The Powers of Mind By Swami Vivekananda.

Mind is the most valuable asset we all have. Some people think that they can achieve everything by hard work, but its mind which makes everything possible in smart way. So Swami Vivekananda has showed us some of his facts about this power.
                                                 Our Mind is the most valuable asset we all have. And we should know how far it can go. But before that we should know that how will it go that far. I was searching about some mind tricks. And I have tried so many, like solving tough puzzles, taking some online quizzes like IQ test and many other things. Some Algebra math problems and more. But when I had this part of Swami Vivekananda's Speech I came to know that, it doesn't matter how much fact you have and how many things you can with it? but how you gain those facts. If you are too focused you will be able to gain those facts and manipulate them into a great theory. This will make you wise and intelligent. But before that you need to be a good listener and a very good student. So here is that vivekananda sir's speech that made me think so.

(Delivered at Los Angeles, California, January 8, 1900)

All over the world there has been the belief in the supernatural throughout the
ages. All of us have heard of extraordinary happenings, and many of us have
had some personal experience of them. I would rather introduce the subject by
telling you certain facts which have come within my own experience. I once
heard of a man who, if any one went to him with questions in his mind, would
answer them immediately; and I was also informed that he foretold events. I
was curious and went to see him with a few friends. We each had something in
our minds to ask, and, to avoid mistakes, we wrote down our questions and put
them in our pockets. As soon as the man saw one of us, he repeated our
questions and gave the answers to them. Then he wrote something on paper,
which he folded up, asked me to sign on the back, and said, "Don't look at it;
put it in your pocket and keep it there till I ask for it again." And so on to each
one of us. He next told us about some events that would happen to us in the
future. Then he said, "Now, think of a word or a sentence, from any language
you like." I thought of a long sentence from Sanskrit, a language of which he
was entirely ignorant. "Now, take out the paper from your pocket," he said. The
Sanskrit sentence was written there! He had written it an hour before with the
remark, "In confirmation of what I have written, this man will think of this
sentence." It was correct. Another of us who had been given a similar paper
which he had signed and placed in his pocket, was also asked to think of a
sentence. He thought of a sentence in Arabic, which it was still less possible for
the man to know; it was some passage from the Koran. And my friend found
this written down on the paper.
Another of us was a physician. He thought of a sentence from a German
medical book. It was written on his paper.
Several days later I went to this man again, thinking possibly I had been
deluded somehow before. I took other friends, and on this occasion also he
came out wonderfully triumphant.
Another time I was in the city of Hyderabad in India, and I was told of a
Brâhmin there who could produce numbers of things from where, nobody
knew. This man was in business there; he was a respectable gentleman. And I
asked him to show me his tricks. It so happened that this man had a fever, and
in India there is a general belief that if a holy man puts his hand on a sick man
he would be well. This Brahmin came to me and said, "Sir, put your hand on
my head, so that my fever may be cured." I said, "Very good; but you show me
your tricks." He promised. I put my hand on his head as desired, and later he
came to fulfil his promise. He had only a strip of cloth about his loins, we took
off everything else from him. I had a blanket which I gave him to wrap round
himself, because it was cold, and made him sit in a corner. Twenty-five pairs of
eyes were looking at him. And he said, "Now, look, write down anything you
want." We all wrote down names of fruits that never grew in that country,
bunches of grapes, oranges, and so on. And we gave him those bits of paper.
And there came from under his blanket, bushels of grapes, oranges, and so
forth, so much that if all that fruit was weighed, it would have been twice as
heavy as the man. He asked us to eat the fruit. Some of us objected, thinking it
was hypnotism; but the man began eating himself — so we all ate. It was all
He ended by producing a mass of roses. Each flower was perfect, with dewdrops
on the petals, not one crushed, not one injured. And masses of them!
When I asked the man for an explanation, he said, "It is all sleight of hand."
Whatever it was, it seemed to be impossible that it could be sleight of hand
merely. From whence could he have got such large quantities of things?
Well, I saw many things like that. Going about India you find hundreds of
similar things in different places. These are in every country. Even in this
country you will find some such wonderful things. Of course there is a great
deal of fraud, no doubt; but then, whenever you see fraud, you have also to say
that fraud is an imitation. There must be some truth somewhere, that is being
imitated; you cannot imitate nothing. Imitation must be of something
substantially true.
