1863January 12, 2019Birth in Kolkata
1879Enters Presidency College
1880Transfers to General Assembly Institution
1881NovemberFirst meeting with Sri Ramakrishna
1882-1886Association with Sri Ramakrishna
1884Passes B. A. Examination
Father passes away
1885Sri Ramakrishna's last illness
1886August 16, 2019Sri Ramakrishna passes away
FallEstablishes Baranagar Math
December 24, 2019Informal vow of sannyasa at Antpur
1887JanuaryFormal vows of sannyasa at Baranagar Monastery
1890-1893Travels all over India as itinerant monk
1892December 24, 2019At Kanyakumari, South India
1893February 13, 2019First public lecture, Secunderabad, South India
May 31, 2019Sails for America from Mumbai
July 25, 2019Lands at Vancouver, Canada
July 30, 2019Arrives in Chicago
AugustMeets Professor John Ft. Wright of Harvard University
September 11, 2019First address at Parliament of Religions, Chicago
September 27, 2019Final address at Parliament of Religions
November 20, 2019Begins mid-western lecture tour
1894April 14, 2019Begins lectures and classes on East Coast
May 16, 2019Speaks at Harvard University
July-AugustAt Green Acre Religious Conference
NovemberFounds Vedanta Society of New York
1895JanuaryBegins classes in New York
June 4-18At Camp Percy, New Hampshire
June-AugustAt Thousand Island Park on St. Lawrence river, N.Y.
August-SeptemberIn Paris
October-NovemberLectures in London
December 6, 2019Sails for New York
1896March 22-25Speaks at Harvard University, offered Eastern Philosophy chair
April 15, 2019Returns to London
May-JulyGives classes in London
May 28, 2019Meets Max Muller in Oxford
August-SeptemberIn the Europe for six weeks
October-NovemberGives classes in London
December 30, 2019Leaves Naples for India
1897January 15, 2019Arrives in Colombo, Sri Lanka
February 6-15In Chennai
February 19, 2019Arrives in Kolkata
May 1, 2019Establishes Ramakrishna Mission Association, Kolkata
May-DecemberTours northwest India
1898JanuaryReturns to Kolkata
MayBegins North India pilgrimage with Western devotees
August 2, 2019At Amarnath, Kashmir
December 9, 2019Consecrates Belur Math
1899March 19, 2019Establishes Advaita Ashrama at Mayavati
June 20, 2019Leaves India for second visit to the West
July 31, 2019Arrives in London
August 28, 2019Arrives in New York City
August-NovemberAt Ridgely Manor, New York
December 3, 2019Arrives in Los Angeles
1900February 22, 2019Arrives in San Francisco
April 14, 2019Founds Vedanta Society in San Francisco
JuneFinal classes in New York City
July 26, 2019Leaves for Europe
August 3, 2019Arrives in Paris for International Exposition
September 7, 2019Speaks at Congress of History of Religions at Exposition
October 24, 2019Begins tour of Vienna, Constantinople, Greece and Cairo
November 26, 2019Leaves for India
December 9, 2019Arrives at Belur Math
1901JanuaryVisits Mayavati
March-MayPilgrimage in East Bengal and Assam
1902January-FebruaryVisits Bodh Gaya and Varanasi
MarchReturns to Belur Math
July 4Mahasamadhi

Swami Vivekananda’s Address to the Parliament of World Religions, Chicago, 1893

Welcome Address: Sept 11, 1893

Sisters and Brothers of America,
It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.

My thanks also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration.

I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation.

I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings:

“As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”

The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita:

“Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.”

Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.

Hindi Translation

अमेरिकावासी बहनो तथा भाइयो,
आपने जिस सौहार्द और स्नेह के साथ हम लोगों का स्वागत किया हैं, उसके प्रति आभार प्रकट करने के निमित्त खड़े होते समय मेरा हृदय अवर्णनीय हर्ष से पूर्ण हो रहा हैं। संसार में संन्यासियों की सब से प्राचीन परंपरा की ओर से मैं आपको धन्यवाद देता हूँ; धर्मों की माता की ओर से धन्यवाद देता हूँ; और सभी संप्रदायों एवं मतों के कोटि-कोटि हिंदुओं की ओर से भी धन्यवाद देता हूँ।

