Monday, April 30, 2012

CALL UP THE DIVINITY WITHIN YOU. IF ANY SOCIAL INSTITUTION STANDS IN YOUR WAY OF BECOMING GOD, IT WILL GIVE WAY BEFORE THE POWER OF SPIRIT


Call up the divinity within you, which will enable you to bear hunger and thirst, heat and cold. Sitting in luxurious homes, surrounded with all the comforts of life, and doling out a little amateur religion may be good for other lands, but India has a truer instinct. It intuitively detects the mask. You must give up. Be great. No great work can be done without sacrifice. The Purusha Himself sacrificed Himself to create this world. Lay down your comforts, your pleasures, your names, fame or position, nay even your lives, and make a bridge of human chains over which millions will cross this ocean of life. Bring all the forces of good together. Do not care under what banner you march. Do not care what be your colour — green, blue, or red — but mix up all the colours and produce that intense glow of white, the colour of love. Ours is to work. The results will take care of themselves. If any social institution stands in your way of becoming God, it will give way before the power of Spirit. I do not see into the future; nor do I care to see. But one vision I see dear as life before me: that the ancient Mother has awakened once more, sitting on Her throne rejuvenated, more glorious than ever. Proclaim Her to all the world with the voice of peace and benediction.

- Swami Vivekananda
REPLY TO THE MADRAS ADDRESS

THESE WAVES ARE TO BE STOPPED BY THE POWER OF MEDITATION


How is it to be attained? In a dozen different ways. Each temperament has its own way. But this is the general principle: get hold of the mind. The mind is like a lake, and every stone that drops into it raises waves. These waves do not let us see what we are. The full moon is reflected in the water of the lake, but the surface is so disturbed that we do not see the reflection clearly. Let it be calm. Do not let nature raise the wave. Keep quiet, and then after a little while she will give you up. Then we know what we are. God is there already, but the mind is so agitated, always running after the senses. You close the senses and [yet] you whirl and whirl about. Just this moment I think I am all right and I will meditate upon God, and then my mind goes to London in one minute. And if I pull it away from there, it goes to New York to think about the things I have done there in the past. These [waves] are to be stopped by the power of meditation.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 4/Lectures and Discourses/The Practice of Religion

Sunday, April 29, 2012

MEDITATION IS THE POWER WHICH ENABLES US TO RESIST ALL THIS


What is meditation? Meditation is the power which enables us to resist all this. Nature may call us, "Look there is a beautiful thing!" I do not look. Now she says, "There is a beautiful smell; smell it! " I say to my nose, "Do not smell it", and the nose doesn't. "Eyes, do not see!" Nature does such an awful thing - kills one of my children, and says, "Now, rascal, sit down and weep! Go to the depths!" I say, "I don't have to." I jump up. I must be free. Try it sometimes. ... [In meditation], for a moment, you can change this nature. Now, if you had that power in yourself, would not that be heaven, freedom? That is the power of meditation.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 4/Lectures and Discourses/The Practice of Religion

HOSPITALS WILL TUMBLE DOWN. RAILROAD GIVERS WILL ALL DIE. THIS EARTH WILL BE BLOWN TO PIECES, SUNS WIPED OUT. THE SOUL ENDURETH FOR EVER


The Kingdom of Heaven is within us. He is there. He is the soul of all souls. See Him in your own soul. That is practical religion. That is freedom. Let us ask each other how much we are advanced in that: how much we are worshippers of the body, or real believers in God, the spirit; how much we believe ourselves to be spirit. That is selfless. That is freedom. That is real worship. Realise yourself. That is all there is to do. Know yourself as you are — infinite spirit. That is practical religion. Everything else is impractical, for everything else will vanish. That alone will never vanish. It Is eternal. Hospitals will tumble down. Railroad givers will all die. This earth will be blown to pieces, suns wiped out. The soul endureth for ever.
- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 4/Lectures and Discourses/The Practice of Religion

YOU ARE THE SELF, AND THAT MUST BE REALISHED


This truth about the soul is first to be heard. If you have heard it, think about it. Once you have done that, meditate upon it. No more vain arguments! Satisfy yourself once that you are the infinite spirit. If that is true, it must be nonsense that you are the body. You are the Self, and that must be realised. Spirit must see itself as spirit. Now the spirit is seeing itself as body. That must stop. The moment you begin to realise that, you are released.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 4/Lectures and Discourses/The Practice of Religion

NOT TALKING, THEORISING, ARGUMENTATION, BUT REALISATION. THAT I CALL PRACTIAL RELIGION.



[You may] pray all the time, read all the scriptures in the world, and worship all the gods there are, [but] unless you realise the soul there is no freedom. Not talking, theorising, argumentation, but realisation. That I call practical religion.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 4/Lectures and Discourses/The Practice of Religion

Saturday, April 28, 2012

MIND YOU, THE GREAT BENEFIT IN THIS LIFE IS STRUGGLE. IT IS THROUGH THAT WE PASS. - I AM THE END, MY OWN SELF, AND NOTHING ELSE......


It is not truth, but development, that is the great aim. The struggle is the great lesson. Mind you, the great benefit in this life is struggle. It is through that we pass. If there is any road to Heaven, it is through Hell. Through Hell to Heaven is always the way. When the soul has wrestled with circumstance and has met death, a thousand times death on the way, but nothing daunted has struggled forward again and again and yet again—then the soul comes out as a giant and laughs at the ideal he has been struggling for, because he finds how much greater is he than the ideal. I am the end, my own Self, and nothing else…

- Swami Vivekananda

GIVE UP ALL THESE MAD PURSUITS, AND THEN PLAY YOUR PART IN THE UNIVERSE, AS AN ACTOR ON THE STAGE.


So are our lives spent in hoping, hoping, hoping, which never comes to an end. Give up hope, says the Vedanta. Why should you hope? You have everything, nay, you are everything. What are you hoping for? If a king goes mad, and runs about trying to find the king of his country, he will never find him, because he is the king himself. He may go through every village and city in his own country, seeking in every house, weeping and wailing, but he will never find him, because he is the king himself. It is better that we know we are God and give up this fool's search after Him; and knowing that we are God we become happy and contented. Give up all these mad pursuits, and then play your part in the universe, as an actor on the stage.

- Swami Vivekananda
PRACTICAL VEDANTA PART II (Delivered in London, 12th November 1896)

THE LIVING GOD IS WITHIN YOU, AND YET YOU ARE BUILDING CHURCHES AND TEMPLES AND BELIEVING ALL SORTS OF IMAGINARY NONSENSE


The Vedanta says, there is nothing that is not God. It may frighten many of you, but you will understand it by degrees. The living God is within you, and yet you are building churches and temples and believing all sorts of imaginary nonsense. The only God to worship is the human soul in the human body. Of course all animals are temples too, but man is the highest, the Taj Mahal of temples. If I cannot worship in that, no other temple will be of any advantage. The moment I have realised God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him — that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.

- Swami Vivekananda
PRACTICAL VEDANTA PART II (Delivered in London, 12th November 1896)

YOU ARE THE HIGHEST TEMPLE OF GOD; I WOULD RATHER WORSHIP YOU THAN ANY TEMPLE, IMAGE, OR BIBLE.


Of course the impersonal idea is very destructive, it takes away all trade from the priests, churches, and temples. In India there is a famine now, but there are temples in each one of which there are jewels worth a king's ransom! If the priests taught this Impersonal idea to the people, their occupation would be gone. Yet we have to teach it unselfishly, without priestcraft. You... are God and so am I; who obeys whom? Who worships whom? You are the highest temple of God; I would rather worship you than any temple, image, or Bible. Why are some people so contradictory in their thought? They are like fish slipping through our fingers. They say they are hard-headed practical men. Very good. But what is more practical than worshipping here, worshipping you? I see you, feel you, and I know you are God.

