All men are pure; all men are good. Some objections can be raised to them, and you ask why some men are brutes? That man you call a brute is like the diamond in the dirt and dust--brush the dust off and it is a diamond, just as pure as if the dust had never been on it, and we must admit that every soul is a big diamond.
Give him responsibility and the weakest man will become strong, and the ignorant man sagacious.
The newer and better a thing is, the more opposition it will meet with at the outset. It is opposition which foretells success. Where there is no opposition there is no success either.
Numbers do not count, nor does wealth or poverty; a handful of men can throw the world off its hinges, provided they are united in thought, word, and deed--never forget this conviction.
Intense action in the whole body, and withal a face expressing the profound calmness and serenity of the blue sky. This is the central idea of the Gita--to be calm and steadfast in all circumstances, with one's body, mind, and soul centred at His hallowed Feet!
Be possessed of Shraddha (faith), of Virya (courage), attain to the knowledge of the Atman, and sacrifice your life for the good of others--this is my wish and blessing
The body is but an outer covering of the mind and whatever the mind will dictate to it, it will have to carry out.
This idea of help, abstracted, is what we call God. The sum total of all ideas of help is God
'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.' This sentence alone would save mankind if all books and prophets were lost. This purity of heart will bring the vision of God. It is the theme of the whole music of this universe.
Science and religion are both attempts to help us out of the bondage; only religion is the more ancient, and we have the superstition that it is the more holy. In a way it is, because it makes morality a vital point, and science does not.
In the human body the balance between good and evil is so even that there is a chance for man to wish to free himself from both.
Be still and know that you are God.
Give up all desire for enjoyment in earth or heaven. Control the organs of the senses and control the mind. Bear every misery without even knowing that you are miserable. Think of nothing but liberation. Have faith in Guru, in his teachings, and in the surety that you can get free. Say 'Soham, Soham' whatever comes. Tell yourself this even in eating, walking, suffering; tell the mind this incessantly--that what we see never existed, that there is only 'I'. Flash--the dream will break! Think day and night, this universe is zero, only God is. Have intense desire to get free.
Worship of God, worship of the holy ones, concentration and meditation, and unselfish work, these are the ways of breaking away from Maya's net; but we must first have the strong desire to get free.
Your own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Jehovah, Allah, Agni, but it is only the Self, the 'I'.
You have in you all and a thousand times more than is in all the books. Never lose faith in yourself, you can do anything in this universe. Never weaken, all power is yours.
Divine wisdom is to be got by devotion, meditation, and chastity. 'Truth alone triumphs, and not untruth. Through truth alone the way is spread to Brahman'
Virtuous deeds take off the veil from knowledge, and knowledge alone can make us see God.
We are lamps, and our burning is what we call 'life'. When the supply of oxygen gives out, then the lamp must go out. All we can do is to keep the lamp clean.
Be thankful for all food, it is Brahman. His universal energy is transmuted into our individual energy and helps us in all that we do.
All we can do is put down all desires, hates, differences; put down the lower self, commit mental suicide, as it were; keep the body and mind pure and healthy, but only as instruments to help us to God; that is their only true use. Seek truth for truth's sake alone, look not for bliss. It may come, but do not let that be your incentive. Have no motive except God. Dare to come to Truth even through hell.
Those who give themselves up to the Lord do more for the world than all the so-called workers. One man who has purified himself thoroughly accomplishes more than a regiment of preachers. Out of purity and silence comes the word of power.
Conquer yourself, and the whole universe is yours
Water the roots of the tree (that is, reach the Lord), and the whole tree is watered; getting the Lord, we get all.
Always discriminate between the real and the unreal, and devote yourself heart and soul to the attempt to realise the Atman. There is nothing higher than this knowledge of the Atman; all else is Maya, mere jugglery. The Atman is the one unchangeable Truth. This I have come to understand, and that is why I try to bring it home to you all
The uplift of the women, the awakening of the masses must come first, and then only can any real good come about for the country, for India.
There is no way, none whatsoever, to the solution of the profound mystery of this life except through renunciation. Renunciation, renunciation and renunciation--let this be the one motto of your lives.
Meditation is the focusing of the mind on some object. If the mind acquires concentration on one object, it can be so concentrated on any object whatsoever.
Only get your mind to cling to Him as far as you can. For then only the great magic of this world will break of itself. But then, you must persevere. You must take off your mind from lust and lucre, must discriminate always between the real and the unreal--must settle down into the mood of bodilessness with the brooding thought that you are not this body, and must always have the realisation that you are the all-pervading Atman.
