☝Note: This introduction section might be boring. You may skip this section and start reading from the “Laws of life” second below.
In this article we’ll try to write on the laws of life mentioned by Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda has thousands of quotations and sayings, how can we conclude which is a “law of life” and which is a general quotation? For example, a quote like “All the powers in the universe are already ours. . . ” or “Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. . ” — these are definitely motivational words but not laws of life.
Here we’ll include only those quotes where Swami Vivekananda directly stated those were “laws of life”.
Laws of life
In the following quotes the phrase “law of life” is directly mentioned.
- All hatred is “killing the self by the self”; therefore, love is the law of life.[Source]
- All love is expansions 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. This is the secret of selfless love, selfless action and the rest.[Source]
- In the material physical world, expansion is life, and contraction is death. Whatever ceases to expand ceases to live. Translating this in the moral world we have: If one would expand, he must love, and when he ceases to love he dies. It is your nature; you must, because that is the only law of life. Therefore, we must love God for love’s sake, so we must do our duty for duty’s sake; we must work for work’s sake without looking for any reward — know that you are purer and more perfect, know that this is the real temple of God.[Source]
- What is life but growth, i.e. expansion, i.e. love? Therefore all love is life, it is the only law of life; all selfishness is death, and this is true here or hereafter. It is life to do good, it is death not to do good to others. Ninety per cent of human brutes you see are dead, are ghosts — for none lives, my boys, but he who loves. Feel, my children, feel; feel for the poor, the ignorant, the downtrodden; feel till the heart stops and the brain reels and you think you will go mad — then pour the soul out at the feet of the Lord, and then will come power, help, and indomitable energy. Struggle, struggle, was my motto for the last ten years. Struggle, still say I. When it was all dark, I used to say, struggle; when light is breaking in, I still say, struggle. Be not afraid, my children. Look not up in that attitude of fear towards that infinite starry vault as if it would crush you. Wait! In a few hours more, the whole of it will be under your feet. Wait, money does not pay, nor name; fame does not pay, nor learning. It is love that pays; it is character that cleaves its way through adamantine walls of difficulties.[Source]
Laws of Karma
These are the laws of Karma mentioned by Swami Vivekananda—
- Man is not bound by any other laws excepting those which he makes for himself. Our thoughts, our words and deeds are the threads of the net which we throw round ourselves, for good or for evil. Once we set in motion a certain power, we have to take the full consequences of it. This is the law of Karma.[Source]
- Nobody has ever seen anything produced out of nothing; if anything arises in the mind, that also must have been produced from something. When we speak of free will, we mean the will is not caused by anything. But that cannot be true, the will is caused; and since it is caused, it cannot be free — it is bound by law. That I am willing to talk to you and you come to listen to me, that is law. Everything that I do or think or feel, every part of my conduct or behaviour, my every movement — all is caused and therefore not free. This regulation of our life and mind — that is the law of Karma.[Source]
- The law governing functions of the human mind is called the law of Karma.[Source]
- The law of Karma is that every action must be followed sooner or later by an effect.[Source]
- The law of Karma is the law of causation.[Source]
- The law of Karma means the law of causation, of inevitable cause and sequence. Wheresoever there is a cause, there an effect must be produced; this necessity cannot be resisted, and this law of Karma, according to our philosophy, is true throughout the whole universe.[Source]
- You are all bound by the law of Karma. . .[Source]
- You know it already that each one of us is the effect of the infinite past; the child is ushered into the world not as something flashing from the hands of nature, as poets delight so much to depict, but he has the burden of an infinite past; for good or evil he comes to work out his own past deeds. That makes the differentiation. This is the law of Karma. Each one of us is the maker of his own fate.[Source]
Laws of nature
These are the laws of nature mentioned by Swami Vivekananda—
- If a stone falls, it has been thrown by a devil or a ghost, says the ignorant man, but the scientific man says it is the law of nature, the law of gravitation.[Source]
- It is a mysterious law of nature that as soon as the field is ready the seed must come, as soon as the soul wants religion, the transmitter of religious force must come. “The seeking sinner meeteth the seeking Saviour.” When the power that attracts in the receiving soul is full and ripe, the power which answers to that attraction must come.[Source]
- It is not the law of nature to be always taking gifts with outstretched hands like beggars. To give and take is the law of nature.[Source]
- See how, from nebulae, the sun, moon, and stars are produced; then they dissolve and go back to nebulae. The same is being done everywhere. The plant takes material from the earth, dissolves, and gives it back. Every form in this world is taken out of surrounding atoms and goes back to these atoms. It cannot be that the same law acts differently in different places. Law is uniform. Nothing is more certain than that. If this is the law of nature, it also applies to thought. Thought will dissolve and go back to its origin. Whether we will it or not, we shall have to return to our origin which is called God or Absolute. We all came from God, and we are all bound to go back to God.[Source]
- The present is determined by our past actions, and the future by the present. The soul will go on evolving up or reverting back from birth to birth and death to death. But here is another question: Is man a tiny boat in a tempest, raised one moment on the foamy crest of a billow and dashed down into a yawning chasm the next, rolling to and fro at the mercy of good and bad actions — a powerless, helpless wreck in an ever-raging, ever-rushing, uncompromising current of cause and effect; a little moth placed under the wheel of causation which rolls on crushing everything in its way and waits not for the widow’s tears or the orphan’s cry? The heart sinks at the idea, yet this is the law of Nature.[Source]
- Uniformity is the rigorous law of nature; what once happened can happen always.[Source]
Laws of the universe
In the following quotes Swamiji did not mention the phrase “law of life”, but these are “laws of the universe”—
- If conformity is the law of the universe, every part of the universe must have been built on the same plan as the whole. . .[Source]
- Interdependence is the law of the whole universe.[Source]
- Self-sacrifice, not self-assertion, is the law of the highest universe.[Source]