- Swami Vivekananda
PRACTICAL VEDANTA PART II (Delivered in London, 12th November 1896)

Friday, April 27, 2012

WE ALL FIND OURSELVES IN THE POSITION FOR WHICH WE ARE FIT, EACH BALL FINDS IT'S OWN HOLE, AND IF ONE HAS SOME CAPACITY ABOVE ANOTHER, THE WORLD WILL FIND THAT OUT TOOOOOO.......


We all find ourselves in the position for which we are fit, each ball finds its own hole; and if one has some capacity above another, the world will find that out too, in this universal adjusting that goes on. So it is no use to grumble. There may be a rich man who is wicked, yet there must be in that man certain qualities that made him rich; and if any other man has the same qualities, he will also become rich. What is the use of fighting and complaining? That will not help us to better things. He who grumbles at the little thing that has fallen to his lot to do will grumble at everything. Always grumbling, he will lead a miserable life, and everything will be a failure. But that man who does his duty as he goes, putting, his shoulder to the wheel, will see the light, and higher and higher duties will fall to his share.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Notes from Lectures and Discourses/On Karma-Yoga

NATURE'S JUSTICE IS UNIFORMLY STERN AND UNRELENTING



Nature's justice is uniformly stern and unrelenting.

The most practical man would call life neither good nor evil.

Every successful man must have behind him somewhere tremendous integrity, tremendous sincerity, and that is the cause of his signal success in life. He may not have been perfectly unselfish; yet he was tending towards it. If he had been perfectly unselfish, his would have been as great a success as that of the Buddha or of the Christ. The degree of unselfishness marks the degree of success everywhere.
The great leaders of mankind belong to higher fields than the field of platform work.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Notes from Lectures and Discourses/On Karma-Yoga

WE MAY EVEN REACH A STATE IN WHICH IT SHALL BE OUR PRIVILEGE TO DO THE MOST COVETED AND HONOURED DUTIES IN LIFE AND IN SOCIETY


" By doing well the duty which is nearest to us, the duty which is in our hands now, we make ourselves stronger and improving our strength in this manner step by step, we may even reach a state in which it shall be our privilege to do the most coveted and honoured duties in life and in society "

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Notes from Lectures and Discourses/On Karma-Yoga

Thursday, April 26, 2012

BUT YOU HAVE TO HOLD ON TO YOUR OWN IN WEAL AND WOE AND NEVER ADJUST THEM TO OTHERS " FADS "



" Beware of compromises. I do not mean that you are to get into antagonism with anybody, but you have to hold on to your own in weal and woe and never adjust them to others " fads " through the greed of getting supports "

- Swami Vivekananda

TAPASYA IS THREEFOLD - OF THE BODY, OF SPEECH AND OF MIND. THE FIRST IS SERVICE OF OTHERS; THE SECOND TRUTHFULNESS; AND THIRD, CONTROL AND CONCENTRATION


Q. — Does Yoga serve to keep the body in its full health and vitality?
A. — It does. It staves off disease. As objectification of one's own body is difficult, it is very effective in regard to others. Fruit and milk are the best food for Yogis.

Q. — Is the attainment of bliss synchronous with that of Vairagya?
A. — The first step in Vairagya is very painful. When perfected, it yields supreme bliss.

Q. — What is Tapasyâ?
A. — Tapasya is threefold — of the body, of speech and of mind. The first is service of others; the second truthfulness; and third, control and concentration.

Q. — Is preaching possible without gaining perfection?
A. — No. May the Lord grant that all the Sannyasin disciples of my Master and of myself be perfected, so that they may be fit for missionary work!

Q. — Is the divine majesty expressed in the Universal Form of Shri Krishna in the Gita superior to the expression of love unattended with other attributes, embodied in the form of Shri Krishna, for instance, in His relation with the Gopis?
A. — The feeling of love, unattended with the idea of divinity, in respect to the person loved, is assuredly inferior to the expression of divine majesty. If it were not so, all lovers of the flesh would have obtained freedom.

- Swami Vivekananda
Complete-Works / Volume 5 / Questions and Answers /
YOGA, VAIRAGYA, TAPASYA, LOVE

THE AIM OF RAJA-YOGA - THIS IS NO CHILD'S PLAY, NO FAD TO BE TRIED ONE DAY AND DISCARDED THE NEXT. IT IS A LIFE'S WORK


Raja-Yoga teaches us how to reach the superconscious state. All the great religions recognise this state in some form; but in India, special attention is paid to this side of religion. In the beginning, some mechanical means may help us to acquire this state; but mechanical means alone can never accomplish much. Certain positions, certain modes of breathing, help to harmonise and concentrate the mind, but with these must go purity and strong desire for God, or realisation. The attempt to sit down and fix the mind on one idea and hold it there will prove to most people that there is some need for help to enable them to do this successfully. The mind has to be gradually and systematically brought under control. The will has to be strengthened by slow, continuous, and persevering drill. This is no child's play, no fad to be tried one day and discarded the next. It is a life's work; and the end to be attained is well worth all that it can cost us to reach it; being nothing less than the realisation of our absolute oneness with the Divine. Surely, with this end in view, and with the knowledge that we can certainly succeed, no price can be too great to pay.

- Swami Vivekananda
Complete-Works / Volume 5 / Notes from Lectures and Discourses / THE AIM OF RAJA-YOGA

THIS MUCH ALONE IS TRUE

MY DEAR RAKHAL, (Swami Brahmananda.)

Anxiety is worse than the disease. Give a little money — whatever is needed. 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. . . .

Readings from the sacred books, worship, study — see that all these are being maintained. My love to all.

- Swami Vivekananda
GOPAL LAL VILLA,
BENARES (VARANASI) CANTONMENT,
18th February, 1902.

Monday, April 23, 2012

IN A MERCENARY AGE I MAY VENTURE TO REMARK THAT NONE OF MY ACTIVITES ARE UNDERTAKEN FOR A PECUNIARY REWARD


Q: "And what shape will your activities take in this country?"



SwamiJi: "My hope is to imbue individuals with the teachings to which I have referred, and to encourage them to express these to others in their own way; let them modify them as they will; I do not teach them as dogmas; truth at length must inevitably prevail.

"The actual machinery through which I work is in the hands of one or two friends. On October 22, they have arranged for me to deliver an address to a British audience at Princes' Hall, Piccadilly, at 8-30 p.m. The event is being advertised. The subject will be on the key of my philosophy — 'Self-Knowledge'. Afterwards I am prepared to follow any course that opens — to attend meetings in people's drawing-rooms or elsewhere, to answer letters, or discuss personally. In a mercenary age I may venture to remark that none of my activities are undertaken for a pecuniary reward."

- Swami Vivekananda
AN INDIAN YOGI IN LONDON
 (The Westminster Gazette, 23rd October, 1895)

I DIRECT MY ATTENTION TO THE INDIVIDUAL, TO MAKE HIM STRONG, TO TEACH HIM THAT HE HIMSELF IS DIVINE, AND I CALL UPON MEN TO MAKE THEMSELVES CONSCIOUS OF THIS DIVINITY WITHIN


"And what is your attitude towards the Western religions, Swami?"


"I propound a philosophy which can serve as a basis to every possible religious system in the world, and my attitude towards all of them is one of extreme sympathy — my teaching is antagonistic to none. I direct my attention to the individual, to make him strong, to teach him that he himself is divine, and I call upon men to make themselves conscious of this divinity within. That is really the ideal — conscious or unconscious — of every religion."

