These are the last few lines of Swami Vivekananda‘s poem To a Friend—
These are His manifold forms before thee,
Rejecting them, where seekest thou for God?
Who loves all beings without distinction,
He indeed is worshipping best his God.This poem was actually written in Bengali language (Bengali: সখার প্রতি). The original Bengali lines—বহুরূপে সম্মুখে তোমার, ছাড়ি কোথা খুঁজিছ ঈশ্বর ?
জীবে প্রেম করে যেই জন, সেই জন সেবিছে ঈশ্বর ।।
Swami Vivekananda asked to worship the living God. He told—[Source]. . . forget not that the lower classes, the ignorant, the poor, the illiterate, the cobbler, the sweeper, are thy flesh and blood, thy brothers.
According to Mohit Chakrabarti, writer of Swami Vivekananda, Poetic Visionary—
Vivekananda’s concept of the living God has given a newer dimension of humanism and the spirit of humanism that he proclaims and preaches bears testimony to his untiring zeal for familiarizing humankind with the infinite reflections of the All Serene in every nook and corner of the world.
In this article we’ll attempt to make a collection of Swami Vivekananda‘s quotations and comments on his humanitarian concept worshipping jiva as Shiva, worshipping of the living God.
Worship the living God
Swami Vivekananda told—
- After so much austerity, I have understood this as the real truth — god is present in every Jiva; there is no other God besides that. `Who serves Jiva, serves God indeed’.” After some pause Swamiji, addressing the disciple, said, “What I have told you today, inscribe in your heart. See that you do not forget it.[Source]
- Bring all light into the world. Light, bring light! Let light come unto every one; the task will not be finished till every one has reached the Lord. Bring light to the poor and bring more light to the rich, for they require it more than the poor. Bring light to the ignorant, and more light to the educated, for the vanities of the education of our time are tremendous! Thus bring light to all and leave the rest unto the Lord, for in the words of the same Lord “To work you have the right and not to the fruits thereof.” “Let not your work produce results for you, and at the same time may you never be without work.”[Source]
- Doing good to others is virtue (Dharma); injuring others is sin. Strength and manliness are virtue; weakness and cowardice are sin. Independence is virtue; dependence is sin. Loving others is virtue; hating others is sin. Faith in God and in one’s own Self is virtue; doubt is sin. Knowledge of oneness is virtue; seeing diversity is sin. The different scriptures only show the means of attaining virtue.[Source]
- 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 after suffering all my life; all else is mere moonshine. . . .[Source]
- If one millionth part of the men and women who live in this world simply sit down and for a few minutes say, “You are all God, O ye men and O ye animals and living beings, you are all the manifestations of the one living Deity!” the whole world will be changed in half an hour. Instead of throwing tremendous bomb-shells of hatred into every corner, instead of projecting currents of jealousy and of evil thought, in every country people will think that it is all He. He is all that you see and feel. How can you see evil until there is evil in you? How can you see the thief, unless he is there, sitting in the heart of your heart? How can you see the murderer until you are yourself the murderer? Be good, and evil will vanish for you. The whole universe will thus be changed. This is the greatest gain to society.[Source]
- If you want any good to come, just throw your ceremonials overboard and worship the Living God, the Man-God—every being that wears a human form—God in His universal as well as individual aspect. The universal aspect of God means this world, and worshipping it means serving it—this indeed is work, not indulging in ceremonials. Neither is it work to cogitate as to whether the rice-plate should be placed in front of the God for ten minutes or for half an hour—that is called lunacy. Millions of rupees have been spent only that the templedoors at Varanasi or Vrindaban may play at opening and shutting all day long! Now the Lord is having His toilet, now He is taking His meals, now He is busy on something else we know not what. … And all this, while the Living God is dying for want of food, for want of education! The banias of Bombay are erecting hospitals for bugs—while they would do nothing for men even if they die! You have not the brain to understand this simple thing—that it is a plague with our country, and lunatic asylums are rife all over. … Let some of you spread like fire, and preach this worship of the universal aspect of the Godhead—a thing that was never undertaken before in our country. No quarrelling with people, we must be friends with all. …[Source]
- Look upon every man, woman, and every one as God. You cannot help anyone, you can only serve: serve the children of the Lord, serve the Lord Himself, if you have the privilege. If the Lord grants that you can help any one of His children, blessed you are; do not think too much of yourselves. Blessed you are that that privilege was given to you when others had it not. Do it only as a worship. I should see God in the poor, and it is for my salvation that I go and worship them. The poor and the miserable are for our salvation, so that we may serve the Lord, coming in the shape of the diseased, coming in the shape of the lunatic, the leper, and the sinner! Bold are my words; and let me repeat that it is the greatest privilege in our life that we are allowed to serve the Lord in all these shapes. Give up the idea that by ruling over others you can do any good to them. But you can do just as much as you can in the case of the plant; you can supply the growing seed with the materials for the making up of its body, bringing to it the earth, the water, the air, that it wants. It will take all that it wants by its own nature. It will assimilate and grow by its own nature.[Source]
- My children, the secret of religion lies not in theories but in practice. To be good and to do good — that is the whole of religion. “Not he that crieth ‘Lord’, ‘Lord’, but he that doeth the will of the Father”.[Source]
- The first of all worship is the worship of the Virat — of those all around us. Worship It. Worship is the exact equivalent of the Sanskrit word, and no other English word will do. These are all our gods — men and animals; and the first gods we have to worship are our countrymen. These we have to worship, instead of being jealous of each other and fighting each other. It is the most terrible Karma for which we are suffering, and yet it does not open our eyes![Source]
- This is the gist of all worship — to be pure and to do good to others. He who sees Shiva in the poor, in the weak, and in the diseased, really worships Shiva; and if he sees Shiva only in the image, his worship is but preliminary. He who has served and helped one poor man seeing Shiva in him, without thinking of his caste, or creed, or race, or anything, with him Shiva is more pleased than with the man who sees Him only in temples.[Source]
- We want to worship a living God. I have seen nothing but God all my life, nor have you. To see this chair you first see God, and then the chair in and through Him He is everywhere saying, “I am”. The moment you feel “I am”, you are conscious of Existence. Where shall we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being? “Thou art the man, Thou art the woman, Thou art the girl, and Thou art the boy. Thou art the old man tottering with a stick. Thou art the young man walking in the pride of his strength.” Thou art all that exists, a wonderful living God who is the only fact in the universe. This seems to many to be a terrible contradiction to the traditional God who lives behind a veil somewhere and whom nobody ever sees. The priests only give us an assurance that if we follow them, listen to their admonitions, and walk in the way they mark out for us — then when we die, they will give us a passport to enable us to see the face of God! What are all these heaven ideas but simply modifications of this nonsensical priestcraft?[Source]
- You must give your body, mind, and speech to “the welfare of the world”. You have read— “मातृदेवो भव, पिरृदेवो भव — Look upon your mother as God, look upon your father as God” — but I say “दरिद्रदेवो भव, मूर्खदेवो भव — The poor, the illiterate, the ignorant, the afflicted — let these be your God.” Know that service to these alone is the highest religion.[Source]
- Chakrabarti, Mohit (1 January 1998). Swami Vivekananda, Poetic Visionary. M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. pp. 137–. ISBN 978-81-7533-075-7.