Swami Vivekananda                           

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Quotes (G - M)





  • The Impersonal God seen through the mists of sense is personal.
    (CWSN 1: 120)
  • Some imaginations help to break the bondage of the rest. The whole universe is imagination, but one set of imaginations will cure another set. Those that tell us that there is sin and sorrow and death in the world are terrible. But the other set — thou art holy, there is God, there is no pain — these are good, and help to break the bondage of the others. The highest imagination that can break all the links of the chain is that of the Personal God.
    (Notes from a lecture On Bhakti Yoga)
  • Can you see your own eyes? God is like that. He is as close as your own eyes. He is your own, even though you can't see Him.
    (Said to seventeen-year-old Ralph Wyckoff)



These gods are not merely symbols! They are the forms that the Bhaktas have seen!
(CWSN 1: 120)



Who can say that God does not manifest Himself as Evil as well as Good ? But only the Hindu dares to worship Him in the evil.
(Notes of some wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda by Sister Nivedita)



Great occasions rouse even the lowest of human beings to some kind of greatness, but he alone is the really great man whose character is great always, the same wherever he be.



Have you never thought of the hearts of the heroes? How they were great, great, great — and soft as butter?"
(CWSN 1: 172)



  • The three essentials of Hinduism are belief in God, in the Vedas as revelation, in the doctrine of Karma and transmigration.
    (Notes taken down in Madras 1892-93)
  • My religion is one of which Christianity is an offshoot and Buddhism a rebel child.
    (Notes taken down in Madras 1892-93)
  • There is no new religious idea preached anywhere which is not found in the Vedas.
    (Notes taken down in Madras 1892-93)
  • The Vedas contain not only the means how to obtain Bhakti but also the means for obtaining any earthly good or evil. Take whatever you want.
    (Notes taken down in Madras 1892-93)



Never forget, to say to yourself, and to teach to your children, as the difference between a firefly and the blazing sun, between the infinite ocean and a little pond, between a mustard-seed and the mountain of Meru, such is the difference between the householder and the Sannyasin.
(Notes of some wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda by Sister Nivedita)



The real individuality is that which never changes and will never change; and that is the God within us.



Greatest of the countries of Europe, land of religion and of art; alike of imperial organization and of Mazzini ;mother of ideas, of culture, and of freedom !
(Notes of some wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda by Sister Nivedita)



  • Their country is their religion. The national cry is Dai Nippon , Banzai!. Live long, great Japan ! The country before and above everything else. No sacrifice is too great for maintaining the honour and integrity of the country.
    (Reminiscences by Nagendra Nath Gupta)



Had I lived in Palestine, in the days of Jesus of Nazareth, I would have washed his feet, not with my tears, but with my heart's blood!
(CWSN 1: 189)


JNANA (True Knowledge)

  • Jnâna (knowledge) is "creedlessness"; but that does not mean that it despises creeds. It only means that a stage above and beyond creeds has been gained.
    (Notes from a lecture On Jnana Yoga)



  • In criticising another, we always foolishly take one especially brilliant point as the whole of our life and compare that with the dark ones in the life of another. Thus we make mistakes in judging individuals.
    (Notes from a lecture On Bhakti Yoga)



No one can get anything unless he earns it. This is an eternal law. (Karma in its effect on character)



  • "I want sappers and miners in the army of religion. So, boys, set yourselves to the task of training your muscles. For ascetics, mortification is all right, for workers, well-developed bodies, muscles of iron and nerves of steel."



  • This was the great work of Krishna : to clear our eyes and make us look with broader vision upon humanity in its march upward and onward. His was the first heart that was large enough to see truth in all, his the first lips that uttered beautiful words for each and all.

  • Krishna talks of himself as God, as Christ does. He sees the Deity in himself. And he says, "None can go a day out of my path. All have to come to me. Whosoever wants to worship in whatsoever form, I give him faith in that form, and through that I meet him. ..."(Gita, IV. 12.) His heart is all for the masses.
    (From his lecture Krishna)
  • Shri Krishna is the God of the poor, the beggar, the the sinner, the son, the father, the wife, and of everyone. He enters intimately into all our human relations and makes everything holy and in the end brings us to salvation. He is the God who hides himself from the philosopher and the learned and reveals himself to the ignorant and the children. He is the God of faith and love and not of learning. With the Gopis, love and God were the same thing — they knew Him to be love incarnate.
    (Notes taken down in Madras 1892-93)