- Swami Vivekananda
AN INDIAN YOGI IN LONDON
 (The Westminster Gazette, 23rd October, 1895)

A HANDFUL OF STRONG MEN KNOWING THAT SELF AND LIVING IN ITS LIGHT WOULD REVOLUTIONISE THE WORLD



Q: "Then you do not propose to form any society. Swami?" I suggested.

Swamiji: "None; no society whatever. I teach only the Self hidden in the heart of every individual and common to all. A handful of strong men knowing that Self and living in Its light would revolutionise the world, even today, as has been the case by single strong men before each in his day."

- Swami Vivekananda
AN INDIAN YOGI IN LONDON
(The Westminster Gazette, 23rd October, 1895)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A SMALL STEP FOR MEN, BUT A GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND

When Neil Armstrong landed on moon, he was asked to some up his wonderful intrepid journey to moon?....He was asked what did he feel when he landed on moon? He answered these two questions in one sentient laconic statement; he said " A small step for man, but a giant leap for mankind ”. Let me rewrite these lines again, for this one line encapsulates the essence of human development. He said “ A SMALL STEP FOR MEN, BUT A GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND ”.

Reading below article written by John Schlenck, titled “Beethoven, Vivekananda, and the Heroic Struggle” is a very small measured step for each of us, but what will happen is; Our thought will reach a level which would be some thing inexpressible for an average human being to even think off!?

- Thanks
Rajhashekher BC – Raj
SUNDAY, 22 APRIL, 2012


Beethoven, Vivekananda, and the Heroic Struggle

By John Schlenck

“Life is the unfoldment and development of a being under circumstances tending to press it down.“ 
–Vivekananda

Readers of Romain Rolland’s biographies of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda may have noticed that Rolland compares Vivekananda to Beethoven more than once. He says in his preface, “To my Western readers”:²

…I have chosen two men, who have won my regard because with incomparable charm and power they have realized this splendid symphony of the Universal Soul. They are, if one may say so, its Mozart and its Beethoven—Pater Seraphicus and Jove the Thunderer—Ramakrishna and Vivekananda.

Again, referring to Vivekananda, he says:³

His words are great music, phrases in the style of Beethoven, stirring rhythms like the march of Handel choruses. I cannot touch these sayings of his, scattered as they are through the pages of books at thirty years’ distance, without receiving a thrill through my body like an electric shock.
What do Beethoven and Vivekananda have in common? Beethoven was certainly no saint, and although Vivekananda was a good amateur musician, it is not literally his musical gifts that Rolland refers to. Rather, both embodied the same quality of heroic struggle and triumph. And both were driven by something greater than themselves. Beethoven was driven by a musical impulse so strong, a genius so compelling, that it could brook no rival in his life. Vivekananda, one may say, was driven by Ramakrishna, who would not let him rest in the superconscious state, but forced him to forgo his own bliss and fulfillment in the divine realm by sacrificing himself on the altar of human upliftment.
In both lives, difficulties and obstacles were transmuted into overwhelming triumph. Their struggles and achievements provide inspiration to men and women everywhere.

Beethoven’s greatest difficulty, greater than his unhappy, abusive childhood or the lack of human affection, was his steady loss of hearing beginning about his twenty-sixth year. For a musician, especially one as totally focused as Beethoven, can there be a greater calamity? Twice in his life, when despair seemed about to overwhelm him, a great creative surge burst forth, propelling him to new heights. In the fall of 1802, in his thirty-second year, depressed by his loss of hearing, he wrote a letter to his brothers, known as the Heiligenstadt Testament, which was found among his belongings after his death, apparently never sent. In this he wrote what seemed to be a last testament. It is pretty clear that thoughts of suicide had been going through his mind. He rejected that option for the sake of his art, and a year later composed his magnificent Eroica (Heroic) Symphony, a revolutionary work both in its formal scope and in its expressive content. The classical symphony of Mozart and Haydn was transformed into a powerful vehicle of human expression, which left its mark on all subsequent music.





The heroism expressed in this landmark composition was ostensibly a tribute to Napoleon, whom Beethoven admired greatly as the torchbearer of the new democratic ideals of the French Revolution. The following year, when Napoleon declared himself Emperor, betraying the ideals Beethoven admired so much, the composer tore up the title page of the symphony, on which he had dedicated the work to Napoleon.⁴ But the struggle and triumph expressed in this work really represented Beethoven’s triumph over his own difficulties and the despair of the preceding year.

His second great creative surge occurred nearly twenty years later, after some seven or eight years of creative dryness—a musical “Dark Night of the Soul.”This was compounded and at least partially caused by personal unhappiness and frustration: a failed love affair and a long custody battle over his nephew. But suddenly, around 1820, Beethoven entered his great “late” period, culminating in his transcendent Ninth Symphony, the Missa Solemnis, and the late piano sonatas and string quartets. Again, the power of his creative impulse, welling up like a volcano, overcame his private difficulties and carried him to new heights.

The Ninth Symphony, possibly the supreme work of Western classical music, progresses from heroic struggle to transcendent joy. The conclusion of the work is so intense and joyful that it seems to convey religious ecstasy. The last movement, the “Ode to Joy”, set to Schiller’s poem, employs a chorus and vocal soloists, a radical departure in the symphonic form, which had been purely instrumental up to that time. It is a hymn to universal brotherhood and divine joy. Beethoven was not formally religious, but he was idealistic. On his desk was the motto: “I am all that was, that is, and that will be.” This may reflect the influence of Indian thought, which was just beginning to be felt in Germany. One feels in Beethoven’s music the spirit of Vivekananda, the strength that Swamiji embodied and taught.

Even with regard to the creative process itself, Beethoven often had to struggle to bring forth his art. Unlike Mozart, whose music seemed to flow forth effortlessly, with little or no editing, Beethoven worked hard to achieve his artistic vision. His surviving sketches show that he often began with mediocre ideas, revising, polishing, chiseling them until he got them right. His genius could give him no rest until it achieved perfect expression. And through that struggle he achieved a profundity that, at its best, surpassed Mozart.

Here also one can see a parallel with Vivekananda. No doubt Swamiji felt at times that Ramakrishna was guiding his every step. But at other times, he had to put forth great conscious effort to work out his plans and ideas.


After traveling the length and breadth of Indiafor three years, mostly on foot, Vivekananda saw both the glory and the degradation of India. By his great revelation at Kanyakumari, he saw the direction his mission in India must take. But how to carry it out? He came to Americamainly to seek material support for his work in India. But over the course of his first year and a half in America, he became convinced that he also had a mission to the West. This posed a tremendous challenge. As he wrote to a disciple in India:

…to put the Hindu ideas into English and then make out of dry philosophy and intricate mythology and queer startling psychology, a religion which shall be easy, simple, popular, and at the same time meet the requirements of the highest minds— is a task only those can understand who have attempted it. The dry, abstract Advaita must become living— poetic— in everyday life; out of hopelessly intricate mythology must come concrete moral forms; and out of bewildering Yogi-ism must come the most scientific and practical psychology—and all this must be put in a form so that a child may grasp it. That is my life’s work. The Lord only knows how far I shall succeed.5

His success in gaining respect for Hinduism in America—at the Parliament of Religions and afterward—stirred up great enthusiasm in India, with almost a national delirium on his return. But how could he transform that enthusiasm into practical work for the regeneration of his country? Even some of his brother disciples thought he was straying from the message of their Master. His struggle, both in the West and on his return to India, shattered his health, but some truly remarkable people flocked to his standard, and he was able to found the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 and Belur Math the following year. A solid foundation had been laid. Hinduism had been given a vital new direction, and Indiawould emerge from her slumber.

Vivekananda’s struggles differed from Beethoven’s, but with both one senses a great, transpersonal force that overrode personal considerations. Their lives were not meant for personal joy or satisfaction, but served as vehicles for something much greater.

