In this post I have compiled popular quotes of Swami Vivekananda.
I have personally read the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda as well as Life of Swami Vivekananda. From these books I have compiled some of his best pearls of knowledge and wisdom, and arranged them by different topics.
Quotes of Swami Vivekananda on Spirituality & Religion
1. You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.
2. Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being.
3. 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.
4. As different streams having different sources all mingle their waters in the sea, so different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to God.
5. May He who is the Brahman of the Hindus, the Ahura-Mazda of the Zoroastrians, the Buddha of the Buddhists, the Jehovah of the Jews, the Father in Heaven of the Christians give strength to you to carry out your noble idea.
6. Man is to become divine by realizing the divine. Idols or temples, or churches or books, are only the supports, the help of his spiritual childhood.
7. 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.
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8. Look upon every man, woman, and everyone as God. You cannot help anyone, you can only serve: serve the children of the Lord, serve the Lord Himself, if you have the privilege.
9. Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.
10. Despondency is not religion, whatever else it may be. By being pleasant always and smiling, it takes you nearer to God, nearer than any prayer.
11. He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is an atheist who does not believe in himself.
12. Each soul is potentially Divine. The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal.
Swami Vivekananda Quotes on Self-Development
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13. You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.
14. We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.
15. The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them.
16. Our duty is to encourage every one in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth.
17. The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.
18. 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.
19. All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore love for love’s sake, because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.
20. Our first duty is not to hate ourselves, because to advance we must have faith in ourselves first and then in God. Those who have no faith in themselves can never have faith in God.
21. As soon as I think that I am a little body, I want to preserve it, to protect it, to keep it nice at the expense of other bodies; then you and I become separate. First get rid of the delusion ‘I am the body’, then only will we want real knowledge.
22. Beware of compromises. Hold on to your own principles in weal or woe and never adjust them to others’ “fads” through the greed of getting supporters.
23. 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.
24. Be thankful that you are allowed to exercise your power of benevolence & mercy in the world and thus, become pure and perfect. Be grateful to the man you help, think of him as God. Is it not a great privilege to be allowed to worship God by helping our fellowmen?
Quotes of Swami Vivekananda on Inspiration
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25. Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, 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.
26. Arise! Awake! and stop not until the goal is reached.
27. Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin; to say that you are weak, or others are weak.
28. All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.
29. The Vedanta recognizes no sin it only recognizes error. And the greatest error, says the Vedanta is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature, and that you have no power and you cannot do this and that.
30. I, for one, thoroughly believe that no power in the universe can withhold from anyone anything they really deserve.
31. Stand as a rock; you are indestructible. You are the Self (atman), the God of the universe.
Eternal Wisdom of Swami Vivekananda
37. The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.
38. Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.
39. When an idea exclusively occupies the mind, it is transformed into an actual physical or mental state.
40. If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practiced, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would have vanished.
41. All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.
42. The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature. Have faith in yourselves.
43. Comfort is no test of truth. Truth is often far from being comfortable.
44. They alone live, who live for others.
45. We reap what we sow we are the makers of our own fate. The wind is blowing; those vessels whose sails are unfurled catch it, and go forward on their way, but those which have their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault of the wind? We make our own destiny.
46. 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.
47. All truth is eternal. Truth is nobody’s property; no race, no individual can lay any exclusive claim to it. Truth is the nature of all souls.
48. There is no limit to the power of the human mind. The more concentrated it is, the more power is brought to bear on one point.
Swami Vivekananda on Work
49. Even the greatest fool can accomplish a task if it were after his or her heart. But the intelligent ones are those who can convert every work into one that suits their taste.
50. The world is ready to give up its secrets if we only know how to knock, how to give it the necessary blow. The strength and force of the blow come through concentration.
51. Great work requires great and persistent effort for a long time. … Character has to be established through a thousand stumbles.
52. Few heart-whole, sincere, and energetic men and women can do more in a year than a mob in a century.
53. When you are doing any work, do not think of anything beyond. Do it as worship.
54. Work and worship are necessary to take away the veil, to lift off the bondage and illusion.
55. Work hard. Be holy and pure and the fire will come.
56. Work for the idea, not the person.
57. To work properly… you have first to give up the idea of attachment. Secondly, do not mix in the fray, hold yourself as a witness and go on working. My master used to say, “Look upon your children as a nurse does.” The nurse will take your baby and fondle it and play with it and behave towards it as gently as if it were her own child; but as soon as you give her notice to quit, she is ready to start off bag and baggage from the house. Everything in the shape of attachment is forgotten.
58. Work unto death — I am with you, and when I am gone, my spirit will work with you.
59. Work, work, for, to work only for the good of others is life.
60. Work, work, work — let this be your motto.
Swami Vivekananda Quotes of Fearlessness
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61. Fear is death, fear is sin, fear is hell, fear is unrighteousness, and fear is wrong life. All the negative thoughts and ideas that are in the world have proceeded from this evil spirit of fear.
62. If there is one word that you find coming out like a bomb from the Upanishads, bursting like a bombshell upon masses of ignorance, it is the word “fearlessness.”
63. Face the brutes. That is a lesson for all life—face the terrible, face it boldly. Like the monkeys, the hardships of life fall back when we cease to flee before them.
64. Work on, brave hearts, fail not — no saying nay; work on — the Lord is behind the work. Mahashakti is with you.
65. Work on! Hold on! Be brave! Dare anything and everything!
66. All this fear that pursues us comes from believing in matter.
67. All this is our work, our fear — fear, the beginning of misery, of disease, etc. By being nervous and fearful we injure others, by being so fearful to hurt we hurt more. By trying so much to avoid evil we fall into its jaws.
68. Always say, “I have no fear.” Tell this to everybody –“Have no fear”.
69. Do not be afraid. Great things are going to be done, my child. Take heart.
70. Generally speaking, human religion begins with fear. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” But later comes the higher idea. “Perfect love casteth out fear.” Traces of fear will remain with us until we get knowledge, know what God is. Christ, being man, had to see impurity and denounced it; but God, infinitely higher, does not see iniquity and cannot be angry. Denunciation is never the highest. David’s hands were smeared with blood; he could not build the temple. (Bible, Samuel, Chap. XVII — end.)
71. If you read the Vedas, you will find this word always repeated — fearlessness — fear nothing. Fear is a sign of weakness. A man must go about his duties without taking notice of the sneers and the ridicule of the world.
72. You need not be afraid of anything.
Swami Vivekananda Quotes on India
73. The Land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness – it is India.
74. It is the duty of every person to contribute in the development and progress of India.
75. Whether you believe in spirituality or not, for the sake of the national life, you have to get a hold on spirituality and keep to it. Then stretch the other hand out and gain all you can from other races, but everything must be subordinated to that one ideal of life; and out of that a wonderful, glorious, future India will come – I am sure it is coming – a greater India than ever was.
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