. They have not lost, any one of them, the great mission they came for. And it is splendid to study that mission. Take Mohammedanism, for instance. Christian people hate no religion in the world so much as Mohammedanism. They think it is the very worst form of religion that ever existed. As soon as a man becomes a Mohammedan, the whole of Islam receives him as a brother with open arms, without making any distinction, which no other religion does. If one of your American Indians becomes a Mohammedan, the Sultan of Turkey would have no objection to dine with him. If he has brains, no position is barred to him. In this country, I have never yet seen a church where the white man and the negro can kneel side by side to pray. Just think of that: Islam makes its followers all equal — so, that, you see, is the peculiar excellence of Mohammedanism. In many places in the Koran you find very sensual ideas of life. Never mind. What Mohammedanism comes to preach to the world is this practical brotherhood of all belonging to their faith. That is the essential part of the Mohammedan religion; and all the other ideas about heaven and of life etc.. are not Mohammedanism. They are accretions.[Source]
  • This Vedantic spirit of religious liberality has very much affected Mohammedanism. Mohammedanism in India is quite a different thing from that in any other country. It is only when Mohammedans come from other countries and preach to their co-religionists in India about living with men who are not of their faith that a Mohammedan mob is aroused and fights.[Source]

Swami Vivekananda on Quran
We want to lead mankind to the place
where there is neither the Vedas, nor the Bible, nor the Koran;
yet this has to be done by harmonising the Vedas,
the Bible and the Koran.
—Swami Vivekananda
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Let the Vedas, the Koran, the Puranas, and all scriptural lumber rest now for some time — let there be worship of the visible God of Love and Compassion in the country. All idea of separation is bondage, that of non-differentiation is Mukti. Let not the words of people dead-drunk with worldliness terrify you. " — Be fearless" "Ignore the ordinary critics as worms!" Admit boys of all religions — Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian, or anything; but begin rather gently — I mean, see that they get their food and drink a little separately, and teach them only the universal side of religion.[Source]
  • Religion must become broad enough. Everything it claims must be judged from the standpoint of reason. Why religions should claim that they are not bound to abide by the standpoint of reason, no one knows. If one does not take the standard of reason, there cannot be any true judgement, even in the case of religions. One religion may ordain something very hideous. For instance, the Mohammedan religion allows Mohammedans to kill all who are not of their religion. It is clearly stated in the Koran, "Kill the infidels if they do not become Mohammedans." They must be put to fire and sword. Now if we tell a Mohammedan that this is wrong, he will naturally ask, "How do you know that? How do you know it is not good? My book says it is." If you say your book is older, there will come the Buddhist, and say, my book is much older still. Then will come the Hindu, and say, my books are the oldest of all. Therefore referring to books will not do. Where is the standard by which you can compare? You will say, look at the Sermon on the Mount, and the Mohammedan will reply, look at the Ethics of the Koran. The Mohammedan will say, who is the arbiter as to which is the better of the two? Neither the New Testament nor the Koran can be the arbiter in a quarrel between them. There must be some independent authority, and that cannot be any book, but something which is universal; and what is more universal than reason? It has been said that reason is not strong enough; it does not always help us to get at the Truth; many times it makes mistakes, and, therefore, the conclusion is that we must believe in the authority of a church! That was said to me by a Roman Catholic, but I could not see the logic of it. On the other hand I should say, if reason be so weak, a body of priests would be weaker, and I am not going to accept their verdict, but I will abide by my reason, because with all its weakness there is some chance of my getting at truth through it; while, by the other means, there is no such hope at all.[Source]
  • We want to lead mankind to the place where there is neither the Vedas, nor the Bible, nor the Koran; yet this has to be done by harmonising the Vedas, the Bible and the Koran. Mankind ought to be taught that religions are but the varied expressions of THE RELIGION, which is Oneness, so that each may choose that path that suits him best.[Source]

This page was last updated on: 15 May 2014, 10:50 am IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
Number of revisions in this page: 4

Sri Aurobindo On Swami Vivekananda

Sri Aurobindo or Aurobindo Ghose (often referred as Rishi Aurobindo, Bengali: ঋষি অরবিন্দ) was an Indian freedom fighter. In his later life he turned into a spiritual reformer and a yogi and spent the last four decades of his life in Pondicherry. He published a series of literary woks such as The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Essays on The Gita, The Secret of The Veda, Hymns to the Mystic Fire, The Upanishads, The Renaissance in India, War and Self-determination, The Human Cycle, The Ideal of Human Unity and The Future Poetry.

In this post we'll collect Sri Aurobindo's quotes and comments on Swami Vivekananda
Vivekananda was a soul of puissance
if ever there was one, a very lion among men. . .
—Sri Aurobindo
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • It was in religion first that the soul of India awoke and triumphed. There were always indications, always great forerunners, but it was when the flower of the educated youth of Calcutta bowed down at the feet of a illiterate Hindu ascetic, a self-illuminated ecstatic and 'mystic' without a single trace or touch of the alien thought or education upon him that the battle was won. The going forth of Vivekananda, marked out by the Master as the heroic soul destined to take the world between his two hands and change it, was the first visible sign to the world that India was awake not only to survive but to conquer. Afterwards when the awakening was complete, a section of the nationalist movement turned in imagination to a reconstruction of the recent pre-British past in all its details.[Source]
  • The visit of Swami Vivekananda  to America and the subsequent work of those who followed him did more for India than a hundred London congress could effect. That is the true way of awakening sympathy,— by showing ourselves to the nations as a people with a great past and ancient civilization who still possess something of the genius and character of our forefathers, have still something to give the world and therefore deserve freedom,— by proof of our manliness and fitness, not by mendicancy.
  • Vivekananda was a soul of puissance if ever there was one, a very lion among men, but the definite work he has left behind is quite incommensurate with our impression of his creative might and energy. We perceive his influence still working gigantically, we know not well how, we know not well where, in something that is not yet formed, something leonine, grand, intuitive, upheaving that has entered the soul of India and we say, "Behold, Vivekananda still lives in the soul of his Mother and in the souls of her children.


  1. Sri Aurobindo: The hour of God, and other writings, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, p 332

This page was last updated on: 30 November 2013, 9:37 am IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
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Mahatma Gandhi On Swami Vivekananda

Both Mahatma Gandhi (1869—1948) and Swami Vivekananda (1863—1902), two of the most notable Indians ever, worked for the welfare of the society, masses and their country and countrymen. While Mahatma Gandhi's field was politics, Vivekananda clearly told in a letter in 1895— "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." Vivekananda's field was religion, or more precisely "Vedanta" and "for the happiness of many, for the welfare of many" (बहुजन सुखाय बहुजन हिताय च)

Both Gandhi and Vivekananda identified themselves with the poorest people of the society and served them as Daridra Narayana — "God in the form of poor and downtrodden people" (Site admin's note: readers may note that there are some confusions on who actually coined the term Daridra Narayana— Gandhi or Vivekananda. Writer Karl Ernst Nipkow, in his book God, Human Nature, and Education for Peace: New Approaches to Moral and Religious Maturity, has written, "Mahatma Gandhi explicitly directed his selfless service and compassion to the downtrodden, coining the term "Daridra Narayana". . . . . ." etc. Several more authors and biographers have written the same thing— Gandhi coined the word Daridra Narayana. Anyway, Nipkow and the other authors were incorrect. Vivekananda used the term much before Gandhi even entered India's national politics. In Diary of a Disciple written by Sharat Chandra Chakravarty, we see, sometime in 1902, Vivekananda is saying to a poor Santal man named Keshta— "You are Narayanas, God manifest; today I have offered food to Narayana". Right after that Chakravarty's comment— "The service of "Daridra Narayana"-- god in the poor -- about which Swamiji spoke, he himself performed one day like this."[Source] If time permits, we wish to to write a separate article on this topic with more details and references to show that it was Vivekananda, and not Gandhi who coined the term. For now we may conclude that Gandhi popularized the term).

