Once Narendra was punished at school for no fault of his own. The geography teacher asked him a question which Narendra answered correctly. But the teacher thought he was wrong and punished him. But Narendra was undaunted even as a boy. He protested, ‘I committed no error, sir; I am sure what I said is right.’ This made the teacher furious and he caned Narendra mercilessly.
Narendra returned home, his eyes filled with tears and narrated everything to his mother. But Bhuvaneshwari Devi consoled him saying, ‘My son, why do you care if you are right? Follow the truth always, whatever happens.’
Narendranath found his Master, Sri Ramakrishna, to be an embodiment of the ideal his mother had instilled in him. Sri Ramakrishna used to say: “Truth is to be pursued followed by all means. If a man holds to truth in this Kaliyuga, he will certainly realize God.’ And Sri Ramakrishna himself practised what he what preached.
This ideal of unwavering loyalty to truth which Swamiji saw in his mother and later in his spiritual Master found expression in all his actions. It was therefore only but natural that the world would later hear him proclaim: ‘Everything can be sacrificed for truth, but truth cannot be sacrificed for anything.‘
Swami Vivekananda on Truth —
- All truth is eternal. Truth is nobody’s property; no race, no individual can lay any exclusive claim to it. Truth is the nature of all souls.
- Be sincere and do your duty. Everything will come all right Truth must triumph. . .[Source]
- “Comfort” is no test of truth; on the contrary, truth is often far from being “comfortable.”[Source]
- Dare to seek Truth even through hell.[Source]
- Everything can be sacrificed for truth, but truth cannot be sacrificed for anything.
- Follow truth wherever it may lead you; carry ideas to their utmost logical conclusions. Do not be cowardly and hypocritical. You must have a great devotion to your ideal, devotion not of the moment, but calm, persevering, and steady devotion, like that of a Chataka (a kind of bird) which looks into the sky in the midst of thunder and lightening and would drink no water but from the clouds. Perish in the struggle to be holy; a thousand times welcome death. Be not disheartened. When good nectar is unattainable, it is no reason why we should eat poison. There is no escape. Thisworld is as unknown as the other.[Source]
- “God is true. The universe is a dream. Blessed am I that I know this moment that I [have been and] shall be free all eternity; … that I know that I am worshipping only myself; that no nature, no delusion, had any hold on me. Vanish nature from me, vanish [these] gods; vanish worship; … vanish superstitions, for I know myself. I am the Infinite. All these — Mrs. So-and-so, Mr. So-and-so, responsibility, happiness, misery — have vanished. I am the Infinite. How can there be death for me, or birth? Whom shall I fear? I am the One. Shall I be afraid of myself? Who is to be afraid of [whom]? I am the one Existence. Nothing else exists. I am everything.”[Source]
- Good is near Truth, but is not yet Truth.[Source]
- Great is the tenacity with which man clings to the senses. Yet, however substantial he may think the external world in which he lives and moves, there comes a time in the lives of individuals and of races when, involuntarily, they ask, “Is this real?” To the person who never finds a moment to question the credentials of his senses, whose every moment is occupied with some sort of sense-enjoyment — even to him death comes, and he also is compelled to ask, “Is this real?” Religion begins with this question and ends with its answer. Even in the remote past, where recorded history cannot help us, in the mysterious light of mythology, back in the dim twilight of civilisation, we find the same question was asked, “What becomes of this? What is real?”[Source]
- I know that truth alone gives life, and nothing but going towards reality will make us strong, and none will reach truth until he is strong.[Source]
- I stand for truth. Truth will never ally itself with falsehood. Even if all the world should be against me, Truth must prevail in the end.[Source]
- I was once travelling in the desert in India. I travelled for over a month and always found the most beautiful landscapes before me, beautiful lakes and all that. One day I was very thirsty and I wanted to have a drink at one of these lakes; but when I approached that lake it vanished. Immediately with a blow came into my brain the idea that this was a mirage about which I had read all my life; and then I remembered and smiled at my folly, that for the last month all the beautiful landscapes and lakes I had been seeing were this mirage, but I could not distinguish them then. The next morning I again began my march; there was the lake and the landscape, but with it immediately came the idea, “This is a mirage.” Once known it had lost its power of illusion. So this illusion of the universe will break one day. The whole of this will vanish, melt away. This is realisation.[Source]
- I will relate to you a very ancient story from the Chhândogya Upanishad, which tells how knowledge came to a boy. The form of the story is very crude, but we shall find that it contains a principle. A young boy said to his mother, “I am going to study the Vedas. Tell me the name of my father and my caste.” The mother was not a married woman, and in India the child of a woman who has not been married is considered an outcast; he is not recognised by society and is not entitled to study the Vedas. So the poor mother said, “My child, I do not know your family name; I was in service, and served in different places; I do not know who your father is, but my name is Jabala and your name is Satyakama.” The little child went to a sage and asked to be taken as a student. The sage asked him, “What is the name of your father, and what is your caste?” The boy repeated to him what he had heard from his mother. The sage at once said, “None but a Brâhmin could speak such a damaging truth about himself. You are a Brahmin and I will teach you. You have not swerved from truth.” So he kept the boy with him and educated him.[Source][Learn more about Satyakama Jabala at Wikipedia]
- If in this hell of a world one can bring a little joy and peace even for a day into the heart of a single person, that much alone is true; this I have learnt suffering all my life; all else is mere moonshine.
- In truth everything is established.[Source]
- It is the patient building of character, the intense struggle to realise the truth, which alone will tell in the future of humanity.