Early on, Vivekananda felt a strong impulse toward monastic self-abnegation. His search for truth could not rest satisfied with conventional wisdom or ordinary human success. His hunger for direct and immediate awareness of the divine led him to Ramakrishna, who at once saw his extraordinary potential. Vivekananda’s discipleship was often stormy; he recalled later, “I fought my Master for six long years, with the result that I know every inch of the way!”⁶ And Ramakrishna never resented that fight; rather, he welcomed it. He knew that it indicated Vivekananda’s unflinching honesty and intense yearning for truth.

But as Vivekananda challenged Ramakrishna, so did Ramakrishna challenge Vivekananda. When, after Swamiji experienced divine truth, he wanted to remain immersed in that bliss, Ramakrishna scolded him for his “ordinariness” and foresaw that the disciple would afterward become a great banyan tree giving shelter to countless multitudes. Vivekananda’s life was not about his own fulfillment. He would be the instrument of his Master’s mission.

Much of the beauty of Vivekananda’s life lies in this creative tension between the urge to return to his “own abode” and the inexorable pull of his commission. He could have, and if Ramakrishna had allowed him to do so, might have remained absorbed in samadhi, perhaps in a quiet mountain hermitage. He yearned to do this, but every time he tried to retreat into meditative solitude he was forced to return to the world of human struggle and suffering.

Let us try to imagine what this means. Vivekananda had realized the highest truth—that human beings in essence are divine, perfect in existence, knowledge and bliss. Ordinary spiritual seekers struggle through many years (or lives) to realize this truth, which satisfies and fulfills all human yearnings. Imagine reaching that goal and then being forced to come back down to the plane of suffering, striving and death. My teacher, Swami Pavitrananda, once said, “For a soul like Swami Vivekananda, to take on a human body is itself a crucifixion.”

Through the experience of his own life, Vivekananda came to understand, to appreciate, and to extol the life of struggle and self-sacrifice as a test of true spirituality. He wrote to Margaret Noble (later Sister Nivedita) in 1896:

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… Awake, awake, great ones! The world is burning with misery. Can you sleep? Let us call and call till the sleeping gods awake…⁷

Vivekananda’s view of life, and of humanity, was heroic. He exhorted:

Never mind failures; they are quite natural, they are the beauty of life, these failures. What would life be without them? It would not be worth having if it were not for struggles. Where would be the poetry of life? Never mind the struggles, the mistakes. I never heard a cow tell a lie, but it is only a cow—never a man. So never mind these failures, these little backslidings; hold the ideal a thousand times, and if you fail a thousand times, make the attempt once more.⁸

To a disciple he wrote:

Struggle, struggle, was my motto for the last ten years. Struggle, still say I. When it was all dark, I used to say, struggle; when light is breaking in, I still say, struggle. Be not afraid, my children. Look not up in that attitude of fear towards that infinite starry vault as if it would crush you. Wait! In a few hours more, the whole of it will be under your feet. Wait, 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.⁹

Again, to the same disciple:

Onward! Upon ages of struggle a character is built. Be not discouraged. One word of truth can never be lost; for ages it may be hidden under rubbish, but it will show itself sooner or later. Truth is indestructible, virtue is indestructible, purity is indestructible. Give me a genuine man; I do not want masses of converts. My son, hold fast! Do not care for anybody to help you. Is not the Lord infinitely greater than all human help? Be holy—trust in the Lord, depend on Him always, and you are on the right track; nothing can prevail against you.¹⁰

Indeed, Vivekananda went so far as to say:

It is not truth, but development, that is the great aim. The struggle is the great lesson. Mind you, the great benefit in this life is struggle. It is through that we pass. If there is any road to Heaven, it is through Hell. Through Hell to Heaven is always the way. When the soul has wrestled with circumstance and has met death, a thousand times death on the way, but nothing daunted has struggled forward again and again and yet again—then the soul comes out as a giant and laughs at the ideal he has been struggling for, because he finds how much greater is he than the ideal. I am the end, my own Self, and nothing else…¹¹

Reading these sayings, one can share the exaltation Romain Rolland felt on reading them, and feel with him that they are great music.

Does it trivialize religion to compare a great saint or an Incarnation with a great artist? Can Christ be compared to Shakespeare? In reply one can say that art and religion are different aspects of human life, but for fullness of development, both are necessary. Indeed, both are intrinsic to human nature. Their presence, evident in the earliest human records—cave paintings and other artifacts from tens of thousands of years ago—is what distinguishes humans from other forms of life. I remember how thrilled I was some years ago to hear music played on a 32,000-year-old flute, part of an exhibit of Cro-Magnon art and artifacts at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Ramakrishna and Vivekananda both valued art. Vivekananda said:

There must be Art in everything… The difference between architecture and building is that the former expresses an idea, while the latter is merely a structure built on economical principles. The value of matter depends solely on its capacities of expressing ideas.

The artistic faculty was highly developed in our Lord Shri Ramakrishna, and he used to say that without this faculty none can be truly spiritual.¹²

Ramakrishna himself once said: “He who sings well, plays well on a musical instrument, or has mastered any one art, has in him real substance and the power of God.¹³” Krishna says in the Gita: “Whatever in this world is powerful, beautiful, or glorious, that you may know to have come forth from a fraction of my power and glory.” (10:41) In paraphrase one could say: To the extent that art expresses power, beauty or glory, it partakes of the divine.

Great music can take us beyond ourselves. Through it, we can glimpse a realm of ideal form, beauty and meaning; we can go beyond the drabness and pettiness of ordinary life. But for that glimpse to truly transform our lives, spiritual grounding—ongoing spiritual effort—is necessary. Art by itself is not enough.

Footnotes

¹ The Life of Swami Vivekananda by His Eastern and Western Disciples, (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1979), Vol. I, p. 281.
² Romain Rolland, The Life of Ramakrishna (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1947), p. 8.
³ Romain Rolland, The Life of Vivekananda and the Universal Gospel (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1947), p. 162.
⁴ This incident was recorded by Beethoven’s student and assistant, Ferdinand Ries.
⁵ Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1979), V: 104-105.
⁶ The Master as I Saw Him, from The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita, Vol. I (Calcutta: Sister Nivedita Girls School, 1967), p. 22.
⁷ CW of Vivekananda, VII: 501.
⁸ CW, II: 152.
⁹ CW, IV: 367.
¹⁰ CW, V: 57.
¹¹ Ibid., 252.
¹² Ibid., 259.
¹³ The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, tr. by Swami Nikhilananda (New York, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942), p. 561.


JOHN SCHLENCK, a composer of music, is Associate Editor of American Vedantist and Secretary-Treasurer of Vedanta West Communications. He is a resident member and Secretary of the Vedanta Society of New York.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

WHATEVER IN MY TEACHING MAY APPEAL TO THE HIGHEST INTELLIGENCE AND BE ACCEPTED BY THINKING MEN, THE ADOPTION OF THAT WILL BE MY REWARD - TRUTH STANDS ON ITS OWN AUTHORITY, AND TRUTH CAN BEAR THE LIGHT OF DAY



Q: "Then you are connected with no society or sect in this country? Neither Theosophical nor Christian Scientist, nor any other?"

Swamiji: "None whatever!" said the Swami in clear and impressive tones. (His face lights up like that of a child, it is so simple, straightforward and honest.) "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." "All religions", he continued, "have for their object the teaching either of devotion, knowledge, or Yoga, in a concrete form. Now, the philosophy of Vedanta is the abstract science which embraces all these methods, and this it is that I teach, leaving each one to apply it to his own concrete form. I refer each individual to his own experiences, and where reference is made to books, the latter are procurable, and may be studied by each one for himself. Above all, I teach no authority proceeding from hidden beings speaking through visible agents, any more than I claim learning from hidden books or manuscripts. I am the exponent of no occult societies, nor do I believe that good can come of such bodies. Truth stands on its own authority, and truth can bear the light of day."

