SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: The Spiritual Guide of India

(Image Credits: rkmpune.org)

Born in an affluent family of Kolkata, Narendra (Swami Vivekananda’s childhood name) was a brilliant child who excelled in academics, gymnastics and music. He was known to be naughty and filled with curiosity. He used meditate for hours without getting distracted. His power of concentration was so high that he shot in succession twelve eggs swinging up and down in a river while having no experience of firing a gun before.

We can never lose what is really ours. Who can lose his being? Who can lose his very existence? If I am good, it is the existence first, and then that becomes colored with the quality of goodness. If I am evil, it is the existence first, and that becomes colored with the quality of badness. That existence is first, last, and always; it is never lost but ever present.

He grew up to be a spiritual genius. He is known as the ‘Monk who awakened India’, the missionary who spread the Indian philosophy beyond India. In the course of a short life of thirty-nine years (1863-1902), he devoted 10 years to public service and wrote his four classics: Jnana-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, and Raja-Yoga, all of which are marvellous work on Hindu philosophy. In addition, he delivered innumerable lectures, wrote inspired letters, composed numerous poems, and acted as spiritual guide to the many seekers. He organized the Ramakrishna Mission, which is devoted to the propagation of the Hindu spiritual culture in India and in other parts of the world.

Some teachings of Swami Vivekananda:

  1. 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.
    Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man.
  2. We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.
  3. So long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them.
  4. Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be.
  5. If you have faith in all the three hundred and thirty millions of your mythological gods, … and still have no faith in yourselves, there is no salvation for you. Have faith in yourselves, and stand up on that faith and be strong; that is what we need.
  6. Strength, strength it is that we want so much in this life, for what we call sin and sorrow have all one cause, and that is our weakness. With weakness comes ignorance, and with ignorance comes misery.
  7. The older I grow, the more everything seems to me to lie in manliness. This is my new Gospel.
  8. Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success, and above all, love.
  9. Religion is realization; not talk, not doctrine, nor theories, however beautiful they may be. It is being and becoming, not hearing or acknowledging; it is the whole soul becoming changed into what it believes.
  10. Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.
  11. Teach yourselves, teach everyone his real nature, call upon the sleeping soul and see how it awakes. Power will come, glory will come, goodness will come, purity will come, and everything that is excellent will come when this sleeping soul is roused to self-conscious activity.
  12. They alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.
  13. This is the gist of all worship – to be pure and to do good to others.
  14. It is love and love alone that I preach, and I base my teaching on the great Vedantic truth of the sameness and omnipresence of the Soul of the Universe.

Lastly an inspiring poem by Swami Vivekananda-

Once more awake!

For sleep it was, not death, to bring thee life

Anew, and rest to lotus-eyes for visions

Daring yet. The world in need awaits, O Truth!

No death for thee!

Resume thy march,

With gentle feet that would not break the

Peaceful rest even of the roadside dust

That lies so low. Yet strong and steady,

Blissful, bold, and free. Awakener, ever

Forward! Speak thy stirring words.

And tell the world—

Awake, arise, and dream no more!

This is the land of dreams, where Karma

Weaves unthreaded garlands with our thoughts

Of flowers sweet or noxious, and none

Has root or stem, being born in naught, which

The softest breath of Truth drives back to

Primal nothingness. Be bold, and face

The Truth! Be one with it! Let visions cease,

Or, if you cannot, dream but truer dreams,

Which are Eternal Love and Service Free.