• Thoughts of Vivekananda

    His Words and Ideas Unchain Ignorance

  • About

    He looked into things worldly as well as spiritual from an empirical standpoint, which exposed their deeper and essential meanings before his eyes and intellect. His extensive travels throughout India and later to America, Europe and the Middle East, and his unbound love for humankind always added an illimitable dimension to whatever he saw and thought.

    Since his initial days in the West he constantly met people who had no idea about India, both as a country and Her ancient spiritual legacy. The Swami had to devise a completely new style and approach in making the essence of Indian religion and philosophies understandable to those foreign people. Today history knows the extent of his success in this regard. This has made his words so lively, inspiring, and full of irresistible power to change the course of our thinking. His words here have the power to answer many deeper questions of life which normally remain unanswered to many.

  • EVOLUTION

    • There is not one single instance of any civilisation being spontaneous. There was not a race in the world which became civilised unless another civilised race came and mingled with that race. The origin of civilisation must have belonged, so to say, to one or two races who went abroad, spread their ideas, and intermingled with other races and thus civilisation spread.
    • The macrocosm and the microcosm are, as it were, in the same groove, passing through the same stages, vibrating in the same key.
    • Asia laid the germs of civilisation, Europe developed man, and America is developing the woman and the masses.
    • All the superior religions had their growth between the Ganga and the Euphrates. Outside of India we will find no further development of religion beyond this idea of God in heaven.
    • Of all the forces that have worked and are still working to mould the destinies of the human race, none, certainly, is more potent than that, the manifestation of which we call religion. All social organisations have as a background, somewhere, the workings of that peculiar force, and the greatest cohesive impulse ever brought into play amongst human units has been derived from this power.
    • Two theories have gained some acceptance amongst modern scholars. One is the spirit theory of religion, the other the evolution of the idea of the Infinite. One party maintains that ancestor worship is the beginning of religious ideas; the other, that religion originates in the personification of the power of nature....These two views, though they seem to be contradictory, can be reconciled on a third basis, which, to my mind, is the real germ of religion, and that I propose to call the struggle to transcend the limitations of the senses. Either, man goes to seek for the spirits of his ancestors, the spirits of the dead, that is, he wants to get a glimpse of what there is after the body is dissolved, or, he desires to understand the power working behind the stupendous phenomena of nature. Whichever of these is the case, one thing is certain, that he tries to transcend the limitations of the senses. 
    • This universe of ours, the universe of the senses, the rational, the intellectual, is bounded on both sides by the illimitable, the unknowable, the ever unknown. Herein is the search, herein are the inquiries, here are the facts; from this comes this light which is known to the world as religion.
    • It is good to be born in a temple, but woe unto the person who dies in a temple or church. Out of it! . . . It was a good begining, but leave it.
    • If there is power in hate there is infinitely more power in love.
     

    REMEMBER ...

    • All morality is based upon the destruction of separateness or false individuality, because that is the cause of all sin. Morality exists first; religion codifies it. Custom comes first, and then mythology follows to explain them.
    • Throughout all religious systems and ideals is the same morality; one thing only is preached : "Be unselfish, love others."
    • All the religions of the world have a backbone of unity. This is the principle of philosophy and toleration.
    • Our best work is done, our greatest influence is exerted, when we are without thought of self.
    • The highest evolution of man is effected through sacrifice alone. A man is great among his fellows in proportion as he can sacrifice for the sake of othes, while in the lower strata of the animal kingdom, that animal is the strongest which can kill the greatest number of animals.
    • In one span of life all the great prophets and saints lived the whole life of humanity, traversed the whole length of time that it takes ordinary humanity to come to perfection.
    • Compare the great teachers of religion with the great philosophers. The philosophers scarecely influenced anybody's inner man, and yet they wrote most marvellous books. The religious teachers, on the other hand, moved countries in their lifetime. The difference was made by personality.
    • It is the circling forward which usually govern our action. Religion begins with circling inward.
    • Science and religion will meet and shake hands. Poetry and philosophy will become friends. This will be the religion of the future, and if we can work it out, we may be sure that it will be for all times and peoples. This is the one way that will prove acceptable to modern science, for it has almost come to it. When the scientific teacher asserts that all things are the manifestation of one force, does it not remind you of the God of whom you hear in the Upanishads.
    • We find that ninety per cent of the population of the earth who believe in any religion are dualists. All the religion in Europe and Western Asia are dualistic; they have to be. The ordinary man cannot think of anything which is not concrete. He naturally likes to cling to that which his intellect can grasp.
    • He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religion said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is the atheist who does not believe in himself.
    • Nothing makes us so cruel as religion, and nothing makes us so tender as religion. This has been so in the past, and will also, in all probability, be so in the future.
  • SOCIETY

    • The whole social fabric is based upon the idea of restraint.
    • Can we do good to the world? In an absolute sense, no; in a relative sense, yes.
    • Intellect has been cultured with the result that hundreds of sciences have been discovered, and there effect has been that the few have made slaves of the many.
    • The devil knows as much as God, is as powerful as God; only he has no holiness - that makes him a devil. Apply the same idea to the modern world : excess knowledge and power, without holiness, makes human beings devils.
    • The priests are the servants of the congregation who pay them. God does not pay them. So blame yourselves before blaming the priests.
    • We are always standing up to set right other people, and not ourselves.
    • For the world can be good and pure, only if our lives are good and pure. It is an effect, and we are the means. Therefore, let us purify ourselves. Let us make ourselves perfect.
    • Compare the great teachers of religion with the great philosophers. The philosophers scarcely influenced anybody's inner man, and yet they wrote most marvellous books. The religious teachers, on the other hand, moved countries in their lifetime. The difference was made by personality.
    • The origin of civilisation must have belonged, so to say, to one or two races who went abroad, spread their ideas, and intermingled with other races and thus civilisation spread.
    • In every society there is a section whose pleasures are not in the senses, but beyond, and who now and then catch glimpses of something higher than matter and struggle to reach it. 
    • That society is the greatest, where the highest truths become practical.
    • Social institutions are not made in a day, and to change them means removing the cause.
    • Now we are not much more moral than the animals. We are only held down by the whips of society. If society said today, "I will not punish you if you steal", we should just make a rush for each other's property. It is the policeman that makes us moral. It is social opinion that makes us moral, and really we are little better than animals. We understand how much this is so in the secret of our own hearts.
    • I do not see that what you call progress in the world is other than multiplication of desires.
    • The sum total of the energies of pleasure and pain displayed here on earth will be the same throughout.
    • We never build anew, we simply change places; we cannot have anything new, we only change the position of things.
    • The voice of Asia is the voice of religion. The voice of Europe is the voice of politics. Each is great in its own sphere. The voice of Europe is the voice of ancient Greece.
    • In Asia, even today, birth or colour or language never makes a race. That which makes a race is its religion.

