Writings Prose and Poems - The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanand - Vol - 9 in English Human Science by Swami Vivekananda books and stories PDF | Writings Prose and Poems - The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanand - Vol - 9

Writings Prose and Poems - The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanand - Vol - 9

Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

Volume 9


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Writings: Prose and Poems

( Original and Translated)

  • The Ether
  • Notes
  • Lecture Notes
  • Macrocosm and Microcosm
  • Footnotes to The Imitation of Christ
  • The Plague Manifesto
  • One Circle More
  • Facsimile of One Circle More
  • An Untitled Poem on Shri Ramakrishna
  • An Unfinished Poem
  • Bhartrihari's Verses on Renunciation

    This article first appeared anonymously in the February 1895 issue of the New York Medical Times, a prestigious monthly medical journal founded and edited by Dr. Egbert Guernsey.

    Classification or grouping of phenomena by their similarities is the first step in scientific knowledge — perhaps it is all. An organized grouping, revealing to us a similarity running through the whole group, and a conviction that under similar circumstances the group will arrange itself in the same form — stretched over all time, past, present and future — is what we call law.

    This finding of unity in variety is really what we call knowledge. These different groups of similars are stowed away in the pigeon-holes of the mind, and when a new fact comes before us we begin to search for a similar group already existing in one of the pigeon-holes of the mind. If we succeed in finding one ready-made, we take the newcomer in immediately. If not, we either reject the new fact, or wait till we find more of his kind, and form a new place for the group.

    Facts which are extraordinary thus disturb us; but and when we find many like them, they cease to disturb, even when our knowledge about their cause remains the same as before. The ordinary experiences of our lives are no less wonderful than any miracles recorded in any sacred book of the world; nor are we any more enlightened as to the cause of these ordinary experiences than of the so-called miracles. But the miraculous is "extraordinary", and the everyday experience is "ordinary". The "extraordinary" startles the mind, the "ordinary" satisfies.

    The field of knowledge is so varied, and the more the difference is from the centre, the more widely the radii diverge.

    At the start the different sciences were thought to have no connection whatever with each other; but as more and more knowledge comes in — that is, the more and more we come nearer the centre — the radii are converging more and more, and it seems that they are on the eve of finding a common centre. Will they ever find it?

    The study of the mind was, above all, the science to which the sages of India and Greece had directed their attention. All religions are the outcome of the study of the inner man. Here we find the attempt at finding the unity, and in the science of religion, as taking its stand upon general and massive propositions, we find the boldest and the most vigorous manifestation of this tendency at finding the unity.

    Some religions could not solve the problem beyond the finding of a duality of causes, one good, the other evil. Others went as far as finding an intelligent personal cause, a few went still further beyond intellect, beyond personality, and found an infinite being.

    In those, and only those systems which dared to transcend beyond the personality of a limited human consciousness, we find also an attempt to resolve all physical phenomena into unity.

    The result was the "Akâsha" of the Hindus and the "Ether" of the Greeks. This "Akasha" was, after the mind, the first material manifestation, said the Hindu sages, and out of this "Akasha" all this has been evolved.

    History repeats itself; and again during the latter part of the nineteenth century, the same theory is coming with more vigour and fuller light.

    It is being proved more clearly than ever that as there is a co-relation of physical forces there is also a co-relation of different [branches of] knowledge, and that behind all these general groups there is a unity of knowledge. It was shown by Newton (Isaac Newton, 1642 – 1727.) that if light consisted of material particles projected from luminous bodies, they must move faster in solids and liquids than in air, in order that the laws of refraction might be satisfied.

    Huyghens, (Christian Huyghens, 1629 – 1695.) on the other hand, showed that to account for the same laws on the supposition that light consisted in the undulating motion of an elastic medium, it must move more slowly in solids and fluids than in gases. Fizeau (Armand Hippolyte Louis Fizeau, 1819 – 1896.) and Foucault (Jean Bernard Léon Foucault, 1819 – 1868.) found Huyghens's predictions correct.

    Light, then, consists in the vibrating motion of a medium, which must, of course, fill all space. This is called the ether.

    In the fact that the theory of a cosmic ether explains fully all the phenomena of radiation, refraction, diffraction and polarization of light is the strongest argument in favour of the theory.

    Of late, gravitation, molecular action, magnetic, electric, and electro-dynamic attractions and repulsions have thus been explained. Sensible and latent heat, electricity and magnetism themselves have been of late almost satisfactorily explained by the theory of the all-pervading ether. Zöllner, (Johann K. F. Zöllner, 1834 – 1882.) however, basing his calculations upon the data supplied by the researches of Wilhelm Weber (Wilhelm Eduard Weber,

    1804 – 1891.), thinks that the transmission of life force between the heavenly bodies is effected both ways, by the undulation of a medium and by the actual evidence of particles.

    Weber found that the molecules, the smallest particles of bodies, were composed of yet smaller particles, which he called the electric particles, and which in the molecules are in a constant circular motion. These electric particles are partly positive, partly negative.

    Those of the same electricity repulse those of different electricity; attracting each other, each molecule contains the same amount of electric particles, with a small surplus of either positive or negative quickly changing the balance.

    Upon this Zöllner builds these propositions:

    (1) The molecules are composed of a very great number of particles — the so- called electric particles, which are in constant circular motion around each other within the molecule.

    (2) If the inner motion of a molecule increases over a certain limit, then electric particles are emitted. They then travel from one heavenly body through space until they reach another heavenly body, where they are either reflected or absorbed by other molecules.

    (3) The electric particles thus traversing space are the ether of the physicist.

    (4) These ether particles have a twofold motion: first, their proper motion; second, an undulatory motion, for which they receive the impulse from the ether particles rotating in the molecules.

    (5) The motion of the smallest particles corresponds to that of the heavenly bodies. The corollary is: The law of attraction which holds good for the heavenly bodies also holds good for the smallest particles. Under these suppositions, that which we call space is really filled with electric particles, or ether.

    Zöllner also found the following interesting calculation for the electric atoms: Velocity: 50,143 geographical miles per second. Amount of ether particles in a water molecule: 42,000 million. Distance from each other: 0.0032 millimeter.

    So far as it goes, then, the theory of a universal cosmic ether is the best at hand to explain the various phenomena of nature.