- Swami Vivekananda
AN INDIAN YOGI IN LONDON
(The Westminster Gazette, 23rd October, 1895)

SIMILARLY, YOU MORE THAN IMPLY THAT THE BODY IS THE CHIEF PART OF MAN BY SAYING IT POSSESSES A SOUL. WHEREAS WE SAY A MAN IS A SOUL AND POSSESSES A BODY.


Swamiji: " It is no new thing", said the Swami composedly, "that India should send forth missionaries. She used to do so under the Emperor Asoka, in the days when the Buddhist faith was young, when she had something to teach the surrounding nation."

Q: "Well, might one ask why she ever ceased doing so, and why she has now begun again?"

Swamiji: "She ceased because she grew selfish, forgot the principle that nations and individuals alike subsist and prosper by a system of give and take. Her mission to the world has always been the same. It is spiritual, the realm of introspective thought has been hers through all the ages; abstract science, metaphysics, logic, are her special domain. In reality, my mission to England is an outcome of England's to India. It has been hers to conquer, to govern, to use her knowledge of physical science to her advantage and ours. In trying to sum up India's contribution to the world, I am reminded of a Sanskrit and an English idiom. When you say a man dies, your phrase is, 'He gave up the ghost', whereas we say, 'He gave up the body'. Similarly, you more than imply that the body is the chief part of man by saying it possesses a soul. Whereas we say a man is a soul and possesses a body. These are but small ripples on the surface, yet they show the current of your national thought. I should like to remind you how Schopenhauer predicted that the influence of Indian philosophy upon Europe would be as momentous when it became well known as was the revival of Greek and Latin learning at the close of the Dark Ages. Oriental research is making great progress; a new world of ideas is opening to the seeker after truth."

- Swami Vivekananda
INDIAN MISSIONARY'S MISSION TO ENGLAND
(The Echo, London, 1896)

MY MISSION IS TO SHOW THAT RELIGION IS EVERYTHING AND IN EVERYTHING .....DEPEND ON IT, RELIGION GOES TO THE ROOT OF THE MATTER. IF IT IS RIGHT, ALL IS RIGHT


 Q: "Will your message take them oftener to church?"

Swamiji: "I scarcely think it will. Since I have nothing whatever to do with ritual or dogma; my mission is to show that religion is everything and in everything. . . . And what can we say of the system here in England? Everything goes to show that Socialism or some ...form of rule by the people, call it what you w ill, is coming on the boards. The people will certainly want the satisfaction of their material needs, less work, no oppression, no war, more food. What guarantee have we that this or any civilisation will last, unless it is based on religion, on the goodness of man? Depend on it, religion goes to the root of the matter. If it is right, all is right."

- Swami Vivekananda
INDIAN MISSIONARY'S MISSION TO ENGLAND
(The Echo, London, 1896)

Friday, April 20, 2012

WHERE DO YOU FIND THE INDIAN SOCIETY STANDING STILL ? IT IS ALWAYS ON THE MOVE. I TELL THEM THAT THEY HAVE DONE WELL. I ONLY ASK THEM TO DO BETTER


Q: "But if the present degraded condition is due to their past Karma, Swamiji, how do you think they could get out of it easily, and how do you propose to help them?"

The Swamiji readily answered "Karma is the eternal assertion of human freedom. If we can bring ourselves down by our Karma, surely it is in our power to raise ourselves by it. The masses, besides, have not brought themselves down altogether by their own Karma. So we should give them better environments to work in.

No time should be lost. Indian caste is better than the caste which prevails in Europe or America. I do not say it is absolutely good. Where would you be if there were no caste? Where would be your learning and other things, if there were no caste? There would be nothing left for the Europeans to study if caste had never existed! The Mohammedans would have smashed everything to pieces. Where do you find the Indian society standing still? It is always on the move. Sometimes, as in the times of foreign invasions, the movement has been slow, at other times quicker. This is what I say to my countrymen. I do not condemn them. I look into their past. I find that under the circumstances no nation could do more glorious work. I tell them that they have done well. I only ask them to do better."

- Swami Vivekananda
THE ABROAD AND THE PROBLEMS AT HOME
(The Hindu, Madras, February, 1897)


 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

IT ALL DEPENDS UPON THE ZEAL AND THE SELF-SACRIFICE BROUGHT TO THE TASK


"What will you propose for the improvement of our masses?"

"We have to give them secular education. We have to follow the plan laid down by our ancestors, that is, to bring all the ideals slowly down among the masses. Raise them slowly up, raise them to equality. Impart even secular knowledge through religion."

"But do you think, Swamiji, it is a task that can be easily accomplished?"

"It will, of course, have gradually to be worked out. But if there are enough self-sacrificing young fellows, who, I hope, will work with me, it can be done tomorrow. It all depends upon the zeal and the self-sacrifice brought to the task."

- Swami Vivekananda
THE ABROAD AND THE PROBLEMS AT HOME
(The Hindu, Madras, February, 1897)


WHEN YOU HAVE MEN WHO ARE READY TO SACRIFICE THEIR EVERYTHING FOR THEIR COUNTRY, SINCERE TO THE BACKBONE - WHEN SUCH MEN ARISE, INDIA WILL BECOME GREAT IN EVERY RESPECT.



Q: "What is the key to Japan's sudden greatness?"

Swamiji: "The faith of the Japanese in themselves, and their love for their country. When you have men who are ready to sacrifice their everything for their country, sincere to the backbone — when such men arise, India will become great in every respect. It is the men that make the country! What is there in the country? If you catch the social morality and the political morality of the Japanese, you will be as great as they are. The Japanese are ready to sacrifice everything for their country, and they have become a great people. But you are not; you cannot be, you sacrifice everything only for your own families and possessions."

- Swami Vivekananda
THE ABROAD AND THE PROBLEMS AT HOME
 (The Hindu, Madras, February, 1897)

NONE WHATEVER, UNTILL ALL THE THREE HUNDRED MILLIONS OF INDIA COMBINE TOGETHER AS A WHOLE NATION.




"What did you see in Japan, and is there any chance of India following in the progressive steps of Japan?"

"None whatever, until all the three hundred millions of India combine together as a whole nation. The world has never seen such a patriotic and artistic race as the Japanese, and one special feature about them is this that while in Europe and elsewhere Art generally goes with dirt, Japanese Art is Art plus absolute cleanliness. I would wish that every one of our young men could visit Japan once at least in his lifetime. It is very easy to go there. The Japanese think that everything Hindu is great and believe that India is a holy land. Japanese Buddhism is entirely different from what you see in Ceylon. It is the same as Vedanta. It is positive and theistic Buddhism, not the negative atheistic Buddhism of Ceylon.

- Swami Vivekananda
THE ABROAD AND THE PROBLEMS AT HOME
(The Hindu, Madras, February, 1897)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MY IDEA AS TO THE KEYNOTE OF OUR NATIONAL DOWNFALL IS THAT WE DO NOT MIX WITH OTHER NATIONS - THAT IS THE ONE AND THE SOLE CAUSE.


Q: "What made Your Holiness carry the mission of Hinduism to Western countries?"
Ans: "I wanted to get experience. My idea as to the keynote of our national downfall is that we do not mix with other nations — that is the one and the sole cause. We never had opportunity to compare notes. We were Kupa-Mandukas (frogs in a well)."