    REFORMS

    • Separation between the Buddhists and the Brahmins is the cause of the downfal of India.
    • We may convert every house in the country into a charity asylum, we may fill the land with hospitals, but the misery of man will still continue to exist until man's character changes.
    • Violent attempts at reform always end by retarding reform.
    • I have a little will of my own. I have my little experience too; and I have a message for the world which I will deliver without fear and without care for the future. To the reformers I will point out that I am a greater reformer than any one of them. They want to reform only little bits. I want to root-and-branch reform. Where we differ is in the method. Theirs is the method of destruction, mine is that of construction. I do not believe in reform; I believe in growth.
    • The history of the world teaches us that wherever there have been fanatical reforms, the only result has been that they have defeated there own ends.  .  . Such is the testimony of history against every fanatical movement, even for doing good.
    • Even for social reform, the first duty is to educate the people, and you will have to wait till the time comes. Most of the reforms that have been agitated for during the past century have been ornamental. Every one of this reforms only touches the first two castes, and no other. You must go down to the basis of things, to the very root of the matter. That is what I call radical reform. Put the fire there and let it burn upwards and make an Indian nation.
    • The tyranny of the minority is the worst tyranny in the world. Therefore, instead of frittering away our energies on ideal reforms, which will never become practical, we had better go to the root of the evil and make a legislative body, that is to say, educate our people, so that they may be able to solve their own problems. Until that is done all this ideal reforms will remain ideal only.
    • If we are to live at all, we must be a scientific nation. Intellectual power is the force. You must learn the power of organisation of the Europeans. You must become educated and must educate your women. You must abolish child marriage.
    • Educate your women first and leave them to themselves; then they will tell you what reforms are necessary for them.
    • All the mischief to women has come because men undertook to shape the destiny of women.
  • REMEMBER ...

    • Thirst for happiness being eternal, desires are without beginning.
    • What is mind but that ceaseless inquiry into the meaning and mystry of life.
    • The concept of God is a fundamental element in the human constitution.
    • Even behind our evil action the impulse behind is always freedom, may be misguided and misled; because there cannot be any life or any impulse unless that freedom is behind it.
    • The infinite human soul can never be satisfied but by the infinite itself. . . . Infinite desire can only be satisfied by infinite knowledge - nothing sort of that.
    • Desire will not come unless there is something outside to fulfill it.
    • The mind operates by perception and impulsion.
    • We can have no Idea of a thing unless it is finite.
    • There cannot  be any will without an external object.
    • Action presupposes an external universe.
    • It is the science of psychology that teaches us to hold in check the wild gyrations of the mind, place it under the control of the will, and thus free ourselves from the tyrannous mandates. Psychology is therefore the science of sciences, without which all sciences and all other knowledge are worthless.
    • The impulsion from the plane of unconsciousness are what we call instinct, and when the same impulsion come from the plane of consciousness, we call it reason.
    • Unthinking multitude are always following things which present to them a pleasing surface.
    • No man can imagine his own annihilation. The idea of immortality is inherent in man.
    • Free will is a misnomer. Will can never be free. How can it be? It is only when the real man has become  bound that his will comes into existence, and not before.
    • So long as there is desire or want, it is a sure sign that there is imperfection. A perfect, free being cannot have any desire. God cannot want anything. If He desires, He cannot be God. He will be imperfect.
    • In every country and every human breast there is a natural desire to find a stable equilibrium - something that does not change.
     

    MINDSCAPE

    • Consciousness is only the surface of the mental ocean, and within its depths are stored up all our experiences.
    • Character of any man is the aggregate of tendencies, sum total of  his bent of mind: misery and happiness are equal factor in the formation of that character.
    • Law is the Method, the manner in which our mind grasps a phenomena; it's all in the mind.
    • The binding link of "I and mine" is in the mind.
    • The universe itself can never be the limit of our satisfaction.
    • As we increase our power to be happy, we also increase our power to suffer.
    • The cause of all miseries from which we suffer is desire.
    • Everything that we see, or imagine, or dream, we have to perceive in space. This is the ordinary space, called the Mahakasha, or elemental space. When a Yogi reads the thoughts of other men, or perceives supersensuous objects, he sees them in another sort of space called the Chittakasha, the mental space. When perception has become objectless, and the soul shines in its own nature, it is called the Chidakasha, or knowledge space.
  • REMEMBER ...

    • One idea that I see clear as daylight is that misery is caused by ignorance and nothing else. Who will give the world light? Sacrifice in the past has been the Law, it will be, alas, for ages to come. The earth's bravest and best will have to sacrifice themselves for the good of many, for the welfare of all. Buddhas by the hundred are necessary with eternal love and pity.
    • My whole ambition in life is to set in motion a machinery which will bring noble ideas to the door of everybody, and then let men and women settle their own fate.
    • Do not try to lead your brethren, but serve them. The brutal mania for leading has sunk many a great ship in the waters of life.
    • I find experience is a far more glorious teacher than any amount of spculation, or any amount of books written by globe-trotters and hasty observers.
    • If there is one word that you find coming out like a bomb from the Upanishads, bursting like a bomb-shell upon masses of ignorance, it is the word fearlessness.
    • Bring light to the poor; and bring more light to the rich, for they require it more than the poor. Bring light to the ignorant, and more light to the educated, for the vanities of the education of our time are tremendous!
    • There is an old Sanskrit verse which says, "I saw the Teacher siting under a tree. He was a young man of sixteen, and the disciple was an old man of eighty. The preaching of the Teacher was silence, and the doubts of the disciple departed.
    • Because we have spent half our lives in the university we are filled with a collection of other people's thoughts.
    • First have something to give. He alone teaches who has something to give,for teaching is not talking, teaching is not parting doctrines, it is communicating.
    • The only true teacher is he who can immediately come down to the level of the student, and transfer his soul to the student's soul and see through the student's eyes and hear through the ears and understand through his mind. Such a teacher can really teach and none else.
    • Can we know God? Of course not. If God can be known, He will be God no longer. Knowledge is limitation.
    • What makes the difference between God and man, between the saint and the sinner? Only ignorance.
    • Knowledge cannot be the goal, because knowledge is a compound. It is a compound of power and freedom, and it is freedom alone that is desirable.
    • Each man is only a conduit for the infinite ocean of knowledge and power that lies behind mankind.
    • Knowledge means freedom from the errors which ignorance leads to.

    • What knowledge is outside? None. Knowledge was not in matter; it was in man all the time. Nobody ever created knowledge; man brings it from within.

    • Be free; hope for nothing from anyone. . . you were always vainly trying to get help from others which never came. All the help that has come was from within yourselves. You only had the fruits of what you yourselves worked for.

    • There are two worlds, the microcosom, and the macrocosm, the internal and the external. We get truth from both of these by experience. The truth gathered from internal experience is psychology, metaphysics and religion; from external experience, the physical science.

    • We know that two or more forces must come into collision in order to produce motion. It is the clash of thought, the differentiation of thought, that awakes thought.

    • This life is short, the vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.

    • In art, interest must be centered on the principal theme. Drama is the most difficult of all arts. In it two things are to be satisfied - first, the ears, and second, the eyes.

    • The remedy for weakness is not brooding over weakness, but thinking of strength. Teach men of the strength that is already within them.