    As far as it goes, the theory that this ether consists of particles, electric or otherwise, is also very valuable. But on all suppositions, there must be space between two particles of ether, however small; and what fills this inter-ethereal space? If particles still finer, we require still more fine ethereal particles to fill up the vacuum between every two of them, and so on.

    Thus the theory of ether, or material particles in space, though accounting for the phenomena in space, cannot account for space itself. And thus we are forced to find that the ether which comprehends the molecules explains the molecular phenomena, but itself cannot explain space because we cannot but think of ether as in space. And, therefore, if there is anything which will explain this space, it must be something that comprehends in its infinite being the infinite space itself. And what is there that can comprehend even the infinite space but the Infinite Mind?


    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 3, pp. 440-41.)

    [An undated and untitled, one-page manuscript in Swami Vivekananda’s own


    My nerves act on my brain — the brain sends back a reaction which, on the mental side, is this world. Something — x — acts on the brain through the nerves, the reaction is this world.

    Why not the x be also in the body — why outside? Because we find the already created outside world (as the result of a previous reaction of the brain) acts on us calling on a further reaction.

    Thus inside becomes outside and creates another action, which interior action created another reaction, which again becomes outside and again acts inside.

    The only way of reconciling idealism and realism is to hold that one brain can be affected by the world created as reaction by another brain from inside, i.e., the mixture x + mind which one brain throws out can affect another, to which it's similarly external.

    Therefore as soon as we come within the influence of this hypnotic circle, or influence, created by hundreds of preceding brains we begin to feel this world as they see it.

    Mind is only a phase of matter, i.e., of the ever-changing phenomena of which matter and mind are different states or views. There must be something in whose presence this eternal, phenomenal net is spread — that is the Substance, the Brahman.


    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 4, pp. 213-14.)

    Probably at the turn of the century, Miss Ellen Waldo gave these undated notes in Swami Vivekananda’s handwriting to her friend Sister Devamata, a member of the Boston Vedanta Centre, where they were later made available for publication.

    Man will need a religion so long as he is constituted as at present.

    The forms will change from time to time

    The dissatisfaction with the senses.

    The yearning beyond.

    There were encroachments of religion on the domains of physical science

    — these [encroachments] religion is giving up every day.

    Yet there is a vast field covered by religion where physical science[s] are


    The [vain?] attempt to keep man strictly within the limits of the senses —

    Because — there are men who catch a glimpse now and then of the

    infinite beyond.

    The types of men.

    The worker — the mystic the emotional the intellectual.

    Each type is necessary for the well — being of society. The dangers of

    each —

    A mixture minimizes the danger

    The East is too full of mystics and meditative the West of workers —

    An exchange will be for the good of both.

    The necessity of religion —

    The four types of men

    that come to religion —

    the basis of Unity — the Divinity

    in man. Why use this term?

    the western Society has work

    and intellectual philosophy —

    But work must not be destructive

    of others.

    Philosophy — must not be only dry intellectuality


    ( The Life of Swami Vivekananda, Vol. I. p. 250.)

    After his experience of the macrocosm within the microcosm while absorbed in meditation under the peepul tree at Kakrighat, in 1890, Swami Vivekananda jotted down in Bengali fragments of his realization in his notebook. In the beginning was the Word etc.

    The microcosm and the macrocosm are built on the same plan. Just as the individual soul is encased in the living body, so is the universal Soul in the Living Prakriti [Nature] — the objective universe. Shivâ [i.e. Kâli] is embracing Shiva: this is not a fancy. This covering of the one [Soul] by the other [Nature] is analogous to the relation between an idea and the word expressing it: they are one and the same; and it is only by a mental abstraction that one can distinguish them. Thought is impossible without words. Therefore, in the beginning was the Word etc.

    This dual aspect of the Universal Soul is eternal. So what we perceive or feel is this combination of the Eternally Formed and the Eternally Formless.



    ( Prabuddha Bharata, September 1982, pp. 390-93.)

    In 1889, Swami Vivekananda translated into Bengali selections from Book I, chapters 1-6 of Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ. They were published along with a preface in a now-defunct Bengali monthly magazine, Sâhitya Kalpadruma. The Swami’s preface and Bengali translation, entitled “Ishânusharana”, * were later published in the Bengali Complete Works (first edition), VI, pp. 16-28. However, only the preface to The Imitation of Christ was published in the English edition of the Complete Works, VIII.

    Swami Vivekananda’s partial Bengali translation of The Imitation of Christ includes as footnotes quotations from Hindu scriptures that parallel à Kempis’s ideas, comments or commentary. For the sake of clarity, these footnotes (numbered 1 through 17) have been appended to their respective verses in The Imitation of Christ (indicated in parentheses), arranged under their appropriate chapter headings in the book, and reproduced here in bold.

    Many of the Sanskrit footnotes to the Bengali translation were later rendered into English during the course of Swami Vivekananda’s lecturing or writing. For the sake of interest, these English translations have also been added to the Swami’s restored footnote text. Otherwise, Sanskrit verses have been translated by the Publisher for the convenience of the reader.

    — Publisher

    BOOK I*


    Of the Imitation of Christ and Contempt of all the Vanities of the World

    1. "He that followeth Me, walketh not in darkness", saith the Lord [John 8.12]. ( The Imitation of Christ V.1.)


    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S TRANSLATION: This My Mâyâ is divine, made up of qualities and very difficult to cross. Yet those who come unto Me, cross the river of life. ( Vide “Maya and Freedom” , Complete Works, II.)

    2. Let therefore our chief endeavour be to meditate upon the life of Jesus Christ. ( The Imitation of Christ V.1.)



    PUBLISHER'S TRANSLATION: Thus meditating upon the Self day and night, let the sage abide free from all bondage.

    3. The doctrine of Christ exceedeth all the doctrines of holy men; and he that hath the Spirit will find therein the hidden manna. ( The Imitation of Christ V.2.)


    When the Israelites were afflicted by want of food in a desert, God showered on them a kind of "manna".

    4. But it falleth out, that many who often hear the Gospel of Christ, are yet but little affected, because they are void of the Spirit of Christ. But whosoever would fully and feelingly understand the words of Christ, must endeavour to conform his life wholly to the life of Christ. ( The Imitation of Christ V.2.)


    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S TRANSLATION: Others, hearing of It, do not understand. ( Vide “The Gita II”, Complete Works, I.)

