Saturday November 18, 2017

Swami Vivekananda: 12 things we can imbibe from the yogi

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The world knows Swami Vivekananda as a Hindu monk and a philosopher. His speeches and his ideologies are followed world over.

NewsGram brings you 12 famous quotes by Swami Vivekananda

 

1. Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life, dream of it, think of it, live on that idea. Let the brain,the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced.

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2.  All the power is within you, you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak, do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. You can do anything and everything, without even the guidance of any one. Stand up and express the divinity within you.

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3.  He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore love for love’s sake, because it is the only law of life, just as you breathe to live.

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4.  Ask nothing; want nothing in return. Give what you have to give, it will come back to you — but do not think of that now, it will come back multiplied a thousandfold — but the attention must not be on that. Yet have the power to give. Give and there it ends. Learn that the whole of life is giving, that nature will force you to give. So, give willingly.

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5.  Take up one idea, your Ishta (personal deity) and let the whole soul be devoted to it. Practice this from day to day until you see the result, until the soul grows. And if it is sincere and good, that very idea will spread till it covers the whole universe. Let it spread by itself. It will all come from inside out. Then you will say that your Ishta is everywhere, and that He is in everything.

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6.  Extreme love to God is Bhakti (devotion), and this love is the real immortality, getting which a man becomes perfectly satisfied, sorrows for no loss, and is never jealous.

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7.  The weak have no place here, in this life or in any other life. Weakness leads to slavery. Weakness leads to all kinds of misery, physical and mental. Weakness is death.

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8.  The ideal of all education, all training, should be this man-making. But, instead of that, we are always trying to polish up the outside. What use is polishing up the outside when there is no inside? The end and aim of all training is to make the man grow. The man who influences, who throws his magic, as it were,upon his fellow-beings, is a dynamo of power, and when that man is ready, he can do anything and everything he likes. That personality put upon anything will make it work.

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9.  The Vedanta recognizes no sin, it only recognizes error. And the greatest error, says the Vedanta, is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature, and that you have no power, and you cannot do this and that. Every time you think in that way, you, as it were, rivet one more link in the chain that binds you down, you add one more layer of hypnotism on to your own soul. Therefore, whosoever thinks he is weak is wrong, whosoever thinks he is impure is wrong and is throwing a bad thought into the world.

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10.  Mother is the first manifestation of power and is considered a higher idea than father. With the name of Mother comes the idea of Shakti(Divine power), Divine Energy, and Omnipotence, just as the baby believes its mother to be all-powerful, able to do anything. The Divine Mother is the Kundalini (“coiled up” power) sleeping in us; without worshiping Her we can never know ourselves. All-merciful, all-powerful, omnipresent are attributes of Divine Mother. She is the sum total of the energy in the universe. Every manifestation of power in the universe is “Mother”. She is life, She is intelligence, She is Love. She is in the universe yet separate from it. She is a person and can be seen and known. Established in the idea of Mother, we can do anything.

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11. The more we grow in love and virtue and holiness, the more we see love and virtue and holiness outside. All condemnation of others really condemns ourselves. Adjust the microcosm (which is in your power to do), and the macrocosm will adjust itself for you. It is like the hydrostatic paradox, one drop of water can balance the universe. We cannot see outside what we are not inside. The universe is to us what the huge engine is to the miniature engine and indication of any error in the tiny engine leads us to imagine trouble in the huge one.

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12. No amount of ignorance or wrong ideas can put a barrier between the soul and God. Even if there be no God, still hold fast to love. It is better to die seeking a God than as a dog seeking only carrion. Choose the highest ideal and give your life up to that. Death being so certain, it is the highest thing to give up life for a great purpose.

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(All the quotes are taken from “Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda“)

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Karma Yoga: The concept of work and duty, as defined by Swami Vivekananda

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Karma Yoga

Swami Vivekananda, the patriot saint, the torch bearer of Hinduism, had passed away but his teachings to humanity still lives on. One such teaching which he repeatedly spoke through out his life is about “Karma Yoga” – the concept of work and duty- the Karma Yoga. Before understanding what constitutes duty, we must first understand what constitutes Karma.

What Is Karma Yoga?

Swami Vivekananda Says:The word Karma is derived from the Sanskrit Kri, to do; all action is Karma.

Technically, this word also means the effects of actions. In connection with metaphysics, it sometimes means the effects, of which our past actions were the causes. But in Karma-Yoga we simply have to do with the word Karma as meaning work.” Therefore, all actions are Karma, from the most trivial actions like brushing the teeth to the highest elevating actions like meditation.