    LEARNING CURVES

    • What makes the difference between God and man, between the saint and the sinner? Only ignorance.
    • Knowledge cannot be the goal, because knowledge is a compound. It is a compound of power and freedom, and it is freedom alone that is desirable.
    • Each man is only a conduit for the infinite ocean of knowledge and power that lies behind mankind.
    • Knowledge means freedom from the errors which ignorance leads to.
    • Life is a series of fights and disillusionments. . . . The secret of life is not enjoyment, but education through experience.
    • The day will come when men will study history from a different light and find that competition is neither the cause nor the effect, simply a thing on the way, not necessary to evolution at all.
    • If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act.
    • Each man is only a conduit for the infinite ocean of knowledge and power that lies behind mankind.
    • Knowledge itself is the highest reward of knowledge.
    • The externalist and the internalist are destined to meet at the same point, when both reach the extreme of their knowledge.
    • The end and aim of all science is to find the unity, the one out of which the manifold is being manufactured.
    • Behind all particular ideas stands a generalised, an abstract principle; grasp it and you have grasped everything.
    • Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced. 
    • Let us work for that knowledge which will bring the feeling of sameness towards all mankind.
    • Nature wants us to react, to return blow for blow, cheating for cheating, lie for lie, to hit back with all our might. Then it recquires a superdivine power not to hit back, to keep control, to be unattached.
    • Remember the words of Christ: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." These words are literally true, not figures or fiction.
    • It is grand and good to know the laws that govern the stars and planets; it is infinitely grander and better to know the laws that govern the passions, the feelings, the will, of mankind.
    • This standing between knowledge and ignorance, this mystic twilight, the mingling of truth and falsehood - and where they meet - no one knows. This is the fate of all philosophy,of all boasted science, of all boasted human knowledge. This is the universe.
    • It is thought which is the propelling force in us. Fill the mind with the highest thoughts, hear them day after day, think them month after month. never mind failures; they are quite natural, they are the beauty of life, these failures.
    • Through the senses we see the universe as matter, through the intellect as souls, and through the spirit as God.
    •  
    • One ounce of practice is worth twenty thousand tons of big talk.
    • Knowledge is only of the related, not of the Abolute. All sense knowledge is limitation, it is an endless chain of cause and effect.
    • The true philosopher strives to destroy nothing, but to help all.
  • SCIENCE PER SE

    • Creation means a combination which means a certain future dissolution.
    • The sum total of this universe is immovable, but everything pertaining to this universe consists of motion, everything is in a constant state of flux, everything changing and moving.
    • There must be at least two to make motion. If this whole  universe is taken as a unit, there is no motion; with regard to what should it move?
    • The sound must be the begining of creation. There must be germ sounds like germ plasms. There cannot be any ideas without words. Wherever there are sensations, ideas, emotions, there must be words.
    • What is force? - that which moves matter. And what is matter? - that which is moved by force.
    • Every evolution presupposes an involution.
    • You cannot have abstract time, or abstract space. Time depends on two events, just as space has to be related to outside objects.
    • Change is always subjective. All through nature you find that the conquest of nature comes by change in the subject. Apply this to religion and morality, and you will find that the conquest of evil comes by the subjective alone.
    • In every moment of our life what a great part is played by thought and feeling, compared with the material world outside! How vast is this internal world with its tremendous activity! The sense-phenomena are very small compared with it.
    • Each wave has its hollow, each hollow has its wave.
    • This coming out of the fine and becoming gross, simply changing the arrangements of its parts, as it were, is what in modern times called evolution. We have to go one step further, and what is that? That every evolution is preceded by an involution. The tree comes out of the seed, goes back to the seed; the bigging and the end are the same.
    • A form comes out of a combination of force and matter.
    • In the universe, whatever we see of motion, of struggles in minerals or plants or animals is an effort to come back to the centre and be at rest. There was an equilibrium and that has been destroyed; and all parts and atoms and molecules are struggling to find their lost equilibrium again.
    • Body is the name of a stream of matter continuously changing. Mind is the name of a stream of consciousness or thought continuously changing.
    • In the external world , the action of these opposite forces is expressing itself as attraction and repulsion, or as centripetal and centrifugal forces; and in the internal, as love and hatred, good and evil.
    • What makes motion possible in this universe? Lost balance. The unity of sameness can come only when this universe is destroyed, otherwise such a thing is impossible.
    • Motion is possible in comparison with something which is a little less in motion or entirely motionless.
    • 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.
    • That portion of the existence which is bereft of the qualities of thought and life and endowed with the qualitiy of externality is called matter., and the portion which is bereft of externality and endowed with the qualities of thought and life is called mind. 
    • The word matter is sometimes used in the restricted sense of something external which we sense, and again it means something which is the cause of all the phenomena both external and internal.
    • Everything in nature rises from some fine seed forms, becomes grosser and grosser, exists for a certain time, and again goes back to the original fine form. ... This is happening in the universe, and has been through time immemorial. This is the whole history of man, the whole history of nature, the whole history of life.
    • Law holds good only in that universe which we see, feel, hear, imagine, dream, and beyond that we cannot place any idea of law. That is our universe which we sense or imagine, and we sense what is within our direct perception, and we imagine what is in our mind.
    • The beginning and the end of time can be told as regards a certain planet; but as regards the universe, time has no meaning at all.
    • We find that from India have sprung all the analytical sciences and from Greece all the sciences of generalisations.
    • Mind is very fine matter; I is the instrument for manifesting Prana. Force requires matter for manifestation.
    • Matter gets its whole existence from the presense of mind behind it.
    • Life is a product, a compound, and as such must resolve itself into its elements.
    • Undifferentiated consciousness, when differentiated becomes the world.
    • Everything we know is a compound, and all sense knowledge comes through analysis.
    • No effect can outlast its cause and no cause is eternal, therefore all effects must come to an end.
    • The whole universe is a case of struggle to expand, or in other words to attain liberty. This infinite space is not sufficient for even one atom. The struggle for expansion must go on eternally until perfect librty is attained. It can not be said that this struggle to gain freedom is to avoid pain or to attain pleasure.

    MORE ...

    • This universe is only a part of infinite existence, thrown into a peculiar mould, composed of space, time, and causation. It necessarily follows that law is possible only within this conditioned universe; beyond it there cannot be any law. When we speak of the universe, we only mean that portion of existence which is limited by our mind - the universe of the senses, which we can see, feel, touch, hear, think of, imagine. This alone is under law; but beyond it existence cannot be subject to law, because causation does not extend beyond the world of our minds. Anything beyond the range of our mind and our senses is not bound by the law of causation, as there is no mental association of things in the region beyond the senses, and no causation without association of ideas.
    • The centrifugal and the centripetal forces of nature are indeed typical of our universe.
    • In the ocean we cannot raise a wave without causing a hollow somewhere else.
    • Uniformity is the rigorous law of nature; what once happen can happen always.
    • Every form in this world is taken out of surrounding atoms and goes back to these atoms.
    • Motion can only be perceived when there is something else which is not moving.
    • Science and religion will meet and shake hands. Poetry and philosophy will become friends. This will be the religion of the future, and if we can work it out, we may be sure that it will be for all times and peoples. This is the one way that will prove acceptable to modern science, for it has almost come to it. When the scientific teacher asserts that all things are the manifestation of one force, does it not remind you of the God of whom you hear in the Upanishads.
    • There cannot be added in the economy of this universe one particle of matter or one foot-pound of force, nor can one particle of matter or one foot-pound of force be taken out..
    • Each one of us has come out of one protoplasmic cell, and all the power we possess were coiled up there.
    • Unity in variety is the plan of the universe.
    • If you can give a beginning to time, the whole concept of time will be destroyed. Try to think of a limit where time began, you have to think of time beyond that limit. Try to think where space begins, you will have to think of space beyond that. Time and space are infinite, and therefore have neither beginning nor end.
    • It seems to us, and to all who care to know, that the conclusions of the modern science are the very conclusions Vedanta reached ages ago; only, in modern science they are written in the language of matter.
    • There are wonders wrouht beyond our five senses, but they are operated by some law. Our religion has nothing to do with them.
    • The microcosm is but a miniature repetition of the macrocosm.
    • The primal state is a state of sameness of the qualitative forces - a disturbance of this equilibrium and all succeeding struggles to regain it, composing what we call the manifestation of nature, this universe, which state of things remains as long as the primitive sameness is not reached - so, in a restricted sense on our own earth, differentiation and its inevitable counterpart, this struggle towards homogeneity, must remain as long as the human race shall remain as such, creating strongly marked peculiarities between ethnic divisions, sub-races and even down to individuals in all parts of the world.
    • It is the want that creates the body. It is the light that has bored the holes, as it were, in your head, called the eyes. If the light had not existed, you would have no eyes. It is sound that had made the ears. The object of perception existed first, before you made the organ.
    • The last to come in the order of creation, according to the evolutionists, was intelligence. That being so, it must be the cause, the beginning of creation also. At the beginning the intelligence remains involved, and in the end it gets evolved. The sum total of the intelligence displayed in the universe must therefore be the involved universal intelligence unfolding itself, and this universal intelligence is what we call God, from whom we come and to whom we return, as the scriptures say. Call it by any other name, you can not deny that in the beginning there is that infinite cosmic intelligence.
    • Religion deals with the truths of the metaphysical world just as chemistry and the other natural sciences deal with the truths of the physical world. The book one must read to learn chemistry is the book of nature. The book from which to learn religion is your own mind and heart. The sage is often ignorant of physical science, because he reads the wrong book - the book within; and the scientist is too often ignorant of religion, because he too reads the wrong book - the book without.
    • Science and religion are both attempts to help us out of the bondage; only religion is the more ancient, and we have the superstition that it is more holy. In a way it is, because it makes morality a vital point, and science does not.
    • If there are higher beings than man, they also must obey the laws. Life can only spring from life, thought from thought, matter from matter. A universe cannot be created out of matter. It has existed for ever.
  • REMEMBER ...

