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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?


We don’t have and we are not sorry that we don’t have such work. Do you think every work can be seen from outside, can be caught, measured, weighed, and valued? Everything can be valued, of course, in some way, but the valuation may not always be in dollars, rupees, etc. Certain things have only qualitative values. Then, how can you value the work of the Mahamandal? It will be valued on the basis of the number of proper human beings who have come up through this work. It is not like building schools, colleges, libraries, etc. or construction of factories with some materials. This is a new thing; no other organization has ever done it. So it is difficult to understand its value. How will people measure the work the Mahamandal has been doing? It has to be seen whether proper men are coming up or not through this work. Yes, in the last forty years men of proper character are coming out of this work, and if it is continued, more men will come. Those who are working in the Mahamandal and conducting all its activities, wherefrom have they come? They were not recruited with advertisements in the newspapers, they did not apply, interviews were not taken, they were not selected, appointment letters were not given. All of them came of their own accord. They offered themselves, their time and energy, for the work, because they could understand the value of this work. So, it is to be understood that all work cannot be identical. The nature or method of assessment cannot be the same everywhere.
                     Concrete action for social welfare is organized on a huge scale by the governments and on a much smaller scale by many associations and institutions. Huge sums are pumped in for all these, much of which vanishes into thin air. It is the want of character that leads to the failure of schemes meant for the deprived. Therefore, the work of character-building is the fundamental work, without which all else is bound to fail.
However, the Mahamandal units organize many social service activities throughout the year in accordance with the means available to them and the needs of the people in and around their localities. Through such work they get a scope to develop feeling for others and an urge to serve others. They learn to work without selfish motives, to plan properly and work efficiently in an organized manner. This forms a part of our training programme for the youth. So, the quantum of external work is not at all important in this scheme



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?



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