On Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary (January 12) we invoke the revolutionary monk who sought to remind us of the immense potential we are all gifted with.
The soul was never born and will never die, and all these ideas that we are going to die and are afraid to die are mere superstitions. And all such ideas as that we can do this or cannot do that are mere superstitions. We can do everything. The Vedanta teaches men to have faith in themselves first. As certain religions of the world say that a man who does not believe in a Personal God outside of himself is an atheist, so the Vedanta says, a man who does not believe in himself is an atheist. Not believing in the glory of our own soul is what the Vedanta calls atheism.
To many this is, no doubt, a terrible idea; and most of us think that this ideal can never be reached; but the Vedanta insists that it can be realized by everyone. There is neither man nor woman or child, nor difference of sex or race, nor anything that stands as a bar to the realization of the ideal, because Vedanta shows that it is realized already, it is already there.
All the powers in the universe are already ours. We have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark. Know that there is no darkness around us. Take the hands away and there is the light, which was from the beginning. Darkness never existed, weakness never existed. We who are fools cry that we are weak; we who are fools cry that we are impure.
This Vedanta not only insists that the ideal is practical, but that it has been so all the time; and this Ideal, this Reality is our own nature. Everything else that you see is false, untrue. As soon as you say, “I am a little mortal being”, you are saying something, which is not true, you are giving the lie to yourselves, and you are hypnotizing yourselves into something vile, weak, and wretched.
Let the whole body be of that one ideal: I am the birthless, the deathless, the blissful, the omniscient, the omnipotent, ever-glorious Soul.” Think on it day and night; think on it until it becomes part and parcel of your life. Meditate upon it, and out of that will come work. Action will come. Fill yourselves with the ideal; whatever you do, think well on it. All your actions will be magnified, transformed, deified by the very power of the thought.
Source: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol II
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