    • Do not fly away from the wheels of the world-machine, but stand inside it and learn the secret of work. Through proper work done inside, it is also possible to come out. Through this machinery itself is the way out.
    • Throughout the history of mankind, if any motive power has been more potent than another in the lives of all great men and women, it is that of faith in themselves. Born with the consciousness that they were to be great, they became great.
    •  Do you not know from the history of the world where the power of the prophets lay? Where was it? In the intellect? Did any of them write a fine book on philosophy, on the most intricate ratiocinations of logic? Not one of them. They only spoke a few words. Feel like Christ and you will be a Christ; feel like Buddha and you will be a Buddha. It is feeling that is the life, the strength, the vitality, without which no amount of intellectual activity can reach God. Intellect is like limbs without the power of locomotion. It is only when feeling enters and gives them motion that they move and work on others.
    • Do not make the mistake of giving the heart to anything that Is changing, because that is misery.
    • This life is short, the vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.
    • Tell the truth boldly, whether it hurts or not. Never pander to weakness. If truth is too much for intelligent people and sweeps them away, let them go; the sooner the better.
    • Without the idea of personal responsibility, no one can achieve anything great. . . Give him responsibility and the weakest man will become strong, and the ignorant man sagacious. 
    • Religions of the world have become lifeless mockeries. What the world wants is character. The world is in need of those whose life is one burning love, selfless. That love will make every word tell like thunderbolt.
    • The history of the world is the history of persons like Buddha and Jesus. The passionless and unattached do most for the world. Picture Jesus in the slums. He sees beyond the misery.  .  . His work is calm. He removes causes.  .  . You will be able to work for the good of the world when you know for a fact that this work is all illusion. The more unconscious this work, the better, because it is then the more superconscious. 
    • In one's greatest hour of need one stands alone.
    • Truth is infinitely more weighty than untruth; so is goodness. If you possess these, they will make their way by sheer gravity.
    • Man begins to struggle and fight against nature. He makes many mistakes, he suffers. But eventually he conquers nature and realises his freedom. When he is free, nature becomes his slave.
    • The road to the Good is the roughest and steepest in the universe. It is a wonder that so many succeed, no wonder that so many fall. Character has to be established through a thousand stumbles.
    • Three things are necessary to make every man great, every nation great - conviction of the powers of goodness, absence of jealousy and suspicion, and helping all who are trying to be and do good.
    • When once you consider an action, do not let anything dissuade you. Consult your heart, not others, and then follow its dictates.
    • Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success and, above all, love . 
    • Come, be men! Come out of your narrow holes and have a look abroad. See how nations are on the march! Do you love man? Do you love your country? Then come, let us struggle for higher and better things; look not back, no, not even if you see the dearest and nearest cry. Look not back, but forward!

    THE REAL ME

    • Self-restraint is a manifestation of greater power than all outgoing action.
    • If a man with an ideal makes a thousand mistakes, I am sure that the man without an ideal makes fifty thousand.
    • Let a man go down as low as possible; there must come a time when out of sheer desperation he will take an upward curve and will learn to have faith in himself. But it is better for us that we should know it from the very first. Why should we have all these bitter experiences in order to gain faith in ourselves?
    • The ideal of faith in ourselves is of the greatest help to us. If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practised, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would have vanished.
    • Look back on yourselves from the state of the amoeba to the human being; who made all that? Your own will. Can you deny then that it is almighty? That which has made you come up so high can make you go higher still. What you want is character, strengthening of the will.
    • Are you really sure that you can stand to your ideals, and work on, even if the whole world wants to crush you down? Are you sure you know what you want and will perform your duty, and that alone, even if your life is at stake? Are you sure that you will persevere so long as life endures, so long as there is one pulsation left in the heart? Then you are a real reformer, you are a teacher, a Master, a blessing to mankind.
    • Truth, purity, and unselfishness - wherever these are present, there is no power below or above the sun to crush the possessor thereof. Equipped with these, one individual is able to face the whole universe in opposition.
    • None can hate others without degenerating himself.
    • All ideas and feelings coming out of the fullness of the heart are known by their fruits - practical work. 
    • Be brave. Be a heart-whole man. Strictly moral, brave unto desperation. Don't bother your head with religious theories. Cowards only sin, brave men never, no, not even in mind. 
    • Virtue is that which tends to our improvement, and vice to our degeneration. Man is made up of three qualities - brutal, human, and godly. That which tends to increase the divinity in you is virtue, and that which tends to increase brutality in you is vice. You must kill the brutal nature and become human, that is, loving and charitable. 
    • Have faith in yourself - all power is in you - be conscious and bring it out. Say, "I can do everything." "Even the poison of a snake is powerless if you can firmly deny it."
    • Thirst for fame is the worst of all filth.
    • Everything that you do under compulsion goes to build up attachment.
    • Non-resistance is practised by a mother's love towards an angry child. It is a travesty in the mouth of a coward, or in the face of a lion.
  • ETHICS AND MORALITY

    • Unselfishness is more paying, only people have not the patience to practise it.
    • Ideas of ethics, if they are really good, cannot but be based on the highest self-abnegation. It is the basis of all morality; you may extend it to men, or animals, or angels, it is the one basic idea, the one fundamental principle running through all ethical systems.
    • All the great Systems of ethics preach absolute un-selfishness as the goal.
    • That which is selfish is immoral, and that which is un-selfish is moral. 
    • Behind everything the same divinity is existing, and out of this comes the basis of morality.
    • Ethics is unity, its basis is love.
    • The enjoyment of advantage over another is privilege, and throughout ages, the aim of morality has been its destruction. This is the work which tends towards sameness, towards unity, without destroying variety.
    • The work of ethics has been, and will be in the future, not the destruction of variation and the establishment of sameness in the external world - which is impossible for it would bring death and anihilation - but to recognise the unity inspite of all these variations.
    • There never was an ethical code preached which had not renunciation as its basis.  .  . All codes of ethics are based upon this renunciation; destruction, not construction, of the individual on the material plane. That Infinite will never find expression upon the material plane, nor is it possible or thinkable.
    • Utilitarian standards cannot explain the ethical relations of men, for, in the first place, we cannot derive any ethical laws from considerations of utility. Without the supernatural sanction as it is called, or the perception of the superconscious as I prefer to term it, there can be no ethics. Without the struggle towards the Infinite there can be no ideal. Any system that wants to bind men down to the limits of their own societies is not able to find an explanation for the ethical laws of mankind.
    • Let us all be honest. If we cannot follow the ideal, let us confess our weakness, but not degrade it; let not any try to pull it down. 
    • This life is short, the vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.
    • The first idea, therefore, is that of a Whole, a unit, composed of several minute particles, and each one of us is a part, as it were, of this Unit. As manifested beings we appear separate, but as a reality we are one. The more we think ourselves separate from this Whole, the more miseable we become. So Advaita is the basis of ethics.
    • Self-sacrifice, not self-assertion, is the law of the highest universe. 
    • Our best work is done, our greatest influence is exerted, when we are without thought of self.
    • The evolution of nature is the modification of the soul. The soul in essence is the same in all forms of being. Its expression is modified by the body. This unity of soul, this common substance of humanity, is the basis of ethics and morality. In this sense all are one, and to hurt one's brother is to hurt one's self. Love is simply an expression of this infinite unity.
    • All the religions of the world have a backbone of unity. This is the principle of philosophy and toleration.

