Swami Vivekananda: “Fight Your Way Out”

Wisdom can be preached even on a battlefield. The Gita [Bhagavad Gita] was preached so. There are three states of mind: the active, the passive, and the serene. The passive state is characterized by slow vibrations; the active, by quick vibrations, and the serene by the most intense vibrations of all. Know that the soul is sitting in the chariot. The body is the chariot; the outer senses are the horses; the mind the reins; and the intellect the charioteer. So man crosses the ocean of maya. He goes beyond. He reaches God. When a man is under the control of his senses, he is of this world. When he has controlled his senses, he has renounced.

Even forgiveness, if weak and passive, is not true: fight is better. Forgive when you could bring legions of angels to the victory. Krishna, the charioteer of Arjuna, hears him say, “Let us forgive our enemies,” and answers, “You speak the words of wise men, but you are not a wise man but a coward.” As a lotus leaf, living in the water yet untouched by it, so should the soul be in the world. This is a battlefield, fight your way out. Life in this world is an attempt to see God. Make your life a manifestation of will strengthened by renunciation.

We must learn to control our brain centers consciously. The first step is the joy of living. Asceticism is fiendish. To laugh is better than to pray. Sing. Get rid of misery. Don’t, for heaven’s sake, infect others with it. Never think God sells a little happiness and a little unhappiness. Surround yourself with flowers and pictures and incense. The saints went to the mountain tops to enjoy nature.

The second step is purity.

The third is full training of the mind. Reason out what is true from what is untrue. See that God alone is true. If for a moment you think you are not God, great terror will seize you. As soon as you think, “I am He,” great peace and joy will come to you. Control the senses. If a man curses me, I should still see in him God, whom through my weakness I see as a curser. The poor man, to whom you do good, is extending a privilege to you. He allows you, through His mercy, to worship Him thus.

The history of the world is the history of a few men who had faith in themselves. That faith calls out the divinity within. You can do anything. You fail only when you do not strive sufficiently to manifest infinite power.