मैं इस मंच पर से बोलनेवाले उन कतिपय वक्‍ताओं के प्रति भी धन्यवाद ज्ञापित करता हूँ, जिन्होंने प्राची के प्रतिनिधियों का उल्लेख करते समय आपको यह बतलाया हैं कि सुदूर देशों के ये लोग सहिष्णुता का भाव विविध देशों में प्रचारित करने के गौरव का दावा कर सकते हैं। मैं एक ऐसे धर्म का अनुयायी होने में गर्व का अनुभव करता हूँ, जिसने संसार को सहिष्णुता तथा सार्वभौम स्वीकृति, दोनों की ही शिक्षा दी हैं। हम लोग सब धर्मों के प्रति केवल सहिष्णुता में ही विश्‍वास नहीं करते, वरन् समस्त धर्मों को सच्चा मान कर स्वीकार करते हैं। मुझे ऐसे देश का व्यक्ति होने का अभिमान हैं, जिसने इस पृथ्वी के समस्त धर्मों और देशों के उत्पीड़ितों और शरणार्थियों को आश्रय दिया हैं। मुझे आपको यह बतलाते हुए गर्व होता हैं कि हमने अपने वक्ष में यहूदियों के विशुद्धतम शेषअंश को स्थान दिया था, जिन्होंने दक्षिण भारत आकर उसी वर्ष शरण ली थी, जिस वर्ष उनका पवित्र मंदिर रोमन जाति के अत्याचार से धूल में मिला दिया गया था। ऐसे धर्म का अनुयायी होने में मैं गर्व का अनुभव करता हूँ, जिसने महान् जरथुष्‍ट्र जाति के शेषअंश को शरण दी और जिसका पालन वह अब तक कर रहा हैं। भाईयो, मैं आप लोगों को एक स्तोत्र की कुछ पंक्‍तियाँ सुनाता हूँ, जिसकी आवृति मैं बचपन से कर रहा हूँ और जिसकी आवृति प्रतिदिन लाखों मनुष्य किया करते हैं:

‘जैसे विभिन्न नदियाँ भिन्न-भिन्न स्रोतों से निकलकर समुद्र में मिल जाती हैं, उसी प्रकार हे प्रभो! भिन्न भिन्न रुचि के अनुसार विभिन्न टेढ़े-मेढ़े अथवा सीधे रास्ते से जानेवाले लोग अंत में तुझमें ही आकर मिल जाते हैं।’

यह सभा, जो अभी तक आयोजित सर्वश्रेष्‍ठ पवित्र सम्मेलनों में से एक हैं, स्वतः ही गीता के इस अद्‌भुत उपदेश का प्रतिपादन एवं जगत् के प्रति उसकी घोषणा है:

 ‘जो कोई मेरी ओर आता हैं – चाहे किसी प्रकार से हो – मैं उसको प्राप्‍त होता हूँ। लोग भिन्न मार्ग द्वारा प्रयत्‍न करते हुए अंत में मेरी ही ओर आते हैं।’

सांप्रदायिकता, हठधर्मिता और उनकी बीभत्स वंशधर धर्मांधता इस सुंदर पृथ्वी पर बहुत समय तक राज्य कर चुकी हैं। वे पृथ्वी को हिंसा से भरती रही हैं, उसको बारंबार मानवता के रक्‍त से नहलाती रही हैं, सभ्यताओं को विध्वस्त करती और पूरे पूरे देशों को निराशा के गर्त में डालती रही हैं। यदि ये बीभत्स दानवी न होती, तो मानव समाज आज की अवस्था से कहीं अधिक उन्नत हो गया होता। पर अब उनका समय आ गया हैं, और मैं आंतरिक रूप से आशा करता हूँ कि आज सुबह इस सभा के सम्मान में जो घंटाध्वनि हुई हैं, वह समस्त धर्मांधता का, तलवार या लेखनी के द्वारा होनेवाले सभी उत्पीड़नों का, तथा एक ही लक्ष्य की ओर अग्रसर होनेवाले मानवों की पारस्पारिक कटुता का मृत्युनिनाद सिद्ध हो।

Concluding Address - Chicago, Sept 27, 189

The World’s Parliament of Religions has become an accomplished fact, and the merciful Father has helped those who labored to bring it into existence, and crowned with success their most unselfish labor.

My thanks to those noble souls whose large hearts and love of truth first dreamed this wonderful dream and then realized it. My thanks to the shower of liberal sentiments that has overflowed this platform. My thanks to this enlightened audience for their uniform kindness to me and for their appreciation of every thought that tends to smooth the friction of religions. A few jarring notes were heard from time to time in this harmony. My special thanks to them, for they have, by their striking contrast, made general harmony the sweeter.
The seed is put in the ground, and earth and air and water are placed around it. Does the seed become the earth, or the air, or the water? No. It becomes a plant. It develops after the law of its own growth, assimilates the air, the earth, and the water, converts them into plant substance, and grows into a plant.
Similar is the case with religion. The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.

