Swami Vivekananda                           

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Quotes (N - S)




National prosperity is another name for death and degradation to millions of other races.



  • The more you fly from nature, the more she follows you; and if you do not care for her at all, she becomes your slave.
    (Raja Yoga: Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms. Chapter II - Concentration: Its practice)
  • He who has conquered the internal nature controls the whole universe; it becomes his servant.
    (Raja Yoga: Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms. Chapter II - Concentration: Its practice)



Ordinary mankind cannot understand anything that is subtle. Well has it been said that mobs would run after a lion that could kill a thousand lambs, and never for a moment think that it is death unto the lambs, although it may be a momentary triumph for the lion; because in that the mob finds the greatest manifestation of physical strength. Thus with the ordinary run of mankind, they understand and find pleasure in everything that is external.
(The Necessity of Religion -  Jnana Yoga 1902 edition) 



The position of the orthodox Christians, he said, was illogical and untenable. An arbitrary and sudden creation of a soul and then its eternal damnation or salvation — it was like "a stick with only one end."
(Reminiscences of A. Srinivasa Pai)




  • The totality of all souls, not the human alone, is the Personal God.
  • That which is bound is nature, not the soul.



The true philosopher strives to destroy nothing, but to help all.
(July 1902 Prabuddha Bharata)



In order to become a nation, it appears that we need a common hate as well as a common love.
(Notes of some wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda by Sister Nivedita)



Things do not grow better. They remain as they are; and we grow better by the changes we make in them.
(CW8: Sayings and Utterances)




  • If I am grateful to my white-skinned Aryan ancestor, I am far more so to my yellow-skinned Mongolian ancestor, and most so of all, to the black-skinned Negritoid!
    (As quoted by Sister Nivedita) 
  • The Tartar is the wine of the race! He gives energy and power to every blood!
    (As quoted by Sister Nivedita)



Look at this nation. Through the preaching of that love broadcast, the nation has become effeminate--a race of women! The whole of Orissa has been turned into a land of cowards, and Bengal, running high after the Radha-prema, these past four hundred years, has almost lost all sense of manliness.
(As quoted by Surendranath Sen in his private diary)



  • Do not accept anything because I have said so; but test everything for yourself. It is not in assent or dissent that the goal is to be attained, but in actual and concrete realization. (Life of Swami Vivekananda by Eastern and Western Disciples) 
  • When a man has reached that perfect state, he is of the same nature as the Personal God. "I and my Father are one."



If you want to reform John Doe, go and live with him; don't try to reform him. If you have any of the Divine Fire, he will catch it.



  • The ultimate goal of all mankind, the aim and end of all religions, is but one — re-union with God, or, what amounts to the same, with the divinity which is every man's true nature.
    (Notes from a lecture The goals and methods of realisation)
  • So long as religion was in the hands of a chosen few or of a body of priests, it was in the temples, it was in the churches, it was in the books, in dogmas, in ceremonials, forms, and rituals.  When men have come to the real, universal, spiritual concept, then, and then alone, religion will become real and living; it will come into our very nature, live in every movement of the human being, it will penetrate every pore of society, and be infinitely more a power for good than it has ever been before.
    (The Necessity of Religion -  Jnana Yoga 1902 edition) 
  • The mainspring of the strength of every race lies in the spirituality manifested in religion and the death of that race begins the day that spirituality wanes and materialism begins.
    (The Necessity of Religion -  Jnana Yoga 1902 edition) 
  • It is good and very grand to conquer external nature, but grander still to conquer the internal nature of man. It is grand and good to know the laws that govern the stars and planets; it is infinitely grander and better to know the laws that govern the passions, the feelings, the will, of mankind. This conquering of the inner man, understanding the secrets of the subtle workings that are within the human mind, and knowing its wonderful secrets, belong entirely to religion.
    (The Necessity of Religion -  Jnana Yoga 1902 edition) 
  • No man is born to any religion; he has a religion in his own soul.
  • Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.
    (CV 4: Prose - What we believe in)
  • As soon as you make a sect, you protest against universal brotherhood.



