Swami Vivekananda Quotes

Find all the quotes by Swami Vivekananda in one place. Narendranath Datta, popularly known as Swami Vivekanand, a Calcutta native was a spiritual leader and social reformer. His teachings, writings, lectures, ideas not only transformed individuals, but it changed the country as a whole. He abolished many misconceptions about Hinduism and modernized the teachings of scriptures, making them accessible to everyone. Let’s see all Swami Vivekananda quotes on various topics including education for students and the youth.

Quotes by Swami Vivekananda

Experience is the only teacher we have. we may talk and reason all our lives, but we shall not understand a word of truth.

Arise! Awake! and stop not until the goal is reached.

The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature. Have faith in yourselves.

Take risks in your life, If you win, you can lead! If you loose, you can guide!

We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.

Strength is life; weakness is death.

In one word, this ideal is that you are divine.

Meditation can turn fools in to sages but unfortunately fools never meditate.

Believe in yourself and the world will be at your feet.

If you think yourselves strong, strong you will be.

All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.

Comfort is no test of truth. Truth is often far from being comfortable.

When an idea exclusively occupies the mind, it is transformed into an actual physical or mental state.

Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being?

If money help a man to do good to others, it is of some value; but if not, it is simply a mass of evil, and the sooner it is got rid of, the better.

Anything that brings spiritual, mental, or physical weakness, touch it not with the toes of your feet.

All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.

Learn everything that is good from others, but bring it in, and in your own way adsorb it; do not become others.

The will is not free – it is a phenomenon bound by cause and effect – but there is something behind the will which is free.

That man has reached immortality who is disturbed by nothing material.

If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practiced, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would have vanished.

You should work like a master and not as a slave; work incessantly, but do not do a slave’s work.

Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin; to say that you are weak, or others are weak.

In a conflict between the heart and the brain, follow your heart.

May He who is the Brahman of the Hindus, the Ahura-Mazda of the Zoroastrians, the Buddha of the Buddhists, the Jehovah of the Jews, the Father in Heaven of the Christians give strength to you to carry out your noble idea.

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.

Man is to become divine by realizing the divine. Idols or temples, or churches or books, are only the supports, the help of his spiritual childhood.

Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourself weak, weak you will be; if you think yourself strong, strong you will be.

Whatever you believe, that you will be, If you believe yourselves to be ages, ages you will be tomorrow. There is nothing to obstruct you.

Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.

We came to enjoy; we are being enjoyed. We came to rule; we are being ruled. We came to work; we are being worked. All the time, we find that. And this comes into every detail of our life.

Stand up, be bold, and take the blame on your own shoulders. Do not go about throwing mud at other; for all the faults you suffer from, you are the sole and only cause.

If I love myself despite my infinite faults, how can i hate anyone at the glimpse of a few faults”..!

Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, 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.

You cannot believe in god until you believe in yourself.

Each work has to pass through these stages-ridicule, oppositions, and then acceptance. Those who think ahead of their time are sure to be misunderstood.

You are the creator of your own destiny.

The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them.

Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.

That which is selfish is immoral, and that which is unselfish is moral.

You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.

Talk to yourself once in a day.. otherwise you may miss meeting an excellent person in this world.

The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.

All power is within you; you can do anything and everything.

Even the greatest fool can accomplish a task if it were after his or her heart. But the intelligent ones are those who can convert every work into one that suits their taste.

A few heart-whole, sincere, and energetic men and women can do more in a year than a mob in a century.

When you are doing any work.. do it as worship, as he highest worship, and devote your whole life to it for the time being.

The world is ready to give up its secrets if we only know how to knock, how to give it the necessary blow. The strength and force of the blow come through concentration.

The mistake is that we want to tie the whole world down to our own plane of thought and to make out mind the measure of the whole universe.

I, for one, thoroughly believe that no power in the universe can withhold from anyone anything they really deserve.

The less passion there is, the better we work. The calmer we are the better for us and the more the amount of work we can do.

Have faith in yourself – all power is in you. Even the poison of a snake is powerless, if you can firmly deny it.

First, believe in the world that there is meaning behind everything.

Desire, ignorance, and inequality –this is the trinity of bondage.

Have faith in yourselves, great convictions are the mothers of great deeds.