If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world, it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character. In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: “Help and not fight,” “Assimilation and not Destruction,” “Harmony and Peace and not Dissension.”

Hindi Translation

विश्‍वधर्म महासभा एक मूर्तिमान तथ्य सिद्‌ध हो गई हैं और दयामय प्रभु ने उन लोगों की सहायता की हैं, तथा उनके परम निःस्वार्थ श्रम को सफलता से विभूषित किया हैं, जिन्होंने इसका आयोजन किया।

उन महानुभावों को मेरा धन्यवाद हैं, जिनके विशाल हृदय तथा सत्य के प्रति अनुराग ने पहले इस अद‌‍भुत स्वप्न को देखा और फिर उसे कार्यरूप में परिणत किया। उन उदार भावों को मेरा धन्यवाद, जिनसे यह सभामंच आप्लावित होता रहा हैं। इस प्रबुद्‌ध श्रोतृमंडली को मेरा धन्यवाद, जिसने मुझ पर अविकल कृपा रखी हैं और जिसने मत-मतांतरों के मनोमालिन्य को हल्का करने का प्रयत्‍न करने वाले हर विचार का सत्कार किया। इस समसुरता में कुछ बेसुरे स्वर भी बीच बीच में सुने गये हैं। उन्हें मेरा विशेष धन्यवाद, क्योंकि उन्होंने अपने स्वरवैचिञ्य से इस समरसता को और भी मधुर बना दिया हैं।

धार्मिक एकता की सर्वसामान्य भित्ति के विषय में बहुत कुछ कहा जा चुका हैं। इस समय मैं इस संबंध में अपना मत आपके समक्ष नहीं रखूँगा। किन्तु यदि यहाँ कोई यह आशा कर रहा हैं कि यह एकता किसी एक धर्म की विजय और बाकी धर्मों के विनाश से सिद्ध होगी, तो उनसे मेरा कहना हैं कि ‘भाई, तुम्हारी यह आशा असम्भव हैं।’ क्या मैं यह चाहता हूँ कि ईसाई लोग हिन्दू हो जाएँ? कदापि नहीं, ईश्‍वर भी ऐसा न करे! क्या मेरी यह इच्छा हैं कि हिदू या बौद्ध लोग ईसाई हो जाएँ? ईश्‍वर इस इच्छा से बचाए।

बीज भूमि में बो दिया गया और मिट्टी, वायु तथा जल उसके चारों ओर रख दिये गये। तो क्या वह बीज मिट्टी हो जाता हैं, अथवा वायु या जल बन जाता हैं? नहीं, वह तो वृक्ष ही होता हैं, वह अपनी वृद्‌धि के नियम से ही बढ़ता हैं — वायु , जल और मिट्टी को पचाकर, उनको उद्‌भित पदार्थ में परिवर्तित करके एक वृक्ष हो जाता हैं।

ऐसा ही धर्म के संबंध में भी हैं। ईसाई को हिंदू या बौद्ध नहीं हो जाना चाहिए, और न ही हिंदू अथवा बौद्ध को ईसाई ही। पर हाँ, प्रत्येक को चाहिए कि वह दूसरों के सारभाग को आत्मसात् करके पुष्टिलाभ करें और अपने वैशिष्ट्य की रक्षा करते हुए अपनी निजी बुद्‌धि के नियम के अनुसार वृद्‌धि को प्राप्‍त हो।

इस धर्म -महासभा ने जगत् के समक्ष यदि कुछ प्रदर्शित किया हैं, तो वह यह हैं: उसने सिद्‌ध कर दिया हैं कि शुद्‍धता, पवित्रता और दयाशीलता किसी संप्रदायविशेष की ऐकांतिक संपत्ति नहीं हैं, एवं प्रत्येक धर्म मे श्रेष्‍ठ एवं अतिशय उन्नतचरित स्‍त्री-पुरूषों को जन्म दिया हैं। अब इन प्रत्यक्ष प्रमाणों के बावजूद भी कोई ऐसा स्वप्न देखें कि अन्याम्य सागे धर्म नष्‍ट हो जाएँगे और केवल उसका धर्म ही जीवित रहेगा, तो उस पर मैं अपने हृदय के अंतराल से दया करता हूँ और उसे स्पष्‍ट बतलाए देता हूँ कि शीघ्र ही सारे प्रतिरोधों के बावजूद प्रत्येक धर्म की पताका पर यह लिखा रहेगा — ‘सहायता करो, लडो मत’ ; ‘परभाव-ग्रहण, न कि परभाव-विनाश’ ; ‘समन्वय और शांति, न कि मतभेद और कलह!’


