Vivekananda Archives
A Web Portal on Swami Vivekananda

Presented by The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, Kolkata, with financial assistance from The Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

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Quotations

Abnegation (Sadhana)

Abnegation has the greatest importance in our philosophy. Negation implies affirmation of the Real Self. The Vedanta is pessimistic so far as it negatives the world of the senses, but it is optimistic in its assertion of the real world. (V. 283)

Absolute

The Absolute does not change, or re-evolve. (I. 420)

Changes in the universe are not in the Absolute; they are in nature. (I. 420)

There is a joy which is Absolute, which never changes. (II. 167)

In the Absolute, there is neither time, space, nor causation; It is all one. (II. 132)

If the Absolute becomes limited by the mind, it is no more Absolute. (II. 132)

The Absolute cannot be divided. (III. 7)

The Absolute does not come within Maya. (V. 310)

The Absolute can never be thought of. (VI. 108)

Only when creation stops can we find the Absolute. The Absolute is in the Soul, not in creation. (VI. 96)

The Absolute cannot be worshipped, so we must worship a manifestation. (VII. 29)

The sea calm is the Absolute; the same sea in waves is Divine Mother. (VII. 27)

The Absolute God of the universe, the creator, preserver,and destroyer of the universe, is impersonal principle.(VIII. 133-34)

The Absolute is the material of both God and man. (VIII. 179)

Achievement

Every great achievement is done slowly. (VI. 332)

Advaita

Nothing gives such strength as this idea of monism.

Nothing makes us so moral as this idea of monism. (II. 201)

Monism and dualism are essentially the same. (VI. 98)

Monism, or absolute oneness is the very soul of Vedanta. (VII. 28)

Argument

All argument and reasoning must be based upon certain perceptions. (II. 162)

Art

Art is—representing the beautiful. There must be Art in everything. (V. 259)

Art must be in touch with nature—and wherever that touch is gone, Art degenerates—yet it (Art) must be above nature. (V. 258)

Atheists

We are all atheists; let us confess it. Mere intellectual assent does not make us religious. (II. 164)

A man who does not believe in himself is an atheist. (II. 294)

Atom

One atom has the power of the whole universe at its back.(V. 217)

Attachment

As soon as we identify ourselves with the work we do,we feel miserable. (I. 100)

Attachment comes only where we expect a return. (I. 59)

Everything that you do under compulsion goes to build up attachment. (I. 104)

All misery and pain come from attachment. (II. 392)

It is attachment, identification, which makes us miserable. (II. 37)

There is only one attachment and that belongs to the Lord, and to none other. (IV. 96)

Our misery comes, not from work, but by our getting attached to something. (IV. 96)

If you can get rid of your attachment to a single thing,you are on the way to liberation. (VII. 410)

Attempt

Even our smallest attempts are not in vain. (II. 36)

In every attempt there will be one set of men who will applaud, and another who will pick holes. (VI. 269)

Attraction

This mighty attraction in the direction of God makes all other attractions vanish for him (Bhaktiyogi).(III. 75)

Baptism

Baptism is the direct introduction into the life of the spirit. (VIII. 114)

Belief

Belief is no part of religion. We say religion is a superconscious state. (V. 303)

If you believe in a God, you can see Him even now. (II. 372)

Lord ! how hard it is for man to believe in Thee and Thy mercies ! (VI. 303)

Whatever you believe, that you will be. (III. 284)

Those who are believers are heroes. (VI. 319)

Belur Math

The aim of this institution is to make men. (III. 447)

Bhakta

Wherever there is beauty or sublimity, to him (Bhakta) it is all His. (III. 76)

He who wants to become a Bhakta must be strong, must be healthy. (III. 69)

‘Everything is His and He is my Lover; I love Him,says the Bhakta. (III. 82)

No Bhakta cares for anything except love, except to love and to be loved. (III. 99)

‘In this evanescent world, where everything is falling to pieces, we have to make the highest use of what time we have,’ says the Bhakta. (III. 84)

The Bhakta in this state of perfect resignation, arising out of intense love to God, and to all that are His,ceases to distinguish between pleasure and pain in so far as they affect him. He does not know what it is to complain of pain or misery; and this kind of uncomplaining resignation to the will of God, who is all love, is indeed a worthier acquisition than all the glory of grand and heroic performances. (III. 83)

Through every face shines to him (Bhakta) his Hari. (III. 76)

The person who aspires to be a Bhakta must be cheerful. (III. 69)

The Bhakta loves the Lord because He is lovable. (III. 87)

The Bhakta’s renunciation is that Vairagya or nonattachment for all things that are not God which results from Anuraga or great attachment to God. (III. 76)

