101 Inspiring Swami Vivekananda Quotes to Fire Your Spirit

101 Inspiring Swami Vivekananda Quotes to Fire Your Spirit September 22, 2014

Swami Vivekananda

Before we get to Swami Vivekanada’s quotes, lets learn a little about him. Swami Vivekananda is one of India’s most inspiring human beings. He wrote extensively about a range of subjects that dealt with the human predicament. He was one of the wisest men of the last few centuries and is widely credited with revitalizing Indian nationalism and the Hindu way of life, with the guidance of his Guru, the mystic Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Here are 101 inspirational Swami Vivekananda quotes from his diverse works.

Vivekananda Quotes App

You may also be interested in the Spiritual Quote of the Day Android App, which includes quotes from Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Gautama Buddha and many more great beings.

101 Swami Vivekananda Quotes

Arise, awake, stop not until your goal is achieved.

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 that is way great spiritual giants are produced.

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.

The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.

The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature. Have faith in yourselves.

Swami Vivekananda’s Speech at the Chicago World Parliament of Religions in 1893, digitally remastered.

Comfort is no test of truth. Truth is often far from being comfortable.

They alone live, who live for others.

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.

Neither seeks nor avoids, take what comes.

Was there ever a more horrible blasphemy than the statement that all the knowledge of God is confined to this or that book? How dare men call God infinite, and yet try to compress Him within the covers of a little book!

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.

Inspiring Swami Vivekananda Quotes

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.

We came to enjoy; we are being enjoyed. We came to rule; we are being ruled. We came to work; we are being worked. All the time, we find that. And this comes into every detail of our life.

Narendra Modi-Swami Vivekananda
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is suppose to have been inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s words. (CC-BY-SA)

“The brain and muscles must develop simultaneously. Iron nerves with an intelligent brain — and the whole world is at your feet.

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.

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.

Even when you sleep, keep the sword of discrimination at the head of your bed, so that covetousness cannot approach you even in dream. [Here’s a nice post on the why north is not the best sleeping direction]

Mystic's Musings

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.

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.

Swami Vivekananda Quotes About Action

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.

The will is not free – it is a phenomenon bound by cause and effect – but there is something behind the will which is free.

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.

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.

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.

The Land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness – it is India.

This is the first lesson to learn: be determined not to curse anything outside, not to lay the blame upon anyone outside, but stand up, lay the blame on yourself. You will find that is always true. Get hold of yourself.

This I have seen in life—those who are overcautious about themselves fall into dangers at every step; those who are afraid of losing honor and respect, get only disgrace; and those who are always afraid of loss, always lose.

Those who work at a thing heart and soul not only achieve success in it but through their absorption in that they also realize the supreme truth—Brahman. Those who work at a thing with their whole heart receive help from God.

I, for one, thoroughly believe that no power in the universe can withhold from anyone anything they really deserve.

Swami Vivekananda Quotes About Fear

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.

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.”

First, believe in the world—that there is meaning behind everything.

“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.

As long as we believe ourselves to be even the least different from God, fear remains with us; but when we know ourselves to be the One, fear goes; of what can we be afraid?

Desire, ignorance, and inequality—this is the trinity of bondage.

Great work requires great and persistent effort for a long time. … Character has to be established through a thousand stumbles.

Learning and wisdom are superfluities, the surface glitter merely, but it is the heart that is the seat of all power.

This is the great lesson that we are here to learn through myriads of births and heavens and hells—that there is nothing to be asked for, desired for, beyond one’s spiritual Self (atman).

Stand as a rock; you are indestructible. You are the Self (atman), the God of the universe.

If superstition enters, the brain is gone.

Swami Vivekananda Quotes on Divinity

There is one thing to be remembered: that the assertion ‘I am God’ cannot be made with regard to the sense-world.

The mind is but the subtle part of the body. You must retain great strength in your mind and words.

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.

Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.

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.

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.

A few heart-whole, sincere, and energetic men and women can do more in a year than a mob in a century.

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.

Sadhguru Quotes

The essence of Vedanta is that there is but one Being and that every soul is that Being in full, not a part of that Being.

So long as there is desire or want, it is a sure sign that there is imperfection. A perfect, free being cannot have any desire.

However we may receive blows, and however knocked about we may be, the Soul is there and is never injured. We are that Infinite.

This life is a hard fact; work your way through it boldly, though it may be adamantine; no matter, the soul is stronger.

When we let loose our feelings, we waste so much energy, shatter our nerves, disturb our minds, and accomplish very little work.

The less passion there is, the better we work. The calmer we are the better for us and the more the amount of work we can do.

The varieties of religious belief are an advantage, since all faiths are good, so far as they encourage us to lead a religious life. The more sects there are, the more opportunities there are for making a successful appeal to the divine instinct in all of us.

You are the soul, free and eternal, ever free, ever blessed. Have faith enough and you will be free in a minute.

We are ever free if we would only believe it, only have faith enough.