  • I am persuaded that a leader is not made in one life. He has to be born for it. For the difficulty is not in organisation and making plans; the test, the real test, of the leader, lies in holding widely different people together along the line of their common sympathies. And this can only be done unconsciously, never by trying.
    (CW8: Sayings and Utterances)
  • The giver of the head is alone the leader.
    (meaning only he who will sacrifice his life for the cause is fit to be the leader of a cause)



  • To care only for spiritual liberty and not for social liberty is a defect, but the opposite is a still greater defect. Liberty of both soul and body is to be striven for.
    (Notes from a lecture Hindu and Greek)
  • This life is a tremendous assertion of freedom; and this obedience to law, carried far enough, would make us simply matter — either in society, or in politics, or in religion. Too many laws are a sure sign of death. Wherever in any society there are too many laws, it is a sure sign that that society will soon die.
    (Notes from a lecture Law and Freedom)



  • Life is but a dream of death.
    (CV 6: Notes of Class talks and lectures: How to become free)
  • Always free on the spiritual plane; never free on the mental and physical — hence the struggle.
    (quoted by Josephine MacLeod)


Pure love has no motive. It has nothing to gain.



  • When the soul wants to depend upon nothing, not even upon life, that is the height of philosophy, the height of manhood.
    (From his lecture Krishna)
  • You are also as much a man as the greatest of men - even an Incarnation.
    (spoken June 19, 1899)



Though the love of a mother is in some ways greater, yet the whole world takes the love of man and woman as the type. No other has such tremendous idealising power. The beloved actually becomes what he is imagined to be. This love transforms its obiect.
(Notes from some wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda by Sister Nivedita)



  • He who knows the Real sees in Maya not illusion, but reality. He who knows not the Real sees in Maya illusion and thinks it real.
    (Notes from a lecture The reality and shadow)
  • We learn as we grow. Alas! we cannot use our knowledge here. The moment we seem to learn, we are hurried off the stage. And this is Mâyâ!
    (Letter to Marie Halboister - 8/10/99)



  • The greatest thing is meditation. It is the nearest approach to spiritual life — the mind meditating. It is the one moment in our daily life that we are not at all material — the Soul thinking of Itself, free from all matter — this marvellous touch of the Soul!
    (Notes from a lecture Sadhanas or preparations for higher life)




  • Mercy is heaven itself; to be good, we have all to be merciful. Even justice and right should stand on mercy.
  • Mercy shall not be for men alone, but shall go beyond, and embrace the whole world.
    (Raja Yoga. The first steps)



The universe is like a cobweb and minds are the spiders; for mind is one as well as many.
(attributed to SV by Sister Nivedita)



  • Unborn and uncreated, without beginning and without end, deathless, birthless and omnipresent — that is what I am; and all misery comes just because I think this little lump of clay is myself. I am identifying myself with matter and taking all the consequences.
    (Lecture The Practice of Religion)
  • Misery is caused by sin, and by no other cause.
    (Raja Yoga: Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms. Chapter II - Concentration: Its practice)



  • Our mistakes have places here. Go on! Do not look back if you think you have done something that is not right. Now, do you believe you could be what you are today, had you not made those mistakes before? Bless your mistakes, then. They have been angels unawares. Blessed be torture! Blessed be happiness Do not care what be your lot. Hold on to the ideal. March on! Do not look back upon little mistakes and things. In this battlefield of ours, the dust of mistakes must be raised. Those who are so thin-skinned that they cannot bear the dust, let them get out of the ranks.
    (Notes from a lecture Sadhanas or preparations for higher life)




  • Fortune is like a flirt; she cares not for him who wants her, but she is at the feet of him who does not care for her. Money comes and showers itself upon one who does not care for it; so does fame come in abundance until it is a trouble and a burden. They always come to the Master. The slave never gets anything. The Master is he who can live in spite of them, whose life does not depend upon the little, foolish things of the world.
    (Notes from a lecture Sadhanas or preparations for higher life)




  • The highest of all feminine types in India is mother, higher than wife. Wife and children may desert a man, but his mother never. Mother is the same or loves her child perhaps a little more. Mother represents colourless love that knows no barter, love that never dies. Who can have such love? — only mother, not son, nor daughter, nor wife.
    (Notes from a lecture Mother Worship)













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