"Strength, strength is what the Upanishads speak to me from every page," declared Swami Vivekananda. Clearly, the source of "strength" that is taught in the Upanishads is neither the body nor the mind nor the intellect. All of these can be strong but the real strength, the real power, is in the spirit, the center of pure consciousness that every one of us really is. That unitary consciousness is the source of all power, goodness, purity, and strength.
Faith. We cannot live a day without it. We cross a street corner with the faith that the stopped cars will not run over us; we submit ourselves to the surgeon’s knife with the faith that he will cure our disease; we rely on our friends with the faith that they will help us in our time of need.
In a June 1895 letter, Swami Vivekananda wrote from Thousand Island Park in upstate New York to Mary Hale in Chicago:
The more the shades around deepen and the more the ends approach, the more one understands the true meaning of life, that it is a dream; and we begin to nderstand the failure of everyone to grasp it, for they only attempted to get meaning out of meaninglessness … Desire, ignorance, and inequality—this is the trinity of bondage. Denial of the will to live, knowledge, and samesightedness is the trinity of liberation. Freedom is the goal of the universe.
It is said in the Devi Mahatmyam that the Divine Mother’s “incomparable greatness and power Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva are unable to describe.” For mortals such as ourselves, writing about Holy Mother is equally formidable because she was so successful at keeping her real nature hidden. While Sri Sarada Devi was a manifestation of the Divine Mother, she cloaked her divinity under the veil of simplicity and humility. Just as the Divine Mother covers herself with the veil of yogamaya, so did Holy Mother keep herself literally veiled, living among us as one of us. It was not for nothing that Sri Ramakrishna once jokingly described her as “a cat hidden under the ashes.”