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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?

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?


Caste is a social division. It has nothing to do with religion. True religion stands for oneness and not for any sort of division. There are different forms of caste in different places. In any society, communities having close affinities or similarities with regard to their characteristics and occupations automatically form a caste. In our country there were originally four castes – brāhmana, kshatriya, vaishya, and shudra.
Caste is jāti in Sanskrit. The word, jāti, originally implied the in-born characteristics and speciality of an individual. Thus each individual has a different jāti.
There is also a cultural basis of the caste system which was prevalent in India from the hoary past:
‘Janmanā jāyate shudrah samskārāt dvijochyate /
                  Veda-pāthe bhavedviprah Brahma jānāti brāhmanah.’

  1. As you are born, you are a shudra, that is, there has been no attempt yet to refine the mind. The state of shudra-hood implies that there is no training to improve one’s desires, attires, movements, ways of talking, etc. and bring about culture. Some sort of polish in behaviour, in one’s way of talking, in everything – some refinement appears through striving. We are to make an attempt and work hard to be a little cultured. Thus we become a dvija, born for the second time, as it were. After that he studies the Vedas. The Veda literally means jnāna, knowledge. The state attained by striving for jnāna is that of a vipra. A vast amount of knowledge is contained in the Vedas and other books. Studying them may be helpful, but often bookish knowledge does not come to our rescue. Knowledge must be assimilated and made our own, so that it can be applied fruitfully in real life situations. Otherwise such knowledge has absolutely no practical value. And you won’t find everything in books. The highest knowledge, the ultimate jnāna, is the realization of the Oneness of all that exists. The many are the various manifestations of the One, which we call Brahman. The man who has come to know that the One has become the many is the perfect man. He can never take the wrong roads in life, he can never commit mistakes. He is the brāhmana.

The brāhmana does not belong to the Hindus alone. There may be brāhmanas among Muslims, Christians, and others too. The test is: whether he has come to know the One and thus reached the highest state of life. All such castes are found in all communities – the Hindus, the Muslims, the Christians, etc. Though they may differ in their social systems and daily rites, fundamentally their castes are the same.



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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