Arise Awake And Stop Not By Swami Vivekananda Essay

Go and preach to all,
"Arise, awake, sleep no more;
within each of you there is the power
to remove all wants and all miseries.

—Swami Vivekananda

 Image source: Wikimedia Commons 
Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached is one of the most popular quotations of Swami Vivekananda. If you have gone to Vivekananda Hall of Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, Kolkata, most probably you have noticed this verse inscribed on the main stage of the auditorium. In Wikipedia (En)  we wrote an article on this verse.  Now in this website too we are going to write an article on the verse.

The verse Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached has its origin in Katha Upanishad. In Katha Upanishad, chapter 1.3.14, we see Yama suggesting Nachiketa—

उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत,
क्षुरासन्न धारा निशिता दुरत्यद्दुर्गम पथ: तत् कवयो वदन्ति |

It means—

Arise! Awake! Approach the great and learn.
Like the sharp edge of a razor is that path,
so the wise say−hard to tread and difficult to cross.

We find this verse many times in the works and writings of Swami Vivekananda. Now, let's make a collection of Swami Vivekananda's direct quotes on Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.

Swami Vivekananda's quotes

  • Advance like a hero. Don't be thwarted by anything. How many days will this body last, with its happiness and misery? When you have got the human body, then rouse the Atman within and say -- i have reached the state of fearlessness! Say -- i am the Atman in which my lower ego has become merged for ever. Be perfect in this idea; and then as long as the body endures, speak unto others this message of fearlessness: "Thou art That", "Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached!" If you can achieve this, then shall I know that you are really a tenacious East Bengal man.[Source]
  • Arise and awake, for the time is passing and all our energies will be: frittered away in vain talking. Arise and awake, let minor things, and quarrels over little details and fights over little doctrines be thrown aside, for here is the greatest of all works, here are the sinking millions.[Source]
  • Arise! Arise! A tidal wave is coming! Onward![Source]
  • "Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached"[Source]
  • Arise! Awake! and stop not till the goal is reached." Life is ever expanding, contraction is death. The self-seeking man who is looking after his personal comforts and leading a lazy life — there is no room for him even in hell.[Source]
  • Arise! Awake! Stand up and fight! Die if you must. There is none to help you. You are all the world. Who can help you?[Source]
  • Arise, awake; wake up yourselves, and awaken others. Achieve the consummation of human life before you pass off — "Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached."[Source]
  • Awake, awake, great ones! The world is burning with misery. Can you sleep? Let us call and call till the sleeping gods awake, till the god within answers to the call. What more is in life? What greater work? The details come to me as I go. I never make plans. Plans grow and work themselves. I only say, awake, awake![Source]
  • Children of the Aryans, do not sit idle; awake, arise, and stop not till the goal is reached.[Source]
  • Go and preach to all, "Arise, awake, sleep no more; within each of you there is the power to remove all wants and all miseries.[Source]
  • Hate not the most abject sinner, fool; not to his exterior. Turn thy gaze inward, where resides the Paramâtman. Proclaim to the whole world with trumpet voice, "There is no sin in thee, there is no misery in thee; thou art the reservoir of omnipotent power. Arise, awake, and manifest the Divinity within!"[Source]
  • I am born to proclaim to them that fearless message --"Arise! Awake!" Be you my helpers in this work![Source]
  • Let us proclaim to every soul: उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत — Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached. Arise, awake! Awake from this hypnotism of weakness.[Source]
  • Listen to what Yama says in the Katha Upanisad:  उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत । Arise! Awake! and stop not until the goal is reached![Source]
  • Proclaim the glory of the Atman with the roar of a lion, and impart fearlessness unto all beings by saying, "Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached."[Source]
  • Sacrifice your life for the good of others and go round to the doors of people carrying this message of fearlessness "arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached."[Source]
  • Sharp as the blade of a razor, long and difficult and hard to cross, is the way to freedom. The sages have declared this again and again. Yet do not let these weaknesses and failures bind you. The Upanishads have declared, "Arise ! Awake ! and stop not until the goal is reached." We will then certainly cross the path, sharp as it is like the razor, and long and distant and difficult though it be.[Source]
  • Your duty at present is to go from one part of the country to another, from village to village, and make the people understand that mere sitting idly won't do any more. Make them understand their real condition and say, "O ye brothers, arise! Awake! How much longer would you remain asleep!"[Source]

To young men of Calcutta

In 1897 after returning from the West, in the first lecture at Calcutta, Swamiji told—[Source]
उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत । — Arise, awake and stop not till the desired end is reached. Young men of Calcutta, arise, awake, for the time is propitious. Already everything is opening out before us. Be bold and fear not. It is only in our scriptures that this adjective is given unto the Lord — Abhih, Abhih. We have to become Abhih, fearless, and our task will be done. Arise, awake, for your country needs this tremendous sacrifice. It is the young men that will do it. "The young, the energetic, the strong, the well-built, the intellectual" — for them is the task. And we have hundreds and thousands of such young men in Calcutta. If, as you say, I have done something, remember that I was that good-for-nothing boy playing in the streets of Calcutta. If I have done so much, how much more will you do! Arise and awake, the world is calling upon you. In other parts of India, there is intellect, there is money, but enthusiasm is only in my motherland. That must come out; therefore arise, young men of Calcutta, with enthusiasm in your blood. This not that you are poor, that you have no friends. A who ever saw money make the man? It is man that always makes money. The whole world has been made by the energy of man, by the power of enthusiasm, by the power of faith.
. . .  . . .
Therefore, let me conclude by reminding you once more, "Arise, awake and stop not till the desired end is reached." Be not afraid, for all great power, throughout the history of humanity, has been with he people. From out of their ranks have come all the greatest geniuses of the world, and history can only repeat itself. Be not afraid of anything. You will do marvellous work. The moment you fear, you are nobody. It is fear that is the great cause of misery in the world. It is fear that is the greatest of all superstitions. It is fear that is the cause of our woes, and it is fearlessness that brings heaven even in a moment. Therefore, "Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached."

