80 Swami Vivekananda Quotes from His Karma Yoga Book

Swami Vivekananda published a great book about Karma Yoga in 1896. The Karma Yoga book was divided into eight chapters and short quotes from each chapter are listed out below.


    Karma in Its Effect on Character (Chapter 1)

  1. Pleasure is not the goal of man, but knowledge.
  2. Both pleasure and pain are great teachers.
  3. No knowledge comes from outside; it is all inside.
  4. All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in your own mind.
  5. Everything we do, physical or mental, is Karma, and it leaves its marks on us.
  6. Watch a man do his most common actions; those are indeed the things which will tell you the real character of a great man.
  7. Great occasions rouse even the lowest of human beings to some kind of greatness, but he alone is the really great man whose character is great always, the same wherever he be.
  8. No one can get anything unless he earns it. This is an eternal law. We may sometimes think it is not so, but in the long run we become convinced of it.
  9. We are responsible for what we are; and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves.

  10. Swami Vivekananda quotes: We are responsible for what we are; and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves.
  11. Work for work's sake.
  12. Love, truth, and unselfishness are not merely moral figures of speech, but they form our highest ideal, because in them lies such a manifestation of power.

  13. [Related: Beautiful List of Swami Vivekananda Quotes on Love]


  14. Self-restraint is a manifestation of greater power than all outgoing action.
  15. The lowest forms of work are not to be despised.
  16. If you want to do a great or a good work, do not trouble to think what the result will be. The ideal man is he who, in the midst of the greatest silence and solitude, finds the most intense activity and, in the midst of the most intense activity, finds the silence and solitude of the desert.

  17. Each Is Great In His Own Place (Chapter 2)

  18. To the man who has begun to hate himself, the gate to degeneration has already opened.
  19. He who has no faith in himself can never have faith in God.

  20. [Related: Faith Quotes from Swami Vivekananda]


  21. Inactivity should be avoided by all means.
  22. Resist all evils, mental and physical; and when you have succeeded in resisting, then will calmness come.
  23. Every man should take up his own ideal and endeavor to accomplish it.
  24. All the men and women, in any society, are not of the same mind, capacity, or of the same power to do things; they must have different ideals, and we have no right to sneer at any ideal.
  25. The apple tree should not be judged by the standard of the oak, nor the oak by that of the apple.

  26. The apple tree should not be judged by the standard of the oak, nor the oak by that of the apple. - Swami Vivekananda
  27. Unity in variety is the plan of creation.
  28. It is useless to say that the man who lives out of the world is a greater man than he who lives in the world.
  29. Even the most arrant coward becomes brave when the world praises him.
  30. A man must go about his duties without taking notice of the sneers and the ridicule of the world.

  31. The Secret of Work (Chapter 3)

  32. The gift of knowledge is a far higher gift than that of food and clothes.
  33. Ignorance is death, knowledge is life.
  34. Life is of very little value, if it is a life in the dark, groping through ignorance and misery.
  35. Ignorance is the mother of all the evil and all the misery we see.
  36. Every work that we do, every movement of the body, every thought that we think, leaves such an impression on the mind.

  37. Every work that we do, every movement of the body, every thought that we think, leaves such an impression on the mind. - Swami Vivekananda Quotes
  38. Real existence, real knowledge, and real love are eternally connected with one another, the three in one: where one of them is, the others also must be; they are the three aspects of the One without a second — the Existence - Knowledge - Bliss.
  39. With love there is no painful reaction; love only brings a reaction of bliss; if it does not, it is not love; it is mistaking something else for love.
  40. Attachment comes only where we expect a return.

  41. What is Duty (Chapter 4)

  42. Any action that makes us go Godward is a good action, and is our duty; any action that makes us go downward is evil, and is not our duty.
  43. Much of the oppression of powerful nations on weaker ones is caused by prejudice.
  44. Never judge the customs of other peoples by our own standard.
  45. No man can long occupy satisfactorily a position for which he is not fit.
  46. No man is to be judged by the mere nature of his duties, but all should be judged by the manner and the spirit in which they perform them.
  47. The position of the mother is the highest in the world, as it is the one place in which to learn and exercise the greatest unselfishness.
  48. The love of God is the only love that is higher than a mother's love; all others are lower.
  49. It is the duty of the mother to think of her children first and then of herself.
  50. Competition rouses envy, and it kills the kindliness of the heart.