Our allegiance is to the principles always, and not to the persons. (III. 280)

Bhakti

The great quality of Bhakti is that it cleanses the mind. (III. 358)

Hatred is a thing which greatly impedes the course of Bhakti. (III. 358)

Bhakti can be more easily practised by persons in every condition of life. (III. 357)

‘Pranidhana is that sort of Bhakti, in which, without seeking results, such as sense-enjoyments etc.,all works are dedicated to that Teacher of teachers.’ (III. 36)

Bhakti-Yoga

Bhakti-Yoga is natural, sweet and gentle. (III. 78)

Bhakti-Yoga does not say, ‘Give up’; it only says, ‘Love,love the Highest !’ (III. 74)

Blow

Blows are what awaken us and help to break the dream. (VII. 79)

Body

This thirst after body is the great bane of human life.(I. 264)

Body is the name of a series of changes. (I. 142)

Not one body is constant. (I. 151)

This body is a combination. (I. 256)

This idea of body is a simple superstition. (I. 256)

We have to keep the body in good health. (I. 139)

All the forces that are working in this body have been produced out of food. (I. 136)

Body is an unreal dream, and we think we are all bodies. (I. 287)

When the forces that hold it together go away, the body must fall. (I. 142)

The body and mind are dependent. (II. 502)

Bodies come and go, but the soul does not change. (II. 246)

Body is the name of a stream of matter continuously changing. (II. 272)

The body cannot be the soul. (II. 232)

The less the thought of the body, the better. (II. 37)

Here is the greatest of altars, the living, conscious human body. (II. 314)

It is the body that drags us down. (II. 37)

This body is not I; it must go. (III. 11)

It is the want that creates the body. (V. 250)

The body is our enemy, and yet is our friend. (V. 253)

The body is mortal and the mind is mortal; both, being compounds, must die. (VI. 128)

There is but one temple—the body. It is the only temple that ever existed. (VIII. 135)

The body must be properly taken care of. (VI. 130)

Get rid of the bondage of body. (VIII. 18)

Body is our schoolmaster. (VIII. 19)

Bondage

A golden chain is as much a chain as an iron one. (I. 55; V. 317)

The chain of gold is quite as bad as the chain of iron. (I. 500)

Free will is a misnomer. (II. 283)

The ghosts of past thoughts, past lives hold us down. (VI. 30)

We think in time; our thoughts are bound by time; all that exists, exists in time and space. (VI. 34)

We must learn not only to attach the mind to one thing exclusively, but also to detach it at a moment’s notice and place it upon something else. (VI. 38)

Bondage brings only misery. (VIII. 414)

Desire, ignorance, and inequality—this is the trinity of bondage. (VIII. 344)

Our bondage is a delusion. (II. 197)

If you say you are bound, bound you will remain. (II. 350)

He who says he is bound, bound he shall remain.(VI. 311)

As long as we require someone else to make us happy,we are slaves. (V. 239)

He whose senses rule him is worldly—is a slave. (VIII. 40)

We are all slaves to our senses, slaves to our own minds,conscious and subconscious. (VI. 29)

We are all slaves to our own and to everybody else’s mind. (VI. 29)

We are led here and there because we cannot help ourselves. (VI. 29)

We think because we have to think. (VI. 29)

To weep is a sign of weakness, of bondage. (V. 275)

Book

No book ever created a soul. (I. 324)

Clinging to books only degenerates the human mind. (I. 185)

No amount of books can help us to become purer. (II. 336)

‘Books are good but they are only maps.’ (II. 503)

No one becomes learned by reading books. (IV. 20)

By reading books we become parrots. (IV. 20)

A book is the most tangible form of God. (IV. 44)

The living power you cannot find in the books.(VIII. 116)

Books cannot teach God, but they can destroy ignorance; their action is negative. (VII. 53)

Mere book-learning won’t do. (V. 342)

Mere book-learned Pandits are of no avail. (III. 452)

Book-worship is the worst form of idolatry. (VIII. 34)

Brahmacharya

Is there a greater strength than that of Brahmacharya—Purity, my boy? (VI. 271)

Brahmin

The Buddhists cannot stand without the brain and philosophy of the Brahmins, nor the Brahmin,without the heart of the Buddhist. (I. 23)

The birth of the Brahmin is ‘for the protection of the treasury of religion’. (III. 152)

The plan in India is to make everybody a Brahmin, the Brahmin being the ideal of humanity. (V. 214)

Brave

The brave are always moral. (V. 3)

The brave alone can afford to be sincere. (VI. 110)

None but the bravest deserves salvation. (I. 479)

The brave alone do great things, not the cowards. (V. 86)

