The Book Review of “Selections from the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda”

I doubt if you would find this heavy book called “Selections from the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda” anywhere to buy outside India, because it was published in Kolkata, but if you do, don’t hesitate to buy it. And for those who would not have the opportunity to get it, in this post I will provide a long review of this life-changing book with many quotes. (I also found a great book by this guru on Amazon here.)

I recently had to go to Delhi and although things didn’t go according to my plans there, at least I found a book stall full of beautiful Swami Vivekananda’s books and I saw many interesting things in Delhi, including this one:

It seems that cow is the only customer here...

It seems that cow is the only customer here...

It looks as though the only reason the universe had a plan for me to go to Delhi was to get hold of these precious books, out of which one I am reviewing here.

Swami Vivekananda, the guru whose works are found in this book, is not the name I heard the first time when I bought this book. This name has been shown to me by the universe many times and one time I had the most amazing experience with this dead guru, which I will write about in my book to come.

I know that this guru really existed and was really spiritual, I found that out from my personal experience. And when I read a few of his books that further convinced me that Swami Vivekananda has the power to lift the veil of illusion of any genuine spiritual seeker.

In this book called “Selections from the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda” there is plenty of awareness lifting advice for those well on their way to enlightenment and some advice also applies for those who just started their spiritual development or are walking this path for some time.

It contains spiritual development advice, words of wisdom which can only be understood if pondered on for a while as well as swami’s opinion about the West and about India. This book covers a lot of aspects of people’s lives and the spiritual meanings of them.

Let me start the review of his book with an eye-opening quote that I found in the “Selections from the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda” book:

“It’s a tendency in Western countries in these modern times, to make a hotchpotch of the brain; all sorts of unassimilated ideas run riot in the brain, and form a chaos, without ever obtaining a chance to settle down and crystallise into a definite shape.”

Although Swami Vivekananda lived in the years 1863 – 1902, his opinion of the Western countries is still valid today. People in the Western world have so many thoughts and so many ideas in their heads that this indeed causes nothing more but chaos. How can anything complete manifest in their lives when their thoughts are incomplete and opposing each other?

So many people, when they find out about The Secret movie or become aware of the law of attraction in any other way, complain that they are unable to manifest anything. But because they are not consciously aware of the content of their minds, they don’t understand that they keep thinking thoughts which cancel out the thoughts they want to manifest.

When there is a chaos in one’s head it’s very hard to manifest anything consciously, almost impossible. Also, this chaos causes you to lose a lot of your energy and you also block your sixth sense. Meditation is the best cure for the chaotic mind.

Here’s another quote from the “Selections of the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda” book:

“So long as there is desire or want, it’s a sure sign that there is imperfection. A perfect, free being cannot have any desire.”

That is very true. The more you develop spiritually, the less desires you have. And then you come to the state of no desire at all. This stage is so freeing and so energy conserving. You no longer expend energy of wanting this or that, therefore this state provides you a great relief.

Only when you reach this stage you understand how much unbalance this constant wanting causes. Desires make one’s mind clouded with wrong perceptions and constantly clinging to something. When you desire something, you believe you lack it, which prevents you from seeing the truth that you already have it.

But the stage of being desire-free cannot be reached easily. It only comes as a reward of your constant spiritual development. A man sitting at home and watching TV for the entertainment would never get to this stage. It’s a stage achieved by earnest spiritual seekers.

What I’ve also noticed about this state is that once you achieve it, all the things and experiences you genuinely desired in the past come to you very fast. For example, only when I achieved this stage I was lead to the love of my life.

There’s no a “How To” way to achieve this stage. You simply have to work on yourself spiritually, you should try to become a good person not committing any sins and genuinely trying to understand God, for you to experience this complete disappearance of desires.

This book, “Selections of the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda”, gave me a better understanding of one aspect of spirituality. And that is the harm we do to ourselves by always indulging in pleasures.

Swami perfectly explains in this book how his guru taught him to view this issue. He writes that a person should understand that in this world every high is followed by a low. Therefore if you seek pleasures and indulge in them, sooner or later pains must come, because pain is the opposite to pleasure, it’s the other side of the same coin.

So one should understand that these states are eternally connected, that one cannot come without the other. And although pleasure is a good state in the mind of a human being, it should be avoided because it brings pain into your life too.

Therefore to have a happy life a person must be in the middle – neither being too excited because of pleasures, nor being unhappy because of pains. The person must not let his mind be influenced by anything negative or positive that happens, and this would save him from experiencing pleasures or pains.

You can only feel pleasure or pain when you get too mentally involved in what’s happening to you. This way you disturb your mind and leave a deep impression on it, which causes you to experience the opposite of that feeling in the future.

When you don’t let your mind to be impressed with your experiences, you leave your mind at peace and finally you get a real rest and a real understanding of the harm the pleasure/pain states do to you.