Gandhi himself told that he had read the works of Swami Vivekananda, and after reading those books, his love for India became "a thousandfold".[Source]

Mahatma Gandhi's comments on Swami Vivekananda
Mahatma Gandhi
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Mahatma Gandhi came to Belur Math on 30 January 1921, to join Swami Vivekananda's birthday celebration. There he was requested to deliver a speech. Gandhi assented to the request and delivered a brief lecture. In the lecture he told—[1]
I have come here (Belur Math) to pay my homage and respect to the revered memory of Swami Vivekananda, whose birthday is being celebrated here today. I have gone through his works very thoroughly, and after having gone through them, the love that I had for my country became a thousand-fold. I ask you, young men, not to go away empty-handed without imbibing something of the spirit of the place where Swami Vivekananda lived and died.
The above comment shows the influence of Swami Vivekananda on Mahatma Gandhi.

Letter to S. Avinashilingam
Gandhi wrote in a letter written to S. Avinashilingam, dated 22 July 1941—
Surely Swami Vivekananda's writing needs no introduction from any body. They make their own irresistible appeal.


Surely Swami Vivekananda's writing needs no introduction from any body. They make their own irresistible appeal.
Image license: Public domain in India

See also

  1. Subhas Chandra Bose on Swami Vivekananda


  • Prabuddha Bharata: (Awakened India), year: 1993, p. 94

This page was last updated on: 21 May 2014, 10:10 pm IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
Number of revisions in this page: 5

Rabindranath Tagore On Swami Vivekananda

The relationship between Rabindranath Tagore (1861—1941) and Swami Vivekananda (1863—1902) might be a subject of scholarly studies. In the youth Swami Vivekananda (then known as Narendrath Datta) was fond of Rabindra Sangeet (songs written by Rabindranath Tagore). In the book Sanget Kalpataru (published 1887, Swami Vivekananda (as Narendranath Datta) was a co-editor of this book), twelve Rabindra Sangeets were included. Tagore himself taught Narendra notations of two of his songs.

After more or less 12 years, when Vivekananda had become a world famous religious speaker, on 28 January 1899, both Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Vivekananda were invited in an evening tea-party. Though Tagore and Vivekananda met each other many times before, in this evening tea-party they completely ignored one another.[Source] (Bengali)

Swami Vivekananda reportedly asked Sister Nivedita not to befriend with the members of Tagore family and told, "Remember, Tagore family has poisoned the culture of Bengal with Sringara Rasa (Bengali: ওই পরিবার বাংলাদেশকে শৃঙ্গার রসের বন্যায় বিষাক্ত করছে।)[Source] (Bengali)

But wait, here we can not conclude anything about the relationship between Tagore and Vivekananda. Though Tagore ignored Vivekananda in the tea party, later, years after Vivekananda's death he gave Vivekananda a big certificate. He suggested Vivekananda to read Vivekananda to know about India—"'If you want to know India, study Vivekananda. In him, there is everything positive and nothing negative."[Source]

Anyway, as said, the subject — relationship between Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Vivekananda should be a subject of scholars' examinations and studies. In this page, we'll limit our work in making a collection of Rabindranath Tagore's quotes, comments and opinions on Swami Vivekananda.

Rabindranath Tagore wrote—
    If you want to know India, study Vivekananda.
    In him everything is positive and nothing negative.
    —Rabindranath Tagore
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • If you want to know India, study Vivekananda. In him everything is positive and nothing negative. (Romain Rolland, in a letter written to Swami Ashokananda informed that Rabindranath Tagore once told him these words. Acknowledgement: Sandeep Biswas, see discussion in the comment section below. —Ed.)
  • In recent times in India, it was Vivekananda alone who preached a great message which is not tied to any do's don'ts. Addressing one and all in the nation, he said: In every one of you there is Brahman (Bengali: ব্রহ্ম); the God in the poor desires you to serve Him. This message has roused the heart of the youths in a most pervasive way. That is why this message has borne fruit in the service of the nation in diverse ways and in diverse forms of sacrifice. This message has, at one and the same time, imparted dignity and respect to man along with energy and power. The strength that this message has imparted to man is not confined to a particular point; nor is it limited to repetitions of some physical movements. It has, indeed, invested life with a wonderful dynamism in various spheres. There at the source of the adventurous activities of today's youth of Bengal is the message of Vivekananda— which calls the soul of man, not his fingers.[Source]
  • Some time ago Vivekananda said that there was the power of Brahman in every man, that Narayana (God) wanted to have our service through the poor. This is what I call real gospel. This gospel showed of infinite from man's tiny egocentric self beyond the limits of all selfishness. This was no sermon relating to a particular ritual, nor was it a narrow injunction to be imposed upon one's external life. This naturally contained in it protest against untouchability— not because that would make for political freedom, but because that would do away with the humiliation of man— a curse which in fact puts to shame the self of us all.
    Vivekananda's gospel marked the awakening of man in his fullness and that is why it inspired our youth to the diverse course of liberation through work and sacrifice. (see image below)[Source]


Tagore's comments in his own handwriting.

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Subhas Chandra Bose On Swami Vivekananda

I cannot write about Vivekananda without going into raptures.
Few indeed could comprehend or fathom him —even among
those who had the privilege of becoming intimate with him.
—Swami Vivekananda 
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Indian freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose (1897—1945?) was highly influenced by Swami Vivekananda. Bose felt, Swamiji was a "full-blooded masculine personality" and from him he got an ideal to which he could give his whole being.

Bose was barely fifteen years old, when he started reading the literary works of Vivekananda. He himself wrote— "I was barely fifteen when Vivekananda entered my life...". Anu Kumar, in his book, Subhas Chandra Bose: Great Freedom Fighter, has written, Bose first saw few books written by Swami Vivekananda in a neighbour's house. He borrowed those books and read few pages casually. Soon he realized those were the books, the teachings that he had been looking for. Now he started reading those books with full attention and very soon finished reading all those books. Later he read the works based on the teachings of Vivekananda's master— Ramakrishna too.

In this page, we'll collect Subhas Chandra Bose's quotes and comments on Swami Vivekananda.

Subhas Chandra Bose told—
In the eighties of the last century, two prominent religious personalities appeared before the public who were destined to have a great influence on the future course of the new awakening. They were Ramakrishna Paramahansa, the saint, and his disciple Swami Vivekananda. ... Ramakrishna preached the gospel of the unity of all religions and urged the cessation of inter-religious strife. ... Before he died, he charged his disciple with the task of propagating his religious teachings in India and abroad and of bringing about and awakening among his countrymen. Swami Vivekananda therefore founded the Ramakrishna Mission, an order of monks, to live and preach the Hindu religion in its purest form in India and abroad, especially in America, and he took an active part in inspiring every form of healthy national activity. With him religion was the inspirer of nationalism. He tried to infuse into the new generation a sense of pride in India’s past, of faith in India’s future and a spirit of selfconfidence and self-respect. Though the Swami never gave any political message, every one who came into contact with him or his writings developed a spirit of patriotism and a political mentality. So far at least as Bengal is concerned, Swami Vivekananda may be regarded as the spiritual father of the modern nationalist movement. He died very young in 1902, but since his death his influence has been even greater.

I cannot write about Vivekananda without going into raptures. Few indeed could comprehend or fathom him—even among those who had the privilege of becoming intimate with him. His personality was rich, profound and complex and it was this personality—as distinct from his teachings and writings— which accounts for the wonderful influence he has exerted on his countrymen and particularly on Bengalees. This is the type of manhood which appeals to the Bengalee as probably none other. Reckless in his sacrifice, unceasing in his activity, boundless in his love, profound and versatile in his wisdom, exuberant in his emotions, merciless in his attacks but yet simple as a child—he was a rare personality in this world of ours. ...

Swamiji was a full-blooded masculine personality—and a fighter to the core of his being. He was consequently a worshipper of Sakti and gave a practical interpretation to the Vedanta for the uplift of his countrymen. ... I can go on for hours and yet fail to do the slightest justice to that great man. He was so great, so profound, so complex. A yogi of the highest spiritual level in direct communion with the truth who had for the time being consecrated his whole life to the moral and spiritual uplift of his nation and of humanity, that is how I would describe him. If he had been alive, I would have been at his feet. Modern Bengal
is his creation—if I err not.

How shall I express in words my indebtedness to Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda ? It is under their sacred influence that my life got first awakened. Like Nivedita I also regard Ramakrishna and Vivekananda as two aspects of one indivisible personality. If Swamiji had been alive today, he would have been my My guru, that is to say, I would have accepted him as my Master. It is needless to add, however, that as long as I live, I shall be absolutely loyal and devoted to Ramakrishna-Vivekananda.)