Causation

Everything that we know, or can possibly know, must be subject to causation. (I. 96)

All law has its essence in causation. (I. 95)

One link in a chain explains the infinite chain. (III. 161)

Everything, both mental and physical, is rigidly bound by the law of causation. (VIII. 145)

Everything has a cause. (VII. 424)

Cause and Effect

Where no bondage is, there is no cause and effect.(VII. 103)

We are the effects, and we are the causes. (III. 125)

Nothing can be produced without a cause, and the effect is but the cause reproduced. (II. 425)

There cannot be a cause without an effect. (III. 414)

The effect is delusion, and therefore the cause must be delusion. (III. 13)

The cause being finite, the effect must be finite. (II. 17)

The cause of today is the effect of the past and the cause for the future. (IV. 141-42)

The finer is always the cause, the grosser the effect. (I. 132)

The subtle are the causes, the gross the effects. (I. 122)

Cause is the fine state of the manifested state. (II. 442)

Everything is present in its cause, in its fine form. (V. 255)

No effect of work can be eternal. (II. 244)

Something cannot be made out of nothing. (II. 426)

Something cannot come out of nothing. (VI. 157)

Nothing can be created out of nothing. (II. 208)

Nothing comes without a cause. (II. 207)

All virtuous actions bring pleasure, and all vicious actions bring pain. (I. 246)

What one has done one must suffer. (V. 239)

We are in this world by our own actions. (II. 257)

What we are now is the result of our past practice. (IV. 8)

We are the makers of our own fate. (II. 224)

We make our own destiny. (II. 224)

We reap what we sow. (II. 224)

We get only what we deserve. (IV. 301)

No one is to blame for our miseries but ourselves. (I. 342)

With the sense of possession comes selfishness. (I. 100)

Want and anxiety are the causes of all unhappiness and happiness too. (VI. 53)

All the evil acts must produce their results also. (II. 271)

Immorality leads to bondage. (II. 141)

Existence never comes out of non-existence. (I. 297)

The idea of power brings with it awe. (III. 95)

We only get what we deserve. (II. 8)

As soon as the field is ready, the seed must and does come. (III. 46)

Ignorance is the great mother of all misery. (II. 83)

Chance

Every moment is a new chance. (VII. 425)

Change

Change is the nature of all objective things. (V. 429)

All change is in the screen. (V. 285)

Change can only be in the limited. (II. 79)

Change is always in regard to something which does not change. (II. 345)

Everybody is changing. (III. 347)

Character

Character is repeated habits, and repeated habits alone can reform character. (I. 208)

It is character that cleaves its way through adamantine walls of difficulties. (IV. 367)

It is character that pays everywhere. (V. 51)

Upon ages of struggle a character is built. (V. 57)

Perfect love, the heart never reacting, this is what builds character. (VI. 135)

Character has to be established through a thousand stumbles. (VIII. 383)

Charity

Test everything, try everything, and then believe it, and if you find it for the good of many, give it to all. (III. 528)

There is no higher virtue than charity. (IV. 10)

Charity never faileth. (VI. 121)

The hand was made to give always. (IV. 10)

‘For the good of the many, for the happiness of the many’ great-souled men take their birth. (IV. 419)

Chastity

Chastity is the life of a nation. (II. 101)

Chastity is the corner-stone of all morality and of all religion.(VIII. 46)

Child

It is good to be born a child, but bad to remain a child. (I. 325)

A child teaches itself. (IV. 55)

A child educates itself. (IV. 55)

Civilization

No civilization can grow unless fanaticism, bloodshed,and brutality stop. (III. 187)

Civilization, true civilization, should mean the power of taking the animal-man out of his sense-life. (IV. 284)

Civilization is the manifestation of that divinity in man. (V. 308)

Command

The command will come by itself. (III. 134)

Compound

No compound can be permanent. (VI. 44)

Concentration

The power of concentration is the only key to the treasure-house of knowledge. (II. 391)

Concentration is the essence of all knowledge. (VI. 123)

Along with the development of concentration we must develop the power of detachment. (VI. 38)


Condemnation

Condemnation accomplishes nothing. (VII. 28)

All condemnation of others really condemns ourselves.(VII. 28)

Consciousness

Consciousness is not co-existent with existence. (IV. 195)

Contemplation

Continual attention to one object is contemplation.(VII. 68)

Cowards

Cowards never win victories. (I. 339)

We are all born cowards. (III. 529)

Bullies are always cowards. (VI. 305)

The coward is an object to be pitied. (VIII. 481)

There is no greater sin than cowardice; cowards are never saved—that is sure. (VIII. 481)

Cowardice is no virtue. (V. 86)