Only if you personally experience the freedom that comes from not impressing your mind with such states will you understand why it’s so important to keep your mind impression-free.

Swami Vivekananda talks in his works a lot about the purpose of work. People who work with the final reward of their work in their minds build more illusions in their minds and therefore feel like slaves of this world. However those who don’t expect anything as a result of their work and work because of the love of freedom, experience ever-lasting happiness.

It’s possible to work only for the sake of work and not because you expect something to happen as a result of your work. Try to work because you are, try to work because you were born in this world. The work done with this state of mind will advance you spiritually and will give you a lot of energy and fulfillment.

You should leave the fruits of your work to God. That’s where the fruits of your work belong anyway. So make your work a sacrifice to God. Work because you are alive, because God gave you this beautiful gift of life. And don’t concern yourself with the results of your work. Goods things are bound to happen to you if you work this way.

Here’s another insightful quote from the book:

“In our everyday life we find that the less the sense enjoyments, the higher the life of the man.”

How true this is. People surrounded with the newest toys of this world hardly have the time to think about their life plan, let alone spirituality. Whilst people living a natural life somewhere by the seaside in a hut are so in touch with their spiritual sides that they feel which step to take and what decision to make, they don’t need to use their minds for that.

People living a natural life don’t understand those who are in constant need of something new, of some new entertainment. They are happy with the life as it is, they don’t need to always introduce some new toy in their lives or always be preoccupied with something. They are just happy as they are. How far this is from the common Western man.

In the West the search for something new is like a disease. People think it’s natural, gurus teach it’s natural, but it’s not. It’s the trick of the economy, to make people think that they always need something new, so that they would go and make more money and never cease playing the rat race.

If you have this disease of always seeking for something new, whether a new boyfriend, new experiences, new technology or whatever, go for a month to some third world country and stay in some technology untouched place. This will heal you of all your mental diseases.

This is another quote that really resonated with me:

“When you are ready your guru must come – that is when your heart is pure. But most people say they are ready but they really aren’t.”

When people find out about spiritual teachers and how much they can help one in her spiritual path, they naturally want one. Some convince themselves to such a degree that they think they are completely ready for the guru but can’t find one.

Well you probably know an old saying that when the student is ready the teacher must come. This is very true, this is the law of nature. When you are ready for something, it must happen. Fooling yourself that you are ready for it won’t make it happen.

So when you are genuinely trying to improve yourself spiritually the teachers must come to help you along the way. Some of them you won’t be able to remotely call spiritual, but they will nevertheless teach you spiritual lessons. But the key here is to genuinely seek spirituality. Sitting at home, watching TV and complaining that your guru is nowhere to be seen will certainly not make you find one.

The interesting thing I read in the “Selections from the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda” was about healing of diseases. I suspected for a while now that those people who claim they can channel and those who heal diseases may not use the good forces for that. And this Swami Vivekananda confirmed too.

Some people are the channels of the demon entities. Demon entities are the souls of people who were really bad in their previous lives, and that’s why they have to now go through the stage of being low entities.

And those entities amuse themselves by constructing words on ouija boards, getting into a person for channeling or pretending to be the dead relative of those who are calling this relative. Those spirits can heal and talk truth, however it’s dangerous to mess with them, because they are demon spirits nevertheless.

I strongly suspect that one very well known guru who is channeling an entity is channeling a demonic entity. Because what this guru says is truth, with small grains of lies. So these lies easily slip through the not so developed minds of new spirituality seekers.

Like this guru can say that meditation is the way, but this guru also says that you should always indulge in your passions because that’s the way to happiness, which is not. It’s the way to the world of illusions, because passions equal sense-pleasures. Also, following your passions and following your calling are two different things.

What Swami Vivekananda also confirmed to me was that sometimes people live multiple times exactly the same lives. He explains that like when we throw dice, although we have many choices, these choices are limited. So we are bound to throw the same combination of numbers some time or another.

So the same goes with our lives. There are so many combinations of them that they seem unlimited, but in fact they are limited. And if you live millions and millions of lives you are bound to repeat the same life many times too.

When I get a deja-vu moment I feel that I am living the same life I lived many times before. And I think a soul consciously chooses to live such one life over and over again until all lessons are learnt. So when I get this deja-vu moment I know that I just made the same decision I made in a previous life, so I’m not improving myself.

There are countless other amazing insights in this book, so I really hope you will be able to get hold of it. If not, be sure to check out my Facebook updates as I will definitely include some quotes from this amazing book or get this book written by the same guru.

As for now I hope that this review has given you some more insights into the spiritual world. Always keep improving yourself spiritually, as this is the only way to true happiness and freedom.

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Simona Rich (444 Posts)

I live in tropical South India, ride scooter, meditate, do yoga and help people create fulfilling and unique lives. Read my story to find out how I changed my life.