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S FOOTNOTE (B): V ivekachudâmani 62

    PUBLISHER'S TRANSLATION: A disease does not leave the body by simply repeating the name of the medicine; one must take the medicine. Similarly, liberation does not come by merely saying the word Brahman. Brahman must be experienced.


    (critical edition) 12.309.91

    PUBLISHER'S TRANSLATION: Of what avail is reading the Vedas without practising religion?

    5. What will it avail thee to dispute profoundly of the Trinity if thou be void of humility and art thereby displeasing to the Trinity? ( The Imitation of Christ V.3.)


    According to the Christians, God the Father, Holy Ghost, and God the Son are One in three and Three in One.

    6. Surely great words do not make a man holy and just; but a virtuous life maketh him dear to God. ( The Imitation of Christ V.3.)

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S FOOTNOTE: V ivekachudamani 58

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S TRANSLATION: Wonderful methods of joining words, rhetorical powers, and explaining texts of the books in various ways — these are only for the enjoyment of the learned, and not religion. ( Vide “Realization”, Complete Works, II.)

    7. If thou didst know the whole Bible by heart and the sayings of all the philosophers, what would it profit thee without the love of God and without grace? ( The Imitation of Christ V.3.)

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S FOOTNOTE: [reference only]

    —I Corinthians 13.2.

    8. "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity" (Eccles.) except to love God and to serve Him only. ( The Imitation of Christ V.3.)


    PUBLISHER'S TRANSLATION: They alone are holy men (Sâdhus) who are devoid of any longing for worldly objects, free from delusion and are devoted to the truth of Shiva.

    9. Call often to mind that proverb "The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing". ( The Imitation of Christ V.5.)

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S FOOTNOTE: [reference only]

    —Eccles. 1.8.

    10. Endeavour, therefore, to withdraw thy heart from the love of visible things and to turn thyself to the invisible. For they that follow their lusts stain their own consciences and lose the grace of God. ( The Imitation of Christ V.5.)



    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S TRANSLATION: Desire is never satisfied by the enjoyment of desires; it only increases the more, as fire when butter is poured upon it. ( Vide “Maya and Illusion”, Complete Works, II.)


    Of the Doctrine of Truth

    11. What availeth it to cavil and dispute much about dark and hidden things; for ignorance of which we shall not be reproved at the day of judgement? ( The Imitation of Christ V.1.)


    According to the Christian view, God will judge all beings on the last day (the day of the dissolution of the world), and will award heaven or hell according to the virtues or vices of different individuals.

    12. He to whom the Eternal Word speaketh is delivered from many an opinion. ( The Imitation of Christ V.2.)


    This Word is somewhat similar to the Maya of the Vedantists. This Itself was manifested in the form of Christ.


    Of the Reading of Holy Scriptures

    13. Truth, not eloquence, is to be sought for in Holy Scripture. Each part of the Scripture is to be read with the same Spirit wherewith it was written. ( The Imitation of Christ V.1.)


    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S TRANSLATION: Neither is the mind to be disturbed by vain arguments, for it is no more a question of argument; it is a question of fact. ( Vide “Realization” , Complete Works, II.)

    14. Let not the authority of the writer offend thee, whether he be of great or small learning; but let the love of pure truth draw thee to read. ( The Imitation of Christ V.1.)


    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S TRANSLATION: Learn supreme knowledge with service even from the man of low birth. ( Vide “The Common Bases of Hinduism” , Complete Works, III.)


    Of Inordinate Affections

    15. Whensoever a man desireth anything inordinately, he becometh presently disquieted in himself. ( The Imitation of Christ V.1.)


    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S TRANSLATION: For the mind which follows in the wake of the wandering senses carries away his discrimination as a wind (carries away from its course) a boat on the waters.

    16. The proud and covetous can never rest. The poor and humble in spirit live together in all peace.

    The man that is not yet perfectly dead to himself, is quickly tempted and overcome in small and trifling things. ( The Imitation of Christ V.1.)


    PUBLISHER'S TRANSLATION: By thinking about sense objects, attachment to them is formed. From attachment comes longing, and longing breeds anger. From anger comes delusion, and from delusion, confused memory. From confused memory comes the ruin of discrimination; and from the ruin of discrimination, a man perishes.

    17. There is then no peace in the heart of a carnal man, nor in him that is addicted to outward things, but in the spiritual and devout man. ( The Imitation of Christ V.2.)


    PUBLISHER'S TRANSLATION: The turbulent senses, O son of Kunti, violently carry away the mind of even a wise man striving after perfection.


    Om Salutations to Bhagavan Shri Ramakrishna

    Brothers of Calcutta!

    1. We feel happy when you are happy, and we suffer when you suffer. Therefore, during these days of extreme adversity, we are striving and ceaselessly praying for your welfare and an easy way to save you from disease and the fear of an epidemic.

    2. If that grave disease — fearing which both the high and the low, the rich and the poor are all fleeing the city — ever really comes in our midst, then even if we perish while serving and nursing you, we will consider ourselves fortunate because you are all embodiments of God. He who thinks otherwise — out of vanity, superstition or ignorance — offends God and incurs great sin. There is not the slightest doubt about it.

    3. We humbly pray to you — please do not panic due to unfounded fear. Depend upon God and calmly try to find the best means to solve the problem. Otherwise, join hands with those who are doing that very thing.

    4. What is there to fear? The terror that has entered people's hearts due to the occurrence of the plague has no real ground. Through God's will, nothing of the terrible form that plague takes, as seen in other places, has occurred in Calcutta. The government authorities have also been particularly helpful to us. So what is there to fear?

    5. Come, let us give up this false fear and, having faith in the infinite compassion of God, gird our loins and enter the field of action. Let us live pure and clean lives. Disease, fear of an epidemic, etc., will vanish into thin air by His grace.

    6. (a) Always keep the house and its premises, the rooms, clothes, bed, drain, etc., clean.

    (b) Do not eat stale, spoiled food; take fresh and nutritious food instead. A weak body is more susceptible to disease.

    (c) Always keep the mind cheerful. Everyone will die once. Cowards suffer the pangs of death again and again, solely due to the fear in their own minds.

    (d) Fear never leaves those who earn their livelihoods by unethical means or who cause harm to others. Therefore, at this time when we face the great fear of death, desist from all such behaviour.

    (e) During the period of epidemic, abstain from anger and from lust — even if you are householders.

    (f) Do not pay any heed to rumours.