To young men of Lahore

From a lecture delivered at Lahore on 12 November 1897—[Source]
Young men of Lahore, raise once more that mighty banner of Advaita, for on no other ground can you have that wonderful love until you see that the same Lord is present everywhere. Unfurl that banner of love! "Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached." Arise, arise once more, for nothing can be done without renunciation. If you want to help others, your little self must go. In the words of the Christians — you cannot serve God and Mammon at the same time. Have Vairagya. Your ancestors gave up the world for doing great things. At the present time there are men who give up the world to help their own salvation. Throw away everything, even your own salvation, and go and help others. Ay you are always talking bold words, but here is practical Vedanta before you. Give up this little life of yours. What matters it if you die of starvation — you and I and thousands like us — so long as this nation lives? The nation is sinking, the curse of unnumbered millions is on our heads — those to whom we have been giving ditch-water to drink when they have been dying of thirst and while the perennial river of water was flowing past, the unnumbered millions whom we have allowed to starve in sight of plenty, the unnumbered millions to whom we have talked of Advaita and whom we have hated with all our strength, the unnumbered millions for whom we have invented the doctrine of Lokâchâra (usage), to whom we have talked theoretically that we are all the same and all are one with the same Lord, without even an ounce of practice. "Yet, my friends, it must be only in the mind and never in practice!" Wipe off this blot. "Arise and awake." What matters it if this little life goes? Everyone has to die, the saint or the sinner, the rich or the poor. The body never remains for anyone. Arise and awake and be perfectly sincere. Our insincerity in India is awful; what we want is character, that steadiness and character that make a man cling on to a thing like grim death.

This page was last updated on: 1 January 2014, 9:46 am IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
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Arise, Awake, and Stop Not Till the Goal Is Reached!

This clarion call of Vivekananda is essentially a mantra for the modern man. Vivekananda placed great emphasis on �awakening�; so what exactly does this awakening constitute? The fact that you are reading this article indicates that you are awake, right? Nay, that is being awake at the physical level. Real awakening is when one wakes up to the beauties of one�s own inner self. It is the realization that one�s body is a temporary �shell� and the real self, the �inner you,� is Atman [soul].

To attain self realization, one has to awaken to truth�higher levels of wakefulness. There are four such levels. The first is the apparent wakeful attentiveness with which we move about and busy ourselves everyday. We are very much like others, alert and aware, when thus awake. But Vedanta reveals four categories of wakefulness: the fully awake, the wakefulness of the mind only (as while dreaming), the wakefulness of the self alone (as in deep sleep), and the illumination of the self (awakening into the Over-self). These are named as Sthoola, Sookshma, Kaarana, and Mahakaarana [The Gross, The Subtle, The Causal, and the Super-cause].

The Upanishads say, �Get up, arise, awake�; time is fleeting fast. Use the moment while it is available, for the best of uses, the awareness of the Divine in all. When you die, you must not die like a tree or a beast or a worm, but like a man who has realized that he is Maadhava [God]. This realization is the consummation of all the years you spend in the human frame. (Divine Discourse, Kaakinada, 1965).

In the mirage of modern life, when one is forced to fulfill never-ending obligations and when responsibilities and burdens weigh on man with all force, how can one even think of realizing the indwelling spirit? The answer lies in realizing the fleeting nature (temporariness) of worldly objects. When man realizes that all he does is perishable and will not lead to real happiness, the burdens will cease to hold weight any further.

Baba often quotes a beautiful illustration: There was once a man traveling by train. While seated in the train, in the foolish assumption that the responsibility of carrying the luggage was on him, he placed the luggage on his own head. Would it have mattered if he had put the luggage on the train�s floor? The train was already bearing the burden of the man and his luggage. Modern man can be likened to such a traveler. While traveling through the journey of life, he places all worldly burdens on his own head. While in reality God is carrying both man and his burdens, he assumes all burdens on himself and invites worries and unhappiness.

It is man�s incessant desire to run after worldly objects that has caused the burdens to increase in the first place. When desires are controlled and work is done in a spirit of dedication to God, work then becomes worship and burdens lighten automatically. When God blesses man with a Volkswagen, he wants a Lexus. When he gets a Lexus, he wants a BMW. These desires are endless and with the progressive fulfillment of every desire, man unknowingly increases burdens. At first, man makes objects, such as cars, work for him, but when he has acquired them, these objects start making a man work (for their upkeep).

So do we need to throw away all our work and sit in laze? NO! Baba, through his own life, has shown us the value of work. He is working every second to teach us the importance of seva [selfless service]. The work done by Swami, however, is suffused with love and is performed with a selfless motive. He does not seek any reward for his deeds. He is demonstrating that we too can work the same way. All our work can be done in a spirit of dedication to God.

A beautiful story comes to mind: One night a man had a dream. He dreamt that he was walking with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to him, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there were only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. �Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you�ll walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there are only one set of footprints. I don�t understand why when I needed you the most, you would leave me.�

The Lord replied, �My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.�

The story illustrates God�s infinite compassion. Let us from this day make a commitment to ourselves. We will perform all our actions as if they were for God; let us spend our time in performing sadhana [spiritual exercises]; let us arise from our present states; awake to the beauties of our inner selves; and tirelessly march toward God until we achieve the GOAL (self realization).

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