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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?


The first thing to know in this matter is that you cannot instil anything into the student from outside. You can only awaken from outside what is already within the student. Even then, if you tell him, ‘I am the teacher and you are the student; I am calling you up, so you must wake up’, that will not do. But if the teacher sincerely loves him, that love would knock and open the gates of the student’s heart. Teachers or those who think they teach others often make this mistake of underestimating the potentials of the student, often consider them as ignorant, foolish, and insignificant beings. So their calls cannot rouse any response in the student’s heart. Their efforts become futile.
The teacher ought to learn to respect the student and sincerely love him. He must realize that he is not separate from but one with the student. That realization of the teacher would expedite the student’s progress, the waking up of his potentials. Now, to gain that capability the teacher has to be pure. We find in our ancient shāstras: the āchārya, having been observing brahmacharya, praying that students come to him. To teach others in the true sense, one must be pure. Unless the teacher’s life is such, no amount of endeavour would ever rouse the student up.
Why is the present education not efficacious? Why do we say that the schools, colleges, and universities are not able to make proper men or to build character? A report from 19 eminent academicians in the US on the education system in vogue there analysed the terrible degradation even in the US universities and opined that education failed to mould the young minds in the right way and that it failed to develop their character. How to do it then? The teachers must mould their own minds properly first.
Swamiji said, ‘The training by which the current and expression of will are brought under control and become fruitful is called education.’ Swamiji defined education in various ways, but here what he said is very much important: the current of willpower must be brought under control, one should be able to express in the right manner, and that expression must bear the desired result. That will bring all success – whether in big undertakings or in small actions. So, the main thing, the root, is here: this willpower. Without it, neither the teacher can achieve anything, nor the student. If the teacher is not a man of character, pure and sincere, such life cannot be transmitted to the student. For the call of awakening comes not from talk, but from life. A pure life alone can inspire another life to blossom with purity. An enlightened life alone can light up another heart. So, that light must be lit within me, before I can enlighten others.
We say there is no better teacher than Sri Ramakrishna or Swami Vivekananda, for they gave the real education to humanity. How could they do so? Their lives were absolutely pure, and thus they could transmit it to others. So, that is the fundamental method of 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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