As I look back upon the history of my country, I do not find in the whole world another country which has done quite so much for the improvement of the human mind.

I loved my motherland dearly before I went to America and England. After my return, every particle of dust of this land seems sacred to me.

From the very start, we must have to understand the mission of our own race, the destiny it has to fulfill, the place it has so occupy in the march of nations, the note which it has to contribute to the harmony of races.
I find among nations one great ideal which forms the backbone, so to speak, of that race. With some it is politics, with others it is social culture; others again may have intellectual culture and so on for their national background. But this, our motherland, has religion and religion alone for it basis, for its backbone, for the bedrock upon which the whole building of it s life has been based.

Each nation has a main current in life; in India it is religion. Make it strong and the waters on either side must move along with it.

In other countries a man may be political first, and then he may have a little religion, but here in India the first and the foremost duty of our lives is to be spiritual first, and then if there is time, let other things come.
Here in India, it is religion that forms the very core of the national heart. It is the backbone, the bed-rock, the foundation upon which the national edifice has been built. Politics, power, and even intellect form a secondary consideration here. Religion, therefore, is the one consideration in India.

In religion lies the vitality of India, and so long as the Hindu race do not forget the great inheritance of their forefathers, there is no power on earth to destroy them.

They say, “You can only be helped, you can only be good by ceasing to be what you are. It is useless to help Hindus.” These people do not know the history of races. There will be no more India if they change their religion and their institutions, because that is the vitality of that race. It will disappear; so, really you will have nobody to help.

If there is any land on this earth that can lay claim to be the blessed Punya Bhumi, to be the land to which all souls on this earth must come to account for Karma, the land to which all the souls in the world must come for its last home, the land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness, above all, the land of introspection and of Spirituality – it is India. Here is life giving water with which must be quenched the fire of materialism burning millions of hearts in other lands.

Say, brother: “The soil of India is my highest heaven, the good of India is my good,” and repeat and pray, day and night.

It is the same India which has withstood the shocks of centuries, of hundreds of foreign invasions of hundreds of upheavals of manners and customs. It is the same land which stands firmer than any rock in the world, with its undying vigour, indestructible life. Its life is of the same nature as the soul, without beginning and without end, immortal; and we are the children of such a country.


 Work for the idea, not the person.

Live for an ideal, and leave no place in the mind for anything else. Let us put forth all our energies to acquire that which never fails–our spiritual perfection. If we have true yearning for realization, we must struggle, and through struggle growth will come. We shall make mistakes, but they may be angels unawares.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on 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.
Live for an ideal and that one ideal alone. Let it be so great, so strong, that there may be nothing else left in the mind; no place for anything else, no time for anything else.

Above all, 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. Your Atman is the support of the universe – whose support do you stand in need of?

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.

Faith, faith, faith in ourselves, faith, faith in God — this is the secret of greatness. If you have faith in all the three hundred and thirty millions of your mythological gods, and in all the gods which foreigners have now and again introduced into your midst, and still have no faith in yourselves, there is no salvation for you. Have faith in yourselves, and stand up on that faith and be strong; that is what we need. Why is it that we three hundred and thirty millions of people have been ruled for the last one thousand years by any and every handful of foreigners who chose to walk over our prostrate bodies? Because they had faith in themselves and we had not.

Fill the brain with high thoughts, highest ideals, place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work.
Look here–we shall die! Bear this in mind always, and then the spirit within will wake up. Only then will meanness vanish from you, practicality in work will come, you will get new vigor in mind and body, and those who come in contact with you will also feel that they have really got something uplifting from you.

If you think that you are bound, you remain bound; you make your own bondage. If you know that you are free, you are free this moment. This is knowledge, knowledge of freedom. Freedom is the goal of all nature.

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.

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 yourself. Therefore make your own future. 

Be strong! Don’t 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.

My child, what I want is muscles of iron and nerves of steel, inside which dwells a mind of the same material as that of which the thunderbolt is made.

Brave, bold men and women, 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.

Bear in mind, my children, that only cowards and those who are weak commit sin and tell lies. The brave are always moral. Try to be moral, try to be brave, try to be sympathising.

Have faith that you are all, my brave lads, born to do great things! Let not the barks of puppies frighten you — no, not even the thunderbolts of heaven — but stand up and work!

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

Be a hero. Always say, “I have no fear.” Tell this to everyone—“Have no fear.”

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.

Fear is death, fear is sin, fear is hell, fear is unrighteousness. All the negative thoughts and ideas that are in this world have proceeded from this evil spirit of fear.

Anything that brings spiritual, mental, or physical weakness, touch it not with the toes of your feet.

