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Swami Vivekananda Thoughts

A Collection of Thoughts of Swami Vivekananda.

Send a current of holy thought to all creation.

Mentally repeat, “Let all beings be happy; let all beings be peaceful; let all beings be blissful.” So do to the east, south, north and west. The more you do that the better you will feel yourself.

You will find at last that the easiest way to make ourselves healthy is to see that others are healthy, and the easiest way to make ourselves happy is to see that others are happy.

Each soul is potentially divine; the goal is to realize divinity within.

Selfishness is the devil incarnate in every man. Every bit of self, bit by bit, is devil. Take off self by one side and God enters by the other.

Anything immoral will not help, but will only retard.



No amount of force, or government, or legislative cruelty will change the conditions of a race, but it is spiritual culture and ethical culture alone that can change wrong racial tendencies for the better.

Only through experience can there be any reality in religion.

There is, again, the universal dissatisfaction. . . . What is the meaning of this universal dissatisfaction? It is because freedom is every man’s goal. He seeks it ever; his whole life is a struggle after it.

To be more free is the goal of all our efforts, for only in perfect freedom can there
be perfection.

Truth does not pay homage to any society, ancient or modern. Society has to pay
homage to Truth or die.

Religion, the great milch cow, has given many kicks, but never mind, it gives a great deal of milk.

Manifest the divinity within you, and everything will be harmoniously arranged around it.

What we want is to see the man who is harmoniously developed … great in heart, great in mind, [great in deed] … we want the man whose heart feels intensely the miseries and sorrows of the world. … And [we want] the man who not only can feel but can find the meaning of things, who delves deeply into the heart of nature and understanding. [We want] the man who will not even stop there, [but] who wants to work out [the feeling and meaning by actual deeds]. Such a combination of head, heart, and hand is what we want.

Give all to the Lord and go on and think not of it.

The whole soul pours in a continuous current to God; there is no time to seek money, or name, or fame, no time to think of anything but God; then will come into our hearts that infinite, wonderful bliss of Love.

All desires are but beads of glass. Love of God increases every moment and is ever new, to be known only by feeling it. Love is the easiest of all, it waits for no logic, it is natural. We need no demonstration, no proof.

Reasoning is limiting something by our own minds. We throw a net and catch something, and then say that we have demonstrated it; but never, never can we catch God in a net.

Love should be unrelated. Even when we love wrongly, it is of the true love, of the true bliss; the power is the same, use it as we may. Its very nature is peace and bliss.
The murderer when he kisses his baby forgets for an instant all but love.

Give up all self, all egotism; get out of anger, lust, give all  to God.

‘I am not, but Thou art; the old man is all gone, only Thou remainest.’ ‘I am Thou.’ Blame none; if evil comes, know the Lord is playing with you and be exceeding glad.

Love is beyond time and space, it is absolute.

I do not see that what you call progress in the world is other than the multiplication of desires. If one thing is obvious to me it is this that desires bring all misery; it is the state of the beggar, who is always begging for something, and unable to see anything without the wish to possess it, is always longing, longing for more. If the power to satisfy our desire is increasing in arithmetical progression, the power of desire is increased in geometrical progression.

The bee came to sip the honey, but its feet stuck to the honey pot and it could not get away. Again and again, we are finding ourselves in that state. That is the whole secret of existence. Why are we here? We came here to sip the honey, and we find our hands and feet sticking to it. We are caught, though we came to catch. We came to enjoy; we are being enjoyed. We came to rule; we are being ruled. We came to work; we are being worked. All the time, we find that. And this comes into every detail of our life. We are being worked upon by other minds, and we are always struggling to work on other minds. We want to enjoy the pleasures of life; and they eat into our vitals. We want to get everything from nature, but we find in the long run that nature takes everything from us—depletes us, and casts us aside.

Why do we see wickedness? There was a stump of a tree, and in the dark, a thief came that way and said, ‘That is a policeman’. A young man waiting for his beloved saw it and thought that it was his sweetheart. A child who had been told ghost stories took it for a ghost and began to shriek. But all the time it was the stump of a tree.

We see the world as we are. Suppose there is a baby in a room with a bag of gold on the table and a thief comes and steals the gold. Would the baby know it was stolen? That which we have inside, we see outside. The baby has no thief inside and sees no thief outside. So with all knowledge.

Do not talk of the wickedness of the world and all its sins. Weep that you are bound to see wickedness yet. Weep that you are bound to see sin everywhere, and if you want to help the world, do not condemn it. Do not weaken it more. For what is sin and what is misery, and what are all these, but the results of weakness?


The world is made weaker and weaker every day by such teachings. Men are taught from childhood that they are weak and sinners. Teach them that they are all glorious children of immortality, even those who are the weakest in manifestation. Let positive, strong, helpful thought enter into their brains from very childhood.

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.

Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.

