From Volume 9 of the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda – Letters – Fifth Series
5 October 1899
MY DEAR MOTHER CHURCH,
Many, many thanks for your kind words.
I am so glad you are working on as ever. I am glad because the wave of optimism has not caught you yet. It is all very well to say everything is right, but that is apt to degenerate into a sort of laissez-faire. I believe with you that the world is evil — made more hideous with a few dashes of good.
All our works have only this value, that they awaken some to the reality of this horror — and [those] flee for refuge to some place beyond, which is called God, or Christ, or Brahma, or Buddha, etc. Names do not make much difference.
Again, we must always remember ours is only to work — we never attain results. How can we? Good can never be done without doing evil. We cannot breathe a breath without killing thousands of poor little animals. National prosperity is another name for death and degradation to millions of other races. So is individual prosperity the beggaring of many. The world is evil — and will ever remain so. It is its nature, and cannot be changed — “Which one of you by taking thought . . .” etc. (Matthew 6.27.)
Such is truth. The wisdom is therefore in renunciation, that is, to make the Lord our all in all. Be a true Christian, Mother — like Christ, renounce everything and let the heart and soul and body belong to Him and Him alone. All this nonsense which people have built round Christ’s name is not His teaching. He taught to renounce. He never says the earth is an enjoyable place. And your time has come to get rid of all vanities — even the love of children and husband — and think of the Lord and Him alone.
Ever your Son,