Swami Vivekananda

A Tribute to Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda, spiritual guide and profound inspirer to millions in India and around the world was born on this day, the 12th of January, 1863 in Calcutta.

A true disciple of his Master Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, he learnt that “all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self; therefore, service to God could be rendered by service to mankind”. His views on Vedanta in the “Parliament of Religion” in Chicago in 1893 revived Hindu spiritualism and ushered a new beginning of bringing the East closer to the West. His preaching on the Vedanta concept of “Oneness” is predominantly based on the fact that everything that we see around us is the manifestation of the eternal self. Hence “He who says he is different from others, even by a hair’s breadth, immediately becomes miserable. Happiness belongs to him who knows this oneness, who knows he is one with this universe”.

His birthday has been officially declared as National Youth Day in India and the honest way to pay tribute to respected Swami is to realize his teachings and integrate them in our lives. Here is a compilation of few of his inspiring quotes taken mostly from “The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda“.

1. There the sun doth not shine, neither the moon, nor stars, nor lightning, what to speak of this fire. He shining, everything doth shine. Through Him everything shineth. (The Upanishads)

2. I am He, I am He. (The Upanishads)

3. That which exists in one; sages call Him by various names.

4. The Vedantic idea is the infinite principle of God embodied in every one of us.

5. Let us be Gods, let us make our hearts like an ocean, to go beyond the trifles of the world and see it only as a picture. We can then enjoy it without being in any way affected by it. We are only souls if we are free, there is immortality only if we are free. There is God only if He is free.

6. The future of India. Here first arose the doctrines of the immortality of the soul, the existence of a supervising God an imminent God in Nature and in man, and here the highest ideals of religion and philosophy have attained their culminating points.

7. There is no sin in thee, there is no misery in thee, thou art the reservoir of omnipotent power. Arise awake and manifest the Divinity within.

8. As the different rivers taking their start from different mountains, running straight or crooked though they appear crooked or straight all lead into thee.

9. It is not that you become this Brahman. You are already that (Swami Vivekananda Lectures and discourses).

10. You are God. All Heavens you make out of Him. He is the one existence.

11. “I am neither the body, nor the organs, nor am I the mind; I am Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss absolute; I am He.” Advaita Vedanta.

12. The Vedantic idea is the infinite principle of God embodied in every one of us. So Vedanta knows no sin.

13. The sun reflected from millions of globules of water appears to be millions of suns, and in each globule is a miniature picture of the sun-form; so all these souls are but reflections and not real. They are not the real “I” which is the God of this universe, the one undivided Being of the universe. And all these little different beings, men and animals etc. are but reflections, and not real. They are simply illusory reflections upon Nature. There is but one Infinite Being in the universe, and that Being appears as you and as I; but this appearance of divisions is after all a delusion. He has not been divided, but only appears to be divided. This apparent division is caused by looking at Him through the network of time, space, and causation.

14. Men worship Incarnations, such as Christ or Buddha. They are the most perfect manifestations of the eternal Self. They are much higher than all the conceptions of God that you or I can make. A perfect man is much higher than such conceptions. In him the circle becomes complete; the subject and the object become one.

15. if there is ever to be a universal religion, it must be one which will have no location, place or time… and whose whole scope and whole force will be created in aiding humanity to realize its own true divine Nature.

Acknowledgement: We are totally indebted to the Mayawati Memorial Edition, Advaita Ashrama (Publication Department), 5 Dehi Entally Road, Calcutta 700014. The subsidized edition Of The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda was brought out on the 125th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda “with a view to reaching his life giving message to a wider circle”. (My father was gifted a copy of this set of eight volumes in his retirement).

Thanks to Giulio Prisco and Lincoln Cannon for your inspirations.

Thanks to my mother Bandana Munshi for being a gentle guiding force behind everything I do.

Image source.

  • Giulio Prisco

    Thanks Nupur for educating us on Indian philosophy and spirituality, and collecting these inspiring quotes.

    I am especially impressed by: 13. The sun reflected from millions of globules of water appears to be millions of suns, and in each globule is a miniature picture of the sun-form; so all these souls are but reflections and not real…

    This powerful word image shows how unity and diversity are complementary aspects of the world. It reminds me of Kolak’s Open Individualism:

    Related ideas formulated in quantum physics language are outlined in my old article “Shadows and the concept of self.” I would write it differently today, I should contact my co-author Richard Miller and write a new version.

    Our imperfect but evolving understanding of physics shows, more and more, that we are both individuals and parts of a cosmic whole. I guess there must be uncertainty relations between these two complementary aspects of reality, if we focus on one we lose sight of the other. The art of life is finding a good balance,

    • Nupur Munshi

      This article has given me immense inner satisfaction and I really felt elated to compile Swami Vivekananda’s quotes.I am really grateful to you Sir,for giving me this grand opportunity. In India, to do something as great as this is an opportunity of a lifetime.Thank you .

      I find shades of Indian philosophy in not just these articles but in your comments, thoughts and ideas elsewhere…as the one above.I look forward to reading new versions of your thoughts .

      • Giulio Prisco

        In fact, within the limits of my very modest knowledge and understanding of Indian philosophy, I find there many valuable insights that can only be “trivially true” at a fundamental level. One of my main goals is to understand, and than to communicate, how the insights of Eastern philosophy can be made compatible – and mutually re-enforcing – with those of modern science. It must be simple, once you see it.

        • Nupur Munshi

          Sir,I thank everyone here for their overwhelming response .The problem is in a different time zone in India it is bit difficult to respond individually but the comments here are so interesting that we have to meet one day in second life to discuss all these.(edited).Thanks to all.

          • Giulio Prisco

            I look forward to organizing a SL discussion. Do let me know how to organize it, focus the discussion and Q/A, and other people who should be invited.

