The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 9/Notes of Lectures and Classes/The Religion of India
THE RELIGION OF INDIA
(New Discoveries, Vol. 2, pp. 145-49, 155-56.)
These notes of daily morning classes delivered at Greenacre, Maine, in the summer of 1894 and recorded by Miss Emma Thursby were discovered among Miss Emma Thursby’s papers at the New-York Historical Society. They have been lightly edited in order to conform to the style of the Complete Works.
Notes taken miscellaneously from discourses given by Swami Vivekananda under the "Pine" at Greenacre in July and August 1894.
The name of Swami's master was Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. The signification of
Vivekananda is conscious bliss.
Meditation is a sort of prayer and prayer is meditation. The highest
meditation is to think of nothing. If you can remain one moment without
thought, great power will come. The whole secret of knowledge is
concentration. Soul best develops itself by loving God with all the heart.
Soul is the thinking principle in man, of which mind is a function. Soul is
only the conduit from Spirit to mind.
All souls are playing, some consciously, some unconsciously. Religion is
learning to play consciously.
The Guru is your own higher Self.
Seek the highest, always the highest, for in the highest is eternal bliss.
If I am to hunt, I will hunt the rhinoceros. If I am to rob, I will rob the
treasury of the king. Seek the highest.
[Some of the following passages are the Swami's free translations from Indian scriptures, including the Avadhuta-Gitâ of Dattâtreya.]
If you know you are bound [you are bound]; if you know you are free, you are
free. My mind was never bound by yearnings of this world; for like the
eternal blue sky, I am the essence of Knowledge, of Existence and of Bliss.
Why weepest thou, Brother? Neither death nor disease for thee. Why weepest
thou, Brother? Neither misery nor misfortune for thee. Why weepest thou,
Brother? Neither change nor death was predicated of thee. Thou Art Existence
I know what God is; I cannot speak [of] Him to you. I know not [what] God is; how can I speak [of] Him to you? But seest not thou, my brother, that thou wert He, thou wert He? Why go seeking God here and there? Seek not, and that is God. Be your own Self — One that cannot be confessed or described, One that can be perceived in our heart of hearts. One beyond all compare, beyond limit, unchangeable like the blue sky. Oh! learn the All Holy One. Seek for nothing else.
Where changes of nature cannot reach, thought beyond all thought, unchangeable, immovable, whom all books declare, all sages worship, O Holy One! Seek for nothing else.
Beyond compare, Infinite Oneness — no comparison is possible. Water above, water beneath, water on the right, water on the left. No wave on that water, no ripple. All silence, all eternal bliss. Such will come to thy heart. Seek for nothing else. Thou art our father, our mother, our dear friend. Thou bearest the burden of this world. Help us to bear the burden of our lives. Thou art our friend, our lover, our husband. Thou art ourselves. Four sorts of people worship Me. Some want the delights of the physical world. Some want money, some want religion. Some worship Me because they love Me.
Real love is love for love's sake. I do not ask health or money or life or
salvation. Send me to a thousand hells, but let me love Thee for love's
sake. Mirâ Bâi, the great queen, taught the doctrine of love for love's
Our present consciousness is only a little bit of an infinite sea of mind.
Do not be limited to this consciousness.
Three great things [are] to be desired to develop the soul: First, human
birth; second, thirst for the highest; third, to find one who has reached
the highest — a Mahâtmâ, one whose mind, word and deed are full of the
nectar of virtue, whose only pleasure is in doing good to the universe, who
looks upon others' virtues, be they only as a mustard seed, even as though
they were a mountain, thus expanding his own self and helping others to
expand. Thus is the Mahatma.
The word Yoga is the root of which our word yoke is a derivation — meaning
"to join" — and Yoga means "joining ourselves with God" — joining me with my
All actions now involuntary or automatic were once voluntary, and our first step is to gain a knowledge of the automatic actions — the real idea being to revivify and make voluntary all automatic actions, to bring them into consciousness. Many Yogis can control the actions of their hearts.
To go back into consciousness and bring out things we have forgotten is
ordinary power, but this can be heightened. All knowledge — all that — can
be brought out of the inner consciousness, and to do this is Yoga. The
majority of actions and thoughts is automatic, or acting behind
consciousness. The seat of automatic action is in the medulla oblongata and
down the spinal cord.
The question is, how to find our way back to our inner consciousness. We
have come out through spirit, soul, mind, and body, and now we must go back
from body to spirit. First, get hold of the air [breath], then the nervous
system, then the mind, then the Atman, or spirit. But in this effort we must
be perfectly sincere in desiring the highest.
The law of laws is concentration. First, concentrate all the nerve energies and all power lodged in the cells of the body into one force and direct it at will. Then bring the mind, which is thinner matter, into one center. The mind has layer after layer. When the nerve force concentrated is made to pass through the spinal column, one layer of the mind is open. When it is concentrated in one bone [plexus, or "lotus"], another part of the world is open. So from world to world it goes until it touches the pineal gland in the center of the brain. This is the seat of conservation of potential energy, the source of both activity and passivity.
Start with the idea that we can finish all experience in this world, in this incarnation. We must aim to become perfect in this life, this very moment. Success only comes to that life amongst men who wants to do this, this very moment. It is acquired by him who says, "Faith, I wait upon faith come what may". Therefore, go on knowing you are to finish this very moment. Struggle hard and then if you do not succeed, you are not to blame. Let the world praise or blame you. Let all the wealth of the earth come to your feet, or let you be made the poorest on earth. Let death come this moment or hundreds of years hence. Swerve not from the path you have taken. All good thoughts are immortal and go to make Buddhas and Christs.
Law is simply a means of [your] expression [of] various phenomena brought
into your mind. Law is your method of grasping material phenomena and
bringing them into unity. All law is finding unity in variety. The only
method of knowledge is concentration on the physical, mental, and spiritual
planes; and concentrating the powers of the mind to discover one in many, is
what is called knowledge.
Everything that makes for unity is moral, everything that makes for
diversity is immoral. Know the One without a second, that is perfection. The
One who manifests in all is the basis of the universe; and all religion, all
knowledge, must come to this point.
[The following are some of the disconnected notes taken by Miss Emma Thursby
during the last of the Swami's Greenacre classes, delivered Sunday morning,
August 12, 1894.]
I am Existence Absolute Kundalini
Bliss Absolute Circle mother I am He, Shivoham
I am He, Shivoham
He is the learned man who sees that every man's property is nothing. Every woman his Mother.
Shanti — peace —
We meditate on the Glory of Hrim (A Bija Mantra, or seed word, for the Divine Mother.)
I bow to all the saint[s] on Earth
I bow down to the founders of Religion
to all holy men and women
Prophets of Religion
who have been on Earth
I meditate on the Glory of the producer of this Universe may He enlighten our minds.