18 April 2014

Swami Vivekananda's Quotes On Elephants

In this website we have been making a set of articles on Swami Vivekananda's quotations on animals and here we'll make a collection of Swami Vivekananda's elephant-related quotations.

Swami Vivekananda's elephant-related quotes

Swami Vivekananda told—
  • The elephant has two teeth coming out from his mouth.
    These are only for show; he cannot eat with them.
    But the teeth that are inside are those
    with which he chews his food.
    So mix with all, say yea, yea to all, but join none.
    Stick to your own ideal
    — Swami Vivekananda 
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
    A book form, or an elephant form, or a man form, is not outside; all that we know is our mental reaction from the outer suggestion.[Source]
  • Haven't you heard of the couplet of Tulsidas: "The elephant walks the market - place and a thousand curs bark at him; so the Sadhus have no ill - feeling if worldly people slander them." You have to walk in this way.[Source]
  • I am never RĂ¢ma [never one with Ishvara, the personal aspect of God], but I am [one with Brahman, the impersonal, all-pervading existence]. Here is a huge mass of clay. Out of that clay I made a little [mouse] and you made a little [elephant]. Both are clay. Melt both down They are essentially one. "I and my Father are one." [But the clay mouse can never be one with the clay elephant.][Source]
  • It is the strong that understand strength, it is the elephant that understands the lion, not the rat.[Source]
  • Out of a mass of clay a huge elephant of clay is manufactured, and out of the same clay, a little clay mouse is made. Would the clay mouse ever be able to become the clay elephant? But put them both in water and they are both clay; as clay they are both one, but as mouse and elephant there will be an eternal difference between them. The Infinite, the Impersonal, is like the clay in the example.[Source]
  • Out of clay, manufacture a clay elephant, out of the same clay, manufacture a clay mouse. Soak them in water, they become one. As clay, they are eternally one; as fashioned things, they are eternally different. The Absolute is the material of both God and man. As Absolute, Omnipresent Being, we are all one; and as personal beings, God is the eternal master, and we are the eternal servants.[Source]
  • The elephant has two teeth coming out from his mouth. These are only for show; he cannot eat with them. But the teeth that are inside are those with which he chews his food. So mix with all, say yea, yea to all, but join none. Stick to your own ideal of worship. When you worship, worship that ideal of God which is your own Ishta, your own Chosen Ideal. If you do not, you will have nothing. Nothing will grow.[Source]
  • "The elephant passes in the market - place, and a thousand curs begin barking after him; so the Sadhus have no ill - feeling when worldly people slander then." (here Swamiji quoted a couplet of Tulsidas)[Source]
  • "The tusks of the elephant come out, but never go back"; so are the words of a man never retracted.[Source]
  • Throw self overboard and work. Remember, "The grass when made into a rope by being joined together can even chain a mad elephant."[Source]
  • To use a simile: Brahman is as the clay or substance out of which an infinite variety of articles are fashioned. As clay, they are all one; but form or manifestation differentiates them. Before every one of them was made, they all existed potentially in the clay, and, of course, they are identical substantially; but when formed, and so long as the form remains, they are separate and different; the clay-mouse can never become a clay-elephant, because, as manifestations, form alone makes them what they are, though as unformed clay they are all one. Ishvara is the highest manifestation of the Absolute Reality, or in other words, the highest possible reading of the Absolute by the human mind. Creation is eternal, and so also is Ishvara.[Source]
  • When a Yogi has attained to this Samyama and wants strength, he makes a Samyama on the strength of the elephant and gets it. Infinite energy is at the disposal of everyone if he only knows how to get it. The Yogi has discovered the science of getting it. (from Swamiji's explanation to Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms)[Source]
  • When they attack, know that, "The elephant passing through the market-place is always beset by curs, but he cares not. He goes straight on his own way. So it is always, when a great soul appears there will be numbers to bark after him."[Source]

Five blind men and an elephant
This is a story, from a lecture delivered by Swamiji in Minneapolis on 26 November 1893: Reported in the Minneapolis Journal[Source]
I will tell you a story of five blind men. There was a procession in a village in India, and all the people turned out to see the procession, and specially the gaily caparisoned elephant. The people were delighted, and as the five blind men could not see, they determined to touch the elephant that they might acquaint themselves with its form. They were given the privilege, and after the pro - cession had passed, they returned home together with the people, and they began to talk about the elephant. 'It was just like a wall,' said one. 'No it wasn't,' said another, 'it was like a piece of rope.' 'You are mistaken,' said a third, 'I felt him and it was just a serpent.' The discussion grew excited, and the fourth declared the elephant was like a pillow. The argument soon broke into more angry expressions, and the five blind men took to fighting. Along came a man with two eyes, and he said, 'My friends, what is the matter?' The disputation was explained, whereupon the new - comer said, 'Men, you are all right: the trouble is you touched the elephant at different points. The wall was the side, the rope was the tail, the serpent was the trunk, and the toes were the pillow. Stop your quarrelling; you are all right, only you have been viewing the elephant from different standpoints.

 Vivekananda told the same (similar) story in another lecture in Memphis on 17 January 1894—
Six blind men lived in a village. They could not see the elephant, but they went out and felt of him. One put his hand on the elephant's tail, one of them on his side, one on his tongue[trunk], one on his ear. They began to describe the elephant. One said he was like a rope; one said he was like a great wall; one said he was like a boa constrictor, and another said he was like a fan. They finally came to blows and went to pummelling each other. A man who could see came along and inquired the trouble, and the blind men said they had seen the elephant and disagreed because one accused the other of lying. 'Well,' said the man, 'you have all lied; you are blind, and neither of you have seen it.' That is what is the matter with our religion. We let the blind see the elephant.[Source]

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