    (g) The British government will not vaccinate anyone by force. Only

    those who are willing will be vaccinated.

    (h) There will be no lack of effort in treating the afflicted patients in our hospital under our special care and supervision, paying full respect to religion, caste and the modesty (Purdah) of women. Let the wealthy run away! But we are poor; we understand the heartache of the poor. The Mother of the Universe is Herself the support of the helpless. The Mother is assuring us: "Fear not! Fear not!"

    7. Brother, if there is no one to help you, then send information immediately to the servants of Shri Bhagavan Ramakrishna at Belur Math. There will be no dearth of help that is physically possible. By the grace of the Mother, monetary help will also be possible.

    — N. B. In order to remove the fear of the epidemic, you should sing Nâma Sankirtanam [the name of the Lord] every evening and in every locality.


    [A fragmentary poem composed at Ridgely Manor, in 1899]

    One circle more the spiral path of life ascends And time's restless shuttle — running back and fro Through maze of warp and woof

    of shining

    threads of life — spins out a stronger piece. (Cf. a slightly different version of

    the first three lines of this poem which appeared in Swami Vivekananda’s own

    handwriting on the left-hand side of the folded letter paper containing the

    original draft (Vide the facsimile):

    One circle more the spiral path of life ascends

    And Time's restless shuttle running

    back and fro

    through maze of warp and woof spins out a

    stronger piece.)

    Hand in hand they stand — and try to

    fathom depths whence

    springs eternal love, each in other's eyes;

    And find

    No hold o'er that age but brings the youth anew —

    And time — the good, the pure, the true.


    One circle more the spiral path of life ascends

    And Time's restless shuttle running

    back and fro

    through maze of warp and woof spins out a

    stronger piece.






    ( Complete Works (Bengali edition), VI, p. 256.)

    He who was praised by the Brâhmanas, those knowers of the Vedas who made the sky reverberate with the sacred sounds of the sacrifice and caused the darkness of delusion to vanish through well-performed rituals and the knowledge known as Vedanta — he whose greatness was sung in the sweet chants of the Sâma-Veda etc., with voices thundering like clouds (In Indian mythology clouds can cause both thunder and lightning.) — to that Shri Ramakrishna, I offer my eternal worship.


    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 3. p. 490. This undated poem is preserved in the archives of the

    Vedanta Centre, Cohasset, Massachusetts. Cf. “My Play is Done”, Complete Works, VI.)

    From life to life I am waiting here at the gates — they

    open not.

    My tongue is parched with ceaseless prayers and dim

    my eyes have grown

    With constant straining through the gloom to catch

    one ray long sought;

    My heart is seized with dark despair, all hope well-

    nigh has flown.


    And standing on life's narrow ridge, beneath the

    chasm I see —

    Strife and sorrow, darkness deep of whirling life and


    Of mad commotion, struggles vain, of folly roaming


    On one side this dark abyss — I shudder to see it even —

    On the other this wall . . .


    This is Swami Vivekananda’s free translation of verses from Bhartrihari’s Sanskrit poem Vairâgya Shatakam.

    The Swami’s translation is from Sister Nivedita’s Unpublished Notes of Some Wanderings with the Swami Vivekananda — selected verses recorded almost verbatim, but not necessarily in Bhartrihari’s order, by Sister Nivedita as Swami Vivekananda translated them orally for some of his Western disciples during a Himalayan pilgrimage in 1898.

    For the researcher’s benefit, verses 14-15, 18, 24-26, 31, and 33 have been footnoted as corresponding verses taken from Swami Vivekananda's original handwritten translation, which was given to the Vedanta Society of Southern California by Miss Josephine MacLeod, shortly before her passing away in 1948. This footnoted handwritten version was first published in the collection of poetry entitled In Search of God and Other Poems (Mayavati: Advaita Ashrama, 1968).

    Stylistic differences in Swami Vivekananda’s overall translation of Bhartrihari’s poem are due to those variations inherent in the two aforementioned sources. Obvious typographical and punctuation errors have been corrected.

    The verse numbers, as available, correspond to Bhartrihari’s numbering.

    — Publisher


    [A translation of verses from Bhartrihari’s Sanskrit poem Vairagya Shatakam ]

    I have travelled in many countries, hard to travel in, And got no result;

    Giving up pride of birth and position,

    I have served all.

    Like a crow stealing into a kitchen,

    With fear I have eaten the bread of others in their homes,

    Yet thou, Desire, who leadest to evil deeds,

    Leavest me not!

    (Verse 2)

    I have crossed oceans to find wealth.

    I have blasted mountains to get jewels.

    I have spent whole nights in graveyards

    repeating Mantras

    And have obtained — not the broken cowrie

    of blessedness

    Ah, Desire, give me up now.

    (Verse 3)

    I have borne the wicked words of the wicked;

    To please fools, when my heart is weeping,

    my lips ever laughed.

    Stopping my judgment, I have with folded hands

    Stood before unworthy persons.

    Even now, my Desire, why do you make me dance

    like a fool?

    (Verse 4)

    For this life, which is like a drop of water

    on a lotus leaf,

    We have not enjoyed, but enjoyments have enjoyed us.

    We did not penance, but penances burnt us up.

    Time did not fly, yet we are gone.

    We become decrepit with age, but not so Desire.

    Infirmity assails us, the skin wrinkles,

    The hair whitens, the body becomes crooked,

    Old age comes on.

    Desire alone grows younger every day.

    (Verses 5-8)

    Hope is the name of this river, whose water is Desire,

    And Thirst the waves thereof.

    Passion is the crocodile living in that water,

    Vain resolves are the birds that reside

    In the tree of virtue on the shores and kill it.

    But there are the whirlpools of Delusion

    And Despondence, the high banks.

    The great Yogis are blissful because they,

    With their pure minds, never crossed this river.

    (Verse 10)

    Blessed are they that, living even in the

    caves of mountains,

    Meditate on the supreme Light.

    Even the birds will fearlessly drink of the

    tears of pleasure

    That flow from their eyes.

    Alas, (Here Swami Vivekananda’s handwritten translation begins.) our minds grow

    familiar, even in imagination,

    With palaces and pleasure — gardens,

    And thus our lives fleet by.

    (Verse 14)

    Even when the only food is gained by begging,

    and that is tasteless;

    One's bed, the dry earth;

    One's whole family, his own body;

    His only clothing, a ragged bit of cloth —

    Alas, alas, the desire for enjoyment does not leave a man.

