The day was the 12th of February 1963. Vishwanath Dutta and Bhubaneswari Devi welcomed into the world their son Narendranath Dutta, who would grow up to become Swami Vivekananda, one of the finest modern teachers of the Vedanta philosophy.
Vedanta literally means the end of or the highest stage of the Vedas. Swami Vivekananda was aware of the degradation of the Vedantic philosophy which had led to differences among people, causing countless sects among those who did not convert to foreign predatory religions but remained in the Dharmic fold. The contribution of Swami Vivekananda to enlighten people about the philosophy of Vedanta in his rather short span of life is simply incomparable.
How many of the so-called ‘pious ‘hindus” of today have even read the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, at least some of the prime Upanishads, or the Brahma Sutras? Social media is full of strangely dressed people with painted faces, those who are only further strengthening the feeling of duality in the minds of the masses. Each one starts his or her own ashram, cult, or whatever and breaks society into fragments with followers who haven’t the slightest clue of the essence of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, known as the nectar of all the Upanishads. There are also those who have read the Srimad Bhagavad Gita but have somehow conveniently either overlooked or misinterpreted certain parts of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, which explicitly and directly destroy all kinds of rites and rituals done with the aim of receiving something in return.
Below are some such Shlokas, which, if you happen to be a person with an open mind, can at least set you thinking.
SBG 2:46-42 Unintelligent people, who have minds full of desires, are attracted by the flowery statements in the Vedas, and they consider heaven as their highest goal. For them, there is nothing else higher than it. They speak about the rites as prescribed in the Vedas which get them good birth, power and enjoyment. They think that there is nothing beyond pleasure and wealthy life. People who are attached to such gratifications and power are carried away by these words, and they are not able to attain total determination to concentrate on the Supreme Bhagavan or Divinity.
SBG 7:19 Therefore, after innumerable births, the one who has perfected his or her wisdom, understanding fully My universal reality, surrenders to Me and such a soul is very rare.
SBG 7:24 Foolish people who do not know My formless, exalted, imperishable, and supreme nature think I assume a manifest human form.
SBG 9:23 Those who worship other deities with faith are also worshiping Me, but they are doing it without true understanding.
SBG 9:25 Those who worship Deities, go to them; those who worship ancestors, go to their ancestors; people who worship ghosts and spirits, go to them; and those who worship Me, will surely come unto Me.
SBG 10:20 I am the Self, O Gudakesha (Arjuna), situated within all living entities. I am the origin, the middle and also the end of all beings.
SBG 13:02 (13:05 in some editions)You should know that the Kshetrajna or the embodied Self in all bodies or Kshetras is Me, O Arjuna. Knowing about the Kshetra and the Kshetrajnas is called knowledge.
SBG 18:66 Giving up all your ideas of righteousness or religion, take complete refuge in Me. I will liberate you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.
Some famous quotes by Swami Vivekananda
“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care of what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”
“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, and none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.”
“All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.”
“The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him – that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.”
“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”
“Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin; to say that you are weak, or others are weak.”
“All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.”
“The will is not free – it is a phenomenon bound by cause and effect – but there is something behind the will which is free.”
“The Vedanta recognizes no sin, it only recognizes error. And the greatest error, says the Vedanta, is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature, and that you have no power, and you cannot do this and that.”
“If money helps a man to do good to others, it is of some value; but if not, it is simply a mass of evil, and the sooner it is got rid of, the better.”