  51. We Help Ourselves, Not the World (Chapter 5)

  52. The whole universe is a symbol, and God is the essence behind.
  53. Think of the power of words.
  54. The desire to do good is the highest motive power we have.

  55. The desire to do good is the highest motive power we have. - Swami Vivekananda
  56. All good acts tend to make us pure and perfect.
  57. Be grateful to the man you help, think of him as God.
  58. If there were no fanaticism in the world, it would make much more progress than it does now. It is a mistake to think that fanaticism can make for the progress of mankind. On the contrary, it is a retarding element creating hatred and anger, and causing people to fight each other, and making them unsympathetic.
  59. You need not worry or make yourself sleepless about the world; it will go on without you.
  60. We have to bear in mind that we are all debtors to the world and the world does not owe us anything.
  61. The world is a grand moral gymnasium wherein we have all to take exercise so as to become stronger and stronger spiritually.

  62. Non-Attachment is Complete Self-Abnegation (Chapter 6)

  63. If I do an evil action, I must suffer for it; there is no power in this universe to stop or stay it.
  64. If I do a good action, there is no power in the universe which can stop its bearing good results.
  65. The cause must have its effect; nothing can prevent or restrain this.
  66. A perfect life is a contradiction in terms.
  67. Life, itself, is a state of continuous struggle between ourselves and everything outside.
  68. In helping the world we help ourselves.
  69. True happiness consists in killing selfishness.

  70. [Related: All Swami Vivekananda Quotes about Happiness]


  71. Although a man has not studied a single system of philosophy, although he does not believe in any God, and never has believed, although he has not prayed even once in his whole life, if the simple power of good actions has brought him to that state where he is ready to give up his life and all else for others, he has arrived at the same point to which the religious man will come through his prayers and the philosopher through his knowledge; and so you may find that the philosopher, the worker, and the devotee, all meet at one point, that one point being self-abnegation.
  72. The bigot does not know that his own end and aim in life is exactly the same as that of those from whom he differs.
  73. This world is not for our sake.
  74. The greatest weakness often insinuates itself as the greatest good and strength.

  75. The greatest weakness often insinuates itself as the greatest good and strength. - Swami Vivekananda
  76. The course of nature will not stop for such as you and me.
  77. Nothing has the right to act upon you until you allow it to do so.
  78. The man that has practiced control over himself cannot be acted upon by anything outside.

  79. Freedom (Chapter 7)

  80. The law of Karma means the law of causation, of inevitable cause and sequence.
  81. This universe is only a part of infinite existence, thrown into a peculiar mold, composed of space, time, and causation.
  82. This whole universe is only one speck of the infinite being.
  83. Misery comes through attachment, not through work.
  84. With the sense of possession comes selfishness, and selfishness brings on misery.
  85. For whatever good work we may do, let us not claim any praise or benefit. It is the Lord's; give up the fruits unto Him.
  86. Men go out into the world and struggle and fight for money or for any other thing to which they get attached. Ask them why they do it. They say, "It is a duty". It is the absurd greed for gold and gain, and they try to cover it with a few flowers.
  87. Life and death are the same thing, looked at from different points.
  88. Seek no praise, no reward, for anything you do.
  89. He is the all in all; He is all and in all.
  90. Do good for its own sake.

  91. The Ideal of Karma-Yoga (Chapter 8)

  92. All religions and all methods of work and worship lead us to one and the same goal.
  93. That which is selfish is immoral, and that which is unselfish is moral.
  94. In the ocean, we cannot raise a wave without causing a hollow somewhere else.
  95. Disturb a sheet of water, and there you find every particle of the water trying to become calm again, one rushing against the other; and in the same way all the phenomena which we call the universe — all things therein — are struggling to get back to the state of perfect balance.


There it is! 80 Swami Vivekananda quotes from his Karma Yoga book.


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