Plant in your heart the faith of Nachiketa. Even go up to the world of Yama like him. Yes, if to know the secrets of the Atman, to liberate your soul, to reach the true solution of the mystery of birth and death, you have to go to the very jaws of death and realise the truth thereby, well, go there with an undaunted heart. It is fear alone that is death. You have to go beyond all fear. So from this day be fearless. Off at once, to lay down your life for your own liberation and for the good of others.
If the Brahman is manifested in one man, thousands of men advance, finding their way out in that light. Only the knowers of Brahman are the spiritual teachers of mankind. This is corroborated by all scriptures and by reason too. It is only the selfish Brahmins who have introduced into this country the system of hereditary Gurus, which is against the Vedas and against the Shastras. Hence it is that even through their spiritual practice men do not now succeed in perfecting themselves or in realising Brahman. To remove all this corruption in religion, the Lord has incarnated Himself on earth in the present age in the person of Shri Ramakrishna. The universal teachings that he offered, if spread all over the world, will do good to humanity and the world. Not for many a century past has India produced so great, so wonderful, a teacher of religious synthesis.
The brain and muscles must develop simultaneously. Iron nerves with an intelligent brain--and the whole world is at your feet.
Everyone can fulfil certain injunctions and prohibitions, but how few have this longing for realisation! This intense longing--becoming mad after realising God or getting the knowledge of the Self--is real spirituality.
Friends or foes, they are all instruments in Her hands to help us work out our own Karma, through pleasure or pain. As such 'Mother' bless them all.
It is hard work to be a leader--one must crush all one's own self under the feet of the community.
We put all our energies to concentrate and get attached to one thing; but the other part, though equally difficult, we seldom pay any attention to--the faculty of detaching ourselves at a moment's notice from anything. Both attachment and detachment perfectly developed make a man great and happy.
Go on working at top speed. Never fear! I, too, have determined to work. The body must go, no mistake about that. Why then let it go in idleness? It is better to wear out than rust out.
Kindness and love can buy you the whole world; lectures and books and philosophy all stand lower than these.
India is the only place where, with all its faults, the soul finds its freedom, its God. All this Western pomp is only vanity, only bondage of the soul. Never more in my life I realised more forcibly the vanity of the world. May the Lord break the bondage of all--may all come out of Maya--is the constant prayer of Vivekananda.
Great enterprise, boundless courage, tremendous energy, and, above all, perfect obedience--these are the only traits that lead to individual and national regeneration. These traits are altogether lacking in us.
Opportunities will turn even a staunch moralist into a cheat. This is the way of the world.
Whenever you promise to do any work, you must do it exactly at the appointed time, or people lose their faith in you.
I trust those that will not desert me in prosperity and adversity alike. . . . The most trustworthy men are needed.
Purity, patience, and perseverance overcome all obstacles. All great things must of necessity be slow.
Those that want to help mankind must take their own pleasure and pain, name and fame, and all sorts of interests, and make a bundle of them and throw them into the sea, and then come to the Lord. This is what all the Masters said and did.
Can a leader be made my brother? A leader is born. Do you understand? And it is a very difficult task to take on the role of a leader. --One must be a servant of servants, and must accommodate a thousand minds. There must not be a shade of jealousy or selfishness, then you are a leader. First, by birth, and secondly, unselfish--thats a leader
Honesty is the best policy, and a virtuous man must gain in the end.
Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success and, above all, love.
Throughout the history of the world you find great men make great sacrifices and the mass of mankind enjoy the benefit. If you want to give up everything for your own salvation, it is nothing. Do you want to forgo even your own salvation for the good of the world? You are God, think of that.
Have a kind word for all--it spoils work to show temper.
Let people say whatever they like, stick to your own convictions, and rest assured, the world will be at your feet. They say, 'Have faith in this fellow or that fellow', but I say, 'Have faith in yourself first', that's the way. Have faith in yourself--all power is in you--be conscious and bring it out.
We must mix with all, and alienate none. All the powers of good against all the powers of evil--this is what we want.
Will such a day come when this life will go for the sake of others good? The world is not a childs play--and great men are those who build highways for others with their hearts blood. This has been taking place through eternity, that one builds a bridge by laying down his own body, and thousands of others cross the river through its help.
Is there a greater strength than that of Brahmacharya--purity, my boy.
In every attempt there will be one set of men who will applaud, and another who will pick holes. Go on doing your own work, what need have you to reply to any party? Everything will come about by degrees.
