40 Swami Vivekananda Quotes Every Yogi Should Know

Are you feeling called to deepen your yoga practice, but a trip to India is not possible right now? The Swami Vivekananda quotes below offer profound guidance to yogis navigating the complex journey of self-realization. These words of wisdom can help you advance in your yoga practice on and off the mat.

So, don’t fret; you can learn a lot about this ancient practice without stepping into its homeland.

How? 

By seeking the teachings of the many great Hindu spiritual figures.

One of these is Swami Vivekananda, famed for introducing Hindu philosophies to the Western world.

While he may no longer be alive, we can connect to his timeless teachings through the words he shared in his talks, workshops, and classes. 


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Swami Vivekananda was a well-known Hindu monk. He was praised for introducing Indian philosophies, including Yoga, to the Western world. 

Swami Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Datta in 1863 and died in 1902. He studied under guru Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and became a leading disciple in the Ramakrishna Mission.

After spending many years in the monastery, Vivekananda had an inner calling to spread the universal principles of Hinduism to the rest of the world.

One of the most significant moments in Vivekananda’s life was delivering a speech at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893. He then spent several years in the United States and Europe, where he gave lectures to spread the message of Vedanta.

Swami Vivekananda and his teachings inspired people all over the world because he advocated for peace, love, and acceptance. He emphasized the universality of spiritual practices and encouraged mutual respect among different religions.

Another reason Swami Vivekananda was so inspiring was he believed in the importance of combining spirituality with social service. Throughout his life, Vivekananda advocated for social reforms, education, and the upliftment of the masses. 

1. “Fill the brain with high thoughts, highest ideals. Place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work.”

Our thoughts shape our reality. So, the more we fill our minds with high-vibrational, positive thoughts, the more success and happiness we will find.

2. “There is no limit to the power of the human mind. The more concentrated it is, the more power is brought to bear on one point.”

Here, Vivekananda highlights the importance of constantly learning and becoming an expert in one thing. Knowledge is power, so the more we know, the more powerful we become.

3. “Dare to be free, dare to go as far as your thought leads, and dare to carry that out in your life .”

This quote reminds us that to attain the life of our dreams, we must be courageous and take action. Thinking up an idea will get you nowhere; you must bring that idea to life.

4. “Don't look back – forward, infinite energy, infinite enthusiasm, infinite daring, and infinite patience – then alone can great deeds be accomplished.”

We have no control over our future when we focus on the past. To create the lives we want, we must keep looking ahead, not back. 

5. “Be a hero. Always say, I have no fear.”

Those who save lives and change the world are incredibly courageous individuals. Firefighters running into a burning building to save others is a fitting example.

1. “Believe in yourself, and the world will be at your feet.”

While it sounds like simple advice, we all struggle with self-belief sometimes. However, any wise and successful person will give you this advice – the first step to achieving your goals is believing you can reach them.

2. “The greatest sin is to think yourself weak.”

Like the quote above, Vivekananda teaches that how we see and think about ourselves determines the results we get in life.

3. “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, and live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, and every part of your body be full of that idea, and leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success; that is the way great spiritual giants are produced.”

This is such a powerful message. When we try to do everything, we will do each thing poorly or mediocrely. But when we focus on one thing, we can master it.

4. “Do one thing at a time, and while doing it put your whole soul into it to the exclusion of all else.”

This is a shorter version of the above quote. But what I like about Vivekananda’s message is that he tells us it is okay to say no to other things to focus on one goal/passion.

5. “You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you; no one can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.”

This is a beautiful reminder to trust your own voice above all others. While we can learn a great deal from other people, we already have a multitude of innate wisdom within us.

1. “You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.”

This is a very profound message. Many people seek out spirituality because they are struggling and need guidance. However, a massive part of any spiritual journey is about improving and nurturing your relationship with yourself.

2. “All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in our own mind.”

To me, this is one of the most profound Swami Vivekananda quotes, as it really makes you think. Everything humans have ever created, from airplanes to computers to medicine, started with an idea.

3. “The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.”

This is another deep one. Vivekananda is not talking about physical strength here, but inner strength. All our life experiences (especially the most challenging ones) help to make us stronger and more resilient. 

4. “The fire that warms us can also consume us; it is not the fire's fault.”

This is about the relationship between power and responsibility. Here, fire is a metaphor for something powerful that we find beneficial but can become dangerous if it goes out of control.

5. Youth is the best time. The way in which you utilize this period will decide the nature of the coming years that lie ahead of you.

This is a super wise quote that all young people should ponder. Our decisions in our youth often affect us in our later years. For example, eating junk food or taking drugs will determine our health later on in life. 

1. “Arise, awake, stop not until your goal is achieved.”

The message of this one is clear. Success comes from taking consistent action every day and not giving up. 

2. “On a day when you don’t come across any problems, you can be sure you are traveling the wrong path.”

This is a beautiful quote to reframe your perspective when you feel everything is against you. Here, Vivekananda reminds us that challenges, setbacks, and failures are signs that we are heading in the right direction.

3. “Each work has to pass through these stages: ridicule, opposition, and then acceptance. Those who think ahead of their time are sure to be misunderstood.”

For anyone starting a business or launching a new product, this is a reminder that the road to success is never smooth. Just because someone ridicules or rejects your work initially does not mean it is doomed to fail. 

4. “However we may receive blows, and however knocked about we may be, the Soul is there and is never injured. We are that Infinite.”

We are resilient creatures capable of picking ourselves back up. So don't feel discouraged by illnesses, setbacks, and failures; they cannot and will not destroy your spirit. 