In very remote times in India, thousands of years ago, these facts used to
happen even more than they do today. It seems to me that when a country
becomes very thickly populated, psychical power deteriorates. Given a vast
country thinly inhabited, there will, perhaps, be more of psychical power there.
These facts, the Hindus, being analytically minded. took up and investigated.
And they came to certain remarkable conclusions; that is, they made a science
of it. They found out that all these, though extraordinary, are also natural; there
is nothing supernatural. They are under laws just the same as any other physical
phenomenon. It is not a freak of nature that a man is born with such powers.
They can be systematically studied, practiced, and acquired. This science they
call the science of Râja-Yoga. There are thousands of people who cultivate the
study of this science, and for the whole nation it has become a part of daily
The conclusion they have reached is that all these extraordinary powers are in
the mind of man. This mind is a part of the universal mind. Each mind is
connected with every other mind. And each mind, wherever it is located, is in
actual communication with the whole world.
Have you ever noticed the phenomenon that is called thought-transference? A
man here is thinking something, and that thought is manifested in somebody
else, in some other place. With preparations — not by chance — a man wants
to send a thought to another mind at a distance, and this other mind knows that
a thought is coming, and he receives it exactly as it is sent out. Distance makes
no difference. The thought goes and reaches the other man, and he understands
it. If your mind were an isolated something here, and my mind were an isolated
something there, and there were no connection between the two, how would it
be possible for my thought to reach you? In the ordinary cases, it is not my
thought that is reaching you direct; but my thought has got to be dissolved into
ethereal vibrations and those ethereal vibrations go into your brain, and they
have to be resolved again into your own thoughts. Here is a dissolution of
thought, and there is a resolution of thought. It is a roundabout process. But in
telepathy, there is no such thing; it is direct.
This shows that there is a continuity of mind, as the Yogis call it. The mind is
universal. Your mind, my mind, all these little minds, are fragments of that
universal mind, little waves in the ocean; and on account of this continuity, we
can convey our thoughts directly to one another.
You see what is happening all around us. The world is one of influence. Part of
our energy is used up in the preservation of our own bodies. Beyond that, every
particle of our energy is day and night being used in influencing others. Our
bodies, our virtues, our intellect, and our spirituality, all these are continuously
influencing others; and so, conversely, we are being influenced by them. This
is going on all around us. Now, to take a concrete example. A man comes; you
know he is very learned, his language is beautiful, and he speaks to you by the
hour; but he does not make any impression. Another man comes, and he speaks
a few words, not well arranged, ungrammatical perhaps; all the same, he makes
an immense impression. Many of you have seen that. So it is evident that words
alone cannot always produce an impression. Words, even thoughts contribute
only one-third of the influence in making an impression, the man, two-thirds.
What you call the personal magnetism of the man — that is what goes out and
impresses you.
In our families there are the heads; some of them are successful, others are not.
Why? We complain of others in our failures. The moment I am unsuccessful, I
say, so-and-so is the cause of the failure. In failure, one does not like to confess
one's own faults and weaknesses. Each person tries to hold himself faultless
and lay the blame upon somebody or something else, or even on bad luck.
When heads of families fail, they should ask themselves, why it is that some
persons manage a family so well and others do not. Then you will find that the
difference is owing to the man — his presence, his personality.

Coming to great leaders of mankind, we always find that it was the personality
of the man that counted. Now, take all the great authors of the past, the great
thinkers. Really speaking, how many thoughts have they thought? Take all the
writings that have been left to us by the past leaders of mankind; take each one
of their books and appraise them. The real thoughts, new and genuine, that
have been thought in this world up to this time, amount to only a handful. Read
in their books the thoughts they have left to us. The authors do not appear to be
giants to us, and yet we know that they were great giants in their days. What
made them so? Not simply the thoughts they thought, neither the books they
wrote, nor the speeches they made, it was something else that is now gone, that
is their personality. As I have already remarked, the personality of the man is
two-thirds, and his intellect, his words, are but one-third. It is the real man, the
personality of the man, that runs through us. Our actions are but effects.
