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Why did Swami Vivekananda compare the human personality to a glass globe?

There is the same pure white light — an emission of the divine Being — in the center of each life, but the glass surrounding is of different colours and thickness... affecting the transmission of the rays.

Swami Vivekananda once compared the human personality to a glass globe to illustrate the concepts of atman, freedom, bliss and God. 

To get to that we need to first understand a few concepts from Sanskrit and Hinduism. 

Sthula Sharira and Sukshma Sharira

The physical human body which we can see is called the sthula sharira (pronounced sthūla śarīra)  in Sanskrit. It is perceptable by the five senses. The main function of the physical body is to gain truth and to enjoy the bliss of finding God.

The sukshma sharira (pronounced sūkṣma śarīra) is the mental body. At the risk of oversimplifying, the sukshma sharira is the mind and intelligence. It is the sukhsma sharira where we hoard emotions like love, attachment, greed, ego, hate, anger, jealousy etc. 

But can sthula sharira or sukshma sharira be called an ansh (part)  of who we call God, the one who 'sees' all? No... they cannot.


The real manifester and the real seer in Sanskrit is called the atman. The atman is the real self of the man.

The body (sthula sharira) dies. The mind (sukshma sharira) changes. The Atman, however, is indestructible.

What is freedom?

Freedom is only possible when one is free from external influences, laws and changes. The unchangeable alone can be free. 

Beyond the temporary shelter of the sthula sharira and the sukshma sharira is the Atman. It is the atman that is indestructible and a part of the divine in all of us. Only the atman is free. It is the deathless, peace and the bliss of the divine that shines within us.

swami vivekananda teachings

Each human personality can be compared to a glass globe

The atman is the divine light that resides within each one of us. It is surrounded by the sukshma and sthula sharira which could be compared to a glass globe. The glass around it being of different thicknesses and colours permits diverse ways for the light within to percolate out. The central flame is the same in all. The differences lie only in the imperfections in the globe that surrounds it. As one rises higher in the scale of 'being', the glass becomes clearer and clearer; allowing the Divine light to be visible to all. 

Life is an opportunity for each human to cleanse the 'glass globe' that surrounds us and to become one with the divine.

Read: Building personality: Seven Lessons for today's youth from Swami Vivekananda

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Deepawali or Diwali?

It is that time of the year again 🪔

The air is filled with the vibrant spirit of Deepawali. …

by Aarti Pathak