Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Swami Vivekananda. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.
Swami Vivekananda (Bengali: [ʃami bibekanɔndo]; 12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), born Narendranath Datta (Bengali: [nɔrendronatʰ dɔto]), was an Indian Hindu monk. He was a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian mystic Ramakrishna. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world, and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century. He was a major force in the contemporary Hindu reform movements in India, and contributed to the concept of nationalism in colonial India. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is perhaps best known for his speech which began with the words "Sisters and brothers of America ...," in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893.
Born into an aristocratic Bengali Kayastha family of Calcutta, Vivekananda was inclined towards spirituality. He was influenced by his guru, Ramakrishna, from whom he learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self; therefore, service to God could be rendered by service to humankind. After Ramakrishna's death, Vivekananda toured the Indian subcontinent extensively and acquired first-hand knowledge of the conditions prevailing in British India. He later travelled to the United States, representing India at the 1893 Parliament of the World's Religions. Vivekananda conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating tenets of Hindu philosophy in the United States, England and Europe. In India, Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint, and his birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day.
It is the cheerful mind persevering. It is the strong mind that hews its way through a thousand difficulties.
Be grateful that the poor man is there, so that by making a gift to him you are able to help yourself.
The Guru is the means of realisation. There is no knowledge without a teacher.
The guru is the means of realization.
The guru must be a man who has known, has actually realized the Divine truth, has perceived himself as the spirit.
The Guru is the conveyance in which the spiritual influence is brought to you. Anyone can teach, but the spirit must be passed on by the Guru to the Shishya (disciple), and that will fructify.
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life -- think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.
The development of man is a return to an original perfection.
Where you find the attraction for lust and wealth considerably diminished, to whatever creed he may belong, know that his inner spirit is awakening.
A tremendous stream is flowing toward the ocean, carrying us all along with it; and though like straws and scraps of paper we may at times float aimlessly about, in the long run we are sure to join the ocean of life and bliss.
Blame neither man, nor God, nor anyone in the world. When you find yourselves suffering, blame yourselves, and try to do better.
Let us blame none, let us blame our own Karma.
It is cheerful mind that is persevering. It is the strong mind that hews its way through a thousand difficulties.
Great work requires great and persistent effort for a long time. … Character has to be established through a thousand stumbles.
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life-think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.
You cannot believe in god until you believe in yourself.
Never say, 'No,' never say 'I cannot,' for you are infinite, even time and space are nothing compared with your nature. You can do anything and everything, you are almighty.
Have faith in yourselves, great convictions are the mothers of great deeds.
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.
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.
Be an atheist if you want, but do not believe in anything unquestioningly.
Only by practice and non-attachment can we conquer mind.
Man has wanted to look beyond, wanted to expand himself; and all that we call progress, evolution, has been always measured by that one search, the search for human destiny, the search for God.
The present is determined by our past actions, and the future by the present.
The man who becomes angry never does a great amount of work, and the man whom nothing can make angry accomplishes so much.
It is the calm, forgiving, equable, well-balanced mind that does the greatest amount of work.
We have wept enough. No more weeping, but stand on feet and be men.
Bear in mind, my children, that only cowards and those who are weak commit sin and tell lies. The brave are always moral. Try to be moral, try to be brave, try to be sympathising.
The Land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness -- it is India.
We are bound to earth by desire and also to God, heaven, and the angels. A slave is a slave whether to man, to God, or to angels.
We must become free. We are free; the work is to know it. We must give up all slavery, all bondage of whatever kind. We must not only give up our bondage to earth and everything and everybody on earth, but also to all ideas of heaven and happiness.
This attachment of Love to God is indeed one that does not bind the soul but effectively breaks all its bondages.
Cut the bondage of all worldly affections; go beyond laziness and all care as to what becomes of you.
As long as we require someone else to make us happy, we are slaves.
The effect is delusion, and therefore the cause must be delusion.
This is the first lesson to learn: be determined not to curse anything outside, not to lay the blame upon anyone outside, but stand up, lay the blame on yourself. You will find that is always true. Get hold of yourself.
Life without death and happiness without misery are contradiction and neither can be found alone, because each of them is a different manifestation of the same thing.
Please everyone without becoming a hypocrite or a coward.
Let us worship the spirit in spirit, standing on spirit. Let the foundation be spirit, the middle spirit, the culmination spirit.
The Absolute cannot be divided.
Each soul is potentially divine.
A few heart-whole, sincere, and energetic men and women can do more in a year than a mob in a century.