  • This hideous world is Maya. Renounce and be happy. Give up the idea of sex and possessions. There is no other bond. Marriage and sex and money are the only living devils. All earthly love proceeds from the body. No sex, no possessions; as these fall off, the eyes open to spiritual vision. The soul regains its own infinite power.
    (Letter to Mary Hale - July 9, 1897).
  • Renunciation is the very basis upon which ethics stands.
  • Everything is fraught with fear: Renunciation alone is fearless.



Each individual has to work out his own salvation; there is no other way, and so also with nations.



Samadhi is perfect absorption of thought into the Supreme Spirit, when one realises. "I and my Father are one."
(Notes from a lecture On Raja Yoga)



  • Never forget that the Sannyasin takes two vows: one to realize the truth and one to help the world — and that the most stringent of stringent requirements is that he should renounce any thought of heaven!
    (CWSN 1: 134)
  • It is not the form of his life that makes a Sadhu. For it is possible to sit in a cave and have one's whole mind filled with the question of how many pieces of bread will be brought to one for supper!
    (Quoted by Sister Nivedita)
  • Blessed be even the fraudulent sadhus, and those who have failed to carry out their vows, in as much as they also have witnessed to the ideal, and so are in some degree the cause of the success of others!
  • Let us never, never, forget our Ideal.
    (Notes from some wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda by Sister Nivedita)



If we can find in ourself something that is not acted on by any cause, then we have known the Self.
(CV 6: Notes of Class talks and lectures: Freedom of the Self)



  • There is but one way to control the senses — to see Him who is the Reality in the universe. Then and only then can we really conquer our senses.
    (Notes from a lecture Concentration)



  • The soul lives and forever expands. Worlds must come into the soul. Worlds must disappear in the soul like drops in the ocean.
    (Lecture The practice of religion)
  • Evolution is in nature, not in the soul — evolution of nature, manifestation of the soul.
    (Notes from a lecture The reality and shadow)




  • The highest manifestation of strength is to keep ourselves calm and on our own feet.
  • Whatever you think, that you will be.  If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be.
  • Strength, strength it is that we want so much in this life, for what we call sin and sorrow have all one cause, and that is our weakness. With weakness comes ignorance, and with ignorance comes misery.
  • Everyone says, "Woe unto you people! !" Who says, "Woe unto me that I cannot help you?" The people are doing all right to the best of their ability and means and knowledge. Woe unto me that I cannot lift them to where I am!
    (From his lecture Krishna)

  • The only test of good things is that they make us strong.
    (CW, 8:185)
  • You must have an iron will if you would cross the ocean. You must be strong enough to pierce mountains.
    (letter to Trigunatitananda Jan 17, 1895)
  • The weak have no place here, in this life or in any other life
  • Weakness leads to slavery. Weakness leads to all kinds of misery, physical and mental. Weakness is death. There are hundreds of thousands of microbes surrounding us, but they cannot harm us unless we become weak, until the body is ready and predisposed to receive them. There may be a million microbes of misery, floating about us. Never mind! They dare not approach us, they have no power to get a hold on us, until the mind is weakened. This is the great fact: strength is life, weakness is death. Strength is felicity, life eternal, immortal; weakness is constant strain and misery: weakness is death. 
  • All great undertakings are achieved through mighty obstacles. Put forth your manly effort. Wretched people under the grip of lust and gold deserve to be looked upon with indifference. Keep up the deepest mental poise; take not even the slightest notice of what puerile creatures may be saying against you. Indifference! Indifference! Indifference! All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that; do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics as most of us believe now-a-days. You can do anything and everything, without even the guidance of any one.

