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Faith in One's Self
- Swami Vivekananda

Faith, faith, faith in ourselves, faith, faith in God - this is the secret of greatness. If you have faith in all the three hundred and thirty millions of your mythological gods, and in all gods which foreigners have now and again introduced into your world, and still have no faith in yourselves, there is no salvation for you.

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. As soon as a man or a nation loses faith, death comes.

He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is an atheist who does not believe in himself.

Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin - to say that you are weak, or others are weak.

Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be.

Never mind the struggles, the mistakes. I never heard a cow tell a lie, but it is only a cow - never a man. So never mind these failures, these little backslidings; hold the ideal a thousand times, and if you fail a thousand times, make the attempt once more.

The remedy for weakness is not brooding over weakness, but thinking of strength.

Be strong, my young friends; that is my advice to you. You will be neared to Heaven through football than through the study of the Gita. These are bold words; but I have to say them, for I love you. I know where the shoe pinches. I have gained a little experience. You will understand the Gita better with your biceps, your muscles, a little stronger.

This is the great fact; strength is life, weakness is death. Strength is felicity, life eternal, immortal; weakness is constant strain and misery: weakness is death.

To succeed, you must have tremendous perseverance, tremendous will, 'I will drink the ocean', says the persevering soul, 'at my will mountains will crumble up.' Have that sort of energy, that sort of will, work hard, and you will reach the goal.

Be not in despair; the way is very difficult, like walking on the edge of a razor; yet despair not, arise, awake, and find the ideal, the goal.

Let people say whatever they like, stick to your own convictions, and rest assured, the world will be at your feet. They say, 'Have faith in this fellow or that fellow', but I say, 'Have faith in yourself first', that's the way. Have faith in yourself - all power is in you - be conscious and bring it out.

Be of good cheer and believe that we are selected by the Lord to do great things, and we will do them.

What we should have is what we have not, perhaps what our forefathers even had not - that which the Yavanas had; that, impelled by the life-vibration of which, is issuing forth in rapid succession from the great dynamo of Europe, the electric flow of that tremendous power vivifying the whole world. We want that. We want that energy, that love of independence, that spirit of self-reliance, that immovable fortitude, that dexterity in action, that bond of unity of purpose, that thirst for improvement. Checking a little the constant looking back to the past, we want that expansive vision infinitely projected forward; and we want - that intense spirit of activity (Rajas) which will flow through our every vein, from head to foot.

Be moral. Be brave. Be a heart-whole man. Strictly moral, brave unto desperation. Don't bother your head with religious theories. Cowards only sin, brave men never, no not even in mind.

Go and preach to all, 'Arise, Awake, Sleep no more; within each of you there is power to remove all wants and all miseries. Believe this, and that power will be manifested.'

Proclaim the glory of the Atman with the roar of a lion, and impact fearlessness unto all beings by saying, 'Arise, Awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.'

Say, 'This misery that I am suffering is of my own doing, and that very thing proves that it will be undone by me alone.' That which I created, I can demolish…Therefore, stand up, be bold, be strong. Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny. All the strength and succor you want is within yourselves.

The ideal of faith in ourselves is of the greatest help to us. If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practised, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would have vanished. Throughout the history of mankind, if any motive power has been more potent than another in the lives of all great men and women, it is that of faith in themselves.

Faith, sympathy -fiery faith and fiery sympathy! Life is nothing, death is nothing, hunger nothing, cold nothing. Glory unto the Lord - march on, the Lord is our General. Do not look back to see who falls - forward - onward! Thus and thus we shall go on, brethren. One falls, and another takes up the work.

Imitation, cowardly imitation, never makes for progress. It is verily the sign of awful degradation in a man. Ay, when a man has begun to hate himself, then the last blow has come… Therefore have faith in yourselves, be proud of your ancestors, instead of being ashamed of them. And do not imitate, do not imitate! Whenever you are under the thumb of others, you lose your own independence. If you are working, even in spiritual things, at the dictation of others, slowly you lose all faculty, even of thought. Bring out through your own exertions what you have, but do not imitate, yet take what is good from others. We have to learn from others, yea, that man who refuses to learn is already dead.

Work hard, be steady, and have faith in the Lord. Set to work… Keep the motto before you - 'Elevation of the masses without injuring their religion.'

Remember that the nation lives in the cottage. But, alas! Nobody ever did anything for them.. can you give them back their lost individuality without making them lose their innate spiritual nature? Can you become an occidental of occidentals in your spirit of equality, freedom, work and energy, and at the same time a Hindu to the very backbone in religious culture and instincts? This is to be done and we will do it. You are all born to do it. Have faith in yourselves, great convictions are the mothers of great deeds.

Perfect sincerity, holiness, gigantic, intellect, and an all-conquering will. Let only a handful of men work with these, and the whole world will be revolutionized.

If a man, day and night, thinks he is miserable, low and nothing, nothing he becomes. If you say yea, yea,'I am, I am', so shall you be; and if you say 'I am not', think that you are not, and day night meditate upon the fact that you are nothing, ay, nothing shall you be.. We are the children of the Almighty, we are sparks of the infinite, divine fire. How can we be nothings? We are everything ready to do everything, we can do everything, and man must do everything.

If you want to be great materially, believe that you are so. I may be a little bubble, and you may be a wave mountain-high, but know that for both of us the infinite ocean is the background, the infinite Brahman is our magazine of power and strength, and we can draw as much as we like, both of us, I the bubble and you the mountain-high wave. Believe, therefore, in yourselves