It is very difficult to explain the versatile genius of Swami Vivekananda. The impact Swami Vivekananda made on the students of our time by his works and speeches far outweighed that made by any other leader of the country. He, as it were, expressed fully their hopes and aspirations. [But] Swamiji cannot be appreciated properly if he is not studied along with Sri Sri Paramahansa Deva. The foundation of the present freedom movement owes its origin to Swamiji’s message. If India is to be free, it cannot be a land specially of Hinduism or of Islam—it must be one united land of different religious communities inspired by the ideal of nationalism. [And for that] Indians must accept wholeheartedly the gospel of harmony of religions which is the gospel of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda. ...

Swamiji harmonized East and West, religion and science, past and present. And that is why he is great. Our countrymen have gained unprecedented self-respect, self-confidence and self-assertion from his teachings.

The harmony of all religions which Ramakrishna Paramahansa accomplished in his life’s endeavour, was the keynote of Swamiji’s life. And this ideal again is the bed-rock of the nationalism of Future India. Without this concept of harmony of religions and toleration of all creeds, the spirit of national consciousness could not have been build up in this country of ours full of diversities.

The aspiration for freedom manifested itself in various movements since the time of Rammohun Roy. This aspiration was witnessed in the realm of thought and in social reforms during the nineteenth century, but it was never expressed in the political sphere. This was because the people of India still remained sunk in the stupor of subjugation and thought that the conquest of India by the British was an act of Divine Dispensation. The idea of complete freedom is manifest only in Ramakrishna-Vivekananda towards the end of the nineteeth
century. ‘Freedom, freedom is the song of the Soul’—this was the message that burst forth from the inner recesses of Swamiji’heart and captivated and almost maddened the entire nation. This truth was embodied in his works, life, conversations, and speeches.

Swami Vivekananda, on the one hand, called man to be real man freed from all fetters and, on the other, laid the foundation for true nationalism in India by preaching the gospel of the harmony of religions.

      This page was last updated on: 31 March 2014, 12:15 am IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
      Number of revisions in this page: 2

      29 November 2013

      Swami Vivekananda Quotes On Ramanuja (Ramanujacharya)

      Ramanuja or Ramanujacharya (traditionally, 1017–1137 CE) was an Indian Hindu philosopher, theologian and commentator of Hindu scriptures. He was a philosopher of Vishishtadvaita school of thought. Some of his notable literary works are— Vedartha Sangraham, Sri Bhashyam, Gita Bhashyam, Vedanta Deepam, VedAnta Saram, Sharanagati Gadyam, Sriranga Gadyam.

      In this page, we'll make a collection of Swami Vivekananda's quotes on Ramanuja
      Ramanuja attributes consciousness to God;
      the real monists attribute nothing,
      not even existence in any meaning that we can attach to it.
      Ramanuja declares that God is
      the essence of conscious knowledge.
      —Swami Vivekananda
      Image source: Wikimedia Commons
      • According to Ramanuja, there are three things in food we must avoid. First, there is Jâti, the nature, or species of the food, that must be considered. All exciting food should be avoided, as meat, for instance; this should not be taken because it is by its very nature impure. We can get it only by taking the life of another. We get pleasure for a moment, and another creature has to give up its life to give us that pleasure. Not only so, but we demoralise other human beings. It would be rather better if every man who eats meat killed the animal himself; but, instead of doing so, society gets a class of persons to do that business for them, for doing which, it hates them. In England no butcher can serve on a jury, the idea being that he is cruel by nature. Who makes him cruel? Society. If we did not eat beef and mutton, there would be no butchers. Eating meat is only allowable for people who do very hard work, and who are not going to be Bhaktas; but if you are going to be Bhaktas, you should avoid meat. Also, all exciting foods, such as onions, garlic, and all evil-smelling food, as "sauerkraut". Any food that has been standing for days, till its condition is changed, any food whose natural juices have been almost dried ups any food that is malodorous, should be avoided.[Source]
      • Did India ever stand in want of reformers? Do you read the history of India? Who was Ramanuja? Who was Shankara? Who was Nanak? Who was Chaitanya? Who was Kabir? Who was Dâdu? Who were all these great preachers, one following the other, a galaxy of stars of the first magnitude? Did not Ramanuja feel for the lower classes? Did he not try all his life to admit even the Pariah to his community? Did he not try to admit even Mohammedans to his own fold?[Source]
      • In regard to the method and the means of Bhakti-Yoga we read in the commentary of Bhagavan Ramanuja on the Vedanta-Sutras: "The attaining of That comes through discrimination, controlling the passions, practice, sacrificial work, purity, strength, and suppression of excessive joy." Viveka or discrimination is, according to Ramanuja, discriminating, among other things, the pure food from the impure. According to him, food becomes impure from three causes: (1) by the nature of the food itself, as in the case of garlic etc.; (2) owing to its coming from wicked and accursed persons; and (3) from physical impurities, such as dirt, or hair, etc. The Shrutis say, When the food is pure, the Sattva element gets purified, and the memory becomes unwavering", and Ramanuja quotes this from the Chhândogya Upanishad.[Source]
      • It is said that even Ramanuja compiled his Bhashya from a worm-eaten manuscript which he happened to find. When even this great Bodhayana Bhashya on the Vedanta-Sutras is so much enshrouded in the darkness of uncertainty, it is simply useless to try to establish the existence of the Bodhayana Bhashya on the Gita.[Source]
      • Purity is absolutely the basic work, the bed-rock upon which the whole Bhakti-building rests. Cleansing the external body and discriminating the food are both easy, but without internal cleanliness and purity, these external observances are of no value whatsoever. In the list of qualities conducive to purity, as given by Ramanuja, there are enumerated, Satya, truthfulness; Ârjava, sincerity; Dayâ, doing good to others without any gain to one's self; Ahimsâ, not injuring others by thought, word, or deed; Anabhidhyâ, not coveting others' goods, not thinking vain thoughts, and not brooding over injuries received from another. In this list, the one idea that deserves special notice is Ahimsa, non-injury to others. This duty of non-injury is, so to speak, obligatory on us in relation to all beings. As with some, it does not simply mean the non-injuring of human beings and mercilessness towards the lower animals; nor, as with some others, does it mean the protecting of cats and dogs and feeding of ants with sugar — with liberty to injure brother-man in every horrible way! It is remarkable that almost every good idea in this world can be carried to a disgusting extreme. A good practice carried to an extreme and worked in accordance with the letter of the law becomes a positive evil. The stinking monks of certain religious sects, who do not bathe lest the vermin on their bodies should be killed, never think of the discomfort and disease they bring to their fellow human beings. They do not, however, belong to the religion of the Vedas![Source]
      • Ramanuja attributes consciousness to God; the real monists attribute nothing, not even existence in any meaning that we can attach to it. Ramanuja declares that God is the essence of conscious knowledge. Undifferentiated consciousness, when differentiated, becomes the world. . . .[Source]
      • Ramanuja on the other hand, with a most practical philosophy, a great appeal to the emotions, an entire denial of birthrights before spiritual attainments, and appeals through the popular tongue completely succeeded in bringing the masses back to the Vedic religion.[Source]
      • Ramanuja says, the Vedas are the holiest study. Let the sons of the three upper castes get the Sutra (The holy thread.) and at eight, ten, or eleven years of age begin the study, which means going to a Guru and learning the Vedas word for word, with perfect intonation and pronunciation.[Source]
      • Ramanuja's theory is that the bound soul or Jiva has its perfections involved, entered, into itself. When this perfection again evolves, it becomes free. The Advaitin declares both these to take place only in show; there was neither involution nor evolution. Both processes were Maya, or apparent only.[Source]
      • The attempts of the great Ramanuja and of Chaitanya and of Kabir to raise the lower classes of India show that marvellous results were attained during the lifetime of those great prophets; yet the later failures have to be explained, and cause shown why the effect of their teachings stopped almost within a century of the passing away of these great Masters. The secret is here. They raised the lower classes; they had all the wish that these should come up, but they did not apply their energies to the spreading of the Sanskrit language among the masses.[Source]
      • Then came the brilliant Râmânuja. Shankara, with his great intellect, I am afraid, had not as great a heart. Ramanuja's heart was greater. He felt for the downtrodden, he sympathised with them. He took up the ceremonies, the accretions that had gathered, made them pure so far as they could be, and instituted new ceremonies, new methods of worship, for the people who absolutely required them. At the same time he opened the door to the highest; spiritual worship from the Brahmin to the Pariah. That was Ramanuja's work. That work rolled on, invaded the North, was taken up by some great leaders there; but that was much later, during the Mohammedan rule; and the brightest of these prophets of comparatively modern times in the North was Chaitanya.[Source]
      • You may mark one characteristic since the time of Ramanuja — the opening of the door of spirituality to every one. That has been the watchword of all prophets succeeding Ramanuja, as it had been the watchword of all the prophets before Shankara.[Source]