  • Stand firm like a rock. Truth always triumphs.
  • What makes you weep, my friend? In you is all power. Summon up your all-powerful nature, O mighty one, and this whole universe will lie at your feet. It is the Self alone that predominates, and not matter.
  • Know that all sins and all evils can be summed up in that one word, weakness. It is weakness that is the motive power in all evil doing; it is weakness that is the source of all selfishness; it is weakness that makes men injure others; it is weakness that makes them manifest what they are not in reality. 
  • Weakness is the one cause of suffering. We become miserable because we are weak. We lie, steal, kill, and commit other crimes, because we are weak. We suffer because we are weak. We die because we are weak. Where there is nothing to weaken us, there is no death nor sorrow.  
  • This is the one question I put to every man, woman, or child, when they are in physical, mental, or spiritual training. Are you strong? Do you feel strength? — for I know it is truth alone that gives strength. I know that truth alone gives life, and nothing but going towards reality will make us strong, and none will reach truth until he is strong.
  • Strength, therefore, is the one thing needful. Strength is the medicine for the world's disease.Strength is the medicine which the poor must have when tyrannized over by the rich. Strength is the medicine that the ignorant must have when oppressed by the learned; and it is the medicine that sinners must have when tyrannized over by other sinners.
  • Make your nerves strong. What we want is muscles of iron and nerves of steel. We have wept long enough. No more weeping, but stand on your feet and be men. It is a man-making religion that we want. It is man-making theories that we want. It is man-making education all round that we want. And here is the test of truth — anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject as poison; there is no life in it, it cannot be true. Truth is strengthening. Truth is purity, truth is all-knowledge; truth must be strengthening, must be enlightening, must be invigorating.

    Stand up, be bold, be strong. Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny. All the strength and succor you want is within yourselves. Therefore make your own future.

  • He who falters at first will get stronger and stronger, and the voice will increase in volume until the truth takes possession of our hearts, and courses through our veins, and permeates our bodies. Delusion will vanish as the light becomes more and more effulgent, load after load of ignorance will vanish, and then will come a time when all else has disappeared and the Sun alone shines.
  • There may be weakness, says the Vedanta, but never mind, we want to grow. Disease was found out as soon as man was born. Everyone knows his disease; it requires no one to tell us what our diseases are. But thinking all the time that we are diseased will not cure us — medicine is necessary. We may forget anything outside, we may try to become hypocrites to the external world, but in our heart of hearts we all know our weaknesses. But, says the Vedanta, being reminded of weakness does not help much; give strength, and strength does not come by thinking of weakness all the time. The remedy for weakness is not brooding over weakness, but thinking of strength. Teach men of the strength that is already within them. Instead of telling them they are sinners, the Vedanta takes the opposite position, and says, "You are pure and perfect, and what you call sin does not belong to you." Sins are very low degrees of Self-manifestation; manifest your Self in a high degree. That is the one thing to remember; all of us can do that. Never say, "No", never say, "I cannot", for you are infinite. Even time and space are as nothing compared with your nature. You can do anything and everything, you are almighty.
  • What our country now wants are muscles of iron and nerves of steel gigantic wills which can penetrate into the mysteries and secrets of universe and will accomplish their purpose in any fashion even if it meant going to the bottom of the ocean and meeting Death face to face.
  • We speak of many things parrot like, but never do them; speaking and not doing has become a habit with us. What is the cause of that ? Physical weakness. This sort of weak brain is not able to do anything. We must strengthen it. First of all our young men must be strong. Religion will come afterwards. You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through a study of the Gita. You will understand Gita better with your biceps, your muscles, a little stronger. You will understand the mighty genius and the mighty strength of Krishna better with a little of strong blood in you. You will understand the Upanishads better and the glory of the Atman when your body; stands firm upon your feet and you feel yourselves as men.
  • I have never spoken of revenge. I have always spoken of strength. Do we dream of revenging ourselves on this drop of sea spray? But is a great thing to a mosquito!
  • Truth, purity and unselfishness -- wherever these are present, there is no power below or above the sun to crush the possessor thereof. Equipped with these, one individual is able to face the whole universe in opposition.



Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success, and above all, love.

Advice for the success in the world

  • We are for ever trying to make our weakness look like strength, our sentiment like love, our cowardice like courage, and so on.
  • Say to your soul in regard to vanities, weakness, etc., "This does not befit thee. This does not befit thee."














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