    (Verse 15)

    Not knowing the power of flame, the insect falls into it.

    The fish swallows the bait, not knowing the hook inside.

    That, well aware of the vanity and dangers of the world,

    We cannot give it up —

    Such is the power of Delusion.

    (Verse 18)

    Have such places in the Himalayas become extinct

    That a man should go begging at others' doors?

    Have the roots in the mountain forests all disappeared?

    Are the springs all dry?

    Are the trees all withered that bear sweet fruits

    And bark for garments

    That a man should look with fear on the face of a fool,

    Whose head is turned by a little wealth?

    (Lit., "Whose eyebrows are dancing with the wind of the

    pride of a little wealth".)

    (Verses 24-25)

    Arise! Let us go into the forest

    Where pure roots and fruits will be our food,

    Pure water our only drink,

    Pure leaves our bed,

    And where the little-minded, the thoughtless,

    And those whose hearts are cramped with wealth

    Do not exist.

    (Verse 26)

    In enjoyment is the fear of disease;

    In high birth, the fear of losing caste;

    In wealth, the fear of tyrants;

    In honour, the fear of losing her;

    In strength, the fear of enemies;

    In beauty, the fear of the other sex; *

    In knowledge, the fear of defeat;

    In virtue, the fear of scandal;

    In the body, the fear of death.

    In this life, all is fraught with fear.

    Renunciation alone is fearless.

    (Verse 31)

    The root of health has always round about it

    A thousand worms in the form of dangers and disease.

    Where fortune falls, open a hundred gates of danger.

    Whosoever is born, him death will surely swallow.

    Say, where is that Providence who ever created

    Anything that died not?

    (Verse 33)*

    Life is like a wave upon the waters,

    Youth only remains a few days.

    Wealth is like a fancy of the mind,

    It immediately vanishes.

    Enjoyment is like a flash of lightning

    amongst dark clouds.

    Our most beloved one is only for a moment.

    Knowing this, O man, give your heart unto Brahman

    To cross this ocean of life.

    (Verse 36)

    . . . Living in whom gods like Indra, Brahmâ

    and others appear like a blade of grass,

    Whose anger can destroy the worlds in a moment.

    O sage, know Him, that One Supreme

    Who dies not,

    And give not your mind to false enjoyment.

    (Verse 40)

    Ah, where is happiness in this life?

    (At best it lasts but a hundred years, of which half is spent in sleep; of the other

    half, half in decrepitude; of what remains —

    one half goes in childhood and, of the rest, still half in serving others!)

    O man, in this futile, wave-like life

    Where is happiness?

    (Verse 49)

    Now you appear as child

    And now as a youth, whose whole occupation is love.

    This moment poor, another wealthy,

    Now a babe, and again a decrepit old man.

    O actor man, at last you vanish from the stage

    When death beckons you behind the scenes!

    (Verse 50)

    You are a king, but we have served Gurus,

    Who are great in knowledge.

    You are known by your wealth as a king,

    We for our knowledge.

    There is infinite difference between us and you,

    Therefore we are not the persons to wait upon you,

    O Kings!

    (Verse 51)

    Oh, when will that day come,

    When in a forest, saying "Shiva", "Shiva",

    My days shall pass?

    A serpent and a garland the same,

    The strong foe and the friend the same,

    The flower-bed and the stone-bed the same,

    A beautiful woman and a blade of grass the same!

    (Verses 85, 90)

    O Shiva, when shall I be able to cut

    To the very roots of my Karma,

    By becoming solitary, desireless, quiet —

    My hands my only plate, and the cardinal points

    my clothing?

    (Verse 99)

    The fruits are sufficient food,

    The waters of the mountain sufficient dinner,

    The earth a sufficient bed,

    And bark a sufficient garment —

    These are all welcome.

    Only I cannot bear the proud words of fools,

    Whose organs are all disordered by the drink

    Of the wine of new wealth!

    (Verse 54)

    What if you have got the wealth that fulfils every desire?

    If your foot is on the heads of your foes,

    What of that?

    If you have made all your love wealthy,

    If your body remains a Kalpa (A periodic cycle of creation and dissolution.) — what

    of that?

    The only thing to be desired is Renunciation

    Which gives all love to Shiva.

    (Verse 67)

    Fear only life, that brings Birth and Death,

    Have no love of friends, no lust, no attachment.

    Alone, living alone in a forest,

    What is more to be longed for than this Renunciation.

    (Verse 68)

    Going searching in the lower regions,

    Going into the skies,

    Travelling through all the worlds,

    This is but the fickleness of the mind.

    Ah, friend, you never remember the Lord

    Who resides within you!

    How can you get happiness?

    (Verse 70)

    What is there in the reading of Vedas,

    The Shrutis, the Purânas and doing sacrifices?

    Freedom alone takes off the weight

    of this dreadful world,

    And manifests Self-blessedness.

    Here is the truth: the rest is all shop-keeping.

    (Verse 71)

    When the body is still healthy and diseaseless,

    When old age has not yet attacked it,

    When the organs have not yet lost their power,

    And life is still full and undiminished,

    Now, now, struggle on, rendering great help to yourself!

    My friend, it is useless to try to dig a well

    In a house that is already on fire!

    (Verse 75)

    In Shiva, who is the Lord of this Universe,

    Or Vishnu, its soul, I see no difference,

    But still, my love is for Him

    Who has the young moon on His forehead.

    (Verse 84)

    Oh when will that time come,

    When in a beautiful full-moon night,

    Sitting on the banks of some river,

    And in a calm, yet high notes repeating

    "Shiva! Shiva! Shiva!"

    All my feelings will come out through the eyes

    In the form of tears?

    (Verse 85)

    When, wearing only the Kaupina, (Loincloth.)

    Lying on the sands of the holy Ganges in Benares,

    When shall I weep aloud, "O Lord of ghouls",

    Saying this, and whole days shall pass like moments?

    (Verse 87)

    When, bathing in the pure Ganges water,

    Worshipping Thee, Omnipresent, with holy fruits

    and flowers,

    Stretching myself on stones in a stony cave,

    My whole soul shall go into meditation,

    And according to the voice of my Guru,

    I shall avoid all misery, and purify

    The mind defiled with serving the rich.