      From The Vedanta in all its phases

      Excerpts from Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume III, Book: Lectures from Colombo to Almora, Chapter: XVIII, a lecture delivered by Vivekananda in 1897 in Calcutta—[Source]
      Ramanuja is the leading dualistic philosopher of later India,
      whom all the other dualistic sects have followed,
      directly or indirectly, both in the substance of their teaching
      and in the organization of their sects even down
      to some of the most minute points of their organization
      —Swami Vivekananda
      Image source: Wikimedia Commons
      • Ramanuja is the leading dualistic philosopher of later India, whom all the other dualistic sects have followed, directly or indirectly, both in the substance of their teaching and in the organization of their sects even down to some of the most minute points of their organization. You will be astonished if you compare Ramanuja and his work with the other dualistic Vaishnava sects in India, to see how much they resemble each other in organization, teaching, and method. There is the great Southern preacher Madhva Muni, and following him, our great Chaitanya of Bengal who took up the philosophy of the Madhvas and preached it in Bengal. There are some other sects also in Southern India, as the qualified dualistic Shaivas. The Shaivas in most parts of India are Advaitists, except in some portions of Southern India and in Ceylon. But they also only substitute Shiva for Vishnu and are Ramanujists in every sense of the term except in the doctrine of the soul. The followers of Ramanuja hold that the soul is Anu, like a particle, very small, and the followers of Shankaracharya hold that it is Vibhu, omnipresent. There have been several non-dualistic sects. It seems that there have been sects in ancient times which Shankara's movement has entirely swallowed up and assimilated.
      • Ramanuja expressly tells us he is only following the great commentary of Bodhâyana. भगवद् बोधायनकृतां विस्तीर्णां ब्रह्मसूत्रवृत्तिं पूर्वाचार्याः संचिक्षिपुः तन्मतानुसारेण सूत्राक्षराणि व्याख्यास्यन्ते। — "Ancient teachers abridged that extensive commentary on the Brahma-sutras which was composed by the Bhagavân Bodhayana; in accordance with their opinion, the words of the Sutra are explained." That is what Ramanuja says at the beginning of his commentary, the Shri-Bhâshya. He takes it up and makes of it a Samkshepa, and that is what we have today. I myself never had an opportunity of seeing this commentary of Bodhayana. The late Swami Dayânanda Saraswati wanted to reject every other commentary of the Vyâsa-Sutras except that of Bodhayana; and although he never lost an opportunity of having a fling at Ramanuja, he himself could never produce the Bodhayana. I have sought for it all over India, and never yet have been able to see it. But Ramanuja is very plain on the point, and he tells us that he is taking the ideas, and sometimes the very passages out of Bodhayana, and condensing them into the present Ramanuja Bhashya. It seems that Shankaracharya was also doing the same. There are a few places in his Bhashya which mention older commentaries, and when we know that his Guru and his Guru's Guru had been Vedantists of the same school as he, sometimes corn more thorough-going, bolder even than Shankara himself on certain points, it seems pretty plain that he also was not preaching anything very original, and that even in his Bhashya he himself had been doing the same work that Ramanuja did with Bodhayana, but from what Bhashya, it cannot be discovered at the present time.
      • . . . I will take Ramanuja as the typical dualist of India, the great modern representative of the dualistic system. It is a pity that our people in Bengal know so very little about the great religious leaders in India, who have been born in other parts of the country; and for the matter of that, during the whole of the Mohammedan period, with the exception of our Chaitanya, all the great religious leaders were born in Southern India, and it is the intellect of Southern India that is really governing India now; for even Chaitanya belonged to one of these sects, a sect of the Mâdhvas. According to Ramanuja, these three entities are eternal — God, and soul, and nature. The souls are eternal, and they will remain eternally existing, individualised through eternity, and will retain their individuality all through. Your soul will be different from my soul through all eternity, says Ramanuja, and so will this nature — which is an existing fact, as much a fact as the existence of soul or the existence of God — remain always different. And God is interpenetrating, the essence of the soul, He is the Antaryâmin. In this sense Ramanuja sometimes thinks that God is one with the soul, the essence of the soul, and these souls — at the time of Pralaya, when the whole of nature becomes what he calls Sankuchita, contracted — become contracted and minute and remain so for a time. And at the beginning of the next cycle they all come out, according to their past Karma, and undergo the effect of that Karma. Every action that makes the natural inborn purity and perfection of the soul get contracted is a bad action, and every action that makes it come out and expand itself is a good action, says Ramanuja. Whatever helps to make the Vikâsha of the soul is good, and whatever makes it Sankuchita is bad. And thus the soul is going on, expanding or contracting in its actions, till through the grace of God comes salvation. And that grace comes to all souls, says Ramanuja, that are pure and struggle for that grace.
      • Sometimes you find Ramanuja dealing with texts in a way that is not very clear. The idea has been even among our Pandits that only one of these sects can be true and the rest must be false, although they have the idea in the Shrutis, the most wonderful idea that India has yet to give to the world: एकं सव्दिप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति। — "That which exists is One; sages call It by various names." That has been the theme, and the working out of the whole of this life-problem of the nation is the working out of that theme — एकं सव्दिप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति। Yea, except a very few learned men, I mean, barring a very few spiritual men, in India, we always forget this. We forget this great idea, and you will find that there are persons among Pandits — I should think ninety-eight per cent — who are of opinion that either the Advaitist will be true, or the Vishishtadvaitist will be true, or the Dvaitist will be true; and if you go to Varanasi, and sit for five minutes in one of the Ghats there, you will have demonstration of what I say. You will see a regular bull-fight going on about these various sects and things.
      • Says Ramanuja, "So long as you think you are a body, and you think you are a mind, and you think you are a Jiva, every act of perception will give you the three — Soul, and nature, and something as causing both." But yet, at the same time, even the idea of the body disappears where the mind itself becomes finer and finer, till it has almost disappeared, when all the different things that make us fear, make us weak, and bind us down to this body-life have disappeared. Then and then alone one finds out the truth of that grand old teaching. What is the teaching?

        इहैव तैर्जितः सर्गो येषां साम्ये स्थितं मनः।
        निर्दोषं हि समं ब्रह्म तस्माद् ब्रह्मणि ते स्थिताः॥
        "Even in this life they have conquered the round of birth and death whose minds are firm-fixed on the sameness of everything, for God is pure and the same to all, and therefore such are said to be living in God."

        समं पश्यन् हि सर्वत्रि समवस्थितमीश्वरम्।
        न हिनस्त्यात्मनात्मानं ततो याति परां गतिम्॥
        "Thus seeing the Lord the same everywhere, he, the sage, does not hurt the Self by the self, and so goes to the highest goal."

