Namah srî yati râjâya vivekânanda sûraye Saccit sukha swarûpâya swâmine tâpahârine
“Salutation to that king of renouncers and controller of passions, the sage Vivekananda,
who is Satcitananda (Existence, Knowledge and Bliss Absolute) Itself,
the spiritual preceptor and the remover of distress.”
by Swami Abhedananda
(Monastic disciple of Sri Ramakrishna)
Swami Vivekananda was the chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and was the founder of Ramakrishna Mission. The best introduction to Swami Vivekananda, however, is not to read about him but to read him. Swamiji’s personality, with all its charm and force, its courageousness, its spiritual authority, its fury and its fun, comes through to you very strongly in his writing and recorded words. His lectures,writings, letters, and poems are published as The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda.
His lectures and books provide the best explanation of the Vedanta in modern literature. Swamiji fearlessly proclaimed the eternal message of Vedanta without compromise.
“Be and Make” – “First, let us be Gods, and then help others to be Gods.’Be and make’. Let this be our motto. Say not man is a sinner. Tell him that he is a God. Even if there were a devil, it would be our duty to remember God always, and not the devil.”
“All the weak and undeveloped minds in every religion or country have only one way of loving their own ideal, i.e. by hating every other ideal. Herein is the explanation of why the same man who is so lovingly attached to his own ideal of God, so devoted to his own ideal of religion, becomes a howling fanatic as soon as he sees or hears anything of any other ideal. This kind of love is somewhat like the canine instinct of guarding the master’s property from intrusion; only, the instinct of the dog is better than the reason of man, for the dog never mistakes its master for an enemy in whatever dress he may come before it.”
“This world is like a dog’s curly tail, and people have been striving to straighten it out for hundreds of years; but when they let it go, it has curled up again. How could it be otherwise?”
“Cut out the word help from your mind. You cannot help; it is blasphemy! You worship. When you give a morsel of food to a dog, you worship the dog as God. He is all, and is in all.”
“Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy — by one, or more, or all of these — and be free. This is the whole of religion.
Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details.”
“The best guide in life is strength. In religion, as in all other matters, discard everything that weakens you, have nothing to do with it. Mystery-mongering weakens the human brain. It has well-nigh destroyed Yoga — one of the grandest of sciences.”
In this way Swami Vivekananda exhorts, eloquently expressing the essence of Upanishads — the philosophy of love, strength, knowledge and freedom.