- It is truth alone that gives strength.[Source]
- Knowledge can never be created, it can only be discovered; and every man who makes a great discovery is inspired. Only, when it is a spiritual truth he brings, we call him a prophet; and when it is on the physical plane, we call him a scientific man, and we attribute more importance to the former, although the source of all truth is one.[Source]
- Man wants truth, wants to experience truth for himself; when he has grasped it, realised it, felt it within his heart of hearts, then alone, declare the Vedas, would all doubts vanish, all darkness be scattered, and all crookedness be made straight.[Source]
- None will be able to resist truth and love and sincerity. Are you sincere? unselfish even unto death? and loving? Then fear not, not even death. Onward, my lads![Source]
- Our duty is to encourage every one in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth.
- Pray all the time, read all the scriptures in the world, and worship all the gods there are …but unless you realise the Truth, there is no freedom.
- Soft-brained people, weak-minded, chicken-hearted, cannot find the truth. One has to be free, and as broad as the sky.
- Stop creation and you know the truth. All power of creation must stop, and then you know the truth at once.[Source]
- Take care! Beware of everything that is untrue; stick to truth and we shall succeed, maybe slowly, but surely. Work on as if I never existed. Work as if on each of you depended the whole work.[Source]
- Take courage and work on. Patience and steady work — this is the only way. Go on; remember — patience and purity and courage and steady work. . . . So long as you are pure, and true to your principles, you will never fail — Mother will never leave you, and all blessings will be yours.[Source]
- Tell the truth boldly, whether it hurts or not. Never pander to weakness. If truth is too much for intelligent people and sweeps them away, let them go; the sooner the better.
- That is the one test of truth. It never decays, it is always the same.[Source]
- That which is true must be infinite and eternal.[Source]
- The greatest name man ever gave to God is Truth. Truth is the fruit of realisation; therefore seek it within the soul.[Source]
- The greatest truths have been forgotten because of their very simplicity. Great truths are simple because they are of universal application. Truth itself is always simple. Complexity is due to man’s ignorance.[Source]
- The mainspring of the strength of every race lies in the spirituality manifested in religion and the death of that race begins the day that spirituality wanes and materialism begins.
- [This truth] is first to be heard. Hear it first. Think on it day and night. Fill the mind [with it] day and night: “I am It. I am the Lord of the universe. Never was there any delusion…. ” Meditate upon it with all the strength of the mind till you actually see these walls, houses, everything, melt away — [until] body, everything, vanishes. “I will stand alone. I am the One.” Struggle on! “Who cares! We want to be free; [we] do not want any powers. Worlds we renounce; heavens we renounce; hells we renounce. What do I care about all these powers, and this and that! What do I care if the mind is controlled or uncontrolled! Let it run on. What of that! I am not the mind, Let it go on!”[Source]
- Those who work at a thing heart and soul not only achieve success in it but through their absorption in that they also realise the supreme truth—Brahman. Those who work at a thing with their whole heart receive help from God.[Source]
- “Thou hast the right to work but not to the fruits thereof.” Stand firm like a rock. Truth always triumphs.
- Through truth everything is attained.[Source]
- To tell a lie, you have to imitate a truth, and that truth is a fact. You cannot imitate that which you have never perceived.
- Truth alone triumphs, and this is true.[Source]
- Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.
- Truth can never come to us as long as we are selfish.[Source]
- Truth does not pay homage to any society, ancient or modern. Society has to pay homage to Truth or die. Societies should be moulded upon truth, and truth has not to adjust itself to society.[Source]
- Truth has always been universal.[Source]
- Truth is heaven. Bigotry is hell.[Source]
- Truth is infinitely more weighty than untruth; so is goodness. If you possess these, they will make their way by sheer gravity.[Source]
- Truth is strengthening. Truth is purity, truth is all-knowledge; truth must be strengthening, must be enlightening, must be invigorating.[Source]
- Truth, purity, and unselfishness— wherever these are present, there is no power below or above the sun the possessor thereof. Equipped with these, one individual is able to face the whole universe in opposition.
- Truth requires no prop to make it stand.[Source]
- We are always after truth, but never want to get it.[Source]
- We do not progress from error to truth, but from truth to truth. Thus we must see that none can be blamed for what they are doing, because they are, at this time, doing the best they can.[Source]
Truth — “a corrosive substance of infinite power”
In a letter written to Miss Mary Hale, dated 1 February 1895, Vivekananda wrote—[Source]I will compare truth to a corrosive substance of infinite power. It burns its way in wherever it falls — in soft substance at once, hard granite slowly, but it must. What is writ is writ. I am so, so sorry, Sister, that I cannot make myself sweet and accommodating to every black falsehood. But I cannot. I have suffered for it all my life. But I cannot. I have essayed and essayed. But I cannot. At last I have given it up. The Lord is great. He will not allow me to become a hypocrite. Now let what is in come out. I have not found a way that will please all, and I cannot but be what I am, true to my own self. “Youth and beauty vanish, life and wealth vanish, name and fame vanish, even the mountains crumble into dust. Friendship and love vanish. Truth alone abides.” God of Truth, be Thou alone my guide! I am too old to change now into milk and honey. Allow me to remain as I am. “Without fear — without shopkeeping, caring neither for friend nor foe, do thou hold on to Truth, Sannyâsin, and from this moment give up this world and the next and all that are to come — their enjoyments and their vanities. Truth, be thou alone my guide.” I have no desire for wealth or name or fame or enjoyments, Sister — they are dust unto me. I wanted to help my brethren. I have not the tact to earn money, bless the Lord. What reason is there for me to conform to the vagaries of the world around me and not obey the voice of Truth within? The mind is still weak, Sister, it sometimes mechanically clutches at earthly help. But I am not afraid. Fear is the greatest sin my religion teaches.
- 📗Book: Swami Vivekananda: The Friend of All (Page 9,10)