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      Swami Vivekananda's Direct Quotes And Mentions Of Bhagavad Gita Slokas (Verses)

      Main article: This article is a sub-article of Swami Vivekananda quotes on Bhagavad Gita

      Swami  Vivekananda directly quoted and mentioned slokas (verses) of Bhagavad Gita in many of his lectures, discourses and epistles. In this page, we'll make a collection of only those quotes and comments where Swami Vivekananda directly quotes Bhagavad Gita slokas (verses)

      Karmanye vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kada chana
      Despair not; remember the Lord says in the Gita,
      "To work you have the right, but not to the result."
      —Swami Vivekananda
      Image source: Wikimedia Commons
      In 1893, during the first journey to the West, Swami Vivekananda wrote a letter to his disciple and friend Alasinga Perumal on 20 August. In that letter he tried to encourage Alasinga and quoted the sloka "karmanye vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kada chana..." (Chapter 2, verse 47). He wrote—[Source]
      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. I pity them. It is not their fault. They are children, yea, veritable children, though they be great and high in society. Their eyes see nothing beyond their little horizon of a few yards — the routine-work, eating, drinking, earning, and begetting, following each other in mathematical precision. They know nothing beyond — happy little souls! Their sleep is never disturbed, their nice little brown studies of lives never rudely shocked by the wail of woe, of misery, of degradation, and poverty, that has filled the Indian atmosphere — the result of centuries of oppression. They little dream of the ages of tyranny, mental, moral, and physical, that has reduced the image of God to a mere beast of burden; the emblem of the Divine Mother, to a slave to bear children; and life itself, a curse. But there are others who see, feel, and shed tears of blood in their hearts, who think that there is a remedy for it, and who are ready to apply this remedy at any cost, even to the giving up of life. And "of such is the kingdom of Heaven". Is it not then natural, my friends, that they have no time to look down from their heights to the vagariese of these contemptible little insects, ready every moment to spit their little venoms?
      In another letter written to Alasinga Perumal in 1894, from Chicago, Vivekananda once again reminded him— "Let me remind you again, "Thou hast the right to work but not to the fruits thereof." Stand firm like a rock. Truth always triumphs."[Source]

      Truly has it been said by  the great commentator Shridhara—
      "मूकं करोति वाचालं —Who maketh the dumb a fluent speaker."
       —Swami Vivekananda
      Image source: Wikimedia Commons
      Mukam karoti bachalam
      After the tremendous success of the Parliament of the World's Religions, Vivekananda wrote a letter to Alasinga Perumal, dated 2 November 1893, in which he recounted his lectures and the enthusiastic recognition he got a the Parliament—[Source]
      I addressed the assembly as "Sisters and Brothers of America", a deafening applause of two minutes followed, and then I proceeded; and when it was finished, I sat down, almost exhausted with emotion. The next day all the papers announced that my speech was the hit of the day, and I became known to the whole of America. Truly has it been said by the great commentator Shridhara—
      "मूकं करोति वाचालं —Who maketh the dumb a fluent speaker."
      Letter written to Hale Sisters on 26 June 1894
      In a letter written to Hale Sisters
      (Misses Mary and H. Hale.) on 26 June 1894, Vivekananda quoted Chapter 2, Verse 69 of Bhagavad Gita—
      "Ya nisha sarva-bhutanam tasyam jagarti samyami
      Yasyam jagrati bhutani sa nisa pasyato muneh"
      He wrote to the Hale Sisters—
      Hope you are enjoying the beautiful village scenery. "Where the world is awake, there the man of self-control is sleeping. Where the world sleeps, there he is waking." May even the dust of the world never touch you, for, after all the poets may say, it is only a piece of carrion covered over with garlands. Touch it not — if you can. Come up, young ones of the bird of Paradise, before your feet touch the cesspool of corruption, this world, and fly upwards.
      Never one meets with evil who tries to do good...
      From a letter to Alasinga Perumal dated 26 December 1894—[Source]
      . . . In reference to me every now and then attacks are made in missionary papers (so I hear), but I never care to see them. If you send any of those made in India, I should throw them into the waste-paper basket. A little agitation was necessary for our work. We have had enough. Pay no more attention to what people say about me, whether good or bad. You go on with your work and remember that "Never one meets with evil who tries to do good" (Gita, VI. 40).
      Chapter 2, Verse 1–3
      From Swami Vivekananda's Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume IV[Source]
      Let us now read a little from the second chapter.

      सञ्जय उवाच॥
      तं तथा कृपयाविष्टमश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम् ।
      विषीदन्तमिदं वाक्यमुवाच मधुसूदनः ॥१॥
      श्रीभगवानुवाच ॥
      कुतस्त्वा कश्मलमिदं विषमे समुपस्थितम् ।
      अनार्यजुष्टमस्वर्ग्यमकीर्तिकरमर्जुन ॥२॥
      क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते ।
      क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परंतप ॥३॥
      "Sanjaya said:
      To him who was thus overwhelmed with pity and sorrowing, and whose eyes were dimmed with tears, Madhusudana spoke these words.
      The Blessed Lord said:
      In such a strait, whence comes upon thee, O Arjuna, this dejection, un-Aryan-like, disgraceful, and contrary to the attainment of heaven?
      Yield not to unmanliness, O son of Prithâ! Ill doth it become thee. Cast off this mean faint-heartedness and arise, O scorcher of thine enemies!"

      In the Shlokas beginning with तं तथा कृपयाविष्टं , how poetically, how beautifully, has Arjuna's real position been painted! Then Shri Krishna advises Arjuna; and in the words क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ etc., why is he goading Arjuna to fight? Because it was not that the disinclination of Arjuna to fight arose out of the overwhelming predominance of pure Sattva Guna; it was all Tamas that brought on this unwillingness. The nature of a man of Sattva Guna is, that he is equally calm in all situations in life — whether it be prosperity or adversity. But Arjuna was afraid, he was overwhelmed with pity. That he had the instinct and the inclination to fight is proved by the simple fact that he came to the battle-field with no other purpose than that. Frequently in our lives also such things are seen to happen. Many people think they are Sâttvika by nature, but they are really nothing but Tâmasika. Many living in an uncleanly way regard themselves as Paramahamsas! Why? Because the Shâstras say that Paramahamsas live like one inert, or mad, or like an unclean spirit. Paramahamsas are compared to children, but here it should be understood that the comparison is one-sided. The Paramahamsa and the child are not one and non-different. They only appear similar, being the two extreme poles, as it were. One has reached to a state beyond Jnana, and the other has not got even an inkling of Jnana. The quickest and the gentlest vibrations of light are both beyond the reach of our ordinary vision; but in the one it is intense heat, and in the other it may be said to be almost without any heat. So it is with the opposite qualities of Sattva and Tamas. They seem in some respects to be the same, no doubt, but there is a world of difference between them. The Tamoguna loves very much to array itself in the garb of the Sattva. Here, in Arjuna, the mighty warrior, it has come under the guise of Dayâ (pity).

      In order to remove this delusion which had overtaken Arjuna, what did the Bhagavân say? As I always preach that you should not decry a man by calling him a sinner, but that you should draw his attention to the omnipotent power that is in him, in the same way does the Bhagavan speak to Arjuna. नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते — "It doth not befit thee!" "Thou art Atman imperishable, beyond all evil. Having forgotten thy real nature, thou hast, by thinking thyself a sinner, as one afflicted with bodily evils and mental grief, thou hast made thyself so — this doth not befit thee!" — so says the Bhagavan: क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ — Yield not to unmanliness, O son of Pritha. There is in the world neither sin nor misery, neither disease nor grief; if there is anything in the world which can be called sin, it is this — 'fear'; know that any work which brings out the latent power in thee is Punya (virtue); and that which makes thy body and mind weak is, verily, sin. Shake off this weakness, this faintheartedness! क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ। — Thou art a hero, a Vira; this is unbecoming of thee."

      If you, my sons, can proclaim this message to the world — क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते — then all this disease, grief, sin, and sorrow will vanish from off the face of the earth in three days. All these ideas of weakness will be nowhere. Now it is everywhere — this current of the vibration of fear. Reverse the current: bring in the opposite vibration, and behold the magic transformation! Thou art omnipotent — go, go to the mouth of the cannon, fear not.

      Hate not the most abject sinner, fool; not to his exterior. Turn thy gaze inward, where resides the Paramâtman. Proclaim to the whole world with trumpet voice, "There is no sin in thee, there is no misery in thee; thou art the reservoir of omnipotent power. Arise, awake, and manifest the Divinity within!"

      If one reads this one Shloka —क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते । क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परंतप॥ — one gets all the merits of reading the entire Gita; for in this one Shloka lies imbedded the whole Message of the Gita.