    MORE ...

    • With the advance of ethical ideas came the fight. There arose a certain sense in man, called in different languages and nations by different names. Call it the voice of God, or the result of past education, or whatever else you like, but the effect was this that it had a checking power upon the natural impulses of man. There is one impulse in our minds which says, do. Behind it rises another voice which says, do not. There is one set of ideas in our mind which is always struggling to get outside through the channels of the senses, and behind that, although it may be thin and weak, there is an infinitely small voice which says, do not go outside.
    • Our watchword will be acceptance, and not exclusion. Not only toleration, for so-called toleration is often blasphemy, and I do not believe in it. I believe in acceptance. Why should I tolerate? Toleration means that I think that you are wrong and I am just allowing you to live. Is it not a blasphemy to think that you and I are allowing others to live? I accept all religions that were in the past, and worship with them all; I worship God with every one of them, in whatever form they worship Him.
    • The infinite oneness of the soul is the eternal sanction of all morality, that you and I are not only brothers - every literature voicing man's struggle towards freedom has preached that for you - but that you and I are really one. This is the dictate of Indian philosophy. This oneness is the rationale of all ethics and all spirituality.
    • If in this hell of a world one can bring a little joy and peace even for a day into the heart of a single person, that much alone is true; this I have learnt after suffering all my life; all else is mere moonshine. . . . 
    • All morality is based upon the destruction of separateness or false individuality, because that is the cause of all sin. Morality exists first; religion codifies it. Custom comes first, and then mythology follows to explain them.
    • The highest evolution of man is effected through sacrifice alone. A man is great among his fellows in proportion as he can sacrifice for the sake of othes, while in the lower strata of the animal kingdom, that animal is the strongest which can kill the greatest number of animals.
    • It is all a degeneration which has its root in selfishness.
    • Throughout all religious systems and ideals is the same morality; one thing only is preached : "Be unselfish, love others."
    • Why should a man be moral and pure? Because this strengthens his will. Everything that strengthens the will by revealing the real nature is moral. Everything that does the reverse is immoral.
    • If there is power in hate there is infinitely more power in love.
    • The more a man throws himself away, the more God comes in, hence self-abnegation, which is the secret of all religion and morality.
    • I would ask mankind to recognize this maxim : "Do not destroy." Iconoclastic reformers do no good to the world. Help, if you can; if you cannot, fold your hands, stand by, and see things go on. Therefore say not a word against any man's convictions, so far as they are sincere. Secondly, take man where he stands, and from thence give him a lift.
  • RELIGION

    • If there is a God we must see Him, if there is a soul we must perceive it; otherwise it is better not to believe. It is better to be an outspoken atheist than a hypocrite. 
    • Are you unselfish? That is the question. If you are, you will be perfect without reading a single religious book, without going into a single church or temple.
    • To be more free is the goal of all our efforts, for only in perfect freedom can there be perfection. This effort to attain freedom underlies all forms of worship, whether we know it or not.
    • The embodiment of freedom, the Master of nature, is what we call God. You cannot deny Him. No, because you cannot move or live without the idea of freedom.
    • Religion do not come from without , but from within.
    • Books never make religions, but religion makes books.
    • Religion is a constitutional necessity of the human mind.
    • The end of all religions is the realising of God in the soul, and that is the universal truth in all religions.
    • What is there to be taught more in religion than the oneness of the universe and faith in one's self?
    • We strive to worship the Lord, but the body rises between, nature rises between Him and us and blinds our vision. 
    • In one span of life all the great prophets and saints lived the whole life of humanity, traversed the whole length of time that it takes ordinary humanity to come to perfection.
    • Whatever may be the position of philosophy, whatever may be the position of metaphysics, so long as there is such a thing as death in the world, so long as there is such a thing as weakness in the human heart, so long as there is a cry going out of the heart of man in his very weakness, there shall be a faith in God.
    • Religion is ever a practical science, and there never was and nor will be any theological religion. It is practical first, and knowledge afterwards.
    • Religion is realisation; not talk, nor doctrine, nor theories, however beautiful they may be. It is being and becoming, not hearing or acknowledging; it is the whole soul becoming changed into what it believes. That is religion.
    • Nothing has caused more to bring out extreme and intense human emotions, be it positive or otherwise, than the religion.
    •  any attempt to bring all humanity to one method of thinking in spiritual things has been a failure and always will be a failure.
    • Forms and ceremonials, though absolutely necessary for the progressive soul, have no other value than taking us on to that state in whch we feel the most intense love of God.
    • The highest ideal of every man is called God. Ignorant or wise, saint or sinner, man or woman, educated or uneducated, cultivated or uncultivated, to every human being the highest ideal is God. The synthesis of all the highest ideals of beauty, of sublimity, and of power gives us the completest conception of the loving and lovable God.
    • In every religion there are three parts: philosophy, mythology, and ritual. Philosophy of course is the essence of every religion; mythology explains and illustrates it by means of the more or less legendary lives of great men, stories and fables of wonderful things, and so on; ritual gives to that philosophy a still more concrete form, so that every one may grasp it -- ritual is in fact concretised philosophy. 
    • Ceremonies, forms, everything is valid only with one condition, purity of heart. For worship is valid and leads to the goal if the heart is pure and the heart is sincere.
    • External worship is only a symbol of internal worship; but internal worship and purity are the real thing.
    • One of the greatest sages that was ever born found out here in India even at the distant time, which history cannot reach, and into whose gloom even tradition itself dares not peep - in that distant time the sage arose and declared - "He who exists is one; the sages call Him variously."
    • There is but one eternal religion, and that is the perception of the divine within, and the rest is mere froth.
    • The various religions that exist in the world, although they differ in the form of worship they take, are really one.
    • The extremely ignorant do not worship God, not being developd enough to feel the need for so doing. Those that have attained the highest knowledge also do not worship God - having realised and become one with God. Between these two poles of existence, if anyone tells you he is not going to worship God as man, take care of him. He is an irresponsible talker, he is mistaken; his religion is for frothy thinkers, it is intellectual nonsense.
    • Every Prophet is a creation of his own times, the creation of the past of his race; he himself is the creator of the future.
    • As for Prophets, you may also remember that without one exeption, all the messengers were Orientals.
    • Religion can not live in sects and societies. It is the relation between the soul and God; how can it be made into a society? It would then degenerate into business, and wherever ther are business and business principles in religion, spirituality dies.
    • You must bear in mind that religion has to do only with the soul and has no business to interfere in social matters.
    • I look upon religion as the innermost core of education.
    • The idea of heaven is of a place of intensified enjoyment.
    • Religion always takes three steps. The first is dualism. Then man gets to a higher state, partial non-dualism. And at last he finds he is one with the universe. Therefore the three do not contradict but fulfil.
    • God is the highest form of generalised law. When once this law is known, all others can be explained as being subordinate to it. God is to religion what Newton's law of gravity is to falling bodies.
    • 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.
    • Great saints are the object-lessons of the Principle. But the disciples make the saint the principle, and then they forget the Principle in the person.
    • Generally speaking, human religion begins with fear. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
    • Nature is God seen through nescience.
    • All progression is in the relative world. The human form is the highest and man the greatest being, because here and now we can get rid of the relative world entirely, can actually attain freedom, and this is the goal.
    • Religion consists solely in realisation. Doctrines are methods, not religion. All the different religions are but aplications of the one religion adopted to suit the requirements of different nations. Theories only lead to fighting; thus the name of God that ought to bring peace has been the cause of half the bloodshed of the world.
    • Science and religion are both attempts to help us out of the bondage; only religion is the more ancient, and we have the superstition that it is more holy. In a way it is, because it makes morality a vital point, and science does not.
    • Religious thought should be directed to developing man's spiritual side. Science, art, learning and metaphysical research all have their proper functions in life, but if you seek to blend them, you destroy their individual characteristics until, in time you eliminate the spiritual, for instance, from the religious altogether.
    • God can only be known in and through man. Vibrations of light are everywhere, even in the darkest corners; but it is only in the lamp that it becomes visible to man. Similarly God, though everywhere, we can only conceive Him as a big man. All ideas of God such as merciful preserver, helper, protector - all these are human ideas, anthropomorphic; and again these must cling to a man, call him a Guru or a Prophet or an Incarnation. Man cannot go beyond his nature, no more than you can jump out of your body.
    • (On the first Buddhist Council to select its President) Can you imagine what their strength was? One said it should be Ananda, because he had loved Him most. But someone else stepped forward and said no! for Ananda had been guilty of weeping at the death bed. And so he was passed over!
    • Buddha stood head and shoulders above all other men. He was one whom his friends or enemies could never say that he drew a breath or ate a crumb of bread but for the good of all.  .  . He was the first who brought the missionaries into existence. He came as a savior to the downtrodden millions of India. They could not understand his philosophy, but they saw the man and his teachings and they followed him.
    • What then do I mean by the idea of a universal religion? I do not mean a universal philosophy, or a universal mythology, or a universal ritual, but I mean that this world must go on, wheel within wheels.  .  . We must learn that truth may be expressed in a thousand ways, and each one yet be true. We must learn that the same thing can be viewed from a hundred different standpoints, and yet be the same thing.
    • The Impersonal God seen through the mists of sense is personal.
    • All men are born idolaters. The lowest man is an animal. The highest man is perfect. And between these two, all have to think in sound and colour, in doctrine and ritual.

