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Art is — representing the beautiful. There must be Art in everything.



The glory of life is chastity.

Chastity is the basis of all religions.

Chastity is the life of a nation. Do you not find in history that the first death-sign of a nation has been unchastity? When that has entered, the end of the race is in sight.



Mercy shall not be for men alone, but shall go beyond, and embrace the whole world.

There is no virtue higher than non-injury.



Let your life in the world be nothing but a thinking to yourself.

Whatever exists has a reason; find that reason.

Concentration is the essence of all knowledge, nothing can be done without it.

The mind has to be made malleable like clay. Just as clay sticks wherever you throw it, so the mind must be made to dwell upon whatever object you concentrate it.



Love concentrates all the power of the will without effort.


As soon as a man or a nation loses faith in himself, death comes.

You are also as much a man as the greatest of men – even an Incarnation.
(spoken June 19, 1899)

Infinite faith and strength are the only conditions of success.

The Mohammedans think much of the new moon. Let us also, with the new moon, begin a new life!


From contentment comes superlative happiness.
(Raja Yoga: Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms. Chapter II – Concentration: Its practice



The brave alone can afford to be sincere. Compare the lion and the fox.

Notes taken down in Madras 1892-93)



Life is but a dream of death.

(CV 6: Notes of Class talks and lectures: How to become free)


When once you consider an action, do not let anything dissuade you. Consult your heart, not others, and then follow its dictates.
(Reminisence of Alice Hansbrough)


Please everyone without becoming a hypocrite or a coward



The worm that crawls under your feet today is a God to be.



Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man.

We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.



Renunciation is the very basis upon which ethics stands. There never was an ethical code preached which had not renunciation for its basis.


The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is the atheist who does not believe in himself.


All our struggle is for freedom. We seek neither misery nor happiness, but freedom, freedom alone.
(From a lecture Nov 1895; as quoted by Sister Nivedita)

The constitutional belief in freedom is the basis of all reasoning.

(quoted by Josephine MacLeod)

Always free on the spiritual plane; never free on the mental and physical — hence the struggle.

(quoted by Josephine MacLeod)


Friendship with many is good at a distance.



The greatest name man ever gave to God is Truth.

The totality of all souls, not the human alone, is the Personal God.

The flesh and the devil are but degrees of difference from God Himself.

When a man has reached that perfect state, he is of the same nature as the Personal God. “I and my Father are one.”

Seek only after one thing, and that, God!
(Life of Swami Vivekananda by his Eastern and Western Disciples, First ed Vol 2 pg 374)

The Impersonal God seen through the mists of sense is personal.
(CWSN 1: 120)

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)

Call it God, Love, Spirit, Allah, Jehovah – it is the same unity that animates all life from the lowest animal to the noblest man.

Wherever there is love, wherever there is a spark of joy, know that to be a spark of His presence because He is joy, blessedness, and love itself.

(The Great Teachers of the World, Lectures and Discourses, Volume 4)




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.


There is no other teacher but your own soul.



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


No one can get anything unless he earns it. This is an eternal law.

If you love, that love will come back to you, completing the circle. It is as certain as can be, that every bit of hatred that goes out of the heart of a man comes back to him in full force, nothing can stop it; similarly every impulse of love comes back to him.



Always free on the spiritual plane; never free on the mental and physical — hence the struggle.

(As quoted by Josephine MacLeod)


Love is always the highest ideal.

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

Love is the ideal and requires no object. Love is God.

Jnana and Karma, Notes of Class Talks and Lectures, Volume 8

Unattached, yet shining in everything, is love, the motive power of the universe, without which the universe would fall to pieces in a moment, and this love is God.

Bhakti or Devotion, Lectures, Volume 2

Love is simply an expression of this infinite unity.

The Reality And The Shadow, Notes of Class Talks and Lectures, Volume 8

Love opens the most impossible gates; love is the gate to all the secrets of the universe.

Love is beyond time and space, it is absolute.

The nature of love is inexpressible.

Every act of love brings happiness; there is no act of love which does not bring peace and blessedness as its reaction.

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

The power of love is infinitely of greater potency than the power of hatred.