      Chapter 9, Verse 22
      In a letter written to Alasinga Perumal 1894, Swami Vivekananda told a story and quoted chapter 9, verse 22 of Bhagavad Gita—[Source]
      Listen to an old story. A lazy tramp sauntering along the road saw an old man sitting at the door of his house and stopped to inquire of him the whereabouts of a certain place. "How far is such and such a village?" he asked. The old man remained silent. The man repeated his query several times. Still there was no answer. Disgusted at this, the traveller turned to go away. The old man then stood up and said, "The village of — is only a mile from here." "What!" said the tramp, "Why did you not speak when I asked you before?" "Because then", said the old man, "you seemed so halting and careless about proceeding, but now you are starting off in good earnest, and you have a right to an answer."
      Will you remember this story, my son? Go to work, the rest will come: "Whosoever not trusting in anything else but Me, rests on Me, I supply him with everything he needs" (Gitâ, IX. 22). This is no dream.

      Lecture at Thousand Island Park 23 July 1895:
      To attain liberation through work,
      join yourself to work but without desire, looking for no result.
      —Swami Vivekananda
      Image source: Wikimedia Commons
      From mid-June to August 1895, Swami Vivekananda conducted a series of private classes at Thousand Island Park. Those lectures were later published as Inspired Talks. The topic of Vivekananda's lecture of 23 July 1895 Tuesday was "Bhagavad Gita — Karma Yoga". Excerpts form that lecture are posted below—
      To attain liberation through work, join yourself to work but without desire, looking for no result. Such work leads to knowledge, which in turn brings emancipation. To give up work before you know, leads to misery. Work done for the Self gives no bondage. Neither desire pleasure nor fear pain from work. It is the mind and body that work, not I. Tell yourself this unceasingly and realise it. Try not to know that you work.
      Do all as a sacrifice or offering to the Lord. Be in the world, but not of it, like the lotus leaf whose roots are in the mud but which remains always pure. Let your love go to all, whatever they do to you. A blind man cannot see colour, so how can we see evil unless it is in us? We compare what we see outside with what we find in ourselves and pronounce judgment accordingly. If we are pure, we cannot see impurity. It may exist, but not for us. See only God in every man, woman and child; see it by the antarjyotis, "inner light", and seeing that, we can see naught else. Do not want this world, because what you desire you get. Seek the Lord and the Lord only. The more power there is, the more bondage, the more fear. How much more afraid and miserable are we than the ant! Get out of it all and come to the Lord. Seek the science of the maker and not that of the made.
      "I am the doer and the deed." "He who can stem the tide of lust and anger is a great Yogi."
      "Only by practice and non-attachment can we conquer mind." . . .
      Our Hindu ancestors sat down and thought on God and morality, and so have we brains to use for the same ends; but in the rush of trying to get gain, we are likely to lose them again.
      Chapter 4, Verse 38
      On 3 July 1897, Swami Vivekananda wrote a letter to his disciple Sharat Chandra Chakravarty from Almora (this was his one of the only few letters written in Sanskrit language). In that letter he quoted Chapter 4, Verse 38 of Gita. He wrote—[Source]
      It has been said that adversity is the touchstone of true knowledge, and this may be said a hundred times with regard to the truth: "Thou art That." This truly diagnoses the Vairâgya (dispassion) disease. Blessed is the life of one who has developed this symptom. In spite of your dislike I repeat the old saying: "Wait for a short time." You are tired with rowing; rest on your oars. The momentum will take the boat to the other side. This has been said in the Gita (IV. 38), "In good time, having reached perfection in Yoga, one realises That in one's own heart;" and in the Upanishad, "Neither by rituals, nor by progeny, nor by riches, but by renunciation alone a few (rare) people attained immortality" (Kaivalya, 2).
      The East and The West
      From the Introduction of the book The East and The West[Source]
      The good for him who desires Moksha is one, and the good for him who wants Dharma is another. This is the great truth which the Lord Shri Krishna, the revealer of the Gita, has tried therein to explain, and upon this great truth is established the Varnâshrama[3] system and the doctrine of Svadharma etc. of the Hindu religion.
          अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्रः करुण एव च ।
          निर्ममो निरहंकारः समदुःखसुखः क्षमी ॥ ( Gita, XII.13.)
      —"He who has no enemy, and is friendly and compassionate towards all, who is free from the feelings of 'me and mine', even-minded in pain and pleasure, and forbearing"—these and other epithets of like nature are for him whose one goal in life is Moksha.
          क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते ।
          क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप ॥ (Gita, II. 3.)
      —"Yield not to unmanliness, O son of Prithâ! Ill cloth it befit thee. Cast off this mean faint-heartedness and arise. O scorcher of thine enemies."
          तस्मात्त्वमुत्तिष्ठ यशो लभस्व जित्वा शत्रून् भुङ्क्ष्व राज्यं समृद्धम् ।
          मयैवैते निहताः पूर्वमेव निमित्तमात्रं भव सव्यसाचिन् ॥ (Gita, XI. 33.)
      —"Therefore do thou arise and acquire fame. After conquering thy enemies, enjoy unrivalled dominion; verily, by Myself have they been already slain; be thou merely the instrument, O Savyasâchin (Arjuna)."
      In these and similar passages in the Gita the Lord is showing the way to Dharma. Of course, work is always mixed with good and evil, and to work, one has to incur sin, more or less. But what of that? Let it be so. Is not something better than nothing? Is not insufficient food better than going without any? Is not doing work, though mixed with good and evil, better than doing nothing and passing an idle and inactive life, and being like stones? The cow never tells a lie, and the stone never steals, but, nevertheless, the cow remains a cow and the stone a stone. Man steals and man tells lies, and again it is man that becomes a god. With the prevalence of the Sâttvika essence, man becomes inactive and rests always in a state of deep Dhyâna or contemplation; with the prevalence of the Rajas, he does bad as well as good works; and with the prevalence of the Tamas again, he becomes inactive and inert. Now, tell me, looking from outside, how are we to understand, whether you are in a state wherein the Sattva or the Tamas prevails? Whether we are in the state of Sattvika calmness, beyond all pleasure and pain, and past all work and activity, or whether we are in the lowest Tâmasika state, lifeless, passive, dull as dead matter, and doing no work, because there is no power in us to do it, and are, thus, silently and by degrees, getting rotten and corrupted within—I seriously ask you this question and demand an answer. Ask your own mind, and you shall know what the reality is. But, what need to wait for the answer? The tree is known by its fruit. The Sattva prevailing, the man is inactive, he is calm, to be sure; but that inactivity is the outcome of the centralization of great powers, that calmness is the mother of tremendous energy. That highly Sattivka man, that great soul, has no longer to work as we do with hands and feet—by his mere willing only, all his works are immediately accomplished to perfection. That man of predominating Sattva is the Brahmin, the worshipped of all. Has he to go about from door to door, begging others to worship him? The Almighty Mother of the universe writes with Her own hand, in golden letters on his forehead, "Worship ye all, this great one, this son of Mine", and the world reads and listens to it and humbly bows down its head before him in obedience. That man is really—
          अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्रः करुण एव च ।
          निर्ममो निरहंकारः समदुःखसुखः क्षमी ॥ ( Gita, XII.13.)
      —"He who has no enemy, and is friendly and compassionate towards all, who is free from the feelings of 'me and mine', even-minded in pain and pleasure, and forbearing." And mark you, those things which you see in pusillanimous, effeminate folk who speak in a nasal tone chewing every syllable, whose voice is as thin as of one who has been starving for a week, who are like a tattered wet rag, who never protest or are moved even if kicked by anybody—those are the signs of the lowest Tamas, those are the signs of death, not of Sattva—all corruption and stench. It is because Arjuna was going to fall into the ranks of these men that the Lord is explaining matters to him so elaborately in the Gita. Is that not the fact? Listen to the very first words that came out of the mouth of the Lord, "क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते—Yield not to unmanliness, O Pârtha! Ill, doth it befit thee!" and then later, "तस्मात्त्वमुत्तिष्ठ यशो लभस्व—Therefore do thou arise and acquire fame." Coming under the influence of the Jains, Buddhas, and others, we have joined the lines of those Tamasika people. During these last thousand years, the whole country is filling the air with the name of the Lord and is sending its prayers to Him; and the Lord is never lending His ears to them. And why should He? When even man never hears the cries of the fool, do you think God will? Now the only way out is to listen to the words of the Lord in the Gita, "क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ—Yield not to unmanliness, O Partha!" "तस्मात्त्वमुत्तिष्ठ यशो लभस्व—Therefore do thou arise and acquire fame."
      "Inscrutable is the course of work."
      From Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume VII[Source]
      In this human life, one cannot help doing some kind of work always. When man has perforce to do some work, Karma - yoga enjoins on him to do it in such a way as will bring freedom through the realisation of the Atman. As to your objection that none will be induced to work -- the answer is, that whatever work you do has some motive behind it; but when by the long performance of work, one notices that one work merely leads to another, through a round of births and rebirths, then the awakened discrimination of man naturally begins to question itself, "Where is the end to this interminable chain of work?" It is then that he appreciates the full import of the words of the Lord in the Gita: "Inscrutable is the course of work."Therefore when the aspirant finds that work with motive brings no happiness, then he renounces action. But man is so constituted that to him the performance of work is a necessity, so what work should he take up? He takes up some unselfish work, but gives up all desire for its fruits. For he has known then that in those fruits of work lie countless seeds of future births and deaths. Therefore the knower of Brahman renounces all actions. Although to outward appearances he engages himself in some work, he has no attachment to it. Such men have been described in the scriptures as Karma - yogins.