Great work requires great and persistent effort for a long time…character has to be established through a thousand stumbles.

The fire that warms us can also consume us; it is not the fault of the fire.

All that is real in me is God; all that is real in God is I. The gulf between God and me is thus bridged. Thus by knowing God, we find that the kingdom of heaven is within us.

If superstitions enters, the brain is gone.

Dare to be free dare to go as far as you’re thought leads, and dare to carry that out in your life.

It is the Level-headed Man, the Calm Man, of Good Judgment and cool nerves, of Great sympathy and love, who does good work and so does good to himself.

God is to be worshipped as the one beloved, dearer than everything in this and next life.

Both attachment and detachment perfectly developed make a man great and happy.

This life is short, the vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.

The power of concentration is the only key to the treasure-house of knowledge.

What the world wants is a character. The world is in need of those whose life is one burning love, selfless. That love will make every word tell like a thunderbolt.

There is one thing to be remembered: that the assertion- I am God- cannot be made with regard to the sense-world.

If you really my children, you will fear nothing, stop at nothing, you will be like lions,,, My prayers and benedictions follow every step you take… everything will come to you if you have faith.

Are you unselfish? That is the question. If you are, you will be perfect without reading a single religious book, without going to a single church or temple.

Neither money pays, not name, nor fame, nor learning; it is CHARACTER that an cleave through adamantine walls of difficulties.

The more we grow in Love, Virtue, and Holiness, the more we see Love, Virtue, and Holiness outside.

Be Grateful to the Man you help, think of Him as God. It is not a great privilege to be allowed to worship God by helping our fellow men.

3 Golden rules!! Who is helping you, don’t forget them. Who is loving you, don’t hate them. Who is trusting you, don’t cheat them.

Don’t look back -forward infinite energy, infinite enthusiasm, infinite daring, and infinite patience – then alone can great deeds be accomplished.

The Tapas and the other hard Yogas that were practiced in other Yugas do not work now. What is needed in this Yuga is giving, helping others.

I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world tolerance & universal acceptance. we believe not only in universal toleration but we accept all religion as true.

If the Student thinks he is the Spirit, he will be better Student. If the Lawyer thinks he is the Spirit, he will be a better Lawyer and so on.

Never think there is anything impossible for the soul.

Do one thing at a Time, and while doing it put your whole soul into it to the exclusion of all else.

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.

The greatest sin is to think that you are weak.

Be not afraid of anything. You will do Marvelous work. It is Fearlessness that brings the Heaven even in a moment.

To devote your life to the good of all and to the happiness of all is religion. Whatever you do for your own sake is not religion.

In a day, when you don’t come across any problems – you can be sure that you are travelling in a wrong path.

They alone live, who live for others.

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. 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.

Neither seek nor avoid, take what comes.

Fill the brain with high thoughts, highest ideals, place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work.

It is the cheerful mind that is persevering. It is the strong mind that hews its way through a thousand difficulties.

We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in the future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act.

Blows are what awaken us & help to break the dream. They show us the insufficiency of this world & make us long to escape, to have freedom.

Was there ever a more horrible blasphemy than the statement that all the knowledge of God is confined to this or that book? How dare men call God infinite, and yet try to compress Him within the covers of a little book!

We reap what we sow. We are the makers of our own fate.

The wind is blowing; those vessels whose sails are unfurled catch it, and go forward on their way, but those which have their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault ofthe wind?……. We make our own destiny.

This, I have seen in life – those who are overcautious about themselves fall into dangers at every step. Those who are afraid of losing honor and respect, get only disgrace; and those who are always afraid of loss, always lose.

Crave for a thing, you will get it. Renounce the craving, the object will follow you by itself.

About Swami Vivekananda

Vivekanand, birthname Narendranath Datta was born to a Bengali family in Calcutta, the capital of British India on the 12th of January, 1863. He belonged to a family of a strong heritage, wherein his grandfather renounced material life and became a monk. His father Vishwanath Datta was an attorney at the Calcutta High Court, and his mother was a housewife. His father was very progressive, and his mother was very religious, which helped in shaping the childhood of young Narendranath.

Swami Vivekananda was very spiritual from a very young age and practised mediation before the images of various deities such as Shiva, Rama, and Hanuman. He had always been fascinated by monks and their way of life.

