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Overcoming Pessimism In Old Age

Difficulties are tremendous and ninety percent of us become discouraged and lose heart, and in our turn, often become pessimists and cease to believe in sincerity, love, and all that is grand and noble. So, we find men who in the freshness of their lives have been forgiving, kind, simple, and guileless, become in old age lying masks of men. Their minds are a mass of intricacy. There may be a good deal of external policy, possibly. They are not hot-headed, they do not speak, but it would be better for them to do so; their hearts are dead and, therefore, they do not speak. They do not curse, not become angry; but it would be better for them to be able to be angry, a thousand times better, to be able to curse. They cannot.

There is death in the heart, for cold hands have seized upon it, and it can no more act, even to utter a curse, even to use a harsh word. All this we have to avoid: therefore I say, we require super divine power. Superhuman power is not strong enough. Super divine strength is the only way, the one way out. By it alone we can pass through all these intricacies, through these showers of miseries, unscathed.

We may be cut to pieces, torn asunder, yet our hearts must grow nobler and nobler all the time. It is very difficult, but we can overcome the difficulty by constant practice. We must learn that nothing can happen to us, unless we make ourselves susceptible to it. I have just said, no disease can come to me until the body is ready; it does not depend alone on the germs, but upon a certain predisposition which is already in the body.

We get only that for which we are fitted. Let us give up our pride and understand this, that never is misery undeserved. There never has been a blow undeserved: there never has been an evil for which I did not pave the way with my own hands. We ought to know that. Analyse yourselves and you will find that every blow you have received, came to you because you prepared yourselves for it. You did half, and the external world did the other half: that is how the blow came. That will sober us down.

Source – From The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, (Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama, 2016), 2.6-7.




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