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....Know that every time you feel weak, you not only hurt yourself but also the Cause. Infinite faith and strength are the only conditions of success.
Be cheerful. . . . Hold on to your own ideal. . . . Above all, never attempt to guide or rule others, or, as the Yankees say, "boss" others. Be the servant of all.
Ever yours with blessings,
LETTER NO. 25
So you have made up your mind to renounce the world. I have sympathy with your desire. There is nothing so high as renunciation of self. But you must not forget that to forgo your own favourite desire for the welfare of those that depend upon you is no small sacrifice. Follow the spotless life and teachings of Shri Ramakrishna and look after the comforts of your family. You do your own duty, and leave the rest to Him.
Love makes no distinction between man and man, between an Aryan and a Mlechchha, between a Brâhmana and a Pariah, nor even between a man and a woman. Love makes the whole universe as one's own home. True progress is slow but sure. Work among those young men who can devote heart and soul to this one duty — the duty of raising the masses of India. Awake them, unite them, and inspire them with this spirit of renunciation; it depends wholly on the young people of India.
Cultivate the virtue of obedience, but you must not sacrifice your own faith. No centralization is possible unless there is obedience to superiors. No great work can be done without this centralization of individual forces. The Calcutta Math is the main centre; the members of all other branches must act in unity and conformity with the rules of that centre.
Give up jealousy and conceit. Learn to work unitedly for others. This is the great need of our country.
Yours with blessings,
SOURCE: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda
In Swami Vivekananda's voice we can hear a Bengali Song: "Mon Chalo Nija Niketane...". This song he sang for Sri Ramakrishna, his Guru. See below the full version of this song.
"Mon chalo nija niketane
Samsar videshey videsheer veshey
Bhrama keno akaarane
Vishaya panchak aar bhutagan
Sab tor par keva naya aapan
Para premey keno hoye achetan
Bhulidho aapan janey
Satya pathey mon koro aarohan
Premer Aalo jwali chalo anukshan
Sangatey sambal rakho punya dhan
Gopaney ati yataney."
There is a story that the king of the gods, Indra, once became a pig, wallowing in mire; he had a she-pig and a lot of baby pigs, and was very happy. Then some gods saw his plight, and came to him, and told him, "You are the king of the gods, you have all the gods under your command. Why are you here?" But Indra said, "Never mind; I am all right here; I do not care for heaven, while I have this sow and these little pigs." The poor gods were at their wits' end. After a time they decided to slay all the pigs one after another. When all were dead, Indra began to weep and mourn. Then the gods ripped his pig-body open and he came out of it, and began to laugh, when he realised what a hideous dream he had had — he, the king of the gods, to have become a pig, and to think that that pig-life was the only life! Not only so, but to have wanted the whole universe to come into the pig-life!
The Purusha, when it identifies itself with nature, forgets that it is pure and infinite. The Purusha does not love, it is love itself. It does not exist, it is existence itself. The Soul does not know, It is knowledge itself. It is a mistake to say the Soul loves, exists, or knows. Love, existence, and knowledge are not the qualities of the Purusha, but its essence. When they get reflected upon something, you may call them the qualities of that something. They are not the qualities but the essence of the Purusha, the great Atman, the Infinite Being, without birth or death, established in its own glory. It appears to have become so degenerate that if you approach to tell it, "You are not a pig," it begins to squeal and bite.
SOURCE: The Complete Works of Swami Vivkananda;
Raja Yoga; Chap-II [PP:248 - 49]
Raja Yoga; Chap-II [PP:248 - 49]
Today is Buddha Purnima. On this holy occasion Swami Vivekananda's Speech delivered in Detroit, USA is posted.
In every religion we find one type of self-devotion particularly developed. The type of working without a motive is most highly developed in Buddhism. Do not mistake Buddhism and Brâhminism. In this country you are very apt to do so. Buddhism is one of our sects. It was founded by a great man called Gautama, who became disgusted at the eternal metaphysical discussions of his day, and the cumbrous rituals, and more especially with the caste system. Some people say that we are born to a certain state, and therefore we are superior to others who are not thus born. He was also against the tremendous priestcraft. He preached a religion in which there was no motive power, and was perfectly agnostic about metaphysics or theories about God. He was often asked if there was a God, and he answered, he did not know. When asked about right conduct, he would reply, "Do good and be good."