      • spud100

        Thanks for the introduction to Vivekkananda, Nupur, as he seems like a religious philosopher, after my own heart. I have had a few discussions about religion, with my niece’s father on his flavor of Hinduism. My own affiliation is with Judaism, and I see flecks of wisdom there, as well Christianity, and Buddhism, Atheism, and once in a while, even within Islam. My idea is totally, pragmatic as an approach, being, “whatever helps!” In Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism, reincarnation can play a part.

        I don’t agree with reincarnation being true, but, rather, the Akashic Record being true. There are curious incidences where young children pick up memories of people who have died. Rather then say, “aha! This is the person reborn!” I say, instead, that this is likely some odd, data leak, from this big database that stores all information, from ourselves, life on earth, the galaxy, the universe. Maybe at the Planck Length in physics, who knows!?? Is the akashic a relational, or a block-chain database or cube? I have no idea, and to decide this is above my intellectual pay grade, as Dr. Jack Sarfatti, once replied to me. I agree with his assessment :-) . Anyway, the akashic database thing appeals to me, because as the Japanese say, “to a hammer, everything in the world looks like a nail.” Perhaps this affects my world view? Ah! But as the Swami might say to me, “this is not about you, but about all mankind (19th century fellow), and all life!”

        This too, I agree with, and is why I like the universalist, view of Prisco and Goertzel’s new Cosmism. Because it sounds very, encouraging, and like Vivekananda, they are trying to come up with fixes, for the problems our our times, the human dilemma’s of the ages. I am guessing that if God had told the ancients of all nations what he really was, they would never comprehend. “you mean you are some kind of abacus!!!??? What is an upgrade, and what do you mean by Version 3.0???” Today we have better models of life, and the universe, and mathematics. So, perhaps, we are more open to new thinking? Perhaps, Vivekananda would have agreed with me, just perhaps.

        Best luck in your efforts, Nupur!


        • Giulio Prisco

          Hi Spud. Re “I don’t agree with reincarnation being true, but, rather, the Akashic Record being true…”

          The two concepts seem strongly related to me, so strongly related that one implies the other.

          Reincarnation is defined as a weaker version of resurrection, where the unique essence of a person is re-instantiated without the memories of past instances (or with past memories hidden from conscious recollection and difficult to retrieve without special talent and discipline).

          Reincarnation presupposes that there is a unique essence of a person independent of memories (Atman?), like an invariant of consciousness, a crypto hash or something.

          If the universe keeps Akashic records of everything (including unique essences), then future technologies able to read the Akashic records could implement reincarnation, and even add memories of past lives (full resurrection).

          But perhaps the universe already includes a mechanism that keeps re-instantiating as much information as possible from the Akashic records, spontaneously. Ben and Rupert Sheldrake observe that patterns tend to persist (“the universe takes habits”), and cosmic reincarnation cycles with persistence of unique personal essences could be seen as part of that.

          • spud100

            I would ask the How questions, as in mechanism, how the data gets stored, how might it be recovered? I can guess and hand wave, but it will take a sharper intellect then mine, to have any confidence in such a cause, and effect.

          • Giulio Prisco

            There are several theoretical ideas on the table about how the universe stores all information, either scattered into less and less accessible degrees of freedom in a single universe, or scattered into other branches of a (MWI or inflationary) multiverse or something like that, or both.

            I guess once the relevant physics is properly understood (which won’t be tomorrow, or next week, or next year), how to recover the information stored in “hidden registers” (aka Akashic records) will be just an engineering problem, daunting but solvable. Our descendants (or aliens, or superintelligent AIs, or hybrids) will just need a good screwdriver designed for Akashic screws.

          • spud100

            Ah! Professori, you mean like these fellows? :-)


            I have read that physics nowadays is so diverse, it is difficult for one physicist to know or follow what the other does.


          • Giulio Prisco

            I wasn’t familiar with this particular article, but it’s one of many. It seems that the zeitgeist is starting to like similar research lines. When the time for an idea is right, many people start working on it, like mushrooms.

            By the way, you can save the $113 plus tax (shaking my head in disbelief), the article can be downloaded from Researchgate:

          • spud100

            I was just randomly searching on google, combining the words, universe and register. Went through a few 10 count pages, and came upon the article stub. Yes 113.00 is somehow, a bit too pricey, for anyone except an academic, who’s university will fund the purchase price, without even thinking about it. Thank you for the link, doctor.

            Maybe it is the time for all this, with maybe 7 billion people, and a level of economics, that promotes a focus upon how computer like, how program like, the universe seems? If so, I may be a program called a spider, designed to hunt for usable articles and websites. This to me is not such a bad destiny. We, perhaps, in our own way, build the program, to query the Great Database.

          • spud100

            Another thought, if you and Goertzel, or maybe you, and Steinhart (?) get going, with Open Source Cosmism, and call it the Ultimate App. The ultimate app for many religions, and the ultimate app for atheists as well. All you have to do is agree with patternism, as Goertzel, and Tipler, as Moravec do, and there it is! Cosmism does, eventually, need to be made more solid, by using physics, astronomy, and computer science papers to get Cosmism, less vague, and more, plausible. Yes, it is a task for the ages, potentially, but for here and now, we, the living (I,The Jury?) can identify and use science papers to thicken our stews. Hopefully, the ultimate app will be a tastey stew, once more ingredients are added and cooked?

  • Thank you, Nupur.

  • magnus

    Beautiful words! Thank you, Nupur!
    How one expresses a thought is of deepest importance. I see cores of S. Vivekananda also in parts of the old greek thinkers (the question about the Absolute, substsnce, one and many).
    I remember a key word, Indras net. Is it in nr 13?
    Cheers from sweden.