With everything we do in life we identify ourselves. Here is a man who says harsh words to me. I feel anger coming on me. In a few seconds anger and I are one, and then comes misery. Attach yourselves to the Lord and to nothing else, because everything else is unreal. Attachment to the unreal will bring misery. There is only one Existence that is real.

Look upon every man, woman, and every one as God. You cannot help anyone, you can only serve: serve the children of the Lord, serve the Lord Himself, if you have the privilege.

Swami Vivekananda Thoughts on Shradha

I would not translate this word Shradha to you it would be a mistake; it is a wonderful word to understand, and much depends on it; we will see how it works, for immediately we find Nachiketa (the little boy who went to the abode of Yama – the God of death) telling himself, ‘I am superior to many, I am inferior to few, but nowhere am I the last, I can also do something.’ And this boldness increased and the boy wanted to solve the problem which was in his mind, the problem of death. The solution could only be got by going to the house of Death, and the boy went. There he was, brave Nachiketa, waiting at the house of Death for three days, and you know how he obtained what he desired. What we want is this Shraddha.

The . . . qualification required is Shraddha, faith. One must have tremendous faith in religion and God. . . . A great sage once told me that not one in twenty millions in this world believed in God.

I asked him why, and he told me, ‘Suppose there is a thief in this room, and he gets to know that there is a mass of gold in the next room, and only a very thin partition between the two rooms; what will be the condition of that thief?’ I answered, ‘He will not be able to sleep at all; his brain will be actively thinking of some means of getting at the gold, and he will think of nothing else.’

Then he replied, ‘Do you believe that a man could believe in God and not go mad to get Him? If a man sincerely believes that there is that immense, infinite mine of Bliss, and that It can be reached, would not that man go mad in his struggle to reach It?’ Strong faith in God and the consequent eagerness to reach Him constitute Shradha.

Swami Vivekananda Thoughts – For a better present and future

Doing is very good, but that comes from thinking…fill the brain, therefore, with high thoughts, highest ideals, place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work.

The infinite future is before you, and you must always remember that each word, thought, and deed, lays up a store for you and that as the bad thoughts and bad works are ready to spring upon you like tigers, so also there is the inspiring hope that the good thoughts and good deeds are ready with the power of a hundred thousand angels to defend you always and for ever.

Mentally repeat, ‘Let all beings be happy; let all beings be peaceful; let all beings be blissful.’ The more you do that the better you will feel yourself.

You will find at last that the easiest way to make ourselves healthy is to see that others are healthy, and the easiest way to make ourselves happy is to see that others are happy.

I was once travelling in the Himalayas, and the long road stretched before us. We poor monks cannot get anyone to carry us, so we had to make all the way on foot. There was an old man with us. The way goes up and down for hundreds of miles, and when that old monk saw what was before him, he said, ‘Oh sir, how to cross it; I cannot walk anymore; my chest will break.’ I said to him, ‘Look down at your feet.’ He did so, and I said, ‘The road that is under your feet is the road that you have passed over and is the same road that you see before you; it will soon be under your feet.’ The highest things are under your feet, because you are Divine Stars; all these things are under your feet. You can swallow the stars by the handful if you want; such is your real nature. Be strong, get beyond all superstitions, and be free.

Power of mind arises from control of the forces of the body. The idea is to conserve and transform the physical energy into mental and spiritual energy. The great danger lies in spending the forces of the body in wanton and reckless pleasures, and thus losing the retentive faculties of the mind. Whatever you do, devote your whole mind, heart and soul to it. I once met a great sannyasi who would clean his brass cooking vessels, making them shine like gold, with as much care and attention as he bestowed on his worship and meditation.

Man thinks foolishly that he can make himself happy, and after years of struggle finds out at last that true happiness consists in killing selfishness and that no one can make him happy except himself.

We hear ‘Be good’, and ‘Be good’, and ‘Be good’, taught all over the world. There is hardly a child born in any country in the world, who has not  been told, ‘Do not steal’, ‘Do not tell a lie’, but nobody tells the child how he can help doing them. Talking will not help him. Why should he not become a thief? We do not teach him how not to steal; we simply tell him, ‘Do not steal.’ Only when we teach him to control his mind do we really help him.

All actions, internal and external, occur when the mind joins itself to certain centers, called the organs. Willingly or unwillingly it is drawn to join itself to the centers, and that is why people do foolish deeds and feel miserable, which, if the mind were under control, they would not do. What would be the result of controlling the mind? It then would not join itself to the centers of perception, and, naturally, feeling and willing would be under control. It is clear so far. Is it possible? It is perfectly possible.

Spiritual knowledge is the only thing that can destroy our miseries for ever; any other knowledge satisfies wants only for a time.

It is only with the knowledge of the spirit that the faculty of want is annihilated for ever; so helping man spiritually is the highest help that can be given to him.

He who gives man spiritual knowledge is the greatest benefactor of mankind and as such we always find that those were the most powerful of men who helped man in his spiritual needs, because spirituality is the true basis of all our activities in life.  

