The Origins of “Arise! Awake!” – The Thundering Words With Which Swami Vivekananda Woke Up India

by Pulkit Mathur, The Spiritual Bee

A self-autographed photo of Swami Vivekananda.

“Freedom – physical freedom, mental freedom, and spiritual freedom are the watch word of the Upanishads.
They call upon the weak, the miserable and the down-trodden of all races and all sects, to stand on their feet and be free!”
– Swami Vivekananda

Arise! Awake! And Stop Not Till the Goal is Reached! These were the famous words with which Swami Vivekananda roused the sleeping soul of India, more than a 100 years ago.

In those days, India was labouring not only under the brunt of foreign colonial occupation, but also suffering from social subjugation at the hands of the hideous caste system. Because of these two factors, the Indian masses had become so physically, mentally and spiritually weakened; that they had completely lost their sense of self-worth and were wholly incapable of fighting for justice and freedom.

In such an atmosphere, arose Swami Vivekananda (among other enlightened teachers) who with his powerful teachings based upon the spiritual philosophy of the Upanishads, worked to re-awaken and re-energize the feeble minds of the people.

And when the mind of the nation, once more became strong, filled with inspiration, hope and courage; millions of people rose up to become social and political reformers, and subsequently the goal of physical freedom was attained within a just few decades. Such is the power of spirituality!

Now it is a little known fact, that in his clarion call of “Arise! Awake!” Swami Vivekananda was actually partially quoting a Sanskrit verse from the Kathopanishad (also spelled as Katha Upanishad), which was his most favourite Upanishad:

A Verse from the Katha Upanishad.

Translation: Arise! Awake! Seek the guidance of an illumined teacher and realize your true self. The path of spirituality is difficult, like walking on a razor’s sharp edge. (Yet, do not despair! Fill your minds with courage. Arise! Awake! And stop not till the goal is reached!)


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  • Jatinder Mander

    I wish i was born in Swami Vivekananda’s times, Need a teacher like him who can guide the path to realism.

  • Avik De

    When I was first introduced to this site I really captivated by your style of presenting the ideas of Vedanta. I share it with my friends also. I hope you will continue your journey to propagate this brilliant ideas among society. But more people should be informed about this site.
    Thanks
    Avik De

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    I have read and watch video shown on your site.i like answer and explanation.this is very first site which explain all spiritual question.i really thanks to all your team for good effort for mankind.keep updating and adding more video and explanation.
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    Gaurav kumar

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