5. “When an idea exclusively occupies the mind, it is transformed into an actual physical or mental state.”

We have ideas popping into our minds all the time. They come and go. However, if we choose one idea and think about it repeatedly, this increases its power and helps bring it into reality.

1. Who is helping you, don't forget them. Who is loving you, don't hate them. Who is believing you, don't cheat them.”

This is one of the most famous quotes from Swami Vivekananda, often referred to as the three Vivekananda golden rules. It essentially reminds us not to take our loved ones for granted, something we are all guilty of doing occasionally.

2. “Talk to yourself at least once a Day. Otherwise, you may miss a meeting with an EXCELLENT person in this world.”  

This quote emphasizes the importance of going within and listening to ourselves. It's particularly relevant in our fast-paced modern world where we are so busy listening to others that we often forget to check in with how we feel and what we want. 

3. “Relationships are more important than life, but it is important for those relationships to have life in them.”

Here, Vivekananda refers to the importance of nurturing our relationships with friends, family, partners, or children. Life can become so busy that we get caught up in ourselves and unknowingly neglect those most important to us.

4. “Anything that makes you weak – physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject it as poison.”

Everything and everyone is either lifting us up or bringing us down somehow. In this quote, Vivekananda tells us to choose everything carefully – who we spend time with, how we spend our free time, the foods we eat, etc.

5. “In a conflict between the heart and the brain, follow your heart. ”

I believe some situations require us to listen to our minds, while others call for us to follow our hearts, But what Vivekananda is saying here is that our minds can make up all sorts of untrue things out of fear. However, our hearts never lie. 

6.  “Neither seek nor avoid; take what comes.”

This is Vivekananda's way of saying go with the flow. There will always be certain things outside our control. Peace comes when we know when to release control.

7. “The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature.”

While following a religion or spiritual practice can positively impact our lives, we should always stay connected to our values and beliefs. 

8. “Stand up, be bold, be strong. Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders.”

We must take full responsibility for our lives and not rely on anyone else to make our dreams happen. The outcome of our lives lies in our hands, no one else's.

9. “The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.”

Here, Vivekananda tells us to do things out of selflessness rather than greed. Often, we do things for others because we want something in return. But Vivekananda's beliefs around success and happiness are that they only come when we do things without expectation.

10. “Struggle hard, and then if you do not succeed, you are not to blame.”

All we can do is try our hardest. If we know we have done our best, we will not feel guilt or self-blame if we don't get the desired outcome. 

11. “All love is expansion; all selfishness is contraction. Love is, therefore, the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore, love for love's sake, because it is the law of life, just as you breathe to live.”

Love has the power to heal. We never know how much we are helping someone by showing them love. Therefore, Vivekananda says having a kind and open heart is the secret to a fruitful life. 

12. “Condemn no one: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.”

Yoga teaches us universal love and acceptance. Vivekananda reminds us of this concept and points out that we cannot change or control anyone. We can only help someone if they want our help. 

13. “All differences in this world are of degree and not of kind because oneness is the secret of everything.”

This quote highlights another fundamental yogic concept –  that we are all one and the same. We all share the same needs; we all laugh, cry, and feel. 

14. “The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him – that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.”

Here, Vivekananda speaks of the truth that we are all part of the universe. Vivekananda suggests when we see everything as equal and divine, we become free. 

15. “We are what our thoughts have made us, so take care of what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”

Our thoughts carry energy, which is either toxic or positive. Negative thoughts are harmful, and this energy can manifest in the physical realm as negative experiences. On the other hand, positive thoughts can attract positive things. 

16. “Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.”

There is no absolute truth, as everything is relative. This quote can provide us solace both on and off the mat, preventing us from getting caught up in our own thoughts and beliefs. 

17. “Ask nothing; want nothing in return. Give what you have to give; it will come back to you, but do not think of that now.”

Here, Vivekananda references the law of karma. However, he emphasizes that this law only applies if we do good things with a selfless attitude, not thinking about what we will get in return.

18. “Feel nothing, know nothing, do nothing, have nothing, give up all to God, and say utterly, ‘Thy will be done.' We only dream of this bondage. Wake up and let it go.”

This quote relates to the yogic niyama, Isvara Pranidhana – surrendering to the divine.

19. “If money helps a man to do good to others, it is of some value; but if not, it is simply a mass of evil, and the sooner it is got rid of, the better.”

This is an interesting one. Many yogis see money as the root of all evil, but Vivekananda points out that money can help improve the world. So, we should seek to accumulate money to use for doing good rather than purely for personal gain.

20. “Be the servant while leading. Be unselfish. Have infinite patience, and success is yours.”

This is one of the best Swami Vivekananda quotes for yoga teachers and advanced yogis. It is about not letting your position or level get to your head but using it to guide and help others.

These Swami Vivekananda quotes serve as beacons of enlightenment, illuminating the path towards a deeper understanding of the self. Through Vivekananda's incredible teachings, we glimpse the true essence of Yoga, allowing us to take our practice (and spiritual journey) to the next level. Curious to learn more about the great minds of yoga? Check out our article about Patanjali.

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Gemma
Gemma

Gemma is a Certified Yoga Teacher of over 5 years. Aside from being a CYT 200, Gemma is also certified in Yin and Yoga Nidra. Gemma is passionate about sharing her expertise of yoga and wellness through words, guiding others along the path of personal and spiritual development. She is in LOVE with everything related to personal-growth and psychology. Aside from helping others find more peace and stillness, Gemma runs a kitten rescue project in Thailand, where she is currently residing. Gemma can be reached at gemmac@theyogatique.com, or you can connect with Gemma on LinkedIn.

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