      Other direct quotes and mentions of Bhagavad Gita slokas

      •  "They indeed have conquered Heaven even in this life whose mind has become fixed in sameness. God is pure and same to all, therefore they are said to be in God" (Gita, V.19). Desire, ignorance, and inequality — this is the trinity of bondage.[Source]
      • When I became a Sannyasin, I consciously took the step, knowing that this body would have to die of starvation. What of that, I am a beggar. My friends are poor, I love the poor, I welcome poverty. I am glad that I sometimes have to starve. I ask help of none. What is the use? Truth will preach itself, it will not die for the want of the helping hands of me! "Making happiness and misery the same, making success and failure the same, fight thou on" (Gita). It is that eternal love, unruffled equanimity under all circumstances, and perfect freedom from jealousy or animosity that will tell. That will tell, nothing else.[Source]

      This page was last updated on: 5 December 2013, 4:47 am IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
      Number of revisions in this page: 7

      Swami Vivekananda Quotes On Hinduism And Hindus

      In this page we'll make a collection of Swami Vivekananda's quotes, comment and opinions on Hinduism and Hindus

      No religion on earth...

      No religion on earth preaches the dignity
      of humanity in such a lofty strain as Hinduism.
      —Swami Vivekananda
      Image source: Wikimedia Commons
      During his journey to the West, Swami Vivekananda wrote a letter to Alasinga Perumal , dated 20 August 1893 (this is the seconds known letter written to Alasinga). In that letter, Vivekananda wrote—[Source]
      No religion on earth preaches the dignity of humanity in such a lofty strain as Hinduism, and no religion on earth treads upon the necks of the poor and the low in such a fashion as Hinduism. The Lord has shown me that religion is not in fault, but it is the Pharisees and Sadducees in Hinduism, hypocrites, who invent all sorts of engines of tyranny in the shape of doctrines of Pâramârthika and Vyâvahârika.

      From notes taken down in Madras

      In 1892–1893, Swami Vivekananda conducted a series of private classes in Madras.Parts of those lectures were published as Notes Taken Down In Madras, 1892-93 in the Complete Work Volume VI. The following quotes/comments are taken from those notes—
      Religion ceases to progress when unity is reached,
      which is the case with Hinduism.
      —Swami Vivekananda
      Image source: Wikimedia Commons
      • The three essentials of Hinduism are belief in God, in the Vedas as revelation, in the doctrine of Karma and transmigration.
      • One point of difference between Hinduism and other religions is that in Hinduism we pass from truth to truth—from a lower truth to a higher truth—and never from error to truth.
      • Hinduism threw away Buddhism after taking its sap. The attempt of all the Southern Acharyas was to effect a reconciliation between the two. Shankaracharya's teaching shows the influence of Buddhism. His disciples perverted his teaching and carried it to such an extreme point that some of the later reformers were right in calling the Acharya's followers "crypto-buddhists".
      • There have been two lines of progress in this world—political and religious. In the former the Greeks are everything, the modern political institutions being only the development of the Grecian; in the latter the Hindus are everything.
      • Chemistry ceases to improve when one element is found from which all others are deductible. Physics ceases to progress when one force is found of which all others are manifestations. So religion ceases to progress when unity is reached, which is the case with Hinduism.
      • In everything, there are two kinds of development—analytical and synthetical. In the former the Hindus excel other nations. In the latter they are nil.
      • The Hindus have cultivated the power of analysis and abstraction. No nation has yet produced a grammar like that of Panini.
      • That the Hindus, absorbed in the ideal, lacked in realistic observation is evident from this. Take painting and sculpture. What do you see in the Hindu paintings? All sorts of grotesque and unnatural figures. What do you see in a Hindu temple? A Chaturbhanga Narayana or some such thing. But take into consideration any Italian picture or Grecian statue—what a study of nature you find in them! A gentleman for twenty years sat burning a candle in his hand, in order to paint a lady carrying a candle in her hand.
      • The Hindus progressed in the subjective sciences.
      • There is this difference between the love taught by Christianity and that taught by Hinduism: Christianity teaches us to love our neighbours as we should wish them to love us; Hinduism asks us to love them as ourselves, in fact to see ourselves in them.
      • All sectarian religions take for granted that all men are equal. This is not warranted by science. There is more difference between minds than between bodies. One fundamental doctrine of Hinduism is that all men are different, there being unity in variety. Even for a drunkard, there are some Mantras—even for a man going to a prostitute!
      • Too early religious advancement of the Hindus and that superfineness in everything which made them cling to higher alternatives, have reduced them to what they are. The Hindus have to learn a little bit of materialism from the West and teach them a little bit of spirituality.
      • Hindus believe Buddha to be an Avatara.
      • Hindus believe in God positively. Buddhism does not try to know whether He is or not.
      • Present-day Hinduism and Buddhism were growths from the same branch. Buddhism degenerated, and Shankara lopped it off!
      • Modern Hinduism, modern Jainism, and Buddhism branched off at the same time. For some period, each seemed to have wanted to outdo the others in grotesqueness and humbuggism.
      • The fault with all religions like Christianity is that they have one set of rules for all. But Hindu religion is suited to all grades of religious aspiration and progress. It contains all the ideals in their perfect form. For example, the ideal of Shanta or blessedness is to be found in Vasishtha; that of love in Krishna; that of duty in Rama and Sita; and that of intellect in Shukadeva. Study the characters of these and of other ideal men. Adopt one which suits you best. 
      • Individuality in universality is the plan of creation. Each cell has its part in bringing about consciousness. Man is individual and at the same time universal. It is while realising our individual nature that we realise even our national and universal nature. Each is an infinite circle whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere. By practice one can feel universal Selfhood which is the essence of Hinduism. He who sees in every being his own Self is a Pandita (sage).

      The Hindu Mind

      In a letter written to Pandit Shankarlal of Khetri on 20 September 1892, Vivekananda wrote—[Source]
      The Hindu mind was ever deductive and never synthetic or inductive. In all our philosophies, we always find hair-splitting arguments, taking for granted some general proposition, but the proposition itself may be as childish as possible. Nobody ever asked or searched the truth of these general propositions. Therefore independent thought we have almost none to speak of, and hence the dearth of those sciences which are the results of observation and generalization. And why was it thus? — From two causes: The tremendous heat of the climate forcing us to love rest and contemplation better than activity, and the Brâhmins as priests never undertaking journeys or voyages to distant lands. There were voyagers and people who travelled far; but they were almost always traders, i.e. people from whom priestcraft and their own sole love for gain had taken away all capacity for intellectual development. So their observations, instead of adding to the store of human knowledge, rather degenerated it; for their observations were bad and their accounts exaggerated and tortured into fantastical shapes, until they passed all recognition.
      In the same letter he suggested—[Source]
      So you see, we must travel, we must go to foreign parts. We must see how the engine of society works in other countries, and keep free and open communication with what is going on in the minds of other nations, if we really want to be a nation again. And over and above all, we must cease to tyrannise. To what a ludicrous state are we brought! If a Bhângi comes to anybody as a Bhangi, he would be shunned as the plague; but no sooner does he get a cupful of water poured upon his head with some mutterings of prayers by a Pâdri, and get a coat on his back, no matter how threadbare, and come into the room of the most orthodox Hindu — I don't see the man who then dare refuse him a chair and a hearty shake of the hands! Irony can go no further. And come and see what they, the Pâdris, are doing here in the Dakshin (south). They are converting the lower classes by lakhs; and in Travancore, the most priestridden country in India — where every bit of land is owned by the Brahmins . . . nearly one-fourth has become Christian! And I cannot blame them; what part have they in David and what in Jesse? When, when, O Lords shall man be brother to man?

