The Power of the Mind

The Power of the Mind

by Swami Vivekananda

LOS ANGELES, JANUARY, 1900

    In every country, you will find individuals of extraordinary mental or psychic powers, bordering on the miraculous. The ancients of India studied these powers systematically, and showed that they could be acquired by practice. They embodied their findings in a science called Raja Yoga. One of their conclusions was that the minds of individuals were parts of an external continuum which they called the Universal Mind. It was this that made seemingly miraculous phenomena like telepathy possible. They held that such phenomena were not super-natural but natural. (Today, we take for granted waves that enable us not only to see and hear, but also burn, melt, cut, penetrate and carry information across space; we still do not know whether thought waves can do  these or more ! )

    Yet beyond mental or intellectual power lies another distinct dimension that gives extraordinary power to individuals to influence people. This can be simply stated as
power of the personality.

    “Compare the great leaders of religion with the great philosophers. The philosophers scarcely influenced anyone’s inner man, and yet they wrote most marvellous books. The religious teachers on the other hand, moved countries in their lifetime. In the one case …… it is a flash of light …… In the other, it is like a torch that goes around quickly, lighting up the others”

    The science of Yoga addresses the laws and methods which help man to grow and strengthen his personality. These laws indicate that behind the gross level of power
that we can physically sense, lie sources of power of increasing sutlety, the ultimate
one being the spirit. Man, both as an individual and as a race, is progressing, not only towards acquiring these deeper powers, but to an ideal beyond.

    “Let us call it (this ideal) perfection. Some men and women are born who can
anticipate the whole progress of mankind. Instead of waiting ….. they rush through
them (all the processes) in a few short years of their life. And we know that we can
hasten these processes, if we can be true to ourselves. ……. And this is what the Yogis say, that all great incarnations and prophets are such men. We have had such men at all periods of the world’s history, at all times ….. Even this hastening of the growth must be under laws. Suppose we 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 study of the science of the mind and it’s powers has this perfection as it’s real end.”

    “This science calls for more application that any business can ever require. ….. It challenges comparison with any other science. There have been charlatans, there
have been magicians, there have been cheats, more here than 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”

- Swami Vivekananda