Don’t look back – forward, infinite energy, infinite enthusiasm, infinite daring, and infinite patience. Then alone can great deeds be accomplished.

The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature. Have faith in yourselves!

Every individual is a center for the manifestation of a certain force. This force has been stored up as the resultant of our previous works, and each one of us is born with this force at our back.

You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.

Nature, body, mind go to death, not we. We neither go nor come. The man Vivekananda is in nature, is born and dies. But the Self we see as Vivekananda is never born and never dies. It is the eternal and unchangeable Reality.

It is the duty of every person to contribute in the development and progress of India.

‘Comfort’ is no test of truth; on the contrary, truth is often far from being ‘comfortable’.

We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.

It is our own mental attitude which makes the world what it is for us. Our thought make things beautiful, our thoughts make things ugly. The whole world is in our own minds. Learn to see things in the proper light.

As body, mind, or soul, you are a dream; you really are Being, Consciousness, Bliss (satchidananda). You are the God of this universe.

Impurity is a mere superimposition under which your real nature has become hidden. But the real you is already perfect, already strong.

Are great things ever done smoothly? Time, patience, and indomitable will must show.

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

Work and worship are necessary to take away the veil, to lift off the bondage and illusion.

Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourself weak, weak you will be; if you think yourself strong, strong you will be.

It is the patient building of character, the intense struggle to realize the truth, which alone will tell in the future of humanity.

We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves.

Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being.

This, I have seen in life – those who are overcautious about themselves fall into dangers at every step. Those who are afraid of losing honor and respect, get only disgrace; and those who are always afraid of loss, always lose.

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

Be a hero. Always say, ‘I have no fear.’ Tell this to everyone – ‘Have no fear.’

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.

We reap what we sow. We are the makers of our own fate. None else has the blame, none has the praise.

Blows are what awaken us & help to break the dream. They show us the insufficiency of this world & make us long to escape, to have freedom.

Who makes us ignorant? We ourselves. We put our hands over our eyes and weep that it is dark.

Watch people do their most common actions; these are indeed the things that will tell you the real character of a great person.

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

Superstition is our great enemy, but bigotry is worse.

All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.

Swami Vivekananda Quotes on Emotions

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’.

The less passion there is, the better we work. The calmer we are the better for us and the more the amount of work we can do. When we let loose our feelings, we waste so much energy, shatter our nerves, disturb our minds, and accomplish very little work.

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

As soon as you know the voice and understand what it is, the whole scene changes. The same world which was the ghastly battlefield of maya is now changed into something good and beautiful.

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

It is the cheerful mind that is persevering. It is the strong mind that hews its way through a thousand difficulties.

In one word, this ideal is that you are divine.

Every action that helps us manifest our divine nature more and more is good; every action that retards it is evil.

Fill the brain with high thoughts, highest ideals, place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work.

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

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About Swami Vivekananda

Vivekananda with his fellow disciples of Ramakrishna.
Vivekananda with his fellow disciples of Ramakrishna.

Swami Vivekananda was born in 1863 in Calcutta. His parents named him Narendranath Dutta, or Naren for short. As a young man, Vivekananda joined the course in philosophy at the Scottish Churches College of Calcutta (Kolkata), and also became a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a great mystic and devotee of Kali. Ramakrishna was a phenomenal enlightened being, and he saw great potential in Naren. Seeing his capability to percieve, Ramakrishna named him Vivekananda, where Viveka means perception in Sanskrit. Swami Vivekananda went out into the world to spread Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s message. In 1893, he was invited to the World Parliament of Religions, in Chicago. As a representative of Hinduism. he gave several speeches to great acclaim within the Parliament and the world at large. He is credited with playing a big part in bringing an understanding of Hinduism to the Western mindset.

Vivekananda stressed the importance of coming together for the betterment of society and urged Indians to adopt the Indian culture and the path of Karma Yoga, or the yoga of action. According to this, the path to salvation lies through active work in this world in selfless devotion, with bothering about the fruits of one’s actions. The respect that Vivekananda gained in the western part of the world had a great impact on his Indian contemporaries. British ideas of the Hindu way of life had looked at it as a collection of superstitious nonsense and pointless ritualism. Vivekananda’s outspoken defense of the Hindu way of life and his explanation of various facets of Indian culture won him many admirers in the East and the West. He fired the imaganation of Indian youth and became a national hero. His ideals had a big influence on many Independence-era politicians. The great liberal, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, and the fervent socialist, Jawaharlal Nehru, both acknowledged their debts to Vivekananda in their later years.

Though Vivekananda praised the nobler ideas of the Hindu spiritual tradition, he was also an inveterate critic of certain discriminatory practices such as untouchability, which he characterized as a social custom not justified by religion. In 1887, Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission, as an organisation for the dissemination of Ramakrishna’s spiritual path. Vivekananda’s trips to several Western countries paved the way for the global spread of the Ramakrishna Mission. The Mission has published the eight volumes of his collected works, which contain his books on Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Karma Yoga, as well as his numerous speeches.

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