Actions must come when the man is there; the effect is bound to follow the
The ideal of all education, all training, should be this man-making. But, instead
of that, we are always trying to polish up the outside. What use in polishing up
the outside when there is no inside? The end and aim of all training is to make
the man grow. The man who influences, who throws his magic, as it were,
upon his fellow-beings, is a dynamo of power, and when that man is ready, he
can do anything and everything he likes; that personality put upon anything
will make it work.
Now, we see that though this is a fact, no physical laws that we know of will
explain this. How can we explain it by chemical and physical knowledge? How
much of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, how many molecules in different positions,
and how many cells, etc., etc. can explain this mysterious personality? And we
still see, it is a fact, and not only that, it is the real man; and it is that man that
lives and moves and works, it is that man that influences, moves his fellow

and passes out, and his intellect and books and works are but traces left
behind. Think of this. Compare the great teachers of religion with the great
philosophers. The philosophers scarcely influenced anybody's inner man, and
yet they wrote most marvellous books. The religious teachers, on the other
hand, moved countries in their lifetime. The difference was made by
personality. In the philosopher it is a faint personality that influences; in the
great prophets it is tremendous. In the former we touch the intellect, in the
latter we touch life. In the one case, it is simply a chemical process, putting
certain chemical ingredients together which may gradually combine and under
proper circumstances bring out a flash of light or may fail. In the other, it is like
a torch that goes round quickly, lighting others.
The science of Yoga claims that it has discovered the laws which develop this
personality, and by proper attention to those laws and methods, each one can
grow and strengthen his personality. This is one of the great practical things,
and this is the secret of all education. This has a universal application. In the
life of the householder, in the life of the poor, the rich, the man of business, the
spiritual man, in every one's life, it is a great thing, the strengthening of this
personality. There are laws, very fine, which are behind the physical laws, as
we know. That is to say, there are no such realities as a physical world, a
mental world, a spiritual world. Whatever is, is one. Let us say, it is a sort of
tapering existence; the thickest part is here, it tapers and becomes finer and
finer. The finest is what we call spirit; the grossest, the body. And just as it is
here in microcosm, it is exactly the same in the macrocosm. The universe of
ours is exactly like that; it is the gross external thickness, and it tapers into
something finer and finer until it becomes God.
We also know that the greatest power is lodged in the fine, not in the coarse.
We see a man take up a huge weight, we see his muscles swell, and all over his
body we see signs of exertion, and we think the muscles are powerful things.
But it is the thin thread-like things, the nerves, which bring power to the
muscles; the moment one of these threads is cut off from reaching the muscles,
they are not able to work at all. These tiny nerves bring the power from
something still finer, and that again in its turn brings it from something finer
still — thought, and so on. So, it is the fine that is really the seat of power. Of
course we can see the movements in the gross; but when fine movements take
place, we cannot see them. When a gross thing moves, we catch it, and thus we
naturally identify movement with things which are gross. But all the power is
really in the fine. We do not see any movement in the fine, perhaps, because
the movement is so intense that we cannot perceive it. But if by any science,
any investigation, we are helped to get hold of these finer forces which are the
cause of the expression, the expression itself will be under control. There is a
little bubble coming from the bottom of a lake; we do not see it coming all the
time, we see it only when it bursts on the surface; so, we can perceive thoughts
only after they develop a great deal, or after they become actions. We
constantly complain that we have no control over our actions, over our
thoughts. But how can we have it? If we can get control over the fine
movements, if we can get hold of thought at the root, before it has become
thought, before it has become action, then it would be possible for us to control
the whole. Now, if there is a method by which we can analyse, investigate,
understand, and finally grapple with those finer powers, the finer causes, then
alone is it possible to have control over ourselves, and the man who has control
over his own mind assuredly will have control over every other mind. That is
why purity and morality have been always the object of religion; a pure, moral
man has control of himself. And all minds are the same, different parts of one
Mind. He who knows one lump of clay has known all the clay in the universe.
He who knows and controls his own mind knows the secret of every mind and
has power over every mind
Now, a good deal of our physical evil we can get rid of, if we have control over
the fine parts; a good many worries we can throw off, if we have control over
the fine movements; a good many failures can be averted, if we have control
over these fine powers. So far, is utility. Yet beyond, there is something higher.
