Fifteen decades ago a saint, patriot and social activist by name Swami Vivekanada (Narendra) gave a call to the sleepy Bharat to awake and arise from their despondency. There was at that time all pervading malice of meekness and weakness in the Indian psyche because of the British rule. People lost self confidence and were looking for a Divine intervention to save them. General feeling at that time was that everything of Indian is inferior to Europeans. This was cultivated by the ruling British that demoralized the Indians in general. It at this juncture in history a pious soul took birth on January 12, 1863, to bring them out of despondency.


Swami Vivekanada came as a messiah and wake up the masses to the realization they are the divya atma swaroopas and arose them from the slavish perpetual inferiority complex that they are less than others. He said that self-confidence was essential to realize their full potential.

He said:

“Arise, awake and Stop not till the Goal is reached”.

You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself”.

“Despondency is not religion, whatever else it may be”.

“Books are infinite in number and time is short. The secret of knowledge is to take what is essential. Take that and try to live up to it.

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 do nowadays. Stand up and express the divinity within you”.

“What the world wants is character. The world is in need of those whose life is one burning love–selfless. That love will make every word tell like a thunderbolt. Awake, awake, great souls! The world is burning in misery. Can you sleep? Work unto death–I am with you, and when I am gone, my spirit will work with you. This life comes and goes–wealth, fame, enjoyments are only of a few days. It is better, far better, to die on the field of duty, preaching the truth than to die like a worldly worm. Advance”.


He preached nothing new except for the emphasis on the practice of what has been all along preached. He questioned where we weree going in search of God. He said God lives in the hearts of all the hungry millions. He called them Daridra Narayanas and the service to them, is service to God. He called this service Daridra Narayan Seva. He wanted us to see the Omni-present Divinity in all. Serving all is serving God. He preached about the service to the down trodden, under privileged. He encouraged all to do service as spiritual sadhana.

He Said:

 “Let each one of us pray day and night for the downtrodden millions, who are held fast by poverty, priest craft, and tyranny. Pray day and night for them. I care more to preach religion to them than to the high and the rich. I am no metaphysician, no philosopher, nay, no saint. But I am poor and I love the poor”.

“Him I call a Mahatma (great soul) whose heart bleeds for the poor, otherwise he is a Duratma (wicked soul). Let us unite our wills in continued prayer for their good.

“May I be born again and again, and suffer thousands of miseries so that I may worship the only God that exists, the only God I believe in, the sum total of all souls–and, above all, my God the wicked, my God the miserable, my God the poor of all races, of all species, is the special object of my worship”.

“Who will bring light to the poor? Who will travel from door to door bringing education to them? Let these people be your God—think of them, work for them, pray for them incessantly. The Lord will show you the way”.

“Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way

“So long as millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every person a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them”.

“The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them”.

“In the world take always the position of the giver. Give everything and look for no return. Give love, give help, give service, and give any little thing you can, but keep out barter. Make no conditions and none will be imposed on you. Let us give out of our own bounty, just as God gives to us”.

“I am no metaphysician, no philosopher, nay, no saint. But I am poor and I love the poor. I see what they call the poor of this country and how many there are who feel for them!”


He proclaimed the power of purity and un-selfishness. He said that power stems from purity and un-selfishness. Power generated by any other means is abuse of power. One Gandhi, one mother Theresa, one Martin Luther King and one Abraham Lincoln made such a huge difference in the world. This is because of their purity and un-selfishness. It is not the quantity that counts, it is the quality of character.

He said:

 “Give me few men and women who are pure and selfless and I shall shake the world”.

“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”.

“The essential thing in religion is making the heart pure; the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, but only the pure in heart can see the King. While we think of the world, it is only the world for us; but let us come to it with the feeling that the world is God, and we shall have God”.

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life–think of it, dream of it, and live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced. Others are mere talking machines”.

“Mind you, this is life’s experience: if you really want the good of others, the whole universe may stand against you and cannot hurt you. It must crumble before your power of the Lord Himself in you if you are sincere and really un-selfish”.

“Are you unselfish? That is the question. If you are, you will be perfect without reading a single religious book, without going into a single church or temple”.

“To devote your life to the good of all and to the happiness of all is religion. Whatever you do for your own sake is not religion”.


He revitalized the Sanathana Dharma and propagated it in the west like no other saint of his times. His scientific mind and rational approach to spirituality attracted millions of youngsters. His speeches compiled in 9 volumes as “Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda” is a must read for any young Hindu. I strongly recommend that every Hindu child and parent should read these 9 volumes. This helps them develop understanding of the uniqueness and the tenets of Sanathana Dharma.

He wants us to be scientific and rational thinkers. He condemns superstition and blind practices that are not understood satisfactorily by the seekers.

He said:

“The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him—that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free’.

“Superstition is our great enemy, but bigotry is worse”

“I will abide by my reason, because with all its weakness there is some chance of my getting at truth through it. We should therefore follow reasons, and also sympathize with those who do not come to any sort of belief, following reason”.

“Experience is the only source of knowledge. The same methods of investigation which we apply to the sciences and to exterior knowledge should be applied to religion. If a religion is destroyed by such investigation and found it was nothing but a useless and unworthy superstition; the sooner it disappeared the better. Why religions should claim that they are not bound to abide by the standpoint of reason no one knows. For it is better that mankind should become atheist by following reason than blindly believe in two hundred million gods on the authority of anybody. Perhaps there are prophets, who have passed the limits of sense and obtained a glimpse of the beyond. We shall believe it only when we can do the same ourselves; not before. It is said that reason is not strong enough, that often it makes mistakes. If reason is weak why should a body of priests be considered any better guides?” 