- Swami Vivekananda
THE MISSIONARY WORK OF THE FIRST HINDU SANNYASIN TO THE WEST AND HIS PLAN OF REGENERATION OF INDIA
 (Madras Times, February, 1897)

YOU HAVE THE GREATEST RILIGION WHICH THE WORLD EVER SAW, AND YOU FEED THE MASSES WITH STUFF AND NONSENSE


"My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation, out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions. I have formulated the idea and have given my life to it. If I do not achieve success, some better one will come after me to work it out, and I shall be content to struggle. The one problem you have is to give to the masses their rights. You have the greatest religion which the world ever saw, and you feed the masses with stuff and nonsense. You have the perennial fountain flowing, and you give them ditch-water. Your Madras graduate would not touch a low-caste man, but is ready to get out of him the money for his education. I want to start at first these two institutions for educating missionaries to be both spiritual and secular instructors to our masses. They will spread from centre to centre, until we have covered the whole of India. The great thing is to have faith in oneself, even before faith in God; but the difficulty seems to be that we are losing faith in ourselves day by day. That is my objection against the reformers. The orthodox have more faith and more strength in themselves, in spite of their crudeness; but the reformers simply play into the hands of Europeans and pander to their vanity. Our masses are gods as compared with those of other countries. This is the only country where poverty is not a crime. They are mentally and physically handsome; but we hated and hated them till they have lost faith in themselves. They think they are born slaves. Give them their rights, and let them stand on their rights. This is the glory of the American civilization. Compare the Irishman with knees bent, half-starved, with a little stick and bundle of clothes, just arrived from the ship, with what he is, after a few months' stay in America. He walks boldly and bravely. He has come from a country where he was a slave to a country where he is a brother.
"Believe that the soul is immortal, infinite and all-powerful. My idea of education is personal contact with the teacher - Gurugriha-Vâsa. Without the personal life of a teacher there would be no education. Take your Universities. What have they done during the fifty years of their existences. They have not produced one original man. They are merely an examining body. The idea of the sacrifice for the common weal is not yet developed in our nation."

- Swami Vivekananda
THE MISSIONARY WORK OF THE FIRST HINDU SANNYASIN TO THE WEST AND HIS PLAN OF REGENERATION OF INDIA
 (Madras Times, February, 1897)

I CONSIDER THAT THE GREAT NATIONAL SIN IS THE NEGLECT OF THE MASSES, AND THAT IS ONE OF THE CAUSES OF OUR DOWNFALL. NO AMOUNT OF POLITICS WOULD BE OF ANY AVAIL UNTIL THE MASSES IN INDIA ARE ONCE MORE WELL EDUCATED, WELL FED, AND WELL CARED FOR.


Q: "What do you intend doing for the regeneration of India?"

Swamiji: "I consider that the great national sin is the neglect of the masses, and that is one of the causes of our downfall. No amount of politics would be of any avail until the masses in India are once more well educated, well fed, and well cared for. They pay for our education, they build our temples, but in return they get kicks. They are practically our slaves. If we want to regenerate India, we must work for them. I want to start two central institutions at first — one at Madras and the other at Calcutta — for training young men as preachers. I have funds for starting the Calcutta one. English people will find funds for my purpose.

"My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation, out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions. I have formulated the idea and have given my life to it. If I do not achieve success, some better one will come after me to work it out, and I shall be content to struggle. The one problem you have is to give to the masses their rights. You have the greatest religion which the world ever saw, and you feed the masses with stuff and nonsense. You have the perennial fountain flowing, and you give them ditch-water. Your Madras graduate would not touch a low-caste man, but is ready to get out of him the money for his education. I want to start at first these two institutions for educating missionaries to be both spiritual and secular instructors to our masses. They will spread from centre to centre, until we have covered the whole of India. The great thing is to have faith in oneself, even before faith in God; but the difficulty seems to be that we are losing faith in ourselves day by day. That is my objection against the reformers. The orthodox have more faith and more strength in themselves, in spite of their crudeness; but the reformers simply play into the hands of Europeans and pander to their vanity. Our masses are gods as compared with those of other countries. This is the only country where poverty is not a crime. They are mentally and physically handsome; but we hated and hated them till they have lost faith in themselves. They think they are born slaves. Give them their rights, and let them stand on their rights. This is the glory of the American civilization. Compare the Irishman with knees bent, half-starved, with a little stick and bundle of clothes, just arrived from the ship, with what he is, after a few months' stay in America. He walks boldly and bravely. He has come from a country where he was a slave to a country where he is a brother.

"Believe that the soul is immortal, infinite and all-powerful. My idea of education is personal contact with the teacher - Gurugriha-Vâsa. Without the personal life of a teacher there would be no education. Take your Universities. What have they done during the fifty years of their existences. They have not produced one original man. They are merely an examining body. The idea of the sacrifice for the common weal is not yet developed in our nation."

- Swami Vivekananda
THE MISSIONARY WORK OF THE FIRST HINDU SANNYASIN TO THE WEST AND HIS PLAN OF REGENERATION OF INDIA
(Madras Times, February, 1897)

THE NATIONAL IDEALS OF INDIA ARE RENUNCIATION AND SERVICE. INTENSIFY HER IN THOSE CHANNELS, AND THE REST WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSELF


 Swamiji Ans : "That is not for me to determine", said the Swami. "I have never preached personalities. My own life is guided by the enthusiasm of this great soul; but others will decide for themselves how far they share in this attitude. Inspiration is not filtered out to the world through one channel, however great. Each generation should be insp...ired afresh. Are we not all God?"

Q: "Thank you. I have only one question more to ask you. You have defined the attitude and function of your movement with regard to your own people. Could you in the same way characterise your methods of action as a whole?"

Ans: "Our method", said the Swami, "is very easily described. It simply consists in reasserting the national life. Buddha preached renunciation. India heard, and yet in six centuries she reached heir greatest height. The secret lies there. The national. ideals of India are RENUNCIATION and SERVICE. Intensify her in those channels, and the rest will take care of itself. The banner of the spiritual cannot be raised too high in this country. In it alone is salvation.

- Swami Vivekananda
REAWAKENING OF HINDUISM ON A NATIONAL BASIS
(Prabuddha Bharata, September, 1898)

MY OWN LIFE IS GUIDED BY THIS ENTHUSIASM OF THIS GREAT SOUL; BUT OTHERS WILL DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES HOW FAR THEY SHARE IN THIS ATTITUDE



"It is a curious thing", continued the Swami, "that the inner life is often most profoundly developed where the outer conditions are most cramping and limiting. But this is an accidental — not an essential — association, and if we set ourselves right here in India, the world will be 'tightened'. For are we not all one?"

"Your last remarks, Swamiji, raise another question. In what sense is Shri Ramakrishna a part of this awakened Hinduism?"

"That is not for me to determine", said the Swami. "I have never preached personalities. My own life is guided by the enthusiasm of this great soul; but others will decide for themselves how far they share in this attitude. Inspiration is not filtered out to the world through one channel, however great. Each generation should be inspired afresh. Are we not all God?"

- Swami Vivekananda
REAWAKENING OF HINDUISM ON A NATIONAL BASIS
 (Prabuddha Bharata, September, 1898)


 

CERTAINLY. CAN YOU ADDUCE ANY REASON WHY INDIA SHOULD LIE IN THE EBB-TIDE OF THE ARYAN NATIONS ? IS SHE INFERIOR IN INTELLECT ? IS SHE INFERIOR IN DEXTERITY ?


 Q:Then what you really desire is national efficiency?

Swamiji Ans: "Certainly. Can you adduce any reason why India should lie in the ebb-tide of the Aryan nations? Is she inferior in intellect? Is she inferior in dexterity? Can you look at her art, at her mathematics, at her philosophy, and answer 'yes'? All that is ...needed is that she should de-hypnotise herself and wake up from her age-long sleep to take her true rank in the hierarchy of nations."

Q: "But India has always had her deep inner life. Are you not afraid, Swamiji, that in attempting to make her active you may take from her, her one great treasure?"

