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"Fear Not BE STRONG": Exploring the Powerful Teachings of Swami Vivekananda for a Fearless Life : A Book Review

Updated: Apr 30

"Fear Not BE STRONG": Exploring the Powerful Teachings of Swami Vivekananda for a Fearless Life : A Book Review
Photograph of the Book, 'Fear Not BE STRONG'

It was once said by Swami Vivekananda,

‘Do you know how much energy, how many powers, how many forces are still lurking behind that frame of yours? What scientist has known all that is in man? Millions of years have passed since man first came here, and yet but one infinitesimal part of his powers has been manifested. Therefore, you must not say that you are weak. How do you know what possibilities lie behind that degradation on the surface? You know but little of that which is within you. For behind you is the ocean of infinite power and blessedness…
Fill yourselves with the ideal; whatever you do, think well on it. All your actions will be magnified, transformed, defied, by the power of the thought. If matter is powerful, though is omnipotent. Bring this thought to bear upon your life, fill yourselves with the thought of your almightiness, your majesty, and your glory.’

(Above quote of Swami Vivekananda taken from the book, ‘Fear Not Be Strong’ written by Swami Tathagatananda)

Swami Tathagatananda was a Hindu monk of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna mission. He was a Minister and Spiritual Leader of the Vedanta Society of New York from November 1977 to June 2016. It is said that this is the first Vedanta Society in the United States, founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1895. He practiced philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, which is a school of Hindu Philosophy . In this book, he wonderfully brought out the ideas, advice and thought of the great spiritual monk Swami Vivekananda.

In one of his sayings on ‘Power of Thoughts In building Strength and Character’, he writes about Swami ji that addiction to materialism makes the mind restless; the imperishable spiritual truths make the mind peaceful. Swami ji says, “ Doing is very good, but that comes from thinking… Fill the brain, therefore, with high thoughts, highest ideals; place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work.”

One of the finest lines which I will ever remember of this book for which my respect for Swami Tathagatananda increased manifold is his writing simplicity and explaining a thought of Shri Ramakrishnan Paramahansa, Guru of Swami Vivekananda:

“Do not care for doctrines, do not care for dogmas, or sects, or churches, or temples or mosques; they count for little compared with the essence of existence in each man, which is spirituality; and the more this is developed in a man, the more powerful is he for good. Earn that first, acquire that and criticise no one, for all doctrines and creeds have some good in them. Show by your lives that religion does not mean words or names or sects but it means spiritual realisation. Only those who attained to spirituality can communicate it to others, can be great teachers of mankind. They alone are the powers of light.”

(Above quote of Swami Vivekananda taken from the book, ‘Fear Not Be Strong’ written by Swami Tathagatananda)

Swami Vivekananda wanted to inspire people to work and have a good health. In one of the sayings he taught,

“It is weakness, says the Vedanta, which is the cause of suffering. We become miserable because we are weak. We lie, steal, kill, and commit other crimes, because we are weak. We suffer because we are weak. We die because we are wealthy. When there is nothing to weaken us, there is no death or sorrow.”

(Above quote of Swami Vivekananda taken from the book, ‘Fear Not Be Strong’ written by Swami Tathagatananda)

"Fear Not BE STRONG": Exploring the Powerful Teachings of Swami Vivekananda for a Fearless Life : A Book Review
Photograph of the Book, 'Fear Not BE STRONG'

Swamiji wanted everyone to be strong and have courage to face adversaries. His sermons preached about holiness as well as ways to be brave and have strong nerves. The entire book have numerous sayings of Swami Vivekananda and any reader is likely to get motivated to move ahead and face challenges of life with determination.

Narendranath Datta was born on 12 January 1863, who was later known as Swami Vivekananda, was an Indian Monk, who followed Hindu Religion. He was a philosopher, author, religious teacher and one of the key disciples of Swami Ramakrishna.

Swami Vivekananda’s birth took place into the well-known family of the Dattas of Calcutta (now known as Kolkata). It was said that Rammohan Datta, the great grandfather of the Swami ji was a flourishing lawyer in the city of Kolkata. His Son was Durgaprasad, who later followed the Spiritual line leaving behind a Son Viswanath to perpetuate the line.

Narendrath’s father was Viswanath and his mother’s name was Bhuvaneswari. Narendranath’s father was a very generous human and had a passion for music and poetry. It was said during those times, since the family was devoid of any male child, Bhuvaneswari Devi did a special worship of Lord Vireswara (Siva) of Kasi and Narendra Nath was born of a prayer.

It was a very hard life for Swami Vivekananda, especially after the demise of the great saint Swami Ramakrishna. It was during those times and especially after the death of the monk, his devotees and admirers could not support his disciples. Hence the rent accumulated and remained unpaid. It was then Narendranath decided to convert a dilapidated house at Baranagar into a new 'math' (monastery) for the disciples who still remained during those times. This 'math' became the first building of the Ramakrishna Math.

"At the head of all these laws, in and through every particle of matter and force, stands One through whose command the wind blows, the fire burns, the clouds rain, and death stalks upon the earth. And what is His nature? He is everywhere the pure and formless One, the Almighty and the All Merciful. Thou art our Father. Thou art our beloved Friend."

(Extract from a prayer Swami Vivekananda delivered at the Chicago World's Parliament of Religions September 1893)

Narendranath in his younger days showed a very high nature of generosity. However, he used to have a high temper for which his mother used to pour cold water on him and used to make him take the name of Shiva. His disciples saw him as an ascetic who has seen that reality cares nothing for the attraction of lust and gold. Swami Vivekananda showed that the monk who understands the riches of this infinite world cares nothing about joys and treasures of the world, which are just like dust and ashes to him.

During early days, there were times when Swami Vivekananda did not have food so that others in the family may be nourished. In those days, the so-called middle class had to go through many financial constraints. As shared by the author, one morning when Swami Vivekananda woke up, he understood that there is less food in the home. He said to her mother that he has an invitation and he needs to go out. Some days he ate little and some days he kept fast. He couldn't tell these things to anyone outside.

Swami Vivekananda is still the source of generosity, bravery, humility and spirituality. Swami ji have travelled all across the globe, and there were days, when he had no food, starving, footsore and did not get food after days and days of walk, but still he continued and showed humility, patience and courage in times when any human could have crumbled under the circumstances, and may have given up.

The book ends with this words of Swamiji as written by Swami Tathagatananda,

“It may be that I shall find it good to get outside of my body - to cast it off like a disused garment. But I shall not cease to work! I shall inspire men everywhere, until the world shall know that it is one with God”

If you like reading Books on Spiritual Persons and learn about the thoughts of great souls in this world, this book may help you learn many facets of life from one of the greatest monks, Swami Vivekananda.

I read the book and if I have to rate the book on 10 Stars and 10 being the highest, I will give the book 9 stars.

(Please Note: The above are my own personal thoughts based on reading this book. Your views, facts, and opinions after reading the book may differ. You may please place your comment, if any facts written in this article need to be relooked.)

This is all from me in this short article. Hope you have liked my personal thoughts and opinions. Please share your views or comments on the Book Review and Recommendation of the book, 'Fear Not BE STRONG’ Vivekananda’s Message of Strength and Fearlessness, written by Swami Tathagatananda.

Thanks for visiting the Book Review and Book Recommendation website:

Thanks and Regards:

Mainak Majumdar, Book Critic


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