Swami Vivekananda
I will tell you a story. A lioness in search of prey came upon a flock of sheep, and as she jumped at one of them, she gave birth to a cub and died on the spot. The young lion was brought up in the flock, ate grass, and bleated like a sheep, and it never knew that it was a lion. One day a lion came across the flock and was astonished to see in it a huge lion eating grass and bleating like a sheep. At his sight the flock fled and the lion-sheep with them. But the lion watched his opportunity and one day found the lion-sheep asleep. He woke him up and said, "You are a lion." The other said, "No," and began to bleat like a sheep. But the stranger lion took him to a lake and asked him to look in the water at his own image and see if it did not resemble him, the stranger lion. He looked and acknowledged that it did. Then the stranger lion began to roar and asked him to do the same. The lion-sheep tried his voice and was soon roaring as grandly as the other. And he was a sheep no longer. My friends, I would like to tell you all that you are mighty as lions.

SOURCE: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda; Volume-1 PP: 326-7



Today is Swami Vivekananda’s 149th birthday. On this auspicious occasion, may we all draw inspiration from his divine words and life.

Given below is mainly the extract of Jawaharlal Nehru’s speeches delivered during the birth centenary celebration of Swami Vivekananda.

Rooted in the past and full of pride in India’s prestige, Swami Vivekananda was yet modern in his approach to life’s problems and was a kind of bridge between the past of India and her present. 

Many of my generations were very powerfully influenced by Swami Vivekananda. I think that it would do a great deal of good to the present generation if they also went through Swami Vivekananda’s writings and speeches, and they would learn much from them. There was fire in his heart- the fire of a great personality coming out in eloquent and ennobling language – it was no empty talk that he was indulging in. He was putting his heart and soul into the words he uttered.

Swami Vivekananda influenced powerfully the minds of many in India and two or three generations of young men and women have no doubt been influenced by him. If you read Swami Vivekananda’s writings and speeches, the curious thing you will find is that they are not old [but remain ever fresh].    

Swami Vivekananda was one of the great founders of the National Modern Movement of India. A great number of people who took more or less an active part in that Movement in a later date drew their inspiration from him. Directly of indirectly he has powerfully influenced the India of today. I think that our younger generation will take advantage of this fountain of wisdom, of spirit and fire that flows through Swami Vivekananda.

Men like Sri Ramakrishna and men like Swami Vivekananda are great unifying forces, great constructive geniuses of the world not only in regard to the particular teachings that they taught, but their conscious and unconscious influence on it is of the most vital importance to us. His was a kind of nationalism which automatically slipped into Indian nationalism which was part of internationalism.

Swami Vivekananda was one of those persons, who belonged to our ancient culture, knit the country together and inspired a new life into the people and awake the country from slumber. His voice was not momentary, although it was suited for the occasion, and rose from the heart of India. During the brief period of his life, not only did he win the hearts of the people of India, but also of the entire world.

I express the hope that the people of today, of tomorrow – our countrymen, particularly our children and young men – will keep before them the example and memory of Swami Vivekananda and learn from his writings and his life.

SOURCE: Ramakrishna and Vivekananda By Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
                  [Published by Advaita Ashrama]



Swami Vivekananda’s letters radiate power and give inspiration. To study his letters means to bathe in the surging sea of strength and faith. One can imbibe his spirit and fervour by going through his letters with earnestness. He himself made this explicit in one his pulsating letters.

Swami Vivekananda once wrote: “I only tell you this, that whoever reads this letter will imbibe my spirit! Have faith!... I feel as if somebody is moving my hand to write in this way.…” Once he assured: “I shall inspire men everywhere, until the world shall know that it is one with God.” 

Swami Vivekananda wrote many hundreds of letters to friends, disciples, brother disciples etc. They are more relevant than ever. We all may treat the letters as addressed to us individually and get benefited . Here selected portions of the letters will be posted regularly.

SL.NO.                                         LINK
1.                       To Read        See Below.
2.                          ,,                 Click here       
3.                          ,,                 Click here
4.                          ,,                 Click here
5.                          ,,                 Click here
6.                          ,,                 Click here
7 & 8.                  ,,                  Click here
9 & 10.                ,,                  Click here
11.                       ,,                  Click here
12.                       ,,                  Click here 
13 & 14.              ,,                  Click here
15.                       ,,                  Click here
16.                       ,,                  Click here


My dear ..........*,

           …A word for you. Remember always... Be moral. Be brave. Be a heart - whole man. Strictly moral, brave unto desperation. Don't bother your head with religious theories. Cowards only sin, brave men never, no, not even in mind. Try to love anybody and everybody. Be a man and try to make those immediately under your care, … brave, moral, and sympathising. No religion for you, my children, but morality and bravery. No cowardice, no sin, no crime, no weakness -- the rest will come of itself.