That love is highest which is concentrated upon God.

(Narada-Bhakti-Sutras, Notes of Class Talks and Lectures, Volume 6)

Everything in the universe is yours, stretch out your arms and embrace it with love. If you ever felt you wanted to do that, you have felt God.

(Practical Vedanta: Part II, Practical Vedanta and other lectures, Volume 2)

God is only to be loved. It is almost a blasphemy to pray to God, “Lord, give me this, and give me that.”

Love and fear are incompatible; God is never to be feared by those who love Him.

Love of the pleasures of the senses and of the intellect is all made dim and thrown aside and cast into the shade by the love of God Himself.

(The Preparatory Renunciation, Para-Bhakti or Supreme Devotion, Volume 3)

With the love of God will come, as a sure effect, the love of everyone in the universe.

(Universal Love and How it Leads to Self Surrender, Para-Bhakti or Supreme Devotion, Volume 3)

God is love, and love is God.

(Divine Love, Lectures and Discourses, Volume 6)



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)

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!


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)


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)


If money help a man to do good to others, it is of some value; but if not, it is simply a mass of evil, and the sooner it is got rid of, the better.


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.

He who has conquered the internal nature controls the whole universe; it becomes his servant.

Sipâhis (sepoys) die soon — nature is full of defect — the athletes die soon.



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)


The last and highest manifestation of Prana is love.



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 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.

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!


Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.

No man is born to any religion; he has a religion in his own soul.

As soon as you make a sect, you protest against universal brotherhood.



Renunciation is the very basis upon which ethics stands.

Everything is fraught with fear: Renunciation alone is fearless.

Renunciation!–Renunciation!–you must preach this above everything else. There will be no spiritual strength unless one renounces the world.



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



In everyone is God, the Atman; all else is but dream, an illusion.
(notes of Frank Rhodehamel)

That which is bound is nature, not the soul.

If we can find in ourself something that is not acted on by any cause, then we have known the Self.

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

That man has reached immortality who is disturbed by nothing material.

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)

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.

Say to your soul in regard to vanities, weakness, etc., “This does not befit thee. This does not befit thee.”


Misery is caused by sin, and by no other cause.



Strength is the medicine for the world’s disease.

The weak have no place here, in this life or in any other life.

Strength is the property of everyone in spite of all apparent weakness.

The highest manifestation of strength is to keep ourselves calm and on our own feet.

None will reach truth until he is strong.

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.(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)

Weakness leads to slavery. Weakness leads to all kinds of misery, physical and mental. Weakness is death.

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 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.

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.

The remedy for weakness is not brooding over weakness, but thinking of strength.

Even time and space are as nothing compared with your nature. You can do anything and everything, you are almighty.

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.

This world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.


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



Truth, purity and unselfishness — wherever these are present, there is no power below or above the sun to crush the possessor thereof.

The highest truth is always the simplest. (CWSN 1: 226)

Truth does not pay homage to any society, modern or ancient. Society has to pay homage to truth, or die.

Through truth everything is attained. In truth everything is established.

By truth we attain fruits of work.

Truth never dreams.

Stand firm like a rock. Truth always triumphs.


Women deserve and are fit for everything.

There never was a friendship, especially of women, which was not exacting.




To work, with undaunted energy! What fear! Who is powerful enough to thwart you!

For ascetics, mortification is all right, for workers, well-developed bodies, muscles of iron and nerves of steel.

The best work is only done by alternate repose and work.
(Letter to Sashi (Swami Ramakrishnananda, March 1898)

Time, patience, and indomitable will must show.

Time and opportunity must come if it is to be done you know, otherwise we vainly strive.

To work! In full speed, and with undaunted zeal.



This world is neither good nor evil; each man manufactures a world for himself.

When love to God is revealed and is all, this world appears like a drop.



Awake! Awake! all ye who would drink of the divine nectar!
(attributed to SV by Swami Sadananda)

The only worship is love.

This is the gist of all worship – to be pure and to do good to others.



The strong, the well-knit, the young, the healthy, the daring alone are fit to be Yogis.

To the Yogi everything is bliss.