Swamiji Ans: "Not at all. The history of the past has gone to develop the inner life of India and the activity (i.e. the outer life) of the West. Hitherto these have been divergent. The time has now come for them to unite. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was alive to the depths of being, yet on the outer plane who was more active? This is the secret. Let your life be as deep as the ocean, but let it also be as wide as the sky.

- Swami Vivekananda
REAWAKENING OF HINDUISM ON A NATIONAL BASIS
(Prabuddha Bharata, September, 1898)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ABSOLUTE ONENESS IS THE VERY SOUL OF VEDANTA


A real Vedantist must sympathise with all. Monism, or absolute oneness is the very soul of Vedanta.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 7/Inspired Talks/Wednesday, July 3, 1895

YOU WILL ATTAIN A HEAVENLY STRENGHT IN THE FACE OF WHICH MEN WILL QUAIL TO SPEAK BEFORE YOU THINGS WHICH YOU DO NOT BELIEVE TO BE TRUE.


 This attempt at compromise proceeds from arrant downright cowardice. Be bold! My children should be brave, above all. Not the least compromise on any account. Preach the highest truths broadcast. Do not fear losing your respect or causing unhappy friction. Rest assured that if you serve truth in spite of temptations to forsake it, you will ...attain a heavenly strength in the face of which men will quail to speak before you things which you do not believe to be true. People will be convinced of what you will say to them if you can strictly serve truth for fourteen years continually, without swerving from it. Thus you will confer the greatest blessing on the masses, unshackle their bandages, and uplift the whole nation.

BE BOLD! MY CHILDREN SHOULD BE BRAVE, ABOVE ALL.

- Swami Vivekanadna
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Notes from Lectures and Discourses/The Evils of Adhikarivada

A SANNYASIN CANNOT BELONG TO ANY RELIGION, FOR HIS IS A LIFE OF INDEPENDENT THOUGHT, WHICH DRAWS FROM ALL RELIGIONS; HIS IS A LIFE OF REALISATION, NOT MERELY OF THEORY OR BELIEF, MUCH LESS OF DOGMA.


In explanation of the term Sannyâsin, the Swami in the course of one of his lectures in Boston said:
When a man has fulfilled the duties and obligations of that stage of life in which he is born, and his aspirations lead him to seek a spiritual life and to abandon altogether the worldly pursuits of possession, fame, or power, when, by the growth of insight into the nature of the world, he sees its impermanence, its strife, its misery, and the paltry nature of its prizes, and turns away from all these — then he seeks the True, the Eternal Love, the Refuge. He makes complete renunciation (Sannyâsa) of all worldly position, property, and name, and wanders forth into the world to live a life of self-sacrifice and to persistently seek spiritual knowledge, striving to excel in love and compassion and to acquire lasting insight. Gaining these pearls of wisdom by years of meditation, discipline, and inquiry, he in his turn becomes a teacher and hands on to disciples, lay or professed, who may seek them from him, all that he can of wisdom and beneficence.
A Sannyasin cannot belong to any religion, for his is a life of independent thought, which draws from all religions; his is a life of realisation, not merely of theory or belief, much less of dogma.
- Swami Vivekanadna
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Notes from Lectures and Discourses/The Sannyasin

Monday, April 16, 2012

WHEN EVIL THOUGHTS ARISE, REPEAT THAT, GIVE THAT SLEDGE-HAMMER BLOW ON THEIR HEADS, " I AM SPIRIT! I AM WITNESS, THE EVER - BLESSED!


No breathing, no physical training of Yoga, nothing is of any use until you reach to the idea, "I am the Witness." Say, when the tyrant hand is on your neck, "I am the Witness! I am the Witness!" Say, "I am the Spirit! Nothing external can touch me." When evil thoughts arise, repeat that, give that sledge-hammer blow on their heads, "I am the Spirit! I am the Witness, the Ever-Blessed! I have no reason to do, no reason to suffer, I have finished with everything, I am the Witness. I am in my picture gallery — this universe is my museum, I am looking at these successive paintings. They are all beautiful. Whether good or evil. I see the marvellous skill, but it is all one. Infinite flames of the Great Painter!" Really speaking, there is naught — neither volition, nor desire. He is all. He — She — the Mother, is playing, and we are like dolls, Her helpers in this play. Here, She puts one now in the garb of a beggar, another moment in the garb of a king, the next moment in the garb of a saint, and again in the garb of a devil. We are putting on different garbs to help the Mother Spirit in Her play.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Notes from Lectures and Discourses/Sadhanas or Preparations for Higher Life

IN THIS BETTLEFIELD OF OURS, THE DUST OF MISTAKES MUST BE RAISED. THOSE WHO ARE SO THIN-SKINNED THAT THEY CANNOT BEAR THE DUST, LET THEM GET OUT OF THE RANKS


There is nothing that is absolutely evil. The devil has a place here as well as God, else he would not be here. Just as I told you, it is through Hell that we pass to Heaven. Our mistakes have places here. Go on! Do not look back if you think you have done something that is not right. Now, do you believe you could be what you are today, had you not made those mistakes before? Bless your mistakes, then. They have been angels unawares. Blessed be torture! Blessed be happiness! Do not care what be your lot. Hold on to the ideal. March on! Do not look back upon little mistakes and things. In this battlefield of ours, the dust of mistakes must be raised. Those who are so thin-skinned that they cannot bear the dust, let them get out of the ranks.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Notes from Lectures and Discourses/Sadhanas or Preparations for Higher Life

Sunday, April 15, 2012

WHEN THE SOUL HAS WRESTLED WITH CIRCUMSTANCE AND HAS MET DEATH, A THOUSAND TIMES DEATH ON THE WAY, BUT NOTHING DAUNTED HAS STRUGGLED FORWARD AGAIN AND AGAIN AND YET AGAIN ....


Through Hell to Heaven is always the way. When the soul has wrestled with circumstance and has met death, a thousand times death on the way, but nothing daunted has struggled forward again and again and yet again — then the soul comes out as a giant and laughs at the ideal he has been struggling for, because he finds how much greater is he than the ideal. I am the end, my own Self, and nothing else, for what is there to compare to me own Self? Can a bag of gold be the ideal of my Soul? Certainly not! My Soul is the highest ideal that I can have. Realising my own real nature is the one goal of my life.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Notes from Lectures and Discourses/Sadhanas or Preparations for Higher Life

MIND YOU, THE GREAT BENEFIT IN THIS LIFE IS STRUGGLE. IT IS THROUGH THAT WE PASS. IF THERE IS ANY ROAD IN HEAVEN, IT IS THROUGH HELL. THROUGH HELL TO HEAVEN IS ALWAYS THE WAY.


That is the one great first step — the real desire for the ideal. Everything comes easy after that. That the Indian mind found out; there, in India, men go to any length to find truth. But here, in the West, the difficulty is that everything is made so easy. It is not truth, but development, that is the great aim. The struggle is the great lesson. Mind you, the great benefit in this life is struggle. It is through that we pass. If there is any road to Heaven, it is through Hell. Through Hell to Heaven is always the way.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Notes from Lectures and Discourses/Sadhanas or Preparations for Higher Life

SHIVAJI - A DEDICATED LIFE by SADHU VASWANI

{ April 6 [ 3 rd ] is sacred as Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’ Anniversary } 

At the dawn of a new period in Indian history, stands the figure of this simple, stately man, Shivaji. I gazed at his portrait from a distance: and I said to myself: “What a force, SHAKTI, went out of this leader of the Mahratha people, this Hero of Hindustan!"


Three centuries ago was he born in a India, distracted, disunited. God, the Great Builder of India's Destiny, gave him strength to lift high his nation. His memory is one of the richest treasures of the Indian people.

