In one of Vivekananda’s early visits, Sri Ramakrishna said to him :’Behold, in you is Shiva! And in me is Shakti! And these two are One!’
According to the testimony of the Mother-guided Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda is ‘Siva’, born ‘to bring spiritual consciousness to people’, and ‘to remove the miseries of mankind’.
What is this ‘Siva-power’, the power of the guru? It is the power of dispelling the darkness of ignorance which binds a soul to the body. Vivekananda meant power only when he said :
‘When I stand on the platform, a Power comes over me which makes me feel as though by one word I could carry the whole audience of thousands across Maya and make them break the prison-walls of “I” and “Mine”!’ .
Naren is of divine origin and full of purity from his infancy, and about whom the Master mentioned that he was a rishi, a great sage. . .. Though fully imbued with the spirit of renunciation and an all-embracing love, and immersed in the eternal joy of communion with the Infinite, he has been suffering for the good of others. … He gave his life blood to the service of others. … He was specially brought by the Master… for preaching his lofty ideals, for the eleveting of the masses and for the good of humanity.
– Maa Sarada
“The book by Vivekananda is more than a pleasure, it is a broadening of the soul.”
“If you want to know India, study Vivekananda. In him everything is positive and nothing negative.”
“[Vivekananda has given] the most definitive statement of religious tolerance and interfaith unity in history.”
Coretta Scott King, honoring Vivekananda.
“The paragon of all Unity systems is the Vedanta philosophy of India, and the paragon of Vedanta missionaries was the late Swami Vivekananda. The swami is an honor to humanity.”
“The strength of India—the very idea of India—is its embrace of all colors, castes and creeds. It’s the richness of faiths celebrated by a visitor to my hometown of Chicago more than a century ago—the renowned Swami Vivekananda.”
“My homage and respect to the very revered memory of Swami Vivekananda. … I have gone through Swami Vivekananda’s works very thoroughly, and after having gone through them, the love that I had for my country became a thousand-fold.
“Even after another 150 years, the life and message of Swami Vivekananda will continue to carry the same significance as they do now. … His words have the power to awaken the spiritual potential inherent in humankind. … If Swami Vivekananda’s words are contemplated upon, they can help inspire a peaceful yet powerful spiritual revolution. Not an external revolution but an internal one—a transformation based on values.”
Mata Amritanandamayi (“Amma”).
Vivekananda was ripe. He was anxious to realise. He must have completed the preliminary in his past births.
How shall I express in words my indebtedness to Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda ? It is under their sacred influence that my life got first awakened. Like Nivedita I also regard Ramakrishna and Vivekananda as two aspects of one indivisible personality. If Swamiji had been alive today, he would have been my My guru, that is to say, I would have accepted him as my Master. It is needless to add, however, that as long as I live, I shall be absolutely loyal and devoted to Ramakrishna-Vivekananda.)
Subhas Chandra Bose.
Once, Vivekananda had gone to London and America. While returning to India, the American journalists asked him what he thought of his motherland, Bharat. He said, “I have a great regard and love for my country. I respect even the dust, the air and the environment of Bharat. I offer myself completely to the service of my motherland.” He who has no love for his motherland, mother tongue and religion is no better than a living corpse.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba
If thousands of people had carried the same vision, much better things would have happened. One Gautama Buddha or one Vivekananda having vision is not sufficient. Only when a large section of the population has vision, really beautiful things will happen in society.
Vivekananda has been to Kanyakumari where He began the journey that culminated in his famously attending the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago all those years ago. He expressed His admiration for Swami Vivekananda, not only for His dedicated spiritual practice, but also for His broad, far-sighted vision. He said He has also attended meetings of the World Parliament of Religions, most recently in Melbourne, Australia. However, He feels that while it offers the opportunity to talk, the Parliament is not as active as it was in Vivekananda’s time.
Dear friends, I am reminded of Swamiji’s exhortation to our people: ‘Teach yourself, teach everyone his real nature. Call upon the sleeping soul and see how it awakes. Power will come, glory will come, goodness will come, purity will come, and everything that is excellent will come, when this sleeping soul is roused to self-conscious activity.’ Swamiji’s call for evolution of self-conscious activity is indeed the evolution of righteousness in the heart. When there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in character. When there is beauty in character, there is harmony at home. When there is harmony at home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world. Hence let us work for the evolution of the enlightened citizen, which is the mission of Swamiji. Such enlightened citizens should have a strong body and indomitable spirit as advocated by Swamiji in order to ‘Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.’ The goal is a prosperous India with peace in itself and giving it to the whole world. Let this complex be an important focal point for radiating such thoughts and actions! It gives me a great pleasure to inaugurate the Cultural Centre. I am sure that the people who visit this place will draw immense inspiration from here. I have a desire that the inspiration and happiness of visiting this place should also be felt and enjoyed by those who are not fortunate enough to visit this place. I suggest that the Ramakrishna Mission and those who maintain this heritage complex should create a digital archive and a high-resolution, virtual walk-through and make it available to the whole world, for Swamiji is one of the most leaders who belong to the whole world.
Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam
“Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation”.
The New York Herald 1893.
“His words are great music, phrases in the style of Beethoven, stirring rhythms like the march of Händel choruses. I cannot touch these sayings of his, scattered as they are through the pages of books, at thirty years’ distance, without receiving a thrill through my body like an electric shock. And what shocks, what transports, must have been produced when in burning words they issued from the lips of the hero!”
French Nobel laureate Romain Rolland about Swami Vivekananda.
Swami Vivekananda’s powerful personality and his passionate call of service of the poor, is still influencing people all over India and the world.
Swami Vivekananda arrived in America penniless and depending only on God’s Grace. After the Parliament he began to receive the homage and hospitality of all America. He lectured at all the important centres. As a true Sannyasin he refused to sell religion for the sake of amassing money. He preached the gospel of unity of faiths and scattered the seeds of purity, knowledge and faith. After his stay of two years in America he toured England and Europe for three months.
The tremendous ovation he received on his return to India in no way took his mind away from his mission of bringing religion to the doors of the poorest. His aim was to awaken the masses by reviving Vedic religion, and to clean it of the dross and impurity that had clung to it for so many centuries.
In 1902 Swami Vivekananda entered Mahasamadhi. Six years of discipleship under Sri Ramakrishna had taken him to the realms of God-vision. Seven years of travelling in India had broadened his outlook on life. Nine years of a national and international career were all that were left for him; yet, how filled with glorious work those nine years were!
Swami Vivekananda’s gospel was one of hope, faith and strength. He never succumbed to despair, for he knew that India was capable of expansion and growth. His clarion call to the nation was: “Awake, arise, and stop not till the goal is reached.”
Vivekananda was a soul of puissance if ever there was one, a very lion among men, but the definite work he has left behind is quite incommensurate with our impression of his creative might and energy. We perceive his influence still working gigantically, we know not well how, we know not well where, in something that is not yet formed, something leonine, grand, intuitive, upheaving that has entered the soul of India and we say, “Behold, Vivekananda still lives in the soul of his Mother and in the souls of her children.
Swami Vivekananda saved Hinduism and saved India. But for him, we would have lost our religion and would not have gained our freedom. We therefore owe everything to Swami Vivekananda.
Sri C. Rajagopalachari.
Just as the sun dispels darkness,
just as Lord Vishnu destroys the wicked,
so his enchanting personality
destroys the threefold misery of man.”
Swami Ramakrishnananda (a brother disciple of Swami Vivekananda).
I cannot touch these sayings of his, scattered as they are through the pages of this book at thirty distance, without receiving a thrill through my body like an electric shock. And what shock, what transport, must have been produced when, in burning words, they issued from the lips of the hero!”
The truths he preaches would have been as true, had he never been born. Nay more, they would have been equally authentic. The difference would have lain in their difficulty of access, in their want of modern clearness and incisiveness of statement, and in their loss of mutual coherence and unity. Had he not lived, texts that today will carry the bread of life to thousands might have remained the obscure disputes of scholars. He taught with authority, and not as one of the Pundits. For he himself had plunged to the depths of the realisation which he preached, and he came back like Ramanuja only to tell its secrets to the pariah, the outcast, and the foreigner.”
O Swami Vivekananda!
Sri Ramakrishna’s life-breath,
Sri Ramakrishna’s supreme gift to mankind,
Sri Ramakrishna’s victory-song all-where!
The victory-world’s delight you were;
Lo, the cyclone-valour of the Absolute!
You awakened your slumbering India,
You awakened humanity’s sleep.
In you blossomed the Form Universal.
O hero-warrior sannyasin,
In the core of the creation,
Sleeplessly shall burn
The incense of your self-offering.
“The qualities I most admire in Vivekananda are his activity, manliness and courage. …He spoke up and acted. For this, all must honor him, who, whatever be their won religious beliefs, value sincerity, truth and courage, which are the badges of every noble character.”
Sir John Woodroffe.
“It is very difficult to evaluated his [Swami Vivekananda’s] importance in the scale of world history. It is certainly far greater than any Western historian or most Indian historians would have suggested at the time of his death. The passing of the years and the many stupendous and unexpected events which have occurred since then suggest that in centuries toi come he will be remembered as one of the main molders of the modern world, especially as far as Asia is concerned, and as one of the most significant figures in the whole history of Indian religion.”
“Where can you find a man like him? Study what he wrote, and learn from his teachings, for if you do, you will gain immense strength. Take advantage of the fountain of wisdom, of Spirit, and of fire that flowed through Vivekananda.”
“I had the special privilege of being introduced to the writings, sayings, and life of Swami Vivekananda and the Ramakrishna Mission. That was when I was very small. In fact both my parents and specially my mother had very close connections with the Mission. And I can truly say that the words of Swami Vivekananda inspired the whole of my family, in our political work as well as in our daily lives.”