I direct my attention to the individual, to make him strong, to teach him that he himself is divine, and I call upon men to make themselves conscious of this divinity within. That is really the ideal -- conscious or unconscious -- of every religion.
Religion is being and becoming. Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.
It is the duty of all to support and side with Dharma. All must fight and support Dharma regardless of their personality, background, status.
It is only by doing good to others that one attains to one's own good.
Doing good to others is the number one great Universal Religion.
This intelligence itself is modified into what we call egoism, and this intelligence is the cause of all the powers in the body. It covers the whole ground, sub-consciousness, consciousness, and super-consciousness.
May blessings and happiness attend every step of your progress in this world.
The main feature should be the teaching of principles through stories. Don't make it metaphysical at all.
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 all.
In the world take always the position of the giver.
How often does a man ruin his disciples by remaining always with them! When men are once trained, it is essential that their leader leave them, for without his absence they cannot develop themselves. Plants always remain small under a big tree.
Have faith in Guru, in his teachings, and in the surety that you can get free. Think day and night that this universe is zero, only God is. Have intense desire to get free.
Strength, strength for us. What we need is strength, who will give us strength? There are thousands to weaken us, and of stories we have had enough.
Why is it that we three hundred and thirty millions of people have been ruled for the last one thousand years by any and every handful of foreigners who chose to walk over our prostrate bodies? Because they had faith in themselves and we had not.
Love conquers in the long run. It won't do to become impatient -- wait, wait -- patience is bound to give success.
The body is mortal and the mind is mortal; both, being compounds, must die.
Body is the name of a stream of matter continuously changing.
The ignorant man never enjoys.
Work and worship are necessary to take away the veil, to lift off the bondage and illusion.
To get any reason out of the mass of incongruity we call human life, we have to transcend our reason, but we must do it scientifically, slowly, by regular practice, and we must cast off all superstition.
I am inclined to believe that one who is a coward will be born after death as an insect or a worm, that there is no salvation for a coward even after millions of years of penance.
In everything, there are two kinds of development-analytical and synthetical. In the former the Hindus excel other nations. In the latter they are nil.
God is cruel and not cruel. He is all being and not being at the same time. Hence He is all contradictions. Nature also is nothing but a mass of contradictions.
Give me few men and women who are pure and selfless and I shall shake the world.
Christ's public life extended only over eighteen months, and for this he had silently been preparing himself for thirty -- two years.
Neither idealists nor materialists are right; we must take both idea and expression.
Two attempts have been made in the world to found social life: the one was upon religion, and the other was upon social necessity. The one was founded upon spirituality, the other upon materialism; the one upon transcendentalism, the other upon realism.
The Hindus have to learn a little bit of materialism from the West and teach them a little bit of spirituality.
We must get out of materialism.
Avoid excessive merriment. A mind in that state never becomes calm; it becomes fickle. Excessive merriment will always be followed by sorrow. Tears and laughter are near kin. People so often run from one extreme to the other.
If Jesus Christ was not perfect, then the religion bearing his name falls to the ground.
This misery that I am suffering is of my own doing, and that very thing proves that it will have to be undone by me alone.
There is one thing to be remembered: that the assertion 'I am God' cannot be made with regard to the sense-world.
The Indian mythology has a theory of cycles, that all progression is in the form of waves.
Children of those ancient Aryans, through the grace of the Lord may you have the same pride, may that faith in your ancestors come into your blood, may it become a part and parcel of your lives, may it work towards the salvation of the world!
Don't you find that in a weak physique it is difficult to control the sex-appetite or anger?
None of us have yet seen an ideally perfect man, and yet without that ideal we cannot progress.
Take any path you like; follow any prophet you like; but have only that method which suits your own nature, so that you will be sure to progress.
That is good. It is a law of nature. That is the way with all founders of religion. Without persecution superior ideas cannot penetrate into the heart of society.
Not only we can, but some have reached perfection; so no matter what finer bodies come, they could only be on the relative plane and could do no more than we, for to attain freedom is all that can be done.
All progression is in the relative world.
A man could be in a throne and have no attachment at all; another one could be in rags and have many attachments.
Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind...what we sow is what we reap.
The test of progress is the amount of renunciation that one has attained.
Many a time comes when we want to interpret our weakness and cowardice as forgiveness and renunciation.
Renunciation means that none can serve both God and Mammon.
Renunciation is the very basis upon which ethics stands.
Everything is fraught with fear: Renunciation alone is fearless.
Renunciation is in our blood.