    MORE ....

    • The most profound and noble ideas of Christianity were never understood in Europe, because the ideas and images used by the writers of Bible were foreign to it. 
    • To the masses who could not conceive of anything higher than a Personal God, he [Jesus Christ] said, "Pray to your Father in heaven." To others who could grasp a higher idea, he said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches," but to his disciples to whom he revealed himself more fully, he proclaimed the highest truth, " I and my Father are one."
    • The Old Testament of the Hebrews admits man perfect at the beginning. Man made himself impure by his own actions. But he is to regain his old nature, his pure nature.  .  . Bible says, "No man can see God but through the Son." What is meant by it? That seeing God is the aim and goal of all human life. The sonship must come before we become one with the Father. Remember that man lost his purity through his own actions. When we suffer, it is because of our own acts; God is not to be blamed for it.
    • Life will be a desert, human life will be vain, if we cannot know the beyond.
    • It is religion, the inquiry into the beyond, that makes the difference between man and an animal.
    • Men worship incarnations, such as Christ and Buddha. They are the most perfect manifestations of the eternal self. They are much higher than all the conceptions of God that you or I can make.
    • It is good to be born in a temple, but woe unto the person who dies in a temple or church. Out of it! . . . It was a good begining, but leave it.
    • So long as you think you have the least difference from God, fear will seize you.
    • That which is beyond time, space and causation - that is perfect.
    • The Self, when perceived through sences and sense-imageries, it is calld the body. When it is perceived through thought, it is calld the mind. When it is perceived in its own nature, it is Atman, the One Only Existence.
    • All the weak and undeveloped minds in every religion or country have only one way of loving there own ideal, i.e. by hating every other ideal.
    • Spiritual giants have been produced only in those systems of religion where there is an exuberent growth of mythology and ritualism.
    • Two kinds of men do not worship God as man - the human brute who has no religion, and the paramahamsa who has risen beyond all the weaknesses of humanity and has transcended the limits of his own human nature.
    • Religion is the highest place of human thought and life, and herein the workings of these two forces have been most marked.
    • Whatever may be the position of philosophy, whatever may be the position of metaphysics, so long as there is such a thing as death in the world, so long as there is such a thing as weakness in the human heart, so long as there is a cry going out of the heart of man in his very weakness, there shall be a faith in God.
    • The bonds of religion, in very many cases, have proved stronger than the bonds of race, or climate, or even of descent.
    • In every man and in every animal, however weak or wicked, great or small, resides the same omnipresent, omniscient soul. The difference is not in the soul, but in the manifestation.
    • Everybody should know that there is no salvation except through the conquering of desires, and that no man is free who is subjct to the bondage of matter.
    • Our religion is based upon principles, and not upon persons.
    • If it ever become possible to bring the largest portion of humanity to one way of thinking in regard to religion, mark you, it must be always through principles and not through persons.
    • From the very earlist times, our sages have been feeling conscious of this fact that the vast majority of mankind require a personality. They must have a Personal God in some form or other. The very Buddha who declared against the existence of a Personal God had not died fifty years before his disciples manufactured a Personal God out of him.
    • God cannot be worshiped; He is the immanent Being of the Universe. It is only to His manifestation as man that we can pray.
    • The "thought" is the finest part of the universe, the real motive power. The thought behind our body is called soul, and the thought behind the universe is called God.
    • For all the devilry that religion is blamed with, religion is not at all in fault: no religion ever persecuted men, no religion ever burnt witches, no religion ever did any of these things. what then incited people to do these things? Politics, but never religion; and if such politics takes the name of religion; whose fault is that?
    • I do not believe in a God or religion which cannot wipe the widow's tears or bring a piece of bread to the orphan's mouth.
    • Modern Hinduism is largely Pauranika, that is, post-Buddhistic in origin. Dayananda Saraswati pointed out that though a wife is absolutely necessary  in the Sacrifice of the domestic fire, which is a Vedic rite, she may not touch the Shalagrama Shila or the household-idol because that dates from the later period of the Puranas.
    • The greatest misfortune to befall the world would be if all mankind were to recognise and accept but one religion, one universal form of worship, one standard of morality. This would be the death-blow to all religious and spiritual progress.
    • Emotions have more connection with the senses than with the faculty of reason: and, therefore, when principles are entirely lost sight of and emotions prevail, religions degenerate into fanaticism and sectarianism.
    • Three things are the special gifts of God to man - the human body, the desire to be free, and the blessing from one who is already free.
    • Obey the scriptures until you are strong enough to do without them; then go beyond them. Books are not an end-all. Verification is the only proof of religious truth.
    • Principle is bound to be clothed in matter, though we know that later we shall lose sight of the real in the covering. Every great teacher understands this, and that is why a continual succession of prophets has to come to show us the principle and give it a new covering suited to the times.
    • The Absolute cannot be worshipped, so we must worship a manifestation, such a one as has our nature.
    • Concrete, generalised, abstract are the three stages in the process of philosophy. The highest abstraction in which all things agree is the One.
    • All religion is going beyond reason, but reason is the only guide to get there.
    • Religion without philosophy runs into superstition; philosophy without religion becomes dry atheism.
    • Religion gives you nothing new; it only takes of obstacles and lets you see your Self.
    • Books are useless to us until our own book opens; then all other books are good so far as they confirm our book. It is the strong that understand strength, it is the elephant that understands the lion, not the rat. How can we understand Jesus until we are his equals? 
    • When man finds that all search for happiness in matter nonsense, then religion begins. All human knowledge is but a part of religion.
    • No religion has ever advanced the thought or inspiration of a nation or people. In fact, no great achievement has ever been attained in the history of the world that religion has not retarted. Your boasted Christianity has not proven an exception in this respect. Your Darwins, your Mills, your Humes, have never achieved the endorsement of your prelates.
    • The secret of image-worship is that you are trying to develop your vision of Divinity in one thing.
    • Religion is the science which learns the transcendental in nature through the trancendental in man. We know as yet but little of man, consequently but little of the universe. When we know more of man, we shall probably know more of the universe. Man is the epitome of all things and all knowledge is in him. Only for the infinitesimal portion of the universe, which comes into sense - perception, are we able to find a reason; never can we give the reason for any fundamental principle. 
    • Mohammedanism is the only religion that has completely broken down the idea of the priest. The leader of the prayer stands with his back to the people, and only the reading of the Koran may take place from the pulpit. Protestantism is an approach to this.
    • All religious systems were an attempt to answer thr question What am I? This and the kindred ones, Whence Come I? And Whither Am I Going?
    • Religion is not an outgrowth of fear; religion is joyous. It is the spontaneous outburst of the songs of the birds and the beautiful sight of the morning. It is an expression of the spirit. It is from within an expression of the free and noble spirit.
    • The more a man throws himself away, the more God comes in, hence self-abnegation, which is the secret of all religion and morality.
    • Too many people bring down their ideals. They want a comfortable religion, but thre is none such. It is all self-surrender and upward striving.
    • All the religions of the world have a backbone of unity. This is the principle of philosophy and toleration.
  • REMEMBER ...