    (Verse 88)

    This whole wide earth my bed,

    My beautiful pillows my own two arms,

    My wonderful canopy the blue sky,

    And the cool evening air to fan me,

    The moon and the stars my lamps,

    And my beautiful wife, Renunciation, by my side,

    What king is there who can sleep like me in pleasure?

    (Verse 94)

    This Universe is only a little circle.

    What is there to desire in it?

    Will the ocean go into waves

    By the jumping of a little [fish?]?

    (Verse 92)

    There was a time when I could see nothing but Women

    in this world:

    And now that my eyes are opened,

    I can see nothing but Brahman.

    Beautiful are the rays of the moon,

    Beautiful are the lawns in the forest,

    Beautiful is the meeting of the good,

    Beautiful is poetry, and

    Beautiful is the face of the beloved.

    But to me none of these are beautiful,

    Knowing that they are evanescent.

    (Verse 79)

    Oh mother earth, father wind,

    Friend light, sweetheart water,

    Brother sky,

    Here take my last salutation

    With folded hands!

    For today I am melting away into Brahman,

    Because my heart became pure,

    And all delusion vanished

    Thro' the power of your good company.

    (Verse 100)

    Old age watches us, roaring like a tigress.

    Disease, like enemies, is striking us often.

    Life is flowing out like water from a broken jar.

    Curious still how men do evil deeds in this world!

    (Verse 38)

    Those beautiful cities.

    Those mighty monarchs.

    Those powerful nobles.

    Those learned assemblies.

    Those moon-faced women.

    Those proud princes.

    And those that sang their praises —

    They have all been swept away from the memory

    of man.

    My salutation, therefore, is to Time who works

    all these!

    (Verse 41)

    The sun by his coming and going every hour

    is lessening the life of man.

    Time flies without our knowledge,

    Crushed as we are by the load of many works.

    Seeing the evils of Birth, Old Age, Danger, and Death

    We are not afraid.

    Ah me, drinking the wine of delusion,

    The world has become mad.

    (Verse 43)

    I have not learnt that knowledge which defeats all


    Nor have been able, at the point of the sword,

    Which can cut thro' an elephant's back,

    To send our glory even unto the skies;

    Nor, under the light of the full moon,

    Drunk the nectar of the budding lips of the Beloved.

    My youth is gone fruitless

    Like a lamp in an empty house.

    (Verse 46)


    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 1, pp. 484-86.)

    [The story of the first meeting of Swami Vivekananda and Madame Emma

    Calvé, as told in Calvé’s autobiography, My Life ]

    . . . [Swami Vivekananda] was lecturing in Chicago one year when I was there; and as I was at that time greatly depressed in mind and body, I decided to go to him.

    . . . Before going I had been told not to speak until he addressed me. When I entered the room, I stood before him in silence for a moment. He was seated in a noble attitude of meditation, his robe of saffron yellow falling in straight lines to the floor, his head swathed in a turban bent forward, his eyes on the ground. After a pause he spoke without looking up.

    "My child", he said, "what a troubled atmosphere you have about you. Be calm. It is essential".

    Then in a quiet voice, untroubled and aloof, this man who did not even know my name talked to me of my secret problems and anxieties. He spoke of things that I thought were unknown even to my nearest friends. It seemed miraculous, supernatural.

    "How do you know all this?" I asked at last. "Who has talked of me to you?" He looked at me with his quiet smile as though I were a child who had asked a foolish question.

    "No one has talked to me", he answered gently. "Do you think that it is necessary? I read in you as in an open book."

    Finally it was time for me to leave.

    "You must forget", he said as I rose. "Become gay and happy again. Build up your health. Do not dwell in silence upon your sorrows. Transmute your emotions into some form of external expression. Your spiritual health requires it. Your art demands it."

    I left him deeply impressed by his words and his personality. He seemed to have emptied my brain of all its feverish complexities and placed there instead his clear and calming thoughts. I became once again vivacious and cheerful, thanks to the effect of his powerful will. He did not use any of the hypnotic or mesmeric influences. It was the strength of his character, the purity and intensity of his purpose that carried conviction. It seemed to me, when I came to know him better, that he lulled one's chaotic thoughts into a state of peaceful acquiescence, so that one could give complete and undivided attention to his words.


    (An excerpt from Madame Verdier’s journal quoted in the New Discoveries, Vol. 1, pp. 487-88.)

    [As told by Madame Emma Calvé‚ to Madame Drinette Verdier]

    Mr. X, in whose home Swamiji was staying in Chicago, was a partner or an associate in some business with John D. Rockefeller. Many times John D. heard his friends talking about this extraordinary and wonderful Hindu monk who was staying with them, and many times he had been invited to meet Swamiji but, for one reason or another, always refused. At that time Rockefeller was not yet at the peak of his fortune, but was already powerful and strong-willed, very difficult to handle and a hard man to advise.

    But one day, although he did not want to meet Swamiji, he was pushed to it by an impulse and went directly to the house of his friends, brushing aside the butler who opened the door and saying that he wanted to see the Hindu monk.

    The butler ushered him into the living room, and, not waiting to be announced, Rockefeller entered into Swamiji's adjoining study and was much surprised, I presume, to see Swamiji behind his writing table not even lifting his eyes to see who had entered.

    After a while, as with Calvé, Swamiji told Rockefeller much of his past that was not known to any but himself, and made him understand that the money he had already accumulated was not his, that he was only a channel and that his duty was to do good to the world — that God had given him all his wealth in order that he might have an opportunity to help and do good to people.

    Rockefeller was annoyed that anyone dared to talk to him that way and tell him what to do. He left the room in irritation, not even saying goodbye. But about a week after, again without being announced, he entered Swamiji's study and, finding him the same as before, threw on his desk a paper which told of his plans to donate an enormous sum of money toward the financing of a public institution.

    "Well, there you are", he said. "You must be satisfied now, and you can thank me for it."

    Swamiji didn't even lift his eyes, did not move. Then taking the paper, he quietly read it, saying: "It is for you to thank me". That was all. This was Rockefeller's first large donation to the public welfare.


    New Discoveries, Vol. 5, pp. 389-94.)

    (To preserve the historical authenticity of the newspaper reports in this section, their original spelling has been largely retained; however, their punctuation has been made consistent with the style of the Complete Works.

    — Publisher.)

    [An interview by Blanche Partington, San Francisco Chronicle , March 18, 1900]

    . . . . . .

