Om Shree Matre Namah
This is an attempt to bring out lessons from Swami Vivekananda’s Complete works in form of quotes and questions. We believe this can make for easier and better understanding of the text.
Please note all of the quotes are from Swami Vivekananda himself. Please share your feedback in comments
Karma Yoga – Impact on Character
The goal of mankind is knowledge. Pleasure is not the goal of man, but knowledge.
Where does this knowledge come from?
No knowledge comes from outside; it is all inside.
True character of man
Watch a man do his most common actions; those are indeed the things which will tell you the real character of a great man. Great occasions rouse even the lowest of human beings to some kind of greatness, but he alone is the really great man whose character is great always, the same wherever he be.
Good and bad, misery and happiness, all are running towards Man and clinging round him; and out of them he fashions the mighty stream of tendency called character and throws it outwards. As he has the power of drawing in anything, so has he the power of throwing it out.
How do we build our future?
We are responsible for what we are; and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act.
Why do we work?
All work is simply to bring out the power of the mind which is already there, to wake up the soul. The power is inside every man, so is knowing; the different works are like blows to bring them out, to cause these giants to wake up.
How should we work?
Work for work’s sake.
Unselfishness is more paying, only people have not the patience to practice it. It is more paying from the point of view of health also.
Love, truth, and unselfishness are not merely moral figures of speech, but they form our highest ideal, because in them lies such a manifestation of power.
If you wish to help a man, never think what that man’s attitude should be towards you. If you want to do a great or a good work, do not trouble to think what the result will be.
What is the ideal of Karma Yoga?
The ideal man is he who, in the midst of the greatest silence and solitude, finds the intensest activity, and in the midst of the intense activity finds the silence and solitude of the desert.
He has learnt the secret of restraint, he has controlled himself.
He goes through the streets of a big city with all its traffic, and his mind is as calm as if he were in a cave, where not a sound could reach him; and he is intensely working all the time.
That is the ideal of Karma-Yoga, and if you have attained to that you have really learnt the secret of work.
How do we start our journey?
But we have to begin from the beginning, to take up the work as they come to us and slowly make ourselves more unselfish every day.
We may all hope that some day or other, as we struggle through the paths of life, there will come a time when we shall become perfectly unselfish; and the moment we attain that, all our powers will be concentrated, and the knowledge which is ours will be manifest.
Original Reference :
1. Karma – Its Effect on Character lecture by Swami Vivekananda