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Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

The old religion 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.
Swami Vivekananda

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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?

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?


The Mahamandal’s aim is to build a good society, healthy society, of people who have hearts full of love, sympathy, compassion, and the urge to serve others. Our task is to make this sort of men in a large number, so that they become the majority in the society.
Today if you look at our society, it is in a very bad shape. Worst possible shape our society has taken, not only in India, but almost in every country. In the past this country was so nice, so beautiful. But, first of all, India has been trisected. When we were school students, what a beautiful India we saw! One India! When we finished Class X and were waiting for the final examination, we heard that India was going to be free. It had been ruled by the foreigners for a long time, for centuries.  It was going to be liberated. What a beautiful thing! Our geography teacher used to hang the map of India on a blackboard. How beautiful it appeared to us. It looked like the physique of the Mother, our Motherland. We used to worship the Mother. And the Mother was trisected. Greed and love of power threw those men who descended on our people to declare, ‘We are your leaders, we will save you, we will do everything.’ And they trisected India into Pakistan, East Pakistan, and the rest, the middle part that we now call ‘India’. The India of ancient times was so big. The Burma side, as you see in the map, used to appear before me as the end part of the clothes of my mother, that stretched towards the Bay of Bengal. It was the idol of the Mother. But these people cut her into pieces, just as beasts are cut into pieces to be devoured. 
Of what is left, you know the condition. The sole objective of the privileged is to make more and more money and to ensure more and more sense-pleasure at the cost of others. You will find very little fair deeds around you. Foul means are adopted everywhere with impunity to satisfy desires. Such is the condition. This should not be tolerated. We should something to bring about a change, a revolutionary change. Not changes of roads, airports, sea-ports – more ships, more aircrafts, more flyovers, more highways, and so on. Not just these things. These have become more important now than human lives. But the most important thing is: human beings are being neglected.  What sort of education are we giving to our young men? From Calcutta University to Oxford University, scores of Ph.D. papers are partly or fully stolen from others. A professor was appointed in a university in West Bengal. To become a university professor, Ph.D. is required. But he had no Ph.D. After twenty years it came to be known that he had only submitted a thesis in a foreign university, but did not get a Ph.D. We will have our education from such persons who do not even have honesty.
All problems of our country boil down to this simple assertion: we have too few men of character. The solution is, therefore, man-making. This idea of the Mahamandal should be pushed into the hearts of the youth with the ideal of Swami Vivekananda. He came to lift mankind, to lift India. He worked for the whole world. He realized the supreme Truth and illuminated the human mind of the world. And his appeal was mainly to the young men – to work for the sake of their life, for the sake of India as well as the world.
So, we have expectations from you, young men of India. Build your lives on a strong ground, with a broad heart, a keen intellect, a strong physique. Acquire right knowledge, and with the feelings of your broad heart, translate those great ideas into action in society for the welfare of all – from the richest to the poorest, from the educated to the ignorant.
You will have to be men first. The body must be strong, and there must be restraint. But by body only men are not built. Is the heart like that of a beast or of a man or of a devatā? That is the real test of manhood. All the sorrows and sufferings of the world will be yours. With the help of the body and mind you will always do good to all. Your constant prayer will be for the wellbeing of all. If you have some wealth, a part of it will be given to those who have not. This type of young men is requiredin large numbers. To understand this nobody is there either in the government or in the political parties. This meditation, this dream, is there in nobody. Young men have to come forward and fulfill this dream.
In this training camp, you are 1309 this year from so many States of India. You have taken all the troubles to come to this small village, where there is no proper connecting road even. Why? – To listen to something very important. We are sure you will not get these ideas anywhere else. There are so many organizations – religious, cultural, political. Nowhere will you hear these ideas. So, it is our good fortune that we have been able to came here and exchange our ideas. If you really like these ideas, accept them in such a way that you can translate them into action in your life.

One should learn to live for others, not for oneself. One who lives for oneself is like a beast. Those who want to be men will live for others. Our strength, knowledge, wealth – everything will be used for the good of others. In short, this 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?



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