Great work requires great and persistent effort for a long time. Neither need we trouble ourselves if a few fail. It is in the nature of things that many should fall, that troubles should come, that tremendous difficulties should arise, that selfishness and all the other devils in the human heart should struggle hard when they are about to be driven out by the fire of spirituality. The road to the Good is the roughest and steepest in the universe. It is a wonder that so many succeed, no wonder that so many fail.
(p.383, C.W.Vol.8, Swamiji’s letter to J.J Goodwin on 8th August, 1896.)
In this struggle for life there will always be hope and fear. Life without struggle is no life at all. If man has a continuous flow of happiness and sense-enjoyment, then he will never think of higher things – about God, soul, etc. And how does such a life differ from that of the brutes? But if there are only fear and misery, they dwarf the growth – they do not allow him to progress.
(p. 336, Spiritual Talks, Swami Shivananda)
Combine spiritual practices with social service. Do both with equal enthusiasm. Both should go on simultaneously. Service is also a kind of spiritual practice. You have to be convinced of this. It is wrong to think they are contradictory…Beware that none among you make the mistake of thinking that selfless service and spiritual practices are two different paths. You reach Sri Ramakrishna’s realm if you continue these two paths.
(p..205-6, Letters for Spiritual Seekers, Letters of Swami Shivananda,)