Early life and Education

Swami Vivekananda was enrolled in school at the age of eight and remained there till his family moved to Raipur; eventually, in 1879 his family moved back to Calcutta, and he received first-division marks in the Presidency College entrance examination, he was the only one to do so. He also enjoyed reading and over the years had read many books of different subjects including philosophy, religion, social science, art, and literature. He also read scriptures such as Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, and the Puranas.

He was a trained musician and specialized in Indian classical music. In 1881 he passed the Fine Arts examination and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree. Narendra extensively studied the works of David Hume, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Baruch Spinoza, Arthur Schopenhauer, Auguste Comte, and Charles Darwin and became fascinated with the evolutionism of Herbert Spencer and corresponded with him. So much so that he translated his book Education in Bengali.

It was a known fact that Swami Vivekananda had an impeccable memory and the ability to read at high speed. He has once quoted exact pages from Pickwick Papers. Once, he requested some books by Sir John Lubbock from a library upon returning them the very next day the librarian asked if he had read them, and Narendra stated that he had read them all.


Since Vivekananda always had fasciation with spirituality and spiritual practices, in 1880, he joined Keshab Chandra Sen’s Nava Vidhan, which had been established by Sen after meeting Ramakrishna. His initial beliefs had been shaped by Brahmo concepts, which included faith in a formless God and the disapproval of idolatry. Over the years he heard many scholars read quotes from the Bhagavad Gita to get a better understanding of the world around him. He, however, was never satisfied with his search and study; he then went to various residents of Calcutta and asked them if they had seen God or met God. After searching aimlessly and endlessly, he came in contact with Debendranath Tagore, the leader of Brahmo Samaj, who then lead him to Ramakrishna.

Vivekananda’s first introduction to Ramakrishna occurred in a literature class at General Assembly’s Institution when he heard Professor William Hastie lecturing on William Wordsworth’s poem. While trying to explain the word “trance” in the poem, the teacher recommended that his students should visit Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar to get a real understanding of the word trance. This pushed some of his students to visit Ramakrishna; who eventually would become the focus of Vivekananda’s spiritual endeavors after losing his own father in 1884.

In early 1882, Vivekananda went to Dakshineswar, after having met with Ramakrishna briefly earlier, along with his two friends went to see him again. And this meeting turned his life around, as anyone would Narendra rebelled the teachings of Ramakrishna at first; thinking that he is hallucinating or just imagining things. His initial belief system, which he developed in Brahmo Samaj, did not allow him to accept the idol worship and teachings of Ramakrishna.

However, after the sudden death of his father in 1884, Swami Vivekananda’s family was left bankrupt, and their loans had piled up. Having never seen such a situation in life, Vivekananda resorted at the feet of Ramakrishna to invoke the goddess Kali and help their family’s position; to which Ramakrishna stated that he should do so on his own. Narendra gradually became ready to leave everything for the sake of realizing God and accepted Ramakrishna as his Guru.

At Cossipore, Ramakrishna experienced Nirvikalpa samadhi; and Narendra along with several other students got ochre robes from Ramakrishna, creating his first monastic order. The best quote he was introduced to was; that service to men was the most effective worship of God.

In 1887, Vivekananda compiled a Bengali song anthology named Sangeet Kalpataru in association with Vaishnav Charan Basak. Narendra arranged most of the songs of this compilation, but could not finish the work of the book due to various circumstances.

After travelling extensively across India and abroad, Vivekananda spread his teachings amongst various groups and people. He suggested that the essence of Hinduism was best to be understood not only for the material plane but also to enhance one’s spiritual endeavors as well.

He associated morality with control of the mind and viewing the truth, purity, and unselfishness as traits that strengthened it.

He advised his followers to be genuine, unselfish and to have complete shraddhā. Vivekananda supported Brahmacharya, stating it to be the source of ultimate physical and mental eloquence. He also fixated that success can be achieved only by focus and action.

Various books have now been written on the subject, which is available in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil Bengali, etc. And his inspirational quotes have become a source of motivation for many. Some of his best quotes include:

“Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.”

“This attachment of Love to God is indeed one that does not bind the soul but effectively breaks all its bondage.”

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