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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?

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?

Ans:

There is nothing really absolute in the world.  But, for all practical purposes, absolute unselfishness can be attained in all ages. It has been demonstrated by the greatest men and women throughout history. For us absolute unselfishness is an ideal, but we are to take the next step from where we are now. If we are now mostly concerned with ourselves, it is useless to think much about absolute unselfishness. Our present task is to be a little less selfish, a little more concerned about others. Thus we move forward.

Circumstances often go against this. Swami Vivekananda said, ‘Life is the unfoldment and development of a being under circumstances tending to press it down.’ He also said, ‘It is in the nature of things that many should fall, that troubles should come, that tremendous difficulties should arise, that selfishness and all the other devils in the human heart should struggle hard when they are about to be driven out by the fire of spirituality. The road to the Good is the roughest and steepest in the universe.’

So, the difficulties posed by circumstances do not belong to the present age alone, though it may become greater or lesser at times. The greatest difficulty arises from within our own minds. Suppose a small piece of wood and another of steel are kept near a strong magnet. The piece of steel will be magnetized immediately under its influence, but nothing will happen to the wood. Swamiji said, ‘We must learn that nothing can happen to us, unless we make ourselves susceptible to it. I have just said, no disease can come to me until the body is ready; it does not depend alone on the germs, but upon a certain predisposition which is already in the body.’

However difficult the present circumstances may be, we must have the courage to conquer it. If I understand that unselfishness is the only way to make life a success and build the nation, I cannot lay all the blame on the circumstances and sit idle. I shall take it as a challenge. Listen to Swamiji: ‘The more opposition there is, the better. Does a river acquire velocity unless there is resistance?
 

 

What should we do to strengthen our mental abilities?

 

 
 

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