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It Requires Hard And Constant Practice To Know God - Swami Vivekananda

A great sage once told me (Swami Vivekananda) that not one in twenty millions in this world believed in God.

I (Swami Vivekananda) 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 Shraddha. Then comes Samadhana, or constant practice, to hold the mind in God. Nothing is done in a day. Religion cannot be swallowed in the form of a pill. It requires hard and constant practice. The mind can be conquered only by slow and steady practice.

All the misery we have is of our own choosing; such is our nature. We all have this foolish idea that we can have happiness without misery, and it has taken such possession of us that we have no control over the senses. There are two extremes into which men are running; one is extreme optimism, when everything is rosy and nice and good; the other, extreme pessimism, when everything seems to be against them.

When we are healthy and young, we think that all the wealth of the world will be ours, and when later we get kicked about by society like footballs and get older, we sit in a corner and croak and throw cold water on the enthusiasm of others.

Few men know that with pleasure there is pain, and with pain, pleasure; and as pain is disgusting, so is pleasure, as it is the twin brother of pain. Why will not men seek freedom from being played upon? The sage wants liberty; he finds that sense-objects are all vain and that there is no end to pleasures and pains. When a man begins to see the vanity of worldly things, he will feel he ought not to be thus played upon or borne along by nature. That is slavery. When one realizes all this slavery, then comes the desire to be free; an intense desire comes.

Swami Vivekananda

From The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda,
(Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama, 2016), 1.397–401.