Gospel of Strength by Swami Vivekanada - Part 5

Help Yourself:

[When a disciple pleaded helplessness, Swamiji thundered]

What nonsense are you talking? Within you lies indomitable power. Only thinking, ‘I am nothing, I am nothing,’ you have become powerless.

You do not deserve to live if you cannot help yourselves.

It is a diabolism to say,” I am so miserable.” Every man has his own burden to bear. If you are miserable, try to conquer it, try to be happy
Therefore, stand up, be bold, and be strong. Take the whole responsibilities on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny. All the strength and succor you want is within you.

It is a tremendous error to feel helpless. Do not seek help from anyone. We are our own help. If we cannot help ourselves, there is none to help us… this is the last and greatest lesson, and oh, what a time it takes to learn it! Just think of that huge mass of misery, and all caused by this false idea of going to seek for help!

There is no help for man. None ever was, none is and none will be… But you are spirit. Pull yourself out of difficulties by yourself! Save yourself by yourself! There is none to help you – never was. To think that there is, is sweet delusion. It comes to no good.

You may pray to everyone that was ever born, but who will come to help you? Help thyself out by thyself. None else can help thee friend. Get hold of the self, then stand up. Don’t be afraid. In the midst of all miseries and all weakness, let the Self come out, faint and imperceptible though it be at first.

The one great question asked by Vedanta is: why are people so afraid? The answer is that they have made themselves helpless and dependant on others. We are so lazy, we do not want to do anything for ourselves, and we want a personal god, a savior or a prophet to do everything for us… If everything is done for a man by another he will lose the use of his own limbs. Anything we do ourselves that is the only thing we do. Anything thing that is done by another never can be ours… All this running after help is foolishness.

You know, there are bullock carts... sometimes a sheaf of straw is dangled at the tip of the pole, a little in front of the bulls but beyond their reach. The bulls try continually to feed upon the strew, but never succeed. That is exactly how we are helped. We think we are going to get security, strength, wisdom, happiness from the outside. We always hope but never realize our hope. Never does any help come from outside.

We human beings are very slow to recognize our own faults so long as we can lay the blame upon somebody else. Men in general lay all the blame of life on their fellow-men or failing that, on God or they conjure up a ghost and say it is fate. Where fate and what is is fate? We reap what we sow. we are the makers of our own fate. None else has the blame, none has the praise.

You know in your inmost heart that many of your limited ideas this humbling of yourself and praying and weeping to imaginary beings are superstitious. Tell me one case where these prayers have been answered. All the answers that came were from your own hearts.

In your ignorance, every prayer that you have made and that was answered, you thought was answered by some being, but you answered the prayer yourself unknowingly. The help came from yourself, and you fondly imagined that someone was sending help to you. There is no help for you outside of yourself; you are the creator of universe. These words will burn up the dross that is in the mind, words that will bring out the tremendous energy which is within you already, the infinite power which is sleeping in your heart.

There is no help from anyone. That is the truth. There have been more gods than human beings; and yet no help. We die like dogs- no help. Everywhere beastliness, famine, disease, misery, evil! And all are crying for help. But no help. And yet hoping against hope, we are still screaming for help. Oh, the miserable condition! Oh the terror of it!

You have cried to all gods in the world. Has misery ceased? The masses in India cry to sixty million gods and still die like dogs. Where are these gods? The gods come to help you when you have succeeded. So what is the use? This bending the knee to superstitious this selling yourself to your own mind does not befit you, my soul. You are infinite, deathless, birth less. Because you are infinite spirit, it does not befit you to be slave. Arise! Awake!

Those that blame others- and alas! The number of them is increasing everyday- are generally miserable with helpless brains; they have brought themselves to that pass through their own mistakes and blame others but this does not alter their position. It does not serve them in any way. This attempt to throw the blame upon others only weakens them the more. Therefore, blame none for your own faults, stand upon your own feet, and take the whole responsibility upon yourselves. Say “This misery that I am suffering is of my own doing, and that very thing proves that is will have to be undone by me alone.”

If the whole responsibility is thrown upon our own shoulders, we shall be at our highest and best; when we have nobody to grope towards, no devil to lay our blame upon, no personal god to carry our burdens, when we are alone responsible, and then we shall rise to our highest and best