Swami Vivekananda Quotes from His Chicago Speeches

Here are 15 thought-provoking and inspiring Swami Vivekananda quotes from his addresses to the World's Parliament of Religions. It may have been over 120 years since he uttered these words; but they are very relevant today.


- Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.

- I am a spirit living in a body. I am not the body. The body will die, but I shall not die.

- Consciousness is only the surface of the mental ocean, and within its depths are stored up all our experiences.

- Verification is the perfect proof of a theory.

- The present is determined by our past actions, and the future by the present.

- Science has proved to me that physical individuality is a delusion, that really my body is one little continuously changing body in an unbroken ocean of matter; and Advaita (unity) is the necessary conclusion with my other counterpart, soul.

- Come up, O lions, and shake off the delusion that you are sheep; you are souls immortal, spirits free, blest and eternal; ye are not matter, ye are not bodies; matter is your servant, not you the servant of matter.

- It is good to love God for hope of reward in this or the next world, but it is better to love God for love's sake.

- Science is nothing but the finding of unity.

- Thus is it, through multiplicity and duality, that the ultimate unity is reached.

- Superstition is a great enemy of man, but bigotry is worse.

- Man is to become divine by realizing the divine. Idols or temples or churches or books are only the supports, the helps, of his spiritual childhood: but on and on he must progress.

- Unity in variety is the plan of nature.

- If a man can realize his divine nature with the help of an image, would it be right to call that a sin? Nor even when he has passed that stage, should he call it an error. To the Hindu, man is not travelling from error to truth, but from truth to truth, from lower to higher truth. To him all the religions, from the lowest fetishism to the highest absolutism, mean so many attempts of the human soul to grasp and realize the Infinite, each determined by the conditions of its birth and association, and each of these marks a stage of progress; and every soul is a young eagle soaring higher and higher, gathering more and more strength, till it reaches the Glorious Sun.

- If anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written, in spite of resistance: "Help and not Fight," "Assimilation and not Destruction," "Harmony and Peace and not Dissension."