“The goal of mankind is knowledge. . . . Now this knowledge is inherent in man. No knowledge comes from outside: it is all inside. What we say a man “knows,” should, in strict psychological language, be what he “discovers” or “unveils”; what man “learns” is really what he discovers by taking the cover off his own soul, which is a mine of infinite knowledge”. 

“If superstition enters, the brain is gone”.

“Knowledge can only be got in one way, the way of experience; there is no other way to know”. 

 “We must be bright and cheerful. Long faces do not make religion. Religion should be the most joyful thing in the world, because it is the best”.

“To believe blindly is to degenerate the human soul. Be an atheist if you want, but do not believe in anything unquestioningly”.


As a reformer he wanted woman’s status in the society should be improved. He felt that when woman advances, the whole country advances with them. He said it was not enough to pray goddesses in the form of Shakthi, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. We should respect and revere the voluble role they play in mentoring the children and in fostering unity of family, in addition to the poorly appreciated multi-tasking they do, day in day out at home.to a question.

While addressing a women’s group in Chicago he defined the status of women in India in answer to a question. He said: that ideal of woman in the east is a mother and the ideal woman in the west is a wife, He depicts a very sharp intellect with brevity and profoundness of his statements. Above one is an example of it.

“Woman has suffered for eons, and that has given her infinite patience and infinite perseverance”.

“Women will work out their destinies—much better, too, than men can ever do for them. All the mischief to women has come because men undertook to shape the destiny of women”.


He suggests us to grow inside-out. He wants our inner purity drive our outer activities. He jokingly commented that the Easterners keep inside clean and throws the dirt outside and the westerner keeps the outside clean and brings the garbage inside. This statement has spiritual significance that inner purity is more essential and that should drive and spiritualize all our activities.

He said:

“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. Goal what he “discovers” or “unveils”; what man “learns” is really what he discovers by taking the cover off his own soul, which is a mine of infinite knowledge.  There is no other teacher but your own soul”.

“The sages are often ignorant of physical science, because they read the wrong book—the book within; and the scientists are too often ignorant of religion, because they too read the wrong book—the book outside”.

 “Learning and wisdom are superfluities, the surface glitter merely, but it is the heart that is the seat of all power. It is not in the brain but in the heart that the Atman, possessed of knowledge, power, and activity, has its seat’.

 “Experience is the only teacher we have. We may talk and reason all our lives, but we shall not understand a word of truth until we experience it ourselves”.

 “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 do nowadays. Stand up and express the divinity within you”.

 “The first sign that you are becoming religious is that you are becoming cheerful.

“Knowledge is inherent in man. No knowledge comes from outside: it is all inside”.


He encourages us to be strong, forcible and fearless. He says kingdom of God will be inhabited only by the strong. He further states meekness and weakness is not religion. Fear is faithlessness. Faith is fearlessness.

He said:

“The moment you fear, you are nobody. It is fear that is the greatest cause of misery in the world. It is fear that is the greatest of all superstitions. It is fear that is the cause of our woes, and it is fearlessness that brings heaven in a moment”.

“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”.

“Freedom can never be reached by the weak. Throw away all weakness. Tell your body that it is strong, tell your mind that it is strong, and have unbounded faith and hope in yourself”.

“Don’t look back—forward, infinite energy, infinite enthusiasm, infinite daring, and infinite patience—then alone can great deeds be accomplished”.

“Brave, bold people, these are what we want. What we want is vigor in the blood, strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel, not softening namby-pamby ideas. Avoid all these. Avoid all mystery. There is no mystery in religion”.

“Be strong! … You talk of ghosts and devils. We are the living devils. The sign of life is strength and growth. The sign of death is weakness. Whatever is weak, avoid! It is death. If it is strength, go down into hell and get hold of it! There is salvation only for the brave. None but the brave deserves the fair. None but the bravest deserves salvation”.

“Be brave! Be strong! Be fearless! Once you have taken up the spiritual life, fight as long as there is any life in you. Even though you know you are going to be killed, fight till you “are killed.” Don’t die of fright. Die fighting. Don’t go down till you are knocked down”.

“Astrology and all these mystical things are generally signs of a weak mind; therefore as soon as they are becoming prominent in our minds, we should see a physician, take good food, and rest”.

“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 do nowadays. Stand up and express the divinity within you”.

“The earth is enjoyed by heroes”—this is the unfailing truth. Be a hero. Always say, “I have no fear.”

“You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself”.

“To succeed, you must have tremendous perseverance, tremendous will. ‘I will drink the ocean’, says the persevering soul; ‘at my will mountains will crumble up’. Have that sort of energy, that sort of will; work hard, and you will reach the goal”.

“Each work has to pass through these stages—ridicule, opposition, and then acceptance. Those who think ahead of their time are sure to be misunderstood’.

Today 1/12/2013 is the 150th birthday of this great saint. His still lives in our hearts through his message. With the state of affairs in India at the moment where criminals rule the country, corrupt leaders in prison winning elections with bumper majority, money and liquor deciding the outcome of elections, where anarchy rules, gloom and helplessness abounding, his message is particularly has more relevance.

He calls upon each one of us not be silent spectators.  He wants us to get involved, do our share to protect mother India and preserve its culture. He encourages us to be pure and unselfish that will unleash the divine power in each one of us to become a formidable force of transformation. On this day let us dedicate ourselves to this sacred task. This will be a greatest birthday gift that we can offer to this great son, saint, patriot and social reformer of mother India.



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