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.