I received these quotes from Chris Tong.
And just to remind all of us that Swami Vivekananda did NOT
exclusively promote the contemporary Western (non-Hindu)
anti-authority, self-help approach to human/spiritual growth (he
himself was an exemplary devotee of his Master, Sri Ramakrishna), nor
did he suggest that our only (or even greatest) purpose here is to
improve the world (instead proclaiming our purpose is to realize God),
here are some relevant quotes.
10) The Purpose of Life and the Need for a Spiritual Master
Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divine
The quickening impulse cannot be derived from books. The soul can
receive impulses only from another soul, and from nothing else. We may
study books all our lives, and become very intellectual, but in the
end we find that spiritually we have not developed at all... The
person from whose soul such an impulse comes is called the guru, the
teacher; and the person to whose soul the impulse is conveyed is
called the sishya, the student.
The guru must be worshipped as God. He is God; he is nothing less than
that. As you look at him, the guru gradually melts away -- and what is
left? The picture of the guru gives place to God Himself. The Guru is
the bright mask which God wears in order to come to us. As we look
steadily at him, gradually the mask falls off and God is revealed.
There is another set of teachers, the Christs of the world. These
Teachers of all teachers represent God Himself in the form of man.
They are much higher; they can transmit spirituality with a touch,
with a wish, which makes even the lowest and most degraded characters
saints in one second. Do you not read of how they used to do these
things? They are not the teachers abouit whom I was speaking [i.e.,
mere lecturers]; they are the Teachers of all teachers, the greatest
manifestations of God to man; we cannot see God except through them.
We cannot help worshipping them, and they are the only beings we are
bound to worship.
Man has no idea of the Spirit, he has to think of it with the forms he
has before him. He has to think of the blue skies, or the expansive
fields, or the sea, or something huge. How else can you think of God?
So what are you doing in reality? You are talking of omniprescence,
and thinking of the sea. Is God the sea? A little more common sense is
We are by our present constitution limited and bound to see God as a
man. If the buffaloes want to worship God, they will see Him as a huge
buffalo. If a fish wants to worship God, it will have to think of Him
as a big fish. You and I, the buffalo, the fish, each represent so
many different vessels. All these go to the sea to be filled with
water according to the shape of the vessel. In each of these vessels
is nothing but water. So with God. When men see Him, they see Him as
man, and the animals as animal - each according to his ideal. That is
the only way you can see Him; you have to worship Him as man, because
there is no other way out of it. Two classes of men do not worship God
as man - the human brute who has no religion, and the Paramahansa
(highest Yogi) who has gone beyond humanity, who has thrown off his
mind and body and gone beyond the limits of nature... Between these
two poles of existence, if anyone tells you he is not going to worship
God as man, take care of him. He is an irresponsible talker, he is
mistaken; his religion is for frothy thinkers, it is intellectual