Go on bravely. Do not expect success in a day or a year. Always hold on to the highest. Be steady. Avoid jealousy and selfishness. Be obedient and eternally faithful to the cause of truth, humanity, and your country, and you will move the world. Remember it is the person, the life, which is the secret of power — nothing else…. Jealousy is the bane of all slaves. It is the bane of our nation. Avoid that always.

What is the use of talking of one’s mistakes to the world? They cannot thereby be undone. For what one has done one must suffer; one must try and do better. The world sympathizes only with the strong and the powerful.

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

Nothing shall be done in haste. Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success and, above all, love.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on 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.  

What work do you expect from men of little hearts? Nothing in the world. You must have an iron will if you would cross the ocean. You must be strong enough to pierce mountains.

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?

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

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.

Look upon every man, woman, and every one 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.

If the Lord grants that you can help any one of his children, blessed you are; do not think too much of yourselves. Blessed you are that that privilege was given to you when others had it not. Do it only as a worship.
I should see God in the poor, and it is for my salvation that I go and worship them. The poor and the miserable are for our salvation, so that we may serve the Lord, coming in the shape of the diseased, coming in the shape of the lunatic, the leper, and the sinner!

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

Let each one of us pray day and night for the down – trodden millions in India who are held fast by poverty, priestcraft, 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, I love the poor. I see what they call the poor of this country, and how many there are who feel for them! What an immense difference in India! Who feels there for the two hundred millions of men and women sunken forever in poverty and ignorance? Where is the way out? Who feels for them? They cannot find light or education. Who will bring the light to them — 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.

You must give your body, mind, and speech to “the welfare of the world”. You have read –” look upon your mother as God, look upon your father as God”– but I say the poor, the illiterate, the ignorant, the afflicted — let these be your God.” Know that service to these alone is the highest religion.

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.

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

All the wealth in the world cannot help one little Indian village if the people are not taught to help themselves. Our work should be mainly educational, both moral and intellectual.

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

Do not be afraid of a small beginning, great things come afterwards. Be courageous. Do not try to lead your brethren, but serve them. The brutal mania for leading has sunk many a great ship in the waters of life. Take care especially of that, i.e. be unselfish even unto death, and work.

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.

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

Bless people when they revile you. Think how much good they are doing by helping to stamp out the false ego. Hold fast to the real Self. Think only pure thoughts, and you will accomplish more than a regiment of mere preachers. Out of purity and silence comes the word of power.

By doing well the duty which is nearest to us, the duty which is in our hands now, we make ourselves stronger; and improving our strength in this manner step by step, we may reach a state in which it shall be our privilege to do the most coveted and honored duties in life and in society.

Do not hate anybody, because that hatred which comes out from you must, in the long run, come back to you. If you love, that love will come back to you, completing the circle.

Him I call a Mahatman (great soul) whose heart bleeds for the poor, otherwise he is a Duratman (wicked soul). Let us unite our wills in continued prayer for their good. We may die unknown, unpitied, unbewailed, without accomplishing anything — but not one thought will be lost. It will take effect, sooner or later.

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 unselfish.

It is only by doing good to others that one attains to one’s own good.

It is only work that is done as a free-will offering to humanity and to nature that does not bring with it any binding attachment.

Be cheerful. . . . Hold on to your own ideal. . . . Above all, never attempt to guide or rule others, or, as the Yankees say, “boss” others. Be the servant of all.

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.

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.


“My homage and respect to the very revered memory of Swami Vivekananda . . . . after having gone through [his works], the love that I had for my country became a thousandfold.” — Mahatma Gandhi

“His whole life and teaching inspired my generation . . . . he brought his great spirituality to bear upon his patriotism and thus his message was not confined to India only, but was for the whole world. I pay my homage to his memory.” — Jawaharlal Nehru

“The thought of this warrior prophet of India left a deep mark upon the United States . . . . I cannot touch these sayings of his . . . without giving a thrill through my body like an electric shock. And what shocks, what transports must have been produced when in burning words they issued from the lips of the hero!” — Romain Rolland

 “[Vivekananda is] one of the very greatest historical figures that India has ever produced. When one sees the full range of his mind, one is astounded.” — Christopher Isherwood

“The man [Vivekananda] is simply a wonder for oratorical power . . . the Swami is an honor to humanity.” — William James

“At this exposition [the Parliament of Religions], the Swami charmed audiences with his magical oratory, and left an indelible mark on America’s spiritual development.”  — National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution (from “Abroad in America: Visitors to the New Nation”)

“It was the voice of the ancient rishis of the Vedas, speaking sweet words of love and toleration.” — The Brooklyn Standard

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