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The Wisdom Of Vivekananda

( Originally Published 1939 )



BE brave and sincere; then follow any path with devotion and you must reach the Whole.

ONE-SIDEDNESS is the bane of the world. The more sides you can develop, the more souls you have and you can see the universe through all souls.

INDIVIDUALITY IS my motto. I have no ambition beyond training individuals. I know very little; that littIe I teach without reserve; where I am ignorant I confess it as such; I am a Sannyasin. As such I hold myself as a servant, not as a Master in this world.

KNOW you are the Infinite, then fear must die. Say ever "I and my Father are one."

UNTIL you are ready to change any minute you can never see the truth; but you must hold fast and be steady in the search for truth.

MATERIALISM says, "The voice of freedom is a delusion." Idealism says, "The voice that teIIs of bondage is delusion." Vedanta says, "You are free and not free at the same time; never free on the earthly plane, but ever free on the spiritual. Be beyond both freedom and bondage."

THE greatest sin Is to think yourself weak. No one is greater; realize you are Brahman. Nothing has power except what you give it. We are beyond the sun, the stars, the universe. Teach the Godhood of man. Deny evil, create none. Stand up and say, "I am the master, the master of all." We forge the chain and we alone can break it.

THE whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you free.

PHILOSOPHY in India means that through which we see God, the rationale of religion; so no Hindu would ever ask for a link between religion and Philosophy.

No law can make you free, you are free. Nothing can give you freedom, if you have it not already. The Atman is self-iIIumined. Cause and effect do not reach there, and this disembodiedness is freedom. Beyond what was, or is, or is to be, is Brahman. As an effect, freedom would have no value: it would be a compound, and as such would contain the seeds of bondage. It is the one real factor, not to be attained, but the real nature of the soul.

UNCHASTE imagination is as bad as unchaste action, Controlled desire leads to the highest result. Transform the sexual energy into spirituaI energy, but do not emasculate, because that is throwing away the' power. The stronger this force, the more can be done with it.

NEITHER seek nor avoid, take what comes, It is liberty to be affected by nothing; do not merely endure, be unattached. Remember the story of the bull. A mosquito sat long on the horn of a certain bull; then his conscience troubled him and he said: "Mr. Bull, I have been sitting here a long time, perhaps I annoy you. I am sorry, I will go away." But the bull replied: "Oh, no, not at all! Bring your whole family and live on my horn; what can you do to me?"

THOSE who give themselves up to the Lord do more for the world than all the so-called workers. One man who has purified himself thoroughly accomplishes more than a regiment of preachers. Out of purity and silence comes the word of power.

Go into your own room and get the Upanishads out of your Self. You are the greatest book that ever was or ever will be, the infinite depositary of all that is. Until the inner teacher opens, aII outside teaching is in vain. It must lead to the opening of the book of the heart to have any value.

THE will is the "still small voice," the real ruler, . . . The will can be made strong in thousands of ways; every way is a kind of Yoga, but the systematised Yoga accomplishes the work more quickly. Bhakti, Karma, Raja and Jnana Yoga get over the ground more effectively. Put on all head of steam, and reach the goal. The sooner, the better.

NEVER forget the glory of human nature. We are the greatest God that ever was or ever will be. Christs and Buddhas are but waves on the boundless ocean which I am.

THE wicked pay the price of the great soul's holiness. Think of that when you see a wicked man. Just as the poor man's labour pays for the rich man's luxury, so is it in the spiritual world. The terrible degradation of the masses in India is the price Nature pays for the production of great souls like Mirabai, Buddha, etc.

THE old idea was, "Develop one idea at the expense of all the rest. The modern way is, "Harmonious development.

TAKE everyone where he stands and push him forward. Religious teaching must always be constructive, not destructive.

EACH tendency shows the life work of the past, the line or radius along which that man must move. All radii lead to the center. Never attempt to disturb anyone's tendencies; to do that puts back both teacher and taught. When you teach Jnanam, you must become a Jnani and stand mentally exactly where the taught stands. Similarly in every other Yoga. Develop every other faculty as if it were the only one possessed; this is the secret of so-called harmonious development. That is, get extensity with intensity, but not at its expense.

THE true teacher is one who can throw his whole force into the tendency of the taught.

CLEANSE the mind, this is all of religion; . . The baby sees no sin; he has not yet the measure of it in himself. Get rid of the defects within yourself and you will not be able to see any without. A baby sees robbery done and it means nothing to him. Once you find the hidden object in a puzzle picture, you see it ever more; so when once you are free and stainless, you see only freedom and purity in the world around. That moment all the knots of the heart are cut asunder, all crooked places are made straight and this world vanishes as a dream. And when we awake, we wonder how we ever came to dream such trash.

WITH the axe of knowledge cut the wheels asunder and the Atman stands free, even though the old momentum carries on the wheel of mind and body. The wheel can now only go straight, can only do good. If that body does anything bad, know that the man lies if he makes that claim. But it is only when the wheels have got a good straight motion that the axe can be applied. All purifying action deals conscious or unconscious blows on delusion. To call another a sinner is the worst thing you can do. Good action done even ignorantly helps us to break the bondage.

To identify the sun with the spots on the object glass is the fundamental error. Know the sun, the "I, to be ever unaffected by anything and devote yourself to cleansing the spots. Man is the greatest being that can ever be. The highest worship there is, is to worship man, as Krishna, Buddha, Christ. What you want, you create. Get rid of desire.

WHAT you only grasp intellectually may be overthrown by a new argument, but what you realize is yours forever. Talking, talking religion is but little good. Put God behind everything, man, animal, food, work; make this a habit.

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