Now, I shall tell you a theory, which I will not argue now, but simply place
before you the conclusion. Each man in his childhood runs through the stages
through which his race has come up; only the race took thousands of years to
do it, while the child takes a few years. The child is first the old savage man —
and he crushes a butterfly under his feet. The child is at first like the primitive
ancestors of his race. As he grows, he passes through different stages until he
reaches the development of his race. Only he does it swiftly and quickly. Now,
take the whole of humanity as a race, or take the whole of the animal creation,
man and the lower animals, as one whole. There is an end towards which the
whole is moving. Let us call it perfection. Some men and women are born who
anticipate the whole progress of mankind. Instead of waiting and being reborn
over and over again for ages until the whole human race has attained to that
perfection, they, as it were, rush through them in a few short years of their life.
And we know that we can hasten these processes, if we be true to ourselves. If
a number of men, without any culture, be left to live upon an island, and are
given barely enough food, clothing, and shelter, they will gradually go on and
on, evolving higher and higher stages of civilization. We know also, that this
growth can be hastened by additional means. We help the growth of trees, do
we not? Left to nature they would have grown, only they would have taken a
longer time; we help them to grow in a shorter time than they would otherwise
have taken. We are doing all the time the same thing, hastening the growth of
things by artificial means. Why cannot we hasten the growth of man? We can
do that as a race Why are teachers sent to other countries? Because by these
means we can hasten the growth of races. Now, can we not hasten the growth
of individuals? We can. Can we put a limit to the hastening? We cannot say
how much a man can grow in one life. You have no reason to say that this
much a man can do and no more. Circumstances can hasten him wonderfully.
Can there be any limit then, till you come to perfection? So, what comes of it?
— That a perfect man, that is to say, the type that is to come of this race,
perhaps millions of years hence, that man can come today. And this is what the
Yogis say, that all great incarnations and prophets are such men; that they
reached perfection in this one life. We have had such men at all periods of the
world's history and at all times. Quite recently, there was such a man who lived
the life of the whole human race and reached the end — even in this life. Even
this hastening of the growth must be under laws. Suppose we can investigate
these laws and understand their secrets and apply them to our own needs; it
follows that we grow. We hasten our growth, we hasten our development, and
we become perfect, even in this life. This is the higher part of our life, and the
science of the study of mind and its powers has this perfection as its real end.
Helping others with money and other material things and teaching them how to
go on smoothly in their daily life are mere details.
The utility of this science is to bring out the perfect man, and not let him wait
and wait for ages, just a plaything in the hands of the physical world, like a log
of drift-wood carried from wave to wave and tossing about in the ocean. This
science wants you to be strong, to take the work in your own hand, instead of
leaving it in the hands of nature, and get beyond this little life. That is the great
Man is growing in knowledge, in power, in happiness. Continuously, we are
growing as a race. We see that is true, perfectly true. Is it true of individuals?
To a certain extent, yes. But yet, again comes the question: Where do you fix
the limit? I can see only at a distance of so many feet. But I have seen a man
close his eyes and see what is happening in another room. If you say you do not
believe it, perhaps in three weeks that man can make you do the same. It can be
taught to anybody. Some persons, in five minutes even, can be made to read
what is happening in another man's mind. These facts can be demonstrated.
Now, if these things are true, where can we put a limit? If a man can read what
is happening in another's mind in the corner of this room, why not in the next
room? Why not anywhere? We cannot say, why not. We dare not say that it is
not possible. We can only say, we do not know how it happens. Material
scientists have no right to say that things like this are not possible; they can
only say, "We do not know." Science has to collect facts, generalise upon them,
deduce principles, and state the truth — that is all. But if we begin by denying
the facts, how can a science be?
There is no end to the power a man can obtain. This is the peculiarity of the
Indian mind, that when anything interests it, it gets absorbed in it and other
things are neglected. You know how many sciences had their origin in India.
Mathematics began there. You are even today counting 1, 2, 3, etc. to zero,
after Sanskrit figures, and you all know that algebra also originated in India,
and that gravitation was known to the Indians thousands of years before
Newton was born.
You see the peculiarity. At a certain period of Indian history, this one subject of
man and his mind absorbed all their interest. And it was so enticing, because it
seemed the easiest way to achieve their ends. Now, the Indian mind became so
thoroughly persuaded that the mind could do anything and everything
according to law, that its powers became the great object of study. Charms,
magic, and other powers, and all that were nothing extraordinary, but a
regularly taught science, just as the physical sciences they had taught before
that. Such a conviction in these things came upon the race that physical
sciences nearly died out. It was the one thing that came before them. Different
sects of Yogis began to make all sorts of experiments. Some made experiments
with light, trying to find out how lights of different colours produced changes
in the body. They wore a certain coloured cloth, lived under a certain colour,
and ate certain coloured foods. All sorts of experiments were made in this way.