      Paper on Hinduism

      19 September 1893
      [Read this speech at the Complete Works]
      [Read more quotations from the Parliament of the World's Religions lecture]
      Swami Vivekananda's third lecture (as published in the Complete Works) was Paper on Hinduism, delivered at the Parliament on 19 September (1893) . Here are few quotes from that address—
      The Hindus have received their religion through revelation, the Vedas.
      They hold that the Vedas are without beginning and without end.
      —Swami Vivekananda
      Image source: Wikimedia Commons
      • The Hindus have received their religion through revelation, the Vedas. They hold that the Vedas are without beginning and without end. It may sound ludicrous to this audience, how a book can be without beginning or end. But 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. The moral, ethical, and spiritual relations between soul and soul and between individual spirits and the Father of all spirits, were there before their discovery, and would remain even if we forgot them.
      • Here I stand and if I shut my eyes, and try to conceive my existence, "I", "I", "I", what is the idea before me? The idea of a body. Am I, then, nothing but a combination of material substances? The Vedas declare, “No”. I am a spirit living in a body. I am not the body. The body will die, but I shall not die. Here am I in this body; it will fall, but I shall go on living. I had also a past. The soul was not created, for creation means a combination which means a certain future dissolution. If then the soul was created, it must die. Some are born happy, enjoy perfect health, with beautiful body, mental vigour and all wants supplied. Others are born miserable, some are without hands or feet, others again are idiots and only drag on a wretched existence. Why, if they are all created, why does a just and merciful God create one happy and another unhappy, why is He so partial? Nor would it mend matters in the least to hold that those who are miserable in this life will be happy in a future one. Why should a man be miserable even here in the reign of a just and merciful God?
      • Hindu believes that he is a spirit. Him the sword cannot pierce — him the fire cannot burn — him the water cannot melt — him the air cannot dry. The Hindu believes that every soul is a circle whose circumference is nowhere, but whose centre is located in the body, and that death means the change of this centre from body to body. Nor is the soul bound by the conditions of matter. In its very essence it is free, unbounded, holy, pure, and perfect. But somehow or other it finds itself tied down to matter, and thinks of itself as matter.
      • The Vedas proclaim not a dreadful combination of unforgiving laws, not an endless prison of cause and effect, but that at the head of all these laws, in and through every particle of matter and force, stands One "by whose command the wind blows, the fire burns, the clouds rain, and death stalks upon the earth."
      • It is good to love God for hope of reward in this or the next world, but it is better to love God for love's sake, and the prayer goes: "Lord, I do not want wealth, nor children, nor learning. If it be Thy will, I shall go from birth to birth, but grant me this, that I may love Thee without the hope of reward — love unselfishly for love's sake." One of the disciples of Krishna, the then Emperor of India, was driven from his kingdom by his enemies and had to take shelter with his queen in a forest in the Himalayas, and there one day the queen asked him how it was that he, the most virtuous of men, should suffer so much misery. Yudhishthira answered, "Behold, my queen, the Himalayas, how grand and beautiful they are; I love them. They do not give me anything, but my nature is to love the grand, the beautiful, therefore I love them. Similarly, I love the Lord. He is the source of all beauty, of all sublimity. He is the only object to be loved; my nature is to love Him, and therefore I love. I do not pray for anything; I do not ask for anything. Let Him place me wherever He likes. I must love Him for love's sake. I cannot trade in love."
      • One thing I must tell you. Idolatry in India does not mean anything horrible. It is not the mother of harlots. On the other hand, it is the attempt of undeveloped minds to grasp high spiritual truths. The Hindus have their faults, they sometimes have their exceptions; but mark this, they are always for punishing their own bodies, and never for cutting the throats of their neighbours. If the Hindu fanatic burns himself on the pyre, he never lights the fire of Inquisition. And even this cannot be laid at the door of his religion any more than the burning of witches can be laid at the door of Christianity.

      The Hindu must not give up his religion...

      In a letter written to Alasinga Perumal, dated 2 November 1893 (this is his first known letter to anyone after his historic speeches at the Parliament of the World's Religions), Vivekananda wrote—[Source]
      The Hindu must not give up his religion, but must keep religion within its proper limits end give freedom to society to grow. All the reformers in India made the serious mistake of holding religion accountable for all the horrors of priestcraft and degeneration and went forth with to pull down the indestructible structure, and what was the result? Failure! Beginning from Buddha down to Ram Mohan Roy, everyone made the mistake of holding caste to be a religious institution and tried to pull down religion and caste all together, and failed. But in spite of all the ravings of the priests, caste is simply a crystallised social institution, which after doing its service is now filling the atmosphere of India with its stench, and it can only be removed by giving back to the people their lost social individuality. Every man born here knows that he is a man. Every man born in India knows that he is a slave of society. Now, freedom is the only condition of growth; take that off, the result is degeneration. With the introduction of modern competition, see how caste is disappearing fast! No religion is now necessary to kill it. The Brâhmana shopkeeper, shoemaker, and wine-distiller are common in Northern India. And why? Because of competition. No man is prohibited from doing anything he pleases for his livelihood under the present Government, and the result is neck and neck competition, and thus thousands are seeking and finding the highest level they were born for, instead of vegetating at the bottom.

      Mark me, then and then alone you are a Hindu...

      Mark me,
      then and then alone you are a Hindu
      when the very name sends through you
      a galvanic shock of strength.
      —Swami Vivekananda
      Image source: Wikimedia Commons
      Collected from Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Lectures from Colombo to Almora, The Common base of Hinduism. This is also the first message of part I of Eknath Ranade's book Rousing Call to Hindu Nation[Source]
      Mark me, then and then alone you are a Hindu when the very name sends through you a galvanic shock of strength. Then and then alone you are a Hindu when every man who bears the name, from any country, speaking our language or any other language, becomes at once the nearest and the dearest to you. Then and then alone you are a Hindu when the distress of anyone bearing that name comes to your heart and makes you feel as if your own son were in distress. Then and then alone you are a Hindu when you will be ready to bear everything for them, like the great example I have quoted at the beginning of this lecture, of your great Guru Govind Singh. Driven out from this country, fighting against its oppressors, after having shed his own blood for the defence of the Hindu religion, after having seen his children killed on the battlefield — ay, this example of the great Guru, left even by those for whose sake he was shedding his blood and the blood of his own nearest and dearest — he, the wounded lion, retired from the field calmly to die in the South, but not a word of curse escaped his lips against those who had ungratefully forsaken him! Mark me, every one of you will have to be a Govind Singh, if you want to do good to your country. You may see thousands of defects in your countrymen, but mark their Hindu blood. They are the first Gods you will have to worship even if they do everything to hurt you, even if everyone of them send out a curse to you, you send out to them words of love. If they drive you out, retire to die in silence like that mighty lion, Govind Singh. Such a man is worthy of the name of Hindu; such an ideal ought to be before us always. All our hatchets let us bury; send out this grand current of love all round.

      More Swami Vivekananda Quotes on Hinduism and Hindus

      • I believe that the Hindu faith has developed the spiritual in its devotees at the expense of the material, and I think that in the Western world the contrary is true. By uniting the materialism of the West with the spiritualism of the East I believe much can be accomplished. It may be that in the attempt the Hindu faith will lose much of its individuality.[Source]
      • The older I grow, the more I see behind the idea of the Hindus that man is the greatest of all beings.[Source]
      • The present Hindu society is organised only for spiritual men, and hopelessly crushes out everybody else. Why? Where shall they go who want to enjoy the world a little with its frivolities? Just as our religion takes in all, so should our society. This is to be worked out by first understanding the true principles of our religion and then applying them to society. This is the slow but sure work to be done.[Source]

      This page was last updated on: 29 November 2013, 5:27 pm
      Number of revisions in this page: 4