Frequently Asked Questions
Swami Vivekananda said, ‘You must remember that humanity travels not from error to truth, but from truth to truth; it may be, if you like it better, from lower truth to higher truth, but never from error to truth.’ What are the higher and lower truths?
It is not that certain things are lower truths while some others are higher truths. All things can be seen as relatively lower or higher truths. It depends on how rightly we see them. When we see anything merely in its external aspect, only at the surface, our knowledge of the thing is imperfect. That is called a lower truth. The deeper we go into the substance of things without getting stuck up at the external appearance, the more we understand their real nature. That is, our knowledge becomes more complete, less imperfect.
Man’s journey in gaining right knowledge thus passes through innumerable gradations of correctness. None of these can be outright dismissed as an error. It is a journey toward more and more correct understanding of life and of the world. So, as we make progress, we understand the truth better and better, our conceptions become finer and broader, our outlook becomes more comprehensive than before.
For instance, Newtonian physics is not an error, but the theories of Einstein provide an even better understanding of the universe. Still physics does not end with Einstein, it moves further for more complete understanding. Similarly, when we see man as a body-mind complex, we are at a lower truth. But if we proceed further to realize the real nature of man, which is infinite love and purity, we see a higher truth. That spirit of forward movement for more comprehensive ideas of truth should be pursued until one is able to grasp the highest truth which is Brahman, though everyone may not agree to accept this.
What is the meaning of character-building without any concrete organized action? Is there any example of concrete action in the last forty years of the Mahamandal?
Instead of learning character-building, how can we inspire the student community to do something for the sake of their country and serve the poor? Please explain its method.
The contribution of Swami Vivekananda in Indian freedom struggle was immense. Yet, why did he not get an important place in the history of our freedom struggle?
Each man is the soul identified. Again, Shāstras say, Aham Brahmāsmi. What is the relation between the soul and Brahman?
In what way is this training camp of the Mahamandal specially useful to us? Of the daily practices advised by you, mental concentration seems to be very important. Will you kindly explain how to practise it and how is it going to increase my powers to serve the motherland?
Why is the mind attracted to any beautiful thing?
You have said that there are three things in the make up of man: the body, the mind, and the heart. What is the heart and how can we develop it?
What is the method of imparting true education?
What is mind?
What was Swamiji’s opinion on Hinduism and other religions of the world? Why did he give primacy to religion over everything else?
What is the aim of the Mahamandal?
Does the system of varnaand āshrama have any relevance today?
The Mahamandal is working for character-building of the youths with Swamiji’s message: ‘Be and make’. It was taught by Swami Vivekananda over a century back. It seems it was lying unused at some corner. Is there no other organization doing this type of work?
When does the soul enter our body?
Religion teaches that God is there in all, that the human body is the abode of God. Then why do we not see Him? Please tell me the way to see Him and be loved by the All-Love.
What is vairāgya?
Why are the youth of India moving towards degeneration? What is the solution of this problem?
I understand that the world is like a series of pictures. But I cannot hold on to the idea all the time. The mind goes out of control. What do I do?
There was a historical background of the beginning of the Mahamandal. One immediate need was to show the right way to young people who were in disarray at a time of ideological confusion. Some others who were in a dilemma between religion and social work also needed it. Now times have changed, but the necessity of this work remains for all time. Young men in general are nowadays interested neither in politics, nor in social work, nor in poetry. For most of them the sole concern is career. Under the present circumstances, how should the ideas of the Mahamandal be placed before them?
How can we bring about national integration?
What is brahmacharya? Why should we practise it and how? What are the means?
What is caste? What is its relation with religion?
Can science exist without religion?
Is there any difference between the ideas of Sri Ramakrishna and those of Swami Vivekananda?
Is absolute unselfishness possible under the present circumstances?
What should we do to strengthen our mental abilities?