    . . . Bowing very low in Eastern fashion on his entrance to the room, then holding out his hand in good American style, the dusky philosopher from the banks of the Ganges gave friendly greeting to the representative of that thoroughly Occidental institution, the daily press.

    . . . I asked for a picture to illustrate this article, and when someone handed me a certain "cut" which has been extensively used in lecture advertisements here, he uttered a mild protest against its use.

    "But that does not look like you", said I.

    "No, it is as if I wished to kill someone", he said smiling, "like — like —" "Othello", I inserted rashly. But the little audience of friends only smiled as the Swami made laughing recognition of the absurd resemblance of the picture to the jealous Moor. But I do not use that picture.

    "Is it true, Swami", I asked, "that when you went home after lecturing in the Congress of Religions after the World's Fair, princes knelt at your feet, a half dozen of the ruling sovereigns of India dragged your carriage through the streets, as the papers told us? We do not treat our priests so".

    "That is not good to talk of", said the Swami. "But it is true that religion rules there, not dollars."

    "What about caste?"

    "What of your Four Hundred?" he replied, smiling. "Caste in India is an institution hardly explicable or intelligible to the Occidental mind. It is acknowledged to be an imperfect institution, but we do not recognize a superior social result from your attempts at distinction. India is the only country which has so far succeeded in imposing a permanent caste upon her people, and we doubt if an exchange for Western superstitions and evils would be for her advantage." "But under such regime — where a man may not eat this nor drink that, nor marry the other — the freedom you teach would be impossible", I ventured.

    "It is impossible", assented the Swami; "but until India has outgrown the necessity for caste laws, caste laws will remain". "Is it true that you may not eat food cooked by a foreigner — unbeliever?" I asked.

    "In India the cook — who is not called a servant — must be of the same or higher caste than those for whom the food is cooked, as it is considered that whatever a man touches is impressed by his personality, and food, with which a man builds up the body through which he expresses himself, is regarded as being liable to such impression. As to the foods we eat, it is assumed that certain kinds of food nourish certain properties worthy of cultivation, and that others retard our spiritual growth. For instance, we do not kill to eat. Such food would be held to nourish the animal body, at the expense of the spiritual body, in which the soul is said to be clothed on its departure from this physical envelope, besides laying the sin of blood-guiltiness upon the butcher."

    "Ugh!" I exclaimed involuntarily, an awful vision of reproachful little lambs, little chicken ghosts, hovering cow spirits — I was always afraid of cows anyway — rising up before me.

    "You see", explained the Brahmin [Kshatriya], "the universe is all one, from the lowest insect to the highest Yogi. It is all one, we are all one, you and I are one — ". Here the Occidental audience smiled, the unconscious monk chanting the oneness of things in Sanskrit and the consequent sin of taking any life.

    . . . He was pacing up and down the room most of the time during our talk, occasionally standing over the register — it was a chill morning for this child of the sun — and doing with grace and freedom whatever occurred to him, even, at length, smoking a little.

    "You, yourself, have not yet attained supreme control over all desires", I ventured. The Swami's frankness is infectious.

    "No, madam", and he smiled the broad and brilliant smile of a child; "Do I look it?" But the Swami, from the land of hasheesh and dreams, doubtless did not connect my query with its smoky origin.

    "Is it usual among the Hindoo priesthood to marry?" I ventured again.

    "It is a matter of individual choice", replied this member of the Hindoo priesthood. "One does not marry that he may not be in slavery to a woman and children, or permit the slavery of a woman to him."

    "But what is to become of the population?" urged the anti-Malthusian.

    "Are you so glad to have been born?" retorted the Eastern thinker, his large eyes flashing scorn. "Can you conceive of nothing higher than this warring, hungry, ignorant world? Do not fear that the you may be lost, though the sordid, miserable consciousness of the now may go. What worth having [would be] gone?

    "The child comes crying into the world. Well may he cry! Why should we weep to leave it? Have you thought" — here the sunny smile came back — "of the different modes of East and West of expressing the passing away? We say of the dead man, 'He gave up his body'; you put it, 'he gave up the ghost'. How can that be? Is it the dead body that permits the ghost to depart? What curious inversion of thought!"

    "But, on the whole, Swami, you think it better to be comfortably dead than a living lion?" persisted the defender of populations.

    "Swâhâ, Swaha, so be it!" shouted the monk.

    "But how is it that under such philosophy men consent to live at all?" "Because a man's own life is sacred as any other life, and one may not leave chapters unlearned", returned the philosopher. "Add power and diminish time, and the school days are shorter; as the learned professor can make the marble in twelve years which nature took centuries to form. It is all a question of time."

    "India, which has had this teaching so long, has not yet learned her lesson?" "No, though she is perhaps nearer than any other country, in that she has learned to love mercy." "What of England in India?" I asked.

    "But for English rule I could not be here now", said the monk, "though your lowest free-born American Negro holds higher position in India politically than is mine. Brahmin and coolie, we are all 'natives'. But it is all right, in spite of the misunderstanding and oppression. England is the Tharma [Karma?] of India, attracted inevitably by some inherent weakness, past mistakes, but from her blood and fibre will come the new national hope for my countrymen. I am a loyal subject of the Empress of India!" and here the Swami salaamed before an imaginary potentate, bowing very low, perhaps too low for reverence.

    "But such an apostle of freedom — ", I murmured.

    "She is the widow for many years, and such we hold in high worth in India", said the philosopher seriously. "As to freedom, yes, I believe the goal of all development is freedom, law and order. There is more law and order in the grave than anywhere else — try it." "I must go", I said. "I have to catch a train".

    "That is like all Americans", smiled the Swami, and I had a glimpse of all eternity in his utter restfulness. "You must catch this car or that train always. Is there not another, later?" But I did not attempt to explain the Occidental conception of the value of time to this child of the Orient, realizing its utter hopelessness and my own renegade sympathy. It must be delightful beyond measure to live in the land of "time enough". In the Orient there seems time to breathe, time to think, time to live; as the Swami says, what have we in exchange? We live in time; they in eternity.



    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 5, pp. 396-98.)

    [An interview by the San Francisco Examiner, March 18, 1900]

    Hindoo Philosopher Who Strikes at the Root of SomeA

    Occidental Evils and Tells How We Must Worship GodA

    Simply and Not with Many Vain Prayers.A

    . . . . . .