KARMA YOGA refers to all human activities performed with concentration, skill and finesse. The way to liberation is to perform your duties without attachment. In Bhagavad Gita Sri Krishna instructs Arjuna (all of mankind) to do their work most sincerely & with expertise and skill they have masterd, and without any attachment or expectation of rewards.

Types Of Karma Yoga:

  • Niskama Karma– work without attachment, which produces no bondage.
  • Sakama Karma-all work done for some end result, which leads to bondage for the doer.

More on “Karma Yoga” By Swami Vivekananda:

“Thus we are all doing Karma all the time. I am talking to you: that is Karma. You are listening: that is Karma. We breathe: that is Karma. We walk: Karma. Everything we do, physical or mental, is Karma, and it leaves its marks on us.”

What Is YOGA?

This is a much more confusing word. Yoga is generally understood as the activity of breath control or taking different body postures, or the activities mentioned by Pathanjali. But in Gita this word has a much wider and somewhat different meaning.

The word Yoga originated from the root ”YUJ” meaning Joining,tieing together etc. This word is used at innumerable places in the Gita with meanings like appropriateness, joining, expertise, attainment etc. The essential meaning of Yoga is explained by Sri Krishna himself as “Yogah Karmasu Kausalam” (Gita 2.50). Kausalam means a special talent, expertise or skill in doing something. So doing things with expertise is Yoga. A Yogi is one who does something with expert knowledge or skill. (according to speakingtree)

The goal of mankind is knowledge

Therefore, Karma is simple exertion of effort. Naturally the question arises, what is the ultimate goal of such efforts? Why should we perform actions?

Swami Vivekananda answers-

“The goal of mankind is knowledge. That is the one ideal placed before us by Eastern philosophy.Pleasure is not the goal of man, but knowledge. Pleasure and happiness come to an end. It is a mistake to suppose that pleasure is the goal. The cause of all the miseries we have in the world is that men foolishly think pleasure to be the ideal to strive for.”

Therefore, the ultimate goal is not pleasure, not temporary happiness but Knowledge (Atma-Jnana) that liberates one from the limited bondage of the universe.

In another place, he states- “I have already tried to point out that goal. It is freedom as I understand it. Everything that we perceive around us is struggling towards that freedom, from the atom to the man, from the insentient, lifeless particle of matter to the highest existence on earth, the human soul. The whole universe is in fact the result of this struggle for freedom.”

Means are as important as the goal

A question may arise- If the goal of all actions is Liberation, then does it mean there is no importance to the actions that are employed as means to attain the goal? Can any one indulge indiscriminately in any kind of actions?

As if to answer, Swami Vivekananda declared-“One of the greatest lessons I have learnt in my life is to pay as much attention to the means of work as to its end” in one of his lectures delivered at Los Angeles, California in 1900.

Hence, while doing one’s actions, and while performing one’s duties, one should first and foremost concentrate on the immediate job that is in front of a person. It often happens that one tends to ignore the immediate task at hand, by indulging too much in the goal to be attained.

This will result in a person being shabby at his work. Further, over-indulgence with the idea of attaining the goal will make a person blind towards righteousness or unrighteousness of the means. Such, a person will often end up having results that are quite unfavorable and sometimes opposite of what was intended.

That is why Swami Vivekananda cautions-

“Our great defect in life is that we are so much drawn to the ideal, the goal is so much more enchanting, so much more alluring, so much bigger in our mental horizon, that we lose sight of the details altogether.”

Any action that makes us go Godward is duty

As means are very vital to reach the goal, it is necessary to understand, what actions can serve as a means to attain liberation. Swami Vivekananda calls these actions “Duty”.

He says-

“Any action that makes us go Godward is a good action, and is our duty; any action that makes us go downward is evil, and is not our duty. From the subjective standpoint we may see that certain acts have a tendency to exalt and ennoble us, while certain other acts have a tendency to degrade and to brutalize us.”

Therefore, only those actions that constitute duty and lead us to exaltation can be considered as the means to Liberation. These are the duties that Hindu scriptures call “svadharma”. What is right and good for one may not be so for another person. Every person should understand his own inherent nature, his position and stage in life and perform those duties that take him towards Liberation.

