There was a great prophet in India, Guru Nanak, born 400 years ago. Some of you have heard of the Sikhs, the fighting people. He was a follower of the Sikh religion.
One day he went to the Mohammedans' Mosque. These Mohammedans are feared in their own country, just as in a Christiancountry no one dare say anything against their religion. They think they have liberty to kill and criticise everybody who does not agree with them. So this man went in, and there was a big Mosque, and the Mohammedans were standing in prayer. They stand in lines; they kneel down, stand up, and repeat certain words at the same times, and one fellow leads. So Guru Nana went there, and when the mullah was saying "In the name of the most merciful and kind God, Teacher of all teachers", he began to smile. He says "Look at that hypocrite". The mullah got into a passion.
"Why do you smile?"
"Because you are not praying, my friend, that is why I am smiling".
"Certainly not; there is no prayer in you".
The mullah was very angry, and he went and laid a complaint before a magistrate, and said, "This heathen rascal dares to come to our mosque and smiles at us when we are praying; the only punishment is instant death, kill him".
The man was brought before. the magistrate, and asked why he smiled.
"Because he was not praying".
"What was he doing?" the magistrate asked.
"I will tell you what he was doing, if you will bring him before me".
The magistrate ordered the mullah to be brought, and when he came he said "Here is the mullah, explain why you laughed when he was praying".
He said, "Give the mullah a piece of the Koran [to swear on]. When he was saying Allah, Allah, he was thinking of some chicken he had left at home".
The poor mullah was confounded. He was a little more sincere than the others, and he confessed he was thinking of the chicken, and so they let the Sikh go.
"But", said the Magistrate, "Don't go to the church again. It is better not to go at all than to commit blasphemy there and hypocrisy. Do not go when you do not feel like praying, do not be like a hypocrite, and do not think of the chicken and say the name of the Most Merciful and Blissful God."
-- Let's think where we stand ?
Swami Vivekananda Lands at Vancouver, Canada
25 July 1895 : Inspired Talks
Continual attention to one object is contemplation.
When a stone is thrown into still water, many circles are made, each distinct but all interacting; so with our minds; only in us the action is unconscious, while with the Yogi it is conscious. We are spiders in a web, and Yoga practice will enable us like the spider to pass along any strand of the web we please. Non-Yogis are bound to the particular spot where they are.
What we need today is to know there is a God and that we can see and feel Him here and now. A Chicago professor says, "Take care of this world, God will take care of the next." What nonsense! If we can take care of this world, what need of a gratuitous Lord to take care of the other!
25 July 1897 : Letter To Marie Halboister
It is bad for a preacher to be young, don't you think so? I do, as I did all my life. People have more confidence in an old man, and it looks more venerable. Yet the old rogues are the worst rogues in the world, isn't it?
The world has its code of judgment which, alas, is very different from that of truth's.
So your "Universal Religion" has been rejected by the Revue de deux Mondes. Never mind, try again some other paper. Once the ice is broken, you get in at a quick rate, I am sure. And I am so glad that you love the work: it will make its way, I have no doubt of it. Our ideas have a future, ma chere Marie — and it will be realised soon.