If you want any good to come, just throw your ceremonials overboard and worship the Living God, the Man-God--every being that wears a human form--God in His universal as well as individual aspect. The universal aspect of God means this world, and worshipping it means serving it--this indeed is work, not indulging in ceremonials.
Do not go for glass beads leaving the mine of diamonds! This life is a great chance. What, seekest thou the pleasures of the world?--He is the fountain of all bliss. Seek for the highest, aim at that highest, and you shall reach the highest.
Always remember that we are but puppets in the Lords hands. Remain pure always. Please be careful not to become impure even in thought, as also in speech and action; always try to do good to others as far as in you lies.
You must go on with your Japa whatever direction the mind takes.
Follow God and you shall have whatever you desire.
Try to be pure and unselfish - that is the whole of religion.
My motto is to learn whatever good things I may come across anywhere. This leads many friends to think that it will take away from my devotion to the Guru. These ideas I count as those of lunatics and bigots. For all Gurus are one and are fragments and radiations of God, the Universal Guru.
Now the great conclusion is that Ramakrishna has no peer; nowhere else in this world exists that unprecedented perfection, that wonderful kindness for all that does not stop to justify itself, that intense sympathy for man in bondage. Either he must be the Avatara as he himself used to say, or else the ever-perfected divine man, whom the Vedanta speaks of as the free one who assumes a body for the good of humanity. This is my conviction sure and certain; and the worship of such a divine man has been referred to by Patanjali in the aphorism: 'Or the goal may be attained by meditating on a saint.'
To obtain Bhakti, seek the company of holy men who have Bhakti, and read books like the Gita and the Imitation of Christ; always think of the attributes of God.
According to Advaitism, love every man as your own Self and not as your brother as in Christianity. Brotherhood should be superseded by universal Selfhood. Not universal brotherhood, but universal Selfhood is our motto.
Follow truth wherever it may lead you; carry ideas to their utmost logical conclusions. Do not be cowardly and hypocritical. You must have a great devotion to your ideal, devotion not of the moment, but calm, persevering, and steady devotion.
Sitâ — to say that she was pure is a blasphemy. She was purity itself embodied — the most beautiful character that ever lived on earth. A Bhakta should be like Sita before Râma. He might be thrown into all kinds of difficulties. Sita did not mind her sufferings; she centred herself in Rama.
Kâma (lust) is blind and leads to hell. Prema is love, it leads to heaven.
The rule for a householder about the expenditure of his income is, one-fourth of the income for his family, one-fourth for charity, one-fourth to be saved, one-fourth for self.
The tremendous engine of competition will destroy everything. If you are to live at all, you must adjust yourself to the times. If we are to live at all, we must be a scientific nation. Intellectual power is the force. You must learn the power of organisation of the Europeans. You must become educated and must educate your women. You must abolish child marriage.
Virtue is that which tends to our improvement, and vice to our degeneration. Man is made up of three qualities — brutal, human, and godly. That which tends to increase the divinity in you is virtue, and that which tends to increase brutality in you is vice. You must kill the brutal nature and become human, that is, loving and charitable. You must transcend that too and become pure bliss. Sachchidânanda, fire without burning, wonderfully loving, but without the weakness of human love, without the feeling of misery.
The brave alone can afford to be sincere. Compare the lion and the fox.
The best scenery in the world can be seen on the sublime heights of the Himalayas. If one lives there for a time, he is sure to have mental calmness, however restless he might have been before.
There is this difference between the love taught by Christianity and that taught by Hinduism: Christianity teaches us to love our neighbours as we should wish them to love us; Hinduism asks us to love them as ourselves, in fact to see ourselves in them.
The three essentials of Hinduism are belief in God, in the Vedas as revelation, in the doctrine of Karma and transmigration.
Never quarrel about religion. All quarrels and disputations concerning religion simply show that spirituality is not present. Religious quarrels are always over the husks. When purity, when spirituality goes, leaving the soul dry, quarrels begin, and not before.
Never talk about the faults of others, no matter how bad they may be. Nothing is ever gained by that. You never help one by talking about his fault; you do him an injury, and injure yourself as well.
Do you know how much energy, how many powers, how many forces are still lurking behind that frame of yours? What scientist has known all that is in man? Millions of years have passed since man first came here, and yet but one infinitesimal part of his powers has been manifested. Therefore, you must not say that you are weak. How do you know what possibilities lie behind that degradation on the surface? You know but little of that which is within you. For behind you is the ocean of infinite power and blessedness.