    One American friend he may be assured of — the Swami is a charming person to interview.

    Pacing about the little room where he is staying, he kept the small audience of interviewer and friend entertained for a couple of hours.

    "Tell you about the English in India? But I do not wish to talk of politics. But from the higher standpoint, it is true that but for the English rule I could not be here. We natives know that it is through the intermixture of English blood and ideas that the salvation of India will come. Fifty years ago, all the literature and religion of the race were locked up in the Sanskrit language; today the drama and the novel are written in the vernacular, and the literature of religion is being translated. That is the work of the English, and it is unnecessary, in America, to descant upon the value of the education of the masses."

    "What do you think of the Boers War?" was asked.

    "Oh! Have you seen the morning paper? But I do not wish to discuss politics.

    English and Boers are both in the wrong. It is terrible — terrible — the bloodshed! English will conquer, but at what fearful cost! She seems the nation of Fate."

    And the Swami with a smile, began chanting the Sanskrit for an unwillingness to discuss politics.

    Then he talked long of ancient Russian history, and of the wandering tribes of Tartary, and of the Moorish rule in Spain, and displaying an astonishing memory and research. To this childlike interest in all things that touch him is doubtless due much of the curious and universal knowledge that he seems to possess.


    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 5, p. 138.)

    From Miss Josephine MacLeod’s February 1908 letter to Mary Hale, in which she described Swami Vivekananda’s response to Alberta Sturges’s question:

    ALBERTA STURGES: Is there no happiness in marriage?

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: Yes, Alberta, if marriage is entered into as a great austerity — and everything is given up — even principle!


    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 5, p. 225.)

    From Mrs. Alice Hansbrough’s reminiscences of a question-answer exchange following the entitled “Hints on Practical Spirituality”:

    Q: Swami, if all things are one, what is the difference between a cabbage and a man?

    A: Stick a knife into your leg, and you will see the line of demarcation.

    GOD IS!

    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 5, p. 276.)

    Alice Hansbrough’s record of a question-answer session after a lecture:

    Q: Then, Swami, what you claim is that all is good?

    A: By no means. My claim is that all is not — only God is! That makes all difference.


    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 6, p. 11-12.)

    From Alice Hansbrough's reminiscences of a question-answer session following one of Swami Vivekananda’s San Franciscoes pertaining to renunciation:

    WOMAN STUDENT: Well, Swami, what would become of the world if everyone renounced?

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: Madam, why do you come to me with that lie on your lips? You have never considered anything in this world but your own pleasure!


    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 6, p. 12.)

    Mrs. Edith Allan described a teacher-student exchange in one of Swami Vivekananda’s San Franciscoes:

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: I am the disciple of a man who could not write his own name, and I am not worthy to undo his shoes. How often have I wished I could take my intellect and throw it into the Ganges!

    STUDENT: But, Swami, that is the part of you I like best.

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: That is because you are a fool, Madam — like I am.


    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 6, p. 17.)

    From Mrs. Edith Allan’s reminiscences:

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: I have to come back once more. The Master said I am to come back once more with him.

    MRS. ALLAN: You have to come back because Shri Ramakrishna says so? SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: Souls like that have great power, Madam.


    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 6, p. 121.)

    From Mrs. Edith Allan’s reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda's stay in northern California, 1900:

    WOMAN STUDENT: Oh, if I had only lived earlier, I could have seen Shri Ramakrishna!

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA (turning quietly to her): You say that, and you have seen me?


    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 6, p. 136.)

    From Mr. Thomas Allan’s reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda's visit to Alameda, California, 1900:

    MR. ALLAN: Well, Swami, I see you are in Alameda!

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: No, Mr. Allan, I am not in Alameda; Alameda is in me.


    ( New Discoveries, Vol. 6, p. 156.)

    FromMrs. Alice Hansbrough’s reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda’s conversation with Miss Bell at Camp Taylor, California, in May 1900:

    MISS BELL: This world is an old schoolhouse where we come to learn our lessons.

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: Who told you that? [Miss Bell could not remember.] Well, I don't think so. I think this world is a circus ring in which we are the clowns tumbling.

    MISS BELL: Why do we tumble, Swami?

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: Because we like to tumble. When we get tired, we will quit.


    ( The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita, Vol. I, p. 118.)

    Sister Nivedita’s reminiscence of a conversation with Swami Vivekananda at the time she was learning the Kâli worship:

    SISTER NIVEDITA: Perhaps, Swamiji, Kali is the vision of Shiva! Is She?

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: Well! Well! Express it in your own way. Express it in your own way!


    ( The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita, Vol. I, pp. 159-60.)

    While on board a ship to England, Swami Vivekananda was touched by the childlike devotion of the ship’s servants:

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: You see, I love our Mohammedans!

    SISTER NIVEDITA: Yes, but what I want to understand is this habit of seeing every people from their strongest aspect. Where did it come from? Do you recognize it in any historical character? Or is it in some way derived from Shri Ramakrishna?

    SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: It must have been the training under Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. We all went by his path to some extent. Of course it was not so difficult for us as he made it for himself. He would eat and dress like the people he wanted to understand, take their initiation, and use their language. "One must learn", he said, "to put oneself into another man's very soul". And this method was his own! No one ever before in India became Christian and Mohammedan and Vaishnava, by turn!


    “I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this

    convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the

    sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons

    wending their way to the same goal.”

    Swami Vivekananda

    Representative of Hindus

    Parliament of Religions

    Columbian Exposition, Chicago World Fair

    11 September 1893.

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    1. Special thanks to Swami Bodhasaranandaji of Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata, India, for his whole-hearted support for this project.

    2. Special thanks to the volunteer who has so graciously agreed to proof read Volume 1 and wishes to remain annonymous.

    3. The Devanagari font used has been prepared by Murari Dasa and used with his permission. It is available at www.ksyberspace.com/fonts/ as a free download. The material in Devanagari font is included in graphics mode and so it is not necessary to install the Devanagari fonts to see the Sanskrit quotes used by Swami Vivekananda.



    [Excerpts from the book by Sister Nivedita]

    Note: In the following work only those extracts which present Swami Vivekananda’s ideas or direct quotations have been printed. Descriptions marking the background context of these talks have also been retained for the sake of clarity and continuity. Ellipses mark the deleted portions. Spelling and punctuation have been made to conform to the style of the Complete Works.

    — Publisher

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