    • Every sole is a circle whose circumference is nowhere, but whose centre is located in the body
    • The first step towards God is beyond thought and intellect and all reasoning.
    • Man is an infinite circle whose circumference is nowhere, but the centre is located in one spot; and God is an infinite circle whose circumference is nowhere, but whose centre is everywhere.
    • In worshipping God we have been always worshipping our own hidden Self.
    • Meditation is the means of unification of the subject and the object.
    • All the differences in this world are of degree and not of kind.
    • Darkness is less light; evil is less good; impurity is less purity.
    • Those who love the Self without knowing what It is, their love is selfishness. Those that love,knowing what the Self is, their love is free; they are sages.
    • All that has name and form is subject to all that has none.
    • The function of logic and enquiry lies only within the region of space, time, and causation.
    • All the work you do is subjective, is done for your own benefit. God has not fallen into a ditch for you and me to help Him out by building a hospital or something of that sort. He allows  you to work. He allows you to exercise your muscles in this great gymnasium, not in order to help Him but that you may help yourself. The world does not need you at all. The world goes on, you are like a drop in the ocean. A leaf does not move, the wind does not blow without Him. Blessed are we that we are given the privilege of working for Him, not of helping Him. ... Stand in that reverent attitude to the whole universe, and then will come perfect non-attachment. This should be your duty. This is the proper attitude of work.
    • Every action of man is worship, because the idea is to attain freedom, and all action, directly or indirectly, tends to that.
    • We see reality, but distorted by the medium through which we see it.
    • So long as enjoyment is sought, bondage remains. Only imperfection can enjoy, because enjoyment is the fulfilling of desire.
    • Seeing difference is the cause of all misery, and ignorance is the cause of seeing difference.
    • Will is subject to desire.
    • The happiest moments we ever know are when we entirely forget ourselves.
    • When everything has been thrown away until what cannot be thrown away is reached, that is self.  .  . Nirvana is the extinction of all relativity.
    • Each particle in the external world is checked by another force, the centripetal, and drawn towards the centre. Similarly, in the thought-world the controlling power is checking all these outgoing desires.
    • I say there is but one remedy for one too anxious for the future - to go down on his knees.
    • You and I and everything in the universe are that Absolute, not parts, but the whole. You are the whole of that Absolute.
    • True civilisation does not mean congregating in cities and living a foolish life, but going Godward, controlling the senses, and thus becoming the ruler in this house of the Self.
    • A pure heart sees beyond intellect.
    • The mind attains to powers of finer perception which no instrument will ever be able to attain.
    • Will such a day come when this life will go for the sake of other's good? The world is not a child's play - and great men are those who build highways for others with their heart's blood. This has been taking place through eternity, that one builds a bridge by laying down his own body, and thousands of others cross the river through its help.
    • What is it that makes the atoms unite with atoms, molecules with molecules, and causes planets to fly towards each other? What is it that attracts man to man, man to woman, woman to man, and animals to animals, drawing the whole universe, as it were, towards one centre? It is what is called love. Its manifestation is from the lowest atom to the
    • What is it we all seek? Freedom. All the effort and struggle of life is for freedom. It is the march universal of races, of worlds and of systems. If we are bound, who bound us? No power can bind the infinite but itself.

    SPIRITUALITY

    • All pleasures of the senses or even of the mind are evanescent.  ... The more our bliss is within, the more spiritual we are. The pleasures of the Self is what the world calls religion.
    • Vedanta says, you are free and not free at the same time - never free on the earthly plane, but ever free on the spiritual.
    • It is impossible to find God outside of ourselves. Our own souls contribute all the divinity that is outside of us. We are the greatest temple. The objectification is only a faint imitation of what we see within ourselves.
    • Too much wealth or too much poverty is a great impediment to the higher development of the soul.
    • Life has no other purpose, save to reach freedom. Consciously or unconsciously we are all striving for perfection. Every being must attain to it.
    • When there is conflict between the heart and the brain, let the heart be followed, because intellect has only one state, reason, and within that, intellect works, and cannot get beyond. It is the heart which takes one to the highest plane, which intellect can never reach; it goes beyond intellect, and reaches to what is called inspiration.  .  . Men of heart get the "butter", and the "buttermilk" is left for the intellectual.
    • You must remember that humanity travels not from error to truth, but from truth to truth; it may be, if you like it better, from lower truth to higher truth, but never from error to truth.
    • When the mind is studying  the external object, it gets identified with it, loses itself.  . . . That is the difficulty. That constitutes the bondage.
    • It is the touch of the senses that brings all this quality of existence: heat and cold, pleasure and pain. They come and go.   .   . Existence can never be non -existence, neither can non-existence ever become existence. ...Know, therefore, that that which pervades all this universe is without beginning or end. It is unchangeable. There is nothing in the universe that can change [the Changeless]. Though this body has its beginning and end, the dweller in the body is infinite and without end.
    • All attempts of language, calling father, or brother, or our dearest friend, are attempts to objectify God, which cannot be done. He is the eternal subject of everything.
    • I am a materialist in a certain sense, because I believe that there is only one. That is what the materialist wants you to believe; only he calls it matter and I call it God.
    • Every phenomenon that we can see, feel, or think of, is finite, limited by our knowledge, and the Personal God as we conceive of Him is in fact a phenomenon.
    • The idea of the cause we get from the idea of the effect, and if there is no effect, there will be no cause. It naturally follows that as the universe is eternal, God is eternal.
    • First have something to give. He alone teaches who has something to give,for teaching is not talking, teaching is not parting doctrines, it is communicating. Spirituality can be communicated as really as I can give you a flower.
    • Where should you go to seek for God - are not all the poor, the miserable, the weak, Gods? Why not worship them first? Why go to dig a well on the shores of the Ganga? Believe in the omnipotent power of love. 
    • The universe is really homogeneous. Heterogeneity is only in appearance.
    • All pleasures of the senses or even of the mind are evanescent. ...The more our bliss is within, the more spiritual we are. The pleasures of the Self is what the world calls religion.
    • It is impossible to find God outside of ourselves. Our own souls contribute all the divinity that is outside of us. We are the greatest temple. The objectification is only a faint imitation of what we see within ourselves.
    • No force can be created; it can only be directed. Therefore we must learn to control the grand powers that are already in our hands and by will power make them spiritual instead of merely animal. Thus it is clearly seen that chastity is the corner-stone of all morality and of all religion.
    • highest being: omnipotent, all - pervading, is this love. What manifests itself as attraction in the sentient and the insentient, in the particular and in the universal, is the love of God. It is the one motive power that is in the universe. Under the impetus of that love, Christ gives his life for humanity, Buddha even for an animal, the mother for the child, the husband for the wife. It is under the impetus of the same love that men are ready to give up their lives for their country.
  • My India