To restrain the Indriyas (organs) from going towards the objects of the senses, to control them and bring them under the guidance of the will, is the very central virtue in religious culture.
When a man feels pain because he has not wealth or some such worldly thing, he is giving a wrong direction to the feeling. Still pain has its uses. Let a man feel pain that he has not reached the Highest, that he has not reached God, and that pain will be to his salvation.
The highest direction is that which takes us to God; every other direction is lower.
Even in regard to earthly love, the lover thinks that everything belonging to his beloved is sacred and so dear to him. He loves even a piece of cloth belonging to the darling of his heart. In the same way, when a person loves the Lord, the whole universe becomes dear to him, because it is all His.
What an immense pleasure men take in the objects of the senses. They go anywhere, run through any danger, to get the thing which they love, the thing which their senses like. What is wanted of the Bhakta is this very kind of intense love which has, however, to be directed to God.
We may all manage to maintain our bodies more or less satisfactorily and for longer or shorter intervals of time. Nevertheless, our bodies have to go; there is no permanence about them. Blessed are they whose bodies get destroyed in the service of others. 'Wealth, and even life itself, the sage always holds ready for the service of others. In this world, there being one thing certain, viz death, it is far better that this body dies in a good cause than in a bad one.'
Really the highest use of life is to hold it at the service of all beings.
The highest ideal of every man is called God. Ignorant or wise, saint or sinner, man or woman, educated or uneducated, cultivated or uncultivated, to every human being the highest ideal is God. The synthesis of all the highest ideals of beauty, of sublimity, and of power gives us the completest conception of the loving and lovable God.
If there is any land on this earth that can lay claim to be the blessed Punya Bhumi, to be the land to which all souls on this earth must come to account for Karma, the land to which every soul that is wending its way Godward must come to attain its last home, the land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness, above all, the land of introspection and of spirituality — it is India.
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; if you think yourselves impure, impure you will be; if you think yourselves pure, pure you will be. This teaches us not to think ourselves as weak, but as strong, omnipotent, omniscient.
All knowledge is in me, all power, all purity, and all freedom. Why cannot I express this knowledge? Because I do not believe in it. Let me believe in it, and it must and will come out.
Have two hundred images if you like. If certain forms and formularies help you to realise the Divine, God speed you; have, by all means, whatever forms, and whatever temples, and whatever ceremonies you want to bring you nearer to God. But do not quarrel about them; the moment you quarrel, you are not going Godward, you are going backward, towards the brutes.
Our ancestors did most wonderful works, and we look back upon their work with veneration and pride. But we also are going to do great deeds, and let others look back with blessings and pride upon us as their ancestors.
Every one wants to command, and no one wants to obey; and this is owing to the absence of that wonderful Brahmacharya system of yore. First, learn to obey. The command will come by itself. Always first learn to be a servant, and then you will be fit to be a master. Avoid this jealousy and you will do great works that have yet to be done.
Our sacred motherland is a land of religion and philosophy — the birthplace of spiritual giants — the land of renunciation, where and where alone, from the most ancient to the most modern times, there has been the highest ideal of life open to man.
I have been in the countries of the West — have travelled through many lands of many races; and each race and each nation appears to me to have a particular ideal — a prominent ideal running through its whole life; and this ideal is the backbone of the national life. Not politics nor military power, not commercial supremacy nor mechanical genius furnishes India with that backbone, but religion; and religion alone is all that we have and mean to have. Spirituality has been always in India.
It is in love that religion exists and not in ceremony, in the pure and sincere love in the heart. Unless a man is pure in body and mind, his coming into a temple and worshipping Shiva is useless.
He who sees Shiva in the poor, in the weak, and in the diseased, really worships Shiva; and if he sees Shiva only in the image, his worship is but preliminary. He who has served and helped one poor man seeing Shiva in him, without thinking of his caste, or creed, or race, or anything, with him Shiva is more pleased than with the man who sees Him only in temples.
Shiva is that master, and this world is His garden, and there are two sorts of gardeners here; the one who is lazy, hypocritical, and does nothing, only talking about Shiva's beautiful eyes and nose and other features; and the other, who is taking care of Shiva's children, all those that are poor and weak, all animals, and all His creation. Which of these would be the more beloved of Shiva? Certainly he that serves His children. He who wants to serve the father must serve the children first. He who wants to serve Shiva must serve His children — must serve all creatures in this world first.
This world is a delusion of two days. The present life is of five minutes. Beyond is the Infinite, beyond this world of delusion; let us seek that.
Through renunciation is the way to the goal and not through enjoyment.
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.
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