Yours affectionately,

*[You may treat this letter as if addressed to you]

Source: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume-5; Letter No.I

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SL.NO                 STORY TITLE                       LINK
1.  SWADHARMA OR ONE'S OWN DUTY     see below       
2. YOU ARE A LION                                         click here
3. THE WISE MINISTER                                 click here 
4. EACH IS GREAT IN HIS OWN PLACE     click here
5. VILVAMANGALA                                                           click here    
A young Sannyâsin went to a forest; there he meditated, worshipped, and practiced Yoga for a long time. After years of hard work and practice, he was one day sitting under a tree, when some dry leaves fell upon his head. He looked up and saw a crow and a crane fighting on the top of the tree, which made him very angry. He said, "What! Dare you throw these dry leaves upon my head!" As with these words he angrily glanced at them, a flash of fire went out of his head — such was the Yogi's power — and burnt the birds to ashes. He was very glad, almost overjoyed at this development of power — he could burn the crow and the crane by a look.

After a time he had to go to the town to beg his bread. He went, stood at a door, and said, "Mother, give me food." A voice came from inside the house, "Wait a little, my son." The young man thought, "You wretched woman, how dare you make me wait! You do not know my power yet." While he was thinking thus the voice came again: "Boy, don't be thinking too much of yourself. Here is neither crow nor crane." He was astonished; still he had to wait.

 At last the woman came, and he fell at her feet and said, "Mother, how did you know that?" She said, "My boy, I do not know your Yoga or your practices. I am a common everyday woman. I made you wait because my husband is ill, and I was nursing him. All my life I have struggled to do my duty. When I was unmarried, I did my duty to my parents; now that I am married, I do my duty to my husband; that is all the Yoga I practice. But by doing my duty I have become illumined; thus I could read your thoughts and know what you had done in the forest. If you want to know something higher than this, go to the market of such and such a town where you will find a Vyâdha (The lowest class of people in India who used to live as hunters and butchers.) who will tell you something that you will be very glad to learn." The Sannyasin thought, "Why should I go to that town and to a Vyadha?" But after what he had seen, his mind opened a little, so he went. 
When he came near the town, he found the market and there saw, at a distance, a big fat Vyadha cutting meat with big knives, talking and bargaining with different people. The young man said, "Lord help me! Is this the man from whom I am going to learn? He is the incarnation of a demon, if he is anything." In the meantime this man looked up and said, "O Swami, did that lady send you here? Take a seat until I have done my business." The Sannyasin thought, "What comes to me here?" He took his seat; the man went on with his work, and after he had finished he took his money and said to the Sannyasin, "Come sir, come to my home."

On reaching home the Vyadha gave him a seat, saying, "Wait here," and went into the house. He then washed his old father and mother, fed them, and did all he could to please them, after which he came to the Sannyasin and said, "Now, sir, you have come here to see me; what can I do for you?" The Sannyasin asked him a few questions about soul and about God, and the Vyadha gave him a lecture which forms a part of the Mahâbhârata, called the Vyâdha-Gitâ. It contains one of the highest flights of the Vedanta. When the Vyadha finished his teaching, the Sannyasin felt astonished. He said, "Why are you in that body? With such knowledge as yours why are you in a Vyadha's body, and doing such filthy, ugly work?" "My son," replied the Vyadha, "no duty is ugly, no duty is impure. My birth placed me in these circumstances and environments. In my boyhood I learnt the trade; I am unattached, and I try to do my duty well. I try to do my duty as a householder, and I try to do all I can to make my father and mother happy. I neither know your Yoga, nor have I become a Sannyasin, nor did I go out of the world into a forest; nevertheless, all that you have heard and seen has come to me through the unattached doing of the duty which belongs to my position."

SOURCE: Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda; Volume-1: KarmaYoga, Chapter-IV

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   Swami Vivekananda's life has many memorable events  which are very valuable and interesting. We can learn many lessons from them for our life too.
  S. NO             -STORY -                                          LINK
      1. A GREAT LESSON FROM MOTHER       See below  
      2. A TRUTHFUL STUDENT                           [ Click here
      3. A LESSON ON SAME SIGHTEDNESS    [ Click here]

When Swami Vivekananda [then Narendra] was studying in school he was punished for no fault of his own. The Geography teacher asked him a question which Narendra answered correctly. But the teacher thought Narendra he was wrong and punished him. But Naredra was undaunted even as a boy. He protested, ‘I committed no error, sir; I am sure what I said is right.’ This made the teacher furious and he caned Narendra mercilessly.

Narendra returned home, his eyes filled with tears and narrated every thing to his mother. But Bhuvaneshwari Devi consoled him saying, ‘My son, why do you care if you are in the right? Follow the truth always, whatever happens.’

Narendra found his Master, Sri Ramakrishna to be an embodiment of the ideal his mother had instilled in him. Sri Ramakrishna used to say: ‘Truth is to be cultivated by all means. If a man holds to truth in this Kaliyuga, he will certainly realize God.’ And Sri Ramakrishna himself practised what he preached.

This ideal of unwavering loyalty to truth which, Swami Vivekananda saw in his mother and later in his spiritual master Sri Ramakrishna found expression in all his actions. It was therefore only but natural that the world would later hear him proclaim: ‘Every thing can be sacrificed for truth, but truth cannot be sacrificed for anything.’

SOURCE: Swami Vivekananda, The Friend of All, RKM Institue of Culture, Kolkata