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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?

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?


Vairāgya means giving up, renunciation. We have to give up something to get something higher or better. To strengthen the mind, we have to give up its impurities. All impurities come from selfishness. So, vairāgya may be understood as the giving up of all selfish hankering after small things that bring weakness and narrowness, for the sake of gaining strength and purity.

       Rāga in Sanskrit means inclination, affection, attachment, or attraction toward something or somebody. Vairāgya is its absence. It is a very strong mental state characterized by indifference to or detachment from all worldly, selfish pleasures and objects of pleasure.

          Most people think day and night: I want this and that, I must have so much money, so much enjoyment and fame, I hate others who are doing better than me, and so on. That makes the mind restless and extremely narrow day by day. Such a mind being weak and uncontrollable cannot be concentrated properly for any good purpose. And if we remain very selfish, how can we love and do good to others?

          However, we are not suggesting that all of us must shun all selfish desire here and now. Higher ideals can be understood and assimilated only through slow and constant practice. Moreover, we must avoid a negative approach. The more we proceed toward Kashi, the more is Kolkata left behind. The more we progress toward the positive ideas of life, the more we grow natural detachment from weakening things. It is a question of growth and not of artificial imposition. A fruit falls when it is ripe.

For us, it may be suggested that we should try to have a little less selfish desire than before, curtail a bit of it, so that we can become true men, so that we learn to feel for others, work for others, without giving up our own ordinary requirements entirely. Let us not be too engrossed in self-centred thoughts and activities, in self-seeking pleasures. Let us avoid the unwholesome, weakening things of life by engaging the mind more and more in life-giving thoughts and good activities. Let us try to shun compromising with weakness and be men. A small drop of vairāgya will be enough for us.



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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