Fiery words of Swami Vivekananda: Superstition-Deadly Poison (1)

  •  Superstition is a great enemy of man.
  • I would rather see everyone of you rank atheists than superstitious fools, for the atheist is alive any you can make something out of him.  But if superstition enters, the brain is gone, the brain is softening, degradation has seized upon the life.
  • You had better die as an unbeliever than be played upon by cheats and jugglers.  The power of reasoning was given you for use.  Show then that you have used it properly.
  • I am sure God will pardon a man who will use his reason and cannot believe, rather than a man who believes blindly instead of using the faculties He has given him.
  • One must have a strong brain, a clear mind free of nonsensical ideas; he must pierce through the mass of superstitions encrusting his mind to the pure truth that is in his inmost Self.  Then he will know that all perfections, all power are already within himself, that these have not to be given him by others.
  • Believe not because an old manuscript has been produced, because it has been handed down to you from your forefathers, because your friends want you to- but think for yourself; search truth for yourself; realize it yourself… Soft-brained men, weak-minded, chicken- hearted cannot find the truth.
  • Brave, bold men, these are what we want.  What we want is vigour in the blood, strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel not softening namby- pamby ideas… Avoid all mystery.   There is no mystery in religion.
  • In religion, as in all other matters, discard everything that weakens you, have nothing to do with it.  Mystery- mongering weakens the human brain.
  • Mystery- mongering and superstition are always signs of weakness.  These are always signs of degradation and of death.  Therefore beware of them; be strong, and stand on your own feet.
  • Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually and spiritually, reject as poison; there is no life in it, it cannot be true. These mysticism, in spite of some grains of truth in them, are generally weakening.
  • Anything that is secret and mysterious in the systems of yoga should be at once rejected.  The best guide in life is strength.
  • I must frankly state that in my life-ling experience, I have always found “Occultism” injurious and weakening to humanity.  What we want is strength.  We Indians, more than any other race, want strong and vigorous thought.  We have enough of the superfine in all concerns.  For centuries we have been stuffed with the mysterious;  the result is that our intellectual and spiritual digestion is almost hopelessly impaired, and the race has been dragged down to the depths of hopeless imbecility.
  • Every system, therefore, which weakens the mind, makes one superstitious, makes one mope, makes one desire all sorts of wild impossibilities, mysteries, and superstitions, I do not like, because its effect is dangerous.  Such systems never bring any good; such things create morbidity in the mind, make it weak, so weak that in course of time it will be almost impossible to receive truth or live up to it.  Strength, therefore, is the one thing needful.
  • There must be freshness and vigour of thought behind to make a virile race.  More than enough to strengthen the whole world exist in the Upanishads… But it requires to be applied.
  • Religion is the manifestation of the natural strength that is in man… It is always a manifestation of strength.
  • I love my nation, I cannot see your degraded, weakened any more than you are now.  Therefore I am bound for your sake and for truth’s to cry,  “Hold!” and to raise my voice against this degradation of my race.  Give up these weakening mysticism and be strong… The truths of the Upanishads are before you.  Take them up, live up to them, and the salvation of India will be at hand.

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