    • The little stir, the little life that you see in India, begins from the day when Raja Rammohan Roy broke through the walls of that exclusiveness. Since that day, history in india has taken another turn, and now it is growing with accelerated motion.
    • India can never be Europe until she dies. And will she die - this old Mother of all that is noble or moral or spiritual, the land which the sages trod, the land in which Godlike men still live and breathe? I will borrow the lantern of the Athenian sage and follow you, my brother, through the cities and villages, plains and forests, of this broad world - show me such men in other lands if you can. Truly have they said, the tree is known by its fruits. Go under every mango tree in India; pick up bushels of the worm-eaten, unripe, fallen ones from the ground, and write hundreds of the most learned volumes on each one of them - still you have not described a single mango. Pluck a luscious, full-grown, juicy one from the tree, and now you have known all that the mango is.
    • Bread! Bread! I do not believe in a God, who cannot give me bread here, giving me eternal bliss in heaven! Pooh! India is to be raised, the poor are to be fed, education is to be spread, and the evil of priestcraft is to be removed. No priestcraft, no social tyranny! More bread, more opportunity for everybody!
    • Our young fools organise meetings to get more power from the English. They only laugh. None deserves liberty who is not ready to give liberty. Suppose the English give over to you all the power. Why, the powers that be then, will hold the people down, and let them not have it. Slaves want power to make slaves.
    • If you are really my children, you will fear nothing, stop at nothing. You will be like lions. We must rouse India and the whole world. ... My children must be ready to jump into fire, if needed, to accomplish their work. Now work, work, work! We will stop and compare notes later on. Have patience, perseverance, and purity.
    • Remember! if you want to know what a ship is like, the ship has to be specified as it is--its length, breadth, shape, and material. And to understand a nation, we must do the same. India is idolatrous. You must help her as she is. Those who have left her can do nothing for her!
    • The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women.
    • The degeneration of India came not because the laws and customs of the ancients were bad, but because they were not allowed to be carried to their legitimate conclusions.
    • Jealousy is the bane of our national character, natural to slaves. Even the Lord with all His power could do nothing on account of this jealousy.  .  .  Think that the whole work is upon your shoulders. Think that you, young men of our motherland, are destined to do this. Put yourselves to the task. 
    • The wonderful structures of national life which the Western nations have raised, are supported by the strong pillars of character, and until we can produce numbers of such, it is useless to fret and fume against this or that power. ... Let us calmly and in a manly fashion go to work, instead of dissipating our energy in unnecessary frettings and fumings. ... No power in the universe can withhold from anyone anything he really deserves. The past was great no doubt, but I sincerely believe that the future will be more glorious still.
    • None lives, my boys, but he who loves. Feel, my children, feel; feel for the poor, the ignorant, the downtrodden; feel till the heart stops and the brain reels and you think you will go mad - then pour the soul out at the feet of the Lord, and then will come power, help, and indomitable energy. ... Money does not pay, nor name; fame does not pay, nor learning. It is love that pays; it is character that cleaves its way through adamantine walls of difficulties.
    • The hope lies in you - in the meek, the lowly, but the faithful. Have faith in the Lord; no policy, it is nothing. Feel for the miserable and look up for help - it shall come. I have travelled twelve years with this load in my heart and this idea in my head. ... With a bleeding heart I have crossed half the world to this strange land, seeking for help. ... I may perish of cold or hunger in this land, but I bequeath to you, young men, this sympathy, this struggle for the poor, the ignorant, the oppressed. ... make a great sacrifice, the sacrifice of a whole life for them ...  the poor, the lowly, the oppressed. Vow, then, to devote your whole lives to the cause of the redemption of these three hundred millions, going down and down every day.
    • I know that the race that produced Sita - even if it only dreamt of her - has a reverence for woman that is unmatched on the earth.

    To this land (India) I owe whatever I possess, physical, mental, and spiritual; and if I have been successful in anything, the glory is yours, not mine. Mine alone are my weaknesses and failures, as they come through my inability of profiting by the mighty lessons with which this land surrounds one, even from his very birth.

    My life's allegiance is to this my motherland; and if I had a thousand lives, every moment of the whole series would be consecrated to your service, my countrymen, my friends.

  • Let not his character be judged by seeing me. It was so great that if I or any other of his disciples spent hundreds of lives, we could not do justice to a millionth part of what he really was.

     

    Some of us do understand that his life and teachings are to our gain, but their the matter ends. It is beyond our power even to make an attempt to put those precepts into practice in our own lives, far less to consign our whole body and soul to the huge waives of harmony of Jnana and Bhakti that Shri Ramakrishna has raised.

     

    I am the disciple of a man who could not write his own name, and I am not worthy to undo his shoes. How often have I wished I could take my intellect and through it into the Ganges!

     

    My devotion is the dog's devotion. I have been wrong so often and he (Shri Ramakrishna) has always been right, and now I trust his judgement blindly.

     

    Let none regret that they were difficult to convince! I fought my Master for six years with the result that I know every inch of the way! Every inch of the way!

    One of the greatest lessons I have learnt in my life is to pay as much attention to the means of work as to its end. He was a great man from whom I learnt it, and his whole life was a practical demonstration of this great principle.

    SRI RAMAKRISHNA

    • It has become a trite saying that idolatry is wrong, and every man swallows it at the present time without questioning. I once thought so, and to pay the penalty of that I had to learn the lesson sitting at the feet of a man who realised everything through idols.
    • The time was ripe for one to be born who in one body would have the brilliant intellect of Shankara and the wonderfully expansive, infinite heart of Chaitanya; one who would see in every sect the same spirit working, the same God; one who would see God in every being, one whose heart would weep for the poor, for the weak, for the outcast, for the downtrodden, for every one in this world, inside India or outside India; and at the same time whose grand brilliant intellect would conceive of such noble thoughts as would harmonise all conflicting sects, not only in India but outside of India, and bring a marvellous harmony, the universal religion of head and heart into existence. Such a man was born, and I had the good fortune to sit at his feet for years.
    • My teaching is my own interpretation of our ancient books, in the light which my Master shed upon them. I claim no supernatural authority. Whatever in my teaching may appeal to the highest intelligence and be accepted by thinking men, the adoption of that will be my reward.

     

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