Swami Vivekananda has been a pivotal figure in the development of my personality and psyche. Although he died 87 years before I was born, his words have had a deep effect on me ever since I got hold of a small booklet named “Swami Vivekananda’s Call to the Nation”, when I was 12 years old, in class 7th. His words are bold, and they shake up my nerves and even give me goosebumps sometimes. In short, his words make sense to me, and I can put them into practice.
I have been reading his “Complete Works” for some time now, starting with the priceless book, “Karma Yoga“, and I want to share some of my favorite quotes. This is going to be a series of posts as I go along reading. I hope that these words may attract similar minds and rouse them into some sort of an exalted state.
If you really want to judge of the character of a man, look not at his great performances. Every fool may become a hero at one time or another. Watch a man do his most common actions; those are indeed the things which will tell you the real character of a great man. Great occasions rouse even the lowest of human beings to some kind of greatness, but he alone is the really great man whose character is great always, the same wherever he be.
With regard to Karma-Yoga, the Gita says that it is doing work with cleverness and as a science; by knowing how to work, one can obtain the greatest results. You must remember that all work is simply to bring out the power of the mind which is already there, to wake up the soul.
Unselfishness is more paying, only people have not the patience to practice it. It is more paying from the point of view of health also.
In the first place, a man who can work for five days, or even for five minutes, without any selfish motive whatsoever, without thinking of future, of heaven, of punishment, or anything of the kind, has in him the capacity to become a powerful moral giant.
It is the greatest manifestation of power – this tremendous restraint; self-restraint is a manifestation of greater of power than all outgoing action.
“To work we have the right, but not to the fruits thereof” Leave the fruits alone. Why care for the results? If you wish to help a man, never think what that man’s attitude should be towards you. If you want to do a great or a good work, do not trouble to think what the result will be.
Intense activity is necessary; we must always work. We cannot live a minute without work.
The ideal man is he who, in the midst of the greatest silence and solitude, finds the intensest activity, and in the midst of the intensest activity finds silence and solitude of the desert. He has learnt the secret of restraint, he has controlled himself.
To be continued …