Next to spiritual comes intellectual help. The gift of knowledge is a far higher gift than that of food and clothes; it is even higher than giving life to a man, because the real life of man consists of knowledge.

Ignorance is death, knowledge is life.

Life is of very little value, if it is a life in the dark, groping through ignorance and misery.

Swami Vivekananda Thoughts on Character

As pleasure and pain pass before his soul they have upon it different pictures, and the result of these combined impressions is what is called man’s ‘character’. 

If you take the character of any man, it really is but the aggregate of tendencies, the sum total of the bent of his mind; you will find that misery and happiness are equal factors in the formation of that character. 

Good and evil have an equal share in molding character, and in some instances misery is a greater teacher than happiness.

In studying the great characters the world has produced, I dare say, in the vast majority of cases, it would be found that it was misery that taught more than happiness, it was poverty that taught more than wealth, it was blows that brought out their inner fire more than praise. (Complete Works, 1:27)

Have you got steadfastness? – Swami Vivekananda

Have you got the will to surmount mountain-high obstructions? If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right? If your wives and children are against you, if all your money goes, your name dies, your wealth vanishes, would you still stick to it? Would you still pursue it and go on steadily towards your own goal?

As the great King Bhartrihari says, ‘Let the sages blame or let them praise; let the goddess of fortune come or let her go wherever she likes; let death come today, or let it come in hundreds of years; he indeed is the steady man who does not move one inch from the way of truth.’

Have you got that steadfastness?. . . You need not write in the newspapers, you need not go about lecturing; your very face will shine. If you live in a cave, your thoughts will permeate even through the rock walls, will go vibrating all over the world for hundreds of years, maybe, until they will fasten on to some brain and work out there. Such is the power of thought, of sincerity, and of purity of purpose.   

Swami Vivekananda, CW, 3: 226

Swami Vivekananda on Sincerity and Purity of Purpose

Have you got the will to surmount mountain-high obstructions?

If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right? If your wives and children are against you, if all your
money goes, your name dies, your wealth vanishes, would you still stick to
it? Would you still pursue it and go on steadily towards your own goal?

As the great King Bhartrihari says, ‘Let the sages blame or let them praise; let
the goddess of fortune come or let her go wherever she likes; let death come today, or let it come in hundreds of years; he indeed is the steady man who
does not move one inch from the way of truth.’

 Have you got that steadfastness?. . . You need not write in the newspapers, you
need not go about lecturing; your very face will shine.

If you live in a cave, your thoughts will permeate even through the rock walls, will go vibrating all over the world for hundreds of years, maybe, until they will fasten on to some brain and work out there.

Such is the power of thought, of sincerity, and of purity of purpose.

The might of the universe is within you – Swami Vivekananda

In whatever way man may progress on the path of spirituality, everyone is unconsciously awakening Brahman within him. But the means may be different in different cases. Those who have faith in the Personal God have to undergo spiritual practices holding on to that idea. If there is sincerity, through that will come the awakening of the lion of Brahman within.

Bring in the light; the darkness will vanish of itself. Let the lion of Vedanta roar; the foxes will fly to their holes. Throw the ideas broadcast, and let the result take care of itself.

You are lions, you are souls, pure, infinite, and perfect. The might of the universe is within you. ‘Why weepest thou, my friend? There is neither birth nor death for thee. Why weepest thou? There is no disease nor misery for thee, but thou art like the infinite sky; clouds of various colours come over it, play for a moment, then vanish. But the sky is ever the same eternal blue.’

Swami Vivekananda Thoughts on Ojas

The Yogis claim that of all the energies that are in the human body the highest is what they call "Ojas". Now this Ojas is stored up in the brain, and the more Ojas is in a man's head, the more powerful he is, the more intellectual, the more spiritually strong.

One man may speak beautiful language and beautiful thoughts, but they, do not impress people; another man speaks neither beautiful language nor beautiful thoughts, yet his words charm. Every movement of his is powerful. That is the power of Ojas.

Now in every man there is more or less of this Ojas stored up. All the forces that are working in the body in their highest become Ojas. You must remember that
it is only a question of transformation.

The Yogis say that that part of the human energy which is expressed as sex energy, in sexual thought, when checked and controlled, easily becomes changed into Ojas, and as the Muladhara guides these, the Yogi pays particular attention to that centre. He tries to take up all his sexual energy and convert it into Ojas.

It is only the chaste man or woman who can make the Ojas rise and store it in the brain; that is why chastity has always been considered the highest virtue. A man feels that if he is unchaste, spirituality goes away, he loses mental vigor and moral stamina. That is why in all the religious orders in the world which have produced spiritual giants you will always find absolute chastity insisted upon.

Swami Vivekananda
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, (Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama, 2013),  1.185-88.

If you wish read more....
108 Quotes of Swami Vivekananda



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