Activities of the Ashrama along the lines laid down by Swami Vivekananda – "Atmano Mokshartham Jagadhitaya cha" or "for the liberation of self & welfare of the world."
These words were spoken by Swami Vivekananda to Haripada Mitra
in Belgaum in October 1892 !
Men naturally differ insofar as their intellectual equipment and attainments are concerned. So religion must differ according to man’s temperaments; else they will never have satisfaction from it, nor will they derive the highest benefit from it.
The religion that will suit any particular nature has to be found out personally by the man concerned through a process of careful thinking, testing and experimenting. There is no other way. Study of religious literature, instructions of Guru, company of Holy men, etc. can only help him in his quest.
They do have good results…you can easily learn the meaning of those mantras…Even if you do not understand the meaning…when you sit for prayer, you have the feeling that you are doing something virtuous and not sinful. If you have the belief that you are doing something meritorious, then that in itself is enough to yield good results.”
One who wastes one’s energy in dabbling in other people’s affairs and in other aimless activities can hardly have any energy left for performing a desirable duty. The sum total of the energy that can be exhibited by a person is a fixed quantity. As such, if it finds an outlet in a useless way, it can no further be drawn on for any purposeful activity. One requires tremendous energy to realize the deeper truths of religion. That is why the religious books of all races advise the aspirants not to waste their energy in the enjoyment of sense objects, but to preserve it through continence and other means.”
One day in the course of conversations, Swamiji quoted verbatim, two-three pages from the Pickwick Papers.Wondering as to how a sannyasin could get by heart that much from a secular book, Haripada asked if he had read it quite a number of times before taking to Orders, Swamiji replied that he read it only twice, once when he was in school and again a few months back. When Haripada again asked how it was that Swamiji had such a wonderful memory while they did not, Swamji replied that one had to read with full attention what he was reading and that one must not fritter away the energy one draws from food.
Haripada Mitra had an idea that monks and holy men could never be stout and ever contented. One day, when I gave expression to this …, Swamiji answered in a bantering tone:
This is my famine insurance fund! Even if I do not get food for days on end, my fat will keep me alive, whereas your vision will be blurred if you do not get food for a day. And a religion that cannot bring peace to men must be shunned as a disease brought on by dyspepsia.
Many could not understand why a monk of such strong principles should mix so much with princes and Rajas. Countering this Swamiji explains:
Just compare the results one can achieve by instructing thousands of poor people and inducing them to adopt a certain line of action on the one hand, and by converting a prince to that point of view on the other. Where will they get the means for accomplishing a good project even if the poor subjects have a will to do it? A prince has the power of doing good to his subjects already in his hands. Only he lacks the will to do it. If you can once wake up that will in him, then, along with it, the fortune of is subjects will take a turn for the better, and society will be immensely benefited thereby.”
Swamiji advices Haripada Mitra:
Know it for certain that the ideas we entertain about others express themselves through our conduct; and even though we may not express these in words, people react accordingly. We see in the external world the same image that we carry in our hearts; nobody realizes how true the saying ‘The world is good when I am good’ is. From today try to get rid of the habit of finding fault with others, and you will find that, to the extent you succeed in this, the attitudes and reactions of others also change accordingly.
Haripada asks Swamiji of his conception of infinity to which Swamiji remarks:
They can be no two infinities…Time, that is to say such conception of time as days, months, years aeons, etc.,is determined for us chiefly by the motion of the Sun. Now, think of time seriously. What does it amount to? The Sun is not without a beginning; there was time when the Sun did not exist, and it is certain that a time will again come when the Sun will cease to exist. Time is infinite. By the term ‘space’ we understand the limited space delimited by the earth or the solar system, which is only as infinitesimal part of the infinite creation. It is quite possible that there is a space without any matter in it. So space is infinite. that which is infinite cannot be many; only one thing can be infinite. If there be two infinities, how would you demarcate their respective spheres? If you advance further, you will find that time and space get lost in each other. Still further advance will show that all things are infinite, but these infinite things are one in essence and not two. They are but different expressions of a single entity, and they must be one.