Others made experiments in sound by stopping and unstopping their ears. And
still others experimented in the sense of smell, and so on.
The whole idea was to get at the basis, to reach the fine parts of the thing. And
some of them really showed most marvellous powers. Many of them were
trying to float in the air or pass through it. I shall tell you a story which I heard
from a great scholar in the West. It was told him by a Governor of Ceylon who
saw the performance. A girl was brought forward and seated cross-legged upon
a stool made of sticks crossed. After she had been seated for a time, the showman
began to take out, one after another, these cross-bars; and when all were
taken out, the girl was left floating in the air. The Governor thought there was
some trick, so he drew his sword and violently passed it under the girl; nothing
was there. Now, what was this? It was not magic or something extraordinary.
That is the peculiarity. No one in India would tell you that things like this do
not exist. To the Hindu it is a matter of course. You know what the Hindus
would often say when they have to fight their enemies — "Oh, one of our
Yogis will come and drive the whole lot out!" It is the extreme belief of the
race. What power is there in the hand or the sword? The power is all in the
If this is true, it is temptation enough for the mind to exert its highest. But as
with every other science it is very difficult to make any great achievement, so
also with this, nay much more. Yet most people think that these powers can be
easily gained. How many are the years you take to make a fortune? Think of
that! First, how many years do you take to learn electrical science or
engineering? And then you have to work all the rest of your life.
Again, most of the other sciences deal with things that do not move, that are
fixed. You can analyse the chair, the chair does not fly from you. But this
science deals with the mind, which moves all the time; the moment you want to
study it, it slips. Now the mind is in one mood, the next moment, perhaps, it is
different, changing, changing all the time. In the midst of all this change it has
to be studied, understood, grasped, and controlled. How much more difficult,
then, is this science! It requires rigorous training. People ask me why I do not
give them practical lessons. Why, it is no joke. I stand upon this platform
talking to you and you go home and find no benefit; nor do I. Then you say, "It
is all bosh." It is because you wanted to make a bosh of it. I know very little of
this science, but the little that I gained I worked for thirty years of my life, and
for six years I have been telling people the little that I know. It took me thirty
years to learn it; thirty years of hard struggle. Sometimes I worked at it twenty
hours during the twenty-four; sometimes I slept only one hour in the night;
sometimes I worked whole nights; sometimes I lived in places where there was
hardly a sound, hardly a breath; sometimes I had to live in caves. Think of that.
And yet I know little or nothing; I have barely touched the hem of the garment
of this science. But I can understand that it is true and vast and wonderful.
Now, if there is any one amongst you who really wants to study this science, he
will have to start with that sort of determination, the same as, nay even more
than, that which he puts into any business of life.
And what an amount of attention does business require, and what a rigorous
taskmaster it is! Even if the father, the mother, the wife, or the child dies,
business cannot stop! Even if the heart is breaking, we still have to go to our
place of business, when every hour of work is a pang. That is business, and we
think that it is just, that it is right.
This science calls for more application than any business can ever require.
Many men can succeed in business; very few in this. Because so much depends
upon the particular constitution of the person studying it. As in business all
may not make a fortune, but everyone can make something, so in the study of
this science each one can get a glimpse which will convince him of its truth and
of the fact that there have been men who realised it fully.
This is the outline of the science. It stands upon its own feet and in its own
light, and challenges comparison with any other science. There have been
charlatans, there have been magicians, there have been cheats, and more here
than in any other field. Why? For the same reason, that the more profitable the
business, the greater the number of charlatans and cheats. But that is no reason
why the business should not be good. And one thing more; it may be good
intellectual gymnastics to listen to all the arguments and an intellectual
satisfaction to hear of wonderful things. But, if any one of you really wants to
learn something beyond that, merely attending lectures will not do. That cannot
be taught in lectures, for it is life; and life can only convey life. If there are any
amongst you who are really determined to learn it, I shall be very glad to help


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