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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?

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?


The answer to the last part of your question is an emphatic no. Do you know about hawkers? They move from one place to another and shout: This is my article – very good and very cheap. The Mahamandal is like hawkers. The task of the Mahamandal is to visit every house, every village, and every town to give this vidya, this idea.
                  In the beginning the Mahamandal had very few centres. Now you see, in 12 States of India about 250 centres have come up. In every centre some 30 to 80 members may be there. They are working through the centres in their localities, villages or towns or cities, and the people living in the surrounding areas are also getting the idea. It is possible for the local people to get acquainted with these ideas, because the centres are working there. Others do not have an opportunity to hear about the ideas. The results are palpable when these centres are there. There are no political leaders or famous persons with us. We are all very simple people, householders, many not with much of education, but I feel the only secret of success is sincerity, the proper understanding of the idea, and intense determination to work it out.
And there is no other organization on the same line of work. There are thousands of institutions and societies. But what is going on? Have a piece of land, make a building, and arrange lectures and music etc., and so on. What is the result of all that? We are listening, but remaining as before. Remember what Swamiji told us: You listen to the lectures with rapt attention, you praise the speaker, and after you go home and have your dinner, you digest all that you have heard along with the ingested food – nothing is retained. This type of effort can neither make men nor build the nation.
The Mahamandal has an altogether different approach, which was suggested by Swami Vivekananda. We have a clearly defined goal and a detailed plan of action. We offer training and literature particularly suitable for the youths. Simplicity of the ideas and of the language expressing them is the watchword. All emphasis is on implementation of the ideas in our everyday life. Our life and character should be such that others will be charged, and that is the way to spread the idea. That way it is very difficult. In the case of the Mahamandal, the hawker that shouts should be character itself. Remember Swamiji’s words: ‘Neither money pays, nor name, nor fame, nor learning; it is character that can cleave through adamantine walls of difficulties.’



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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