Inspirational Gem of Wisdom from Swami Vivekananda

Today  January 12  is the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda (12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902).

I first learnt about Swami Vivekananda  sometime in the early 1960’s  in 1962/63, I think – when I was a small boy  and my father had taken us to visit Belur Math near Kolkata (then called Calcutta). 

At Belur Math – I acquired a tiny pocket book called “Thus Spake Vivekananda”.

Whenever the chips were down – or I felt dejected – I referred to the inspiring gems of wisdom – distilled from the complete works of Swami Vivekananda – for instant motivation and strength.

On the occasion of his birth anniversary – let me tell you about my favourite saying of Swami Vivekananda – which inspired me – and which I try to implement in my day-to-day living.


Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:


Here is an inspirational gem of wisdom – a phrase – from the sayings of Swami Vivekananda:

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

I feel that the word “weak” is all encompassing.

The term “weak” embraces anything that creates in you a stressful situation.

Thus – “weakness” includes all negative emotions – and negative feelings like anger, irritation, fury, worry, anxiety, frustration, despondency, depression, demoralization etc – in a nutshell – any emotion that causes you unhappiness.

These negative emotions disturb your inner tranquility and equanimity – they drain you emotionally and intellectually – and make you feel “weak”  just like physical weakness.


Unhappiness is a negative emotion which drains you.

Hence – Unhappiness is Weakness.

Unhappiness is Poison for the soul.

Conversely – Happiness is Strength.

Happiness is Tonic for the soul.

Now – Dear Reader – how do you “reject as poison” – the “weakness” of unhappiness…?

The first step is to identify your “Unhappiness Creators”.


Now sit down in a quiet tranquil place – close your eyes – introspect – and try to think of all the things that make you feel negative, unhappy and stressed out.

Yes – think of all the things and people that create negative emotions within you.

Reflect and introspect on all your unhappiness-creators and unhappy situations.

These unhappiness creators can be anything – tangible and intangible – things, activities, persons etc.

“Unhappiness Creators” include:

  1. Toxic individuals andincompatible persons – who irritate, annoy and hassle you.
  1. Foodsand Beverages – which do not suit you – and which are physically detrimental to your health and well-being.
  1. Activities – social and personal – which may inititally appear pleasurable – but which actually drain you out.
  1. Technology and Gadgets –like your cell-phone –which disturb your peace of mind.
  1. Strained Relationships –which are a source of unhappiness and cause you stress and anger.
  1. Any activity – or a thing –that causes a guilty consciencewithin you
  1. Disagreeable PersonsandUnpleasant Activities – which are a stimulusfor negative emotions – like anger, worry, fear, etc – and create negative vibes within you.

Dear Reader – Please close your eyes – introspect – and think about all aspects of your life – your work life – your home life – your social life.

Think about all the personsactivities and things that generate negative vibes,create stress and unhappiness in you – all the things that make you feel “weak”.

Then – follow Swami Vivekananda’s advice:

Anything that makes you weak – physically, intellectually, and spiritually – reject as poison 

Yes – you can do it in actual life.

Just “reject” all these “poisonous” things and people – by avoiding them as far as possible.

Make an exhaustive list of all your “unhappiness creators”  all the things and people that make you “weak” – and try to reject them as “poison”. 

At first – you may be a bit skeptical about this approach.

But – when you start implementing this “mantra” in your day-to-day life – you will be surprised by the extent to which it is in your own control to prevent unhappiness.


While – on the one hand:

You reject the things that make you “weak” and unhappy

simultaneously – on the other hand:

You must reinforce the things that make you feel “strong” and happy



Yes – if unhappiness is weakness” – then happiness is strength.

So – simultaneously – reflect and contemplate.

Make a list of things and persons that give you strength and joy – and make you happy and productive.

In your “Happiness Creators” list – include all the things and people that create “positive feelings” in you.

Then – try to devote maximum time and energy towards doing these positive things – and interacting with these morale boosting people – that give you strength – and make you feel good and happy.


To put it in a nutshell – if you want to be happy:

  1. Try your best to generate “happiness vibes” by doing things which make you “strong” and happy
  1. Try to reduce or even eliminate negative “unhappiness vibes” by “rejecting” those things which make you “weak” and unhappy.

And – if you want to be unhappy – just do the opposite – keep wallowing in “negative vibes” by encouraging your “unhappiness creators” and avoiding your “happiness creators”…


Whenever I feel unhappy – I realize that it is because I have allowed myself to be overwhelmed by my “unhappiness creators”.

And – the moment I envelop myself with my “happiness creators” – I start feeling happy.

Remember this saying of Swami Vivekananda:

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

Conversely – I say: 

Anything that makes you feel “strong” – imbibe as nectar

Implementing this inspiring gem of wisdom from Swami Vivekananda is breathtaking in its simplicity.

Try it – experiment – discover your “happiness creators” and “unhappiness creators”.

Start making your two lists – and then you know what to do.

This works for me – and I am sure it will work for you.

I do feel stressed out and unhappy at times – but I know why – and I know what to do.

So – I try my best to make my “unhappiness creators” disappear – and I overwhelm myself with “happiness creators”.

Wish you a stress-free life filled with happiness.


Copyright © Vikram Karve
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All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Updated, Abridged and Revised version of my article written more than 25 years ago and Posted by me Vikram Karve at 9/26/2009 03:50:00 PM in this blog at url:  and  and  and and etc

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