Swami Vivekananda in his childhood was lovingly called Biley. One of the games Biley and his friends played together was “meditation.” All the children would sit with closed eyes and everyone would think of some deity he liked the most.

One day, when they were playing this game, one of them heard a soft sound. As he opened his eyes, he saw a big snake crawling on the ground and coming towards them. As he shouted, “Cobra! Cobra!” all except Biley ran away shouting, “Biley, come away, hurry up. There is a big cobra. It will bite you. Run, Run.” But Biley did not hear this shouting at all. He was sitting still with his eyes closed, thinking only of God. He did not know what was going on around him.

And what did the cobra do? It moved on the ground this way and that and then went away. Biley’s friends, his parents as well as his neighbours were all surprised at his power of concentration and his love of God.

Because of this power of concentration, Biley could remember his lessons clearly even with one or two readings. At college too he was known as a bright scholar. This power helped him greatly when he became Swami Vivekananda.

Once, when he was at Chicago in America, he saw some young boys trying to shoot egg-shells floating in the river. As the shells rolled up and down on the small waves, the boys could not hit them. All of the boys tried a number of times, but all of them missed the target. They noticed that Vivekananda was watching them with keen interest. So they called out to him, “Sir, you have been watching us all the time. Do you think you can do better?” Vivekananda gave them a smile and said that he would like to try. Taking the gun in his hand, he aimed at the egg-shells, concentrating for some time on the target. Then he fired the gun twelve times and hit an egg-shell, each time. The boys were struck with wonder on seeing Swamiji’s skill and asked, “Well Sir, how could you do this without any practice?” Vivekananda laughed aloud and said, “Well, well, I will tell you the secret.

Whatever you may be doing, concentrate all your attention on it. Think of nothing else. If you are shooting, keep your mind only on the target. Your aim will not fail. Concentration can work wonders. Even when you are studying, think only of the lesson in hand. What you read will then be almost printed in your memory.”

With this power of concentration, Swami Vivekananda did many great things for the good of the world.


  1. What are the benefits of concentration?
  2. What will happen if you do not concentrate your attention when you are
    (a) crossing the road (b) listening to the teacher in the class (c) doing your homework (d) singing bhajans (e) studying for your examination (f) having dinner (g) seeing a film (h) playing cricket?
  3. Describe (a) any of your own experience of having full concentration and its good result (b) your experience of lack of concentration.
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