Shivaji understood the masses: he understood, too, the SOUL of the people. And they heard his voice: “From the dangers ahead of us, only strength can save us; and strength must be united."

By the alchemy of his genius, he changed into something new and strange the simple stuff of the peasant and the mountaineer of his native land. Even Aurangzed paid homage to his memory as that of a “Great Captain".

His life was moulded by these two forces: (1) Matrashakti: reverence for his mother, (2) Guru Bhakti: devotion to his Guru or Spiritual Teacher. Mothers make a nation. And Shivaji owed much to his mother, Jijabai.

The noblest thoughts my soul can claim, The holiest words my tongue can frame, Unworthy are to praise the name, So sacred and so sweet, The blessed name: “Mother".

Self - respect, sympathy, national tradition, stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, dharma, “religion", and love for the poor, these were impressed by her upon Shivaji's personality. Sant Ramdas, too, influenced Shivaji. Ramdas taught Shivaji to defend religion, to guard the country and protect the people from harm. Shivaji kept his pledge to the Guru. Shivaji dedicated himself to the service of his people.

Not literate yet wise, he moved from place to place, a servant of his Guru, with the Flame of Freedom in his soul, with the Dream of Independence in his eyes.

A great soldier, a great organizer, a great statesman, Shivaji was still greater as a man. He recognized the supremacy of the Spiritual Ideal. He placed Dharma above might and glory. Shivaji was, at heart, a deeply religious man.

He carved out a kingdom. Then he came to his Guru Ramdas, and said:" Master! the kingdom is yours. Accept it!" Ramdas said: “Shivaji, my son! I give thee back this kingdom as a trust!" Shivaji believed profoundly that he held his “Raj" as a trust from his Guru for the service of the people.

Modest, simple, chivalrous to women, generous to his foes, penetrated with a spirit of religion, Shivaji was essentially a friend of the poor. He had time for small things, too.

Do I err in regarding him as one of the few really great Rulers in all history? His fame will not be dimmed but will, I believe, grow in the coming days. For upon INDIA is come an Awakening that cannot die. And the story of his life is eloquent with the message: Fear none! Fear but one thing, unfaith in your Destiny! For unfaith is Death.

In Shivaji's heart was love immense for the poor. If there is one religion which India and the nations need today, it is the religion of service and sacrifice.

“So many Gods, so many creeds. So many ways that wind and wind, While just the art of being kind, is all this sad world needs!"

In 1680, Shivaji was on his deathbed. His friends and relatives were around him and they wept. He consoled them. “Weep not, “he said,” life is short; liberty's work is incomplete: I go. "

For peasants and the village folk wanted Shivaji: for them he wandered from place to place. How many of India's youths are ready today to dedicate themselves to the service of the peasants and the village-folk? Cities are soul-less: in the hearts of the poor and the humble village-folk is the holy shrine of Freedom.


 

FOR THIS IS THE ONE GREAT FRIEND, OUR OWN GOOD DEEDS, OUT OWN SPIRITUAL EXCELLENCE, THAT FOLLOWS US BEYOND THE GRAVE. EVERYTHING ELSE IS LEFT BEHIND HERE WITH THE BODY.


How some people give all their energies, time, brain, body, and everything, to become rich! They have no time for breakfast! Early in the morning they are out and at work! They die in the attempt — ninety per cent of them — and the rest when they make money, cannot enjoy it. That is grand! I do not say it is bad to try to be rich. It is marvellous, wonderful. Why, what does it show? It shows that one can have the same amount of energy and struggle for freedom as one has for money. We know we have to give up money and all other things when we die, and yet, see the amount of energy we can put forth for them. But we, the same human beings, should we not put forth a thousandfold more strength and energy to acquire that which never fades, but which remains to us for ever? For this is the one great friend, our own good deeds, our own spiritual excellence, that follows us beyond the grave. Everything else is left behind here with the body.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Notes from Lectures and Discourses/Sadhanas or Preparations for Higher Life

Saturday, April 14, 2012

LIVE FOR AN IDEAL, AND THAT ONE IDEAL ALONE. LET IT BE SO GREAT, SO STRONG, THAT THERE MAY BE NOTHING ELSE LEFT IN THE MIND; NO PLACE FOR ANYTHING ELSE, NO TIME FOR ANY THING ELSE


Fortune is like a flirt; she cares not for him who wants her, but she is at the feet of him who does not care for her. Money comes and showers itself upon one who does not care for it; so does fame come in abundance until it is a trouble and a burden. They always come to the Master. The slave never gets anything. The Master is he who can live in spite of them, whose life does not depend upon the little, foolish things of the world. Live for an ideal, and that one ideal alone. Let it be so great, so strong, that there may be nothing else left in the mind; no place for anything else, no time for anything else.

- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Notes from Lectures and Discourses/Sadhanas or Preparations for Higher Life

HE, WHO REMAINS AWAKE, TO KEEP HIS VIGIL, IS INDEED THE BLESSED ONE!


 The whole world, slumbers in the stupor of sleep, says Nuri, And lost is the poor world, in dealings of forgetfulness!

The entire world is nothing but a dream; so wake up? wake up?

He, who remains awake, to keep his vigil, is indeed the blessed one!

- NURI GRANTH pages 55 - 56

JEWELS - THOSE WHO WITH TRUST AND FORTITUDE....


Those who with trust and fortitude, have borne all hardships, Did find the raft of faith; And in the midst of the waves, they climbed thereon, And they did reach the destination, says Nuri Nimani!

- NURI GRANTH pages 55 - 56

Friday, April 13, 2012

THE CHASTE BRAIN HAS TREMENDOUS ENERGY AND GIGANTIC WILL - POWER. WITHOUT CHASTITY THERE CAN BE NO SPIRITUAL STRENGHT.


ब्रह्मचर्यप्रतिष्ठायां वीर्यलाभः ॥३८॥

38. By the establishment of continence energy is gained.

The chaste brain has tremendous energy and gigantic will-power. Without chastity there can be no spiritual strength. Continence gives wonderful control over mankind. The spiritual leaders of men have been very continent, and this is what gave them power. Therefore the Yogi must be continent.
- Swami Vivekanadna
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 1/Raja-Yoga/Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms - Concentration: Its Practice

THE MORE YOU FLY FROM NATURE, THE MORE SHE FOLLOWS YOU; AND IF YOU DO NOT CARE FOR HER AT ALL, SHE BECOMES YOUR SLAVE.


अस्तेयप्रतिष्ठायां सर्वरत्नोपस्थानम् ॥३७॥

37. By the establishment of non-stealing all wealth comes to the Yogi.

The more you fly from nature, the more she follows you; and if you do not care for her at all, she becomes your slave.
- Swami Vivekanadna
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 1/Raja-Yoga/Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms - Concentration: Its Practice

Thursday, April 12, 2012

BUT THE LIFE OF BUDDHA SHOWS THAT EVEN A MAN WHO DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD, HAS NO METAPHYSICS, BELONGS TO NO SECT, AND DOES NOT GO TO ANY CHURCH, OR TEMPLE, EVEN HE CAN ATTAIN TO THE HIGHEST


To many the path becomes easier if they believe in God. But the life of Buddha shows that even a man who does not believe in God, has no metaphysics, belongs to no sect, and does not go to any church, or temple, and is a confessed materialist, even he can attain to the highest. We have no right to judge him. I wish I had one infinitesimal part of Buddha's heart. Buddha may or may not have believed in God; that does not matter to me. He reached the same state of perfection to which others come by Bhakti — love of God — Yoga, or Jnâna. Perfection does not come from belief or faith. Talk does not count for anything. Parrots can do that. Perfection comes through the disinterested performance of action.
- Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 4/Lectures and Discourses/On Lord Buddha