Creation

Inequality is the very basis of creation. (I. 114)

Creation means the struggle to get back to freedom. (I. 422)

Creation came out of the Word. (I. 74)

Creation means a combination which means a certain future dissolution. (I. 8)

Every item of creation is simply a composition. (II. 268)

Creation cannot have either a beginning or an end; it is an eternal on-going. (II. 436)

All this creation, manifestation, cannot be produced out of zero. (II. 425)

In this creation of the impartial Lord, He has made equal every particle in the universe. (III. 158)

Unity is before creation, diversity is creation. (IV. 372)

Variation (Vichitrata), that is to say Jati, means creation. (IV. 372)

Individuality in universality is the plan of creation.(VI. 121)

Creation is Infinite. (VI. 55)

Creation is infinite, without beginning and without end —the ever-moving ripple in an infinite lake. (VII. 12)

Creation is not a ‘making’ of something, it is the struggle to regain equilibrium. (VIII. 29)

Culture

It is culture that withstands shocks, not a simple mass of knowledge. (III. 291)

There must come culture into the blood. (III. 291)

It is spiritual culture and ethical culture alone that can change wrong racial tendencies for the better. (III. 182)

The finer the organism, the higher the culture. (V. 429)

CW/1/52

Ignorance is death, knowledge is life.

Death

Death is but a change. (II. 501)

The human soul is eternal and immortal, perfect and infinite, and death means only a change of centre from one body to another. (I. 10)

Death means only a change of garments. (I. 461)

Death is but a change of condition. (IV. 189)

If death comes—that is the worst of our miseries—let it come ! (I. 480)

‘Death is better than a vegetating ignorant life; it is better to die on the battle-field than to live a life of defeat.’ (II. 124)

Death is the result of inaction. (IV. 127)

Death is the goal of all objects, change is the nature of all objective things. (V. 429)

Death lies in the senses. (V. 267)

Sameness is the sign of death. (VI. 65)

Democracy

More bread, more opportunity for everybody. (IV. 368)

The new order of things is the salvation of the people by the people. (V. 215-16)

Our masses are gods as compared with those of other
countries. (V. 223)

The one problem you have is to give to the masses their rights. (V. 223)

Kings having gone, the power is the people’s. (V. 215)

It is the duty of every aristocracy to dig its own grave; and the sooner it does so, the better for all. (V. 214)

Denunciation

Denunciation is never the highest. (VII. 27)

Denunciation is not at all the way to do good. (III. 195)

Desire

Desire is without beginning. (I. 296)

There is no limit to man’s desires; he goes on desiring,and when he comes to a point where desire cannot be fulfilled, the result is pain. (I. 243)

Desire is infinite, its fulfilment limited. (V. 428)

Desire will not come unless there is something outside to fulfil it. (V. 250)

No desire for the world ! (VI. 90)

The satisfaction of desire only increases it, as oil poured on fire but makes it burn more fiercely. (VIII. 22)

Desire is increased by desire. (VIII. 117)

Man’s thirst, says the Hindu, man’s thirst, says Buddhist,is a burning unquenchable thirst for more and more. (VIII. 250)

Whatever man desires, he gets. (I. 498)

While we hope for anything, desire still rules us.(VIII. 22)

There is only one real desire : to know what is true, to be spiritual. (VIII. 118)

Our desires also are constantly changing—what we would prize today we would reject tomorrow.(V. 428)

All desires are but beads of glass. (VII. 10)

All desire is contained in the Self. (II. 468)

It is our desire that binds us. (I. 443)

Desire makes slaves of us. (VIII. 7)

Desire, want, is the father of all misery. (II. 4)

Desires bring all misery. (II. 172)

Desires are bound by the laws of success and failure. (II. 4)

It is the ‘desireless’ who bring great results to pass. (VIII. 31)

Destiny

One’s destiny is in one’s own hands—the Guru only makes this much understood. (VI. 456)

Detachment

Almost all our suffering is caused by not having the power of detachment. (VI. 38)

There come moments in our life, when we feel our play is finished, and we want to rush to the Mother (Divine). (V. 254)

The fruit falls from the tree when it gets ripe. (V. 45)

No selfishness, no name, no fame, yours or mine, nor my Master’s even ! (V. 34)

Unto him comes everything who does not care for anything. (V. 251)

Difference

Difference makes all beautiful here. (IV. 127)

Difference is the sauce of life, it is the beauty, it is the art of everything. (IV. 127)

Differentiation, infinitely contradictory, must remain, but it is not necessary that we should hate each other therefore; it is not necessary therefore that we should fight each other. (III. 115)

Differentiation is in manifestation. (VI. 34)

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