Swami Vivekananda | 15. Quotes


15. Vivekananda Quotes


Ye divinities on earth—sinners! It is a sin to call a man so; it is a standing libel on human nature!

Come up, O lions, and shake off the delusion that you are sheep; you are souls immortal, spirits free, blest and eternal; ye are not matter, ye are not bodies; matter is your servant, not you the servant of matter.


If you have faith in the three hundred and thirty millions of your mythological gods, and in all gods which foreigners have introduced into your midst, and still have no faith in yourselves, there is no salvation for you. Have faith in yourselves and stand up on that faith.


The history of the world is the history of a few men who had faith in themselves. That faith calls out the Divinity within. You can do anything.

You fail only when you do not strive sufficiently to manifest infinite power. As soon as a man or a nation loses faith in himself or itself, death comes. Believe first in yourself, and then in God.


He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God; the new religion says that he is the atheist who does not believe in himself.


The Voice of Asia has been the voice of religion. The Voice of Europe is the voice of politics.


India is immortal, if she persists in her search for God.


I do not mean to say that political or social improvements are not necessary, but what I mean is this, and I want you to bear it in mind, that they are secondary here, and that religion is primary.


None can resist her (India) anymore; never is she going to sleep anymore; no outward powers can hold her back any more; for the infinite giant is rising to her feet.


If you seek your own salvation, you will go to hell. It is the salvation of others that you must seek; and even if you have to go to hell in working for others, that is worth more than to gain heaven by seeking your own salvation.


So long as the millions die in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them!


So long as even a single dog in my country is without food, my whole religion will be to feed it.


Where should you go to seek for God? Are not all the poor, the miserable, the weak, gods? Why not worship them first? Why go to dig a well on the shores of the Ganga?

Let these people be your God—think of them, work for them, pray for them incessantly—the Lord will show you the way.


Religion deals with the truths of the metaphysical world, just as chemistry and the other natural sciences deal with the truths of the physical world.


Take religion from human society and what will remain? Nothing but a forest of brutes. Sense happiness is not the goal of humanity; wisdom (Jñāna) is the goal of all life.


The ultimate goal of all mankind, the aim and end of all religions, is but one—reunion with God, or, what amounts to the same, with the divinity which is every man’s true nature.


Can religion really accomplish anything? It can. It brings to man eternal life. It has made man what he is and will make of this human animal, a God. That is what religion can do. The ideal of all religions, all sects, is the same—the attaining of liberty, the cessation of misery.


I claim that no destruction of religion is necessary to improve the Hindu society, and that this state of society exists not on account of religion, but because religion has not been applied to society as it should have been.


Let there be but a dozen lion-souls in each country, lions who have broken their own bounds, who have touched the Infinite, whose whole soul is gone to Brahman, who care neither for wealth, nor power, nor fame, and these will be enough to shake the world.


My ideal indeed can be put into a few words, and that is: to preach unto mankind their divinity, and how to make it manifest in every movement of life.


Those who give themselves up to the Lord do more for the world than all the so-called workers.


What we need today is to know that there is a God, and that we can see and feel Him here and now.


Not a drop will be in the ocean, not a twig in the deepest forest, not a crumb in the house of the god of wealth, if the Lord is not merciful. Streams will be in the desert and the beggar will have plenty if He wills it. He sees the sparrow’s fall. Are these but words or literal, actual life?


This life is short, the vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.


These prophets were not unique; they were men as you or I. They were great Yogis. They had gained this super-consciousness, and you and I can get the same. The very fact that one man ever reached that state, proves that it is possible for every man to do so. Not only is it possible, but every man must, eventually, get to that state, and that is religion.


The only true duty is to be unattached and to work as free beings, to give up all work unto God. All duties are His.


No work is secular. All work is adoration and worship.


As I grow older I find that I look more and more for greatness in little things. Anyone will be great in a great position. Even the coward will grow brave in the glare of the footlights. The world looks on! More and more the true greatness seems to me that of the worm doing its duty silently, steadily from moment to moment and hour to hour.


We want everything but God, because our ordinary desires are fulfilled by the external world. So long as our needs are confined within the limits of the physical universe, we do not feel any need for God; it is only when we have had hard blows in our lives and are disappointed with everything here that we feel the need for something higher; then we seek God.


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


There must be no fear. No begging, but demanding—demanding the Highest. The true devotees of the Mother are as hard as adamant and as fearless as lions. They are not the least upset if the whole universe suddenly crumbles into dust at their feet! Make Her listen to you. None of that cringing to Mother! Remember, She is all-powerful. She can make heroes even out of stones!


Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy—by one or more or all of these—and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines or dogmas or rituals or books or temples or forms are but secondary details.


Each soul is a star, and all stars are set in that infinite azure, that eternal sky, the Lord. There is the root, the reality, the real individuality of each and all. Religion began with the search after some of these stars that had passed beyond our horizon, and ended in finding them all in God, and ourselves in the same place.