Gospel of Strength by Swami Vivekanada - Part 4

The source of strength – Soul

What we need is strength; who will give us strength? There are thousands to weaken us and of stories we had had enough. Every one of our Puranas, if you press it, gives out stories enough to fill three-fourths of the libraries of the world. Everything that can weaken us as a race we have had for the last thousand years… Therefore, my friends, as one of your blood, as one that lives and dies with you, let me tell you that we want strength, strength and every time strength. And the Upanishads are the great mine of strength. Therein lies strength enough to invigorate the whole world; the whole world can be vivified, made strong, energized through them.

Strength, strength is what the Upanishads speak to me from every page. This is the one great thing to remember, it has been the one great lesson I have been taught in my life.

Strength, it says strength, O man be not weak. Are there no human weaknesses? – says man. There are, say the Upanishads, but will more weakness heal them? Would you try to wash dirt with dirt? Will sin cure sin? Will weakness cure Weakness? Strength, O man strength, says the Upanishads, stand up and be strong.

First step is getting strength is to uphold the Upanishads and believe “I am soul,” “ Me the sword cannot cut; nor weapons pierce; me the fire cannot burn; me the air cannot dry; I am the Omnipotent, I am the Omniscient.” So repeat these blessed saving words and be strong.

You must know what you are, what your real nature is. You must become conscious of that infinite nature within. Then you bondage will burst.

Think all of you that you are the infinitely powerful Atman, and see what strength comes out.

“Knowledge is Power,” says the proverb. Does it not? It is through knowledge that power comes. Man has got to know that he is a man of infinite power and strength. Really he himself is by his own. And this he must know. And the more he becomes conscious of his own Self, the more he manifests this power, and his bonds break and at last he becomes free.

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 superstitious. And all such ideas as we can do this or cannot do that are superstitious. We can do everything. The Vedanta teaches men to have faith in themselves first.. Not believing 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.

Always talk and hear and reason about this atman. By continuing to practice in this way, you will find in time that the Lion (Brahman) will wake up in you too.

The self within is always shining forth resplendent. Turning away from the people say, I I, I, with their attention held up by this material body, this queer cage of flesh and bones. This is the root cause of all weakness.

Hear day and night that you are that soul. Repeat it to yourselves day and night till it enters into your very veins, till it tingles in every drop of blood, till it is in your flesh and bone. Let the whole body be full of that one ideal, “I am the birth less, the death less, the blissful, the omniscient, and the omnipotent, ever-glorious soul.” Think on it day and night; think on it till it becomes part and parcel of your life. Meditate upon it.. All your actions will be magnified, transformed, deified, by the very power of thought. If matter is power, though is omnipotent. Bring this though to bear upon your life, fill yourselves with the thought of your almightiness, your majesty and your glory.

These conceptions of Vedanta must come out, must remain not only in the forest, not only in the cave, but they must come out to work at the bar and the bench, in the pulpit, and in the cottage of the poor man, with the fishermen that are catching fish, and with the students that are studying.. If the fisherman thinks that he is the spirit he will be a better fisherman; if the student thinks that he is the spirit, he will be a better student. If the lawyer thinks that he is the spirit, he will be a better lawyer and so on…

You have now to make the character of Mahavira [Hanuman] your ideal… He was a perfect master of his senses and wonderfully sagacious. You have now to build your life on this great ideal of personal service. Through that, all the other ideals with gradually manifest in life. Obedience to the guru without questioning and strict observance of Bramacharya – this is the secret of success. As on the one hand hanuman represents the ideal of service, so on the other he represents leonine courage, striking the whole world with awe.

Keep aside for the present the vrindavan aspect of shri Krishna and spread far and wide the worship of shri Krishna roaring Gita out, with the voice of a lion… We now mostly need the ideal of a hero with the tremendous spirit of Rajas thrilling through his veins from head to foot… the hero whose armor is renunciation, whose sword is wisdom. We want now the spirit of brave warrior in the battlefield of life, and not of the wooing lover who looks upon life as a pleasure-garden!

This is the only prayer we should have… to tell ourselves, and to tell everybody else that we are divine. And as we go on repeating this, “I am divine, I am divine,” strength comes. He who falters at first will get stronger and stronger, and the voice will increase in volume until the truth takes possession of our hearts, and courses through our veins, and permeates our bodies.

Are not drums made in the country? Are not trumpets and kettle-drums available in India? Make the boys hear the deep-toned sound of these instruments. Hearing from boyhood the sound of these effeminate forms of music the county is well-nigh converted into a country of women. What more degradation can you expect? Even the poet’s imagination fails to draw this picture!

The Damaru and horn have to be sounded; drums are to be beaten so as to raise the deep and martial notes… The music which awakens only the softer feelings of man is to be stopped now for some time. Stopping the light tunes the people are to be accustomed to hear the Dhrupad music. Through the thunder-roll of the dignified Vedic hymns, life is to be brought back into the county. In everything the austere spirit of heroic manhood is to be revived. In following such an ideal lays the good of the people and the country.