Sunday, January 12, 2014


On the occasion of the 151th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda let me post an abridged and updated version of a self help article which I had written many few years ago - I think I wrote this 14 years ago for our in-house magazine, in the year 2000.

I have posted this article on my blogs from time to time. 

I feel it is apt to post it again today on the Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda


Today, the 12th of January, is the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda (12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902)

I first learnt about Swami Vivekananda, sometime in the 1960’s, when I was a small boy and my father had taken us to visit Belur Math near Kolkata. 

At Belur Math I acquired a tiny pocket book called “Thus Spake Vivekananda”.

Whenever the chips were down, or I felt dejected, I referred to the inspiring gems of wisdom, distilled from the complete works of Swami Vivekananda, for instant motivation and strength.


Here is an inspirational gem of wisdom, a phrase from the sayings of Swami Vivekananda:
Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject as poison
I feel that the word “weak” is all encompassing.

The term “weak” embraces anything that creates in you a stressful situation.

This includes all negative emotions and feelings like anger, irritation, fury, worry, anxiety, frustration, despondency, depression, demoralization and, most importantly, unhappiness.

These negative emotions disturb your inner tranquility and equanimity, drains you emotionally and intellectually, and make you feel “weak” just like physical weakness.

Oh yes:

Unhappiness is Weakness

Unhappiness is Poison for the Soul


Now sit down in a quiet tranquil place, close your eyes, introspect, and try to think of all the things that make you feel negative,

Reflect and introspect on all your unhappiness-creators and unhappy situations.


These unhappiness creators can be anything, tangible and intangible, things, activities and persons, and include:

1. Toxic and incompatible persons, who irritate, annoy and hassle you
2. Foods and beverages (like Alcoholwhich don’t suit you and are physically detrimental to your health and well-being
3. Activities, social and personal, which may appear pleasurable, but which actually drain you out
4. Technology and Gadgets, like your cell-phone, which disturb your peace of mind

5. Strained Relationships, which are a source of unhappiness and cause stress in you

6. Any activity or thing that causes a guilty conscience within you

7. Disagreeable persons and unpleasant activities which are a stimulus for negative emotions like anger, worry, fear, etc and create negative vibes within you

Close your eyes, introspect and think about all aspects of your life - your work life, your home life, your social life.

Think about all the persons, activities and things that generate negative vibes, create stress and unhappiness in you, things that make you feel “weak”. 

Then, follow Swami Vivekananda's advice: 

Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject as poison 

Yes, you can do it in actual life.

Just “reject” all these “poisonous” things and people by avoiding them as far as possible.

Make an exhaustive list of all your 
“unhappiness creators” - all the things and people that make you “weak” - and try to reject them as “poison”.  
At first you may be a bit skeptical about this approach.

But when you start implementing, you’ll be surprised how much of it is in your own control to prevent unhappiness.


While, on the one hand:

1. You reject the things that make you weak and unhappy

simultaneously, on the other hand:

2. You must reinforce the things that make you feel strong and happy

Say NO to unhappiness creators

Say YES to happiness creators  

Yes, if unhappiness is weakness”, happiness is strength.
So simultaneously, reflect and contemplate.

Make a list of things and persons that give you strength and joy and make you happy and productive.

Include all the things and people that create positive feelings in you.

Then try to devote as much time and energy to doing these positive things and interacting with these morale boosting people that give you strength and make you feel good and happy.  

To put it in a nutshell, if you want to be happy:

1. Try your best to generate happiness vibes by doing things which make you “strong” and happy 

2. Try to reduce or even eliminate negative unhappiness vibes by rejecting” things which make you weak” and unhappy. 

(And if you want to be unhappy, just do the opposite - keep wallowing in negative vibes by encouraging your unhappiness creators and avoiding your happiness creators).


Whenever I feel unhappy, I realize that it is because I have allowed myself to be overwhelmed by my unhappiness creators.

And the moment I envelop myself with my happiness creators, I start feeling happy.

Remember this saying of Swami Vivekananda:

Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject as poison 

(Conversely, I say: Anything that makes you feel strong, imbibe as nectar)

Implementing this inspiring gem of wisdom from Swami Vivekananda is breathtaking in its simplicity. 

Try it - experiment - discover your happiness creators and unhappiness creators.

Start making your two lists and then you know what to do.

This works for me and I am sure it will work for you. I do feel unhappy at times, but I know why - and I know what to do.

Wish you a stress-free life filled with happiness.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this book review. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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