There came five Brâhmins, who asked him to settle their discussion. One said, "Sir, my book says that God is such and such, and that this is the way to come to God." Another said, "That is wrong, for my book says such and such, and this is the way to come to God"; and so the others. He listened calmly to all of them, and then asked them one by one, "Does any one of your books say that God becomes angry, that He ever injures anyone, that He is impure?" "No, Sir, they all teach that God is pure and good." "Then, my friends, why do you not become pure and good first, that you may know what God is?"
Of course I do not endorse all his philosophy. I want a good deal of metaphysics, for myself. I entirely differ in many respects, but, because I differ, is that any reason why I should not see the beauty of the man? He was the only man who was bereft of all motive power. There were other great men who all said they were the Incarnations of God Himself, and that those who would believe in them would go to heaven. But what did Buddha say with his dying breath? "None can help you; help yourself; work out your own salvation." He said about himself, "Buddha is the name of infinite knowledge, infinite as the sky; I, Gautama, have reached that state; you will all reach that too if you struggle for it." Bereft of all motive power, he did not want to go to heaven, did not want money; he gave up his throne and everything else and went about begging his bread through the streets of India, preaching for the good of men and animals with a heart as wide as the ocean.
SOURCE: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda; Volume 4 [Lectures and Discourse]
Chronology of Main Events in Swami Vivekananda's Life:
|1863||January 12||Birth in Kolkata|
|1879||Enters Presidency College|
|1880||Transfers to General Assembly Institution|
|1881||November||First meeting with Sri Ramakrishna|
|1882-1886||Association with Sri Ramakrishna|
|1884||Passes B. A. Examination|
|Father passes away|
|1885||Sri Ramakrishna’s last illness|
|1886||August 16||Sri Ramakrishna passes away|
|Fall||Establishes Baranagar Math|
|December 24||Informal vow of sannyasa at Antpur|
|1887||January||Formal vows of sannyasa at Baranagar Monastery|
|1890-1893||Travels all over India as itinerant monk|
|1892||December 24||At Kanyakumari, South India|
|1893||February 13||First public lecture, Secunderabad, South India|
|May 31||Sails for America from Mumbai|
|July 25||Lands at Vancouver, Canada|
|July 30||Arrives in Chicago|
|August||Meets Professor John Ft. Wright of Harvard University|
|September 11||First address at Parliament of Religions, Chicago|
|September 27||Final address at Parliament of Religions|
|November 20||Begins mid-western lecture tour|
|1894||April 14||Begins lectures and classes on East Coast|
|May 16||Speaks at Harvard University|
|July-August||At Green Acre Religious Conference|
|November||Founds Vedanta Society of New York|
|1895||January||Begins classes in New York|
|June 4-18||At Camp Percy, New Hampshire|
|June-August||At Thousand Island Park on St. Lawrence river, N.Y.|
|October-November||Lectures in London|
|December 6||Sails for New York|
|1896||March 22-25||Speaks at Harvard University, offered Eastern Philosophy chair|
|April 15||Returns to London|
|May-July||Gives classes in London|
|May 28||Meets Max Muller in Oxford|
|August-September||In the Europe for six weeks|
|October-November||Gives classes in London|
|December 30||Leaves Naples for India|
|1897||January 15||Arrives in Colombo, Sri Lanka|
|February 6-15||In Chennai|
|February 19||Arrives in Kolkata|
|May 1||Establishes Ramakrishna Mission Association, Kolkata|
|May-December||Tours northwest India|
|1898||January||Returns to Kolkata|
|May||Begins North India pilgrimage with Western devotees|
|August 2||At Amarnath, Kashmir|
|December 9||Consecrates Belur Math|
|1899||March 19||Establishes Advaita Ashrama at Mayavati|
|June 20||Leaves India for second visit to the West|
|July 31||Arrives in London|
|August 28||Arrives in New York City|
|August-November||At Ridgely Manor, New York|
|December 3||Arrives in Los Angeles|
|1900||February 22||Arrives in San Francisco|
|April 14||Founds Vedanta Society in San Francisco|
|June||Final classes in New York City|
|July 26||Leaves for Europe|
|August 3||Arrives in Paris for International Exposition|
|September 7||Speaks at Congress of History of Religions at Exposition|
|October 24||Begins tour of Vienna, Constantinople, Greece and Cairo|
|November 26||Leaves for India|
|December 9||Arrives at Belur Math|
|March-May||Pilgrimage in East Bengal and Assam|
|1902||January-February||Visits Bodh Gaya and Varanasi|
|March||Returns to Belur Math|