Swami Vivekananda himself clarifies this-

“The Bhagavad-Gita frequently alludes to duties dependent upon birth and position in life. Birth and position in life and in society largely determine the mental and moral attitude of individuals towards the various activities of life. It is therefore our duty to do that work which will exalt and ennoble us in accordance with the ideals and activities of the society in which we are born. But it must be particularly remembered that the same ideals and activities do not prevail in all societies and countries”

But this does not mean that people perform any actions according to their fancies and call it dharma. Though svadharma is different for every person, there are universal principles that are common to everyone.

Swami Vivekananda says-

“There is, however, only one idea of duty which has been universally accepted by all mankind, of all ages and sects and countries, and that has been summed up in a Sanskrit aphorism thus: “Do not injure any being; not injuring any being is virtue, injuring any being is sin.” Therefore, people must decide their own svadharma, not on the basis of their fancies but on the basis of these universal principles and how their application will take them towards liberation.”

Work performed without attachment leads to highest realization. The next question is, how should one perform one’s duty?

Swami Vivekananda says-

“When you are doing any work, do not think of anything beyond. Do it as worship, as the highest worship, and devote your whole life to it for the time being. Thus, in the story, the Vyadha (hunter) and the woman did their duty with cheerfulness and wholeheartedness; and the result was that they became illuminated, clearly showing that the right performance of the duties of any station in life, without attachment to results, leads us to the highest realization of the perfection of the soul.”

Therefore, if the performance of duties in an unselfish manner, as an act of worship wherein the actions and its fruits are surrendered to God that leads to liberation. Hence, detached action is the key to liberation.

Swami Vivekananda summarizes this path of Karma-Yoga as-

“Karma-Yoga is the attaining through unselfish work of that freedom which is the goal of all human nature. Every selfish action, therefore, retards our reaching the goal, and every unselfish action takes us towards the goal; that is why the only definition that can be given of morality is this: That which is selfish is immoral, and that which is unselfish is moral.”

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Power of Words: The Story of Spiritual Form of Logging in the Solomon Islands

The people of Solomon islands practice curse magic which involved cursing and yelling at the tree in order to bring it down

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Solomon Islands
A village in Solomon Islands. Wikimedia
  • Solomon Islands is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean
  • Culturally, the story of Solomon’s curse practice is both powerful and positive
  • While there is no validity of truth, the mythological moral of the story is important for a healthy life

June 24, 2017: There is an impactful story that exists in the Soloman Islands, a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. In a village, some people use a spiritual form of logging.

The story goes that the villagers in order to bring down a tree that is otherwise too thick to cut down, practice a form of curse magic. The trees that are too big to be chopped down are cursed and yelled at powerfully. This practice continues for thirty days after which the tree surrenders and dies. The villagers believe it has worked for them every time.

ALSO READ: Significance of Touching Someone’s Feet in Hinduism

While there is no scientific validity to this story, it is, however, a remarkably thoughtful narration. It magically portrays the power of words, thought, and what some might consider aura and energy of the individual. This process of ‘yelling and felling’ is dangerously true in real life.

Buddha’s ‘You are what you think’ is the essence of the story of Solomon Islands. When the villagers curse, their whole intent to break the tree’s spirit is so strong that they successfully commit the murder. Psychologically, over the 30 days what the villagers keep repeating becomes their strong belief.

The story of Solomon Islands was first mentioned in Bruce H. Lipton’s ‘The Biology of Life’.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Ramakrishna Center in South Africa offers Classes on Hinduism to Children, also teaches about Valuable Life Skills

Age appropriate study materials have been designed for the students, which range from coloring, learning to studying about Ramayana, Hindu scriptures, philosophy

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Ramakrishna, Wikimedia

South Africa, March 7, 2017: Following the philosophy of Vivekananda, ” Education is not just the amount of information put into your head which riots in there; undigested all your life. We must have life-building, character-making assimilation of ideas”, classes on Hinduism are offered by Ramakrishna Center in South Africa, Ladysmith Sub-Centre, to children from pre-primary to 12th grade, every Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30 pm.

Classes are held in Ramakrishna Shrine in Agra Road. These classes not only impart knowledge about Hinduism but also instil life skill values in the students for their well-rounded development, mentioned ladysmithgazette.co.za website.

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Age appropriate study materials have been designed for the students, which range from coloring, learning to studying about Ramayana, Hindu scriptures, philosophy.

Light meals are served to the students after every class. Examinations are held at the end of every academic year and certificates are handed out at special awards ceremony and annually Northern KwaZulu-Natal Children’s Cultural Festival is held where students participate in various activities such as sketching, dancing, singing, according to PTI report.

– prepared by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @Upama_myself