Saturday, September 30, 2017

Steps To Advaita

All people cannot take up this Advaita philosophy; it is hard. 

First of all, it is very hard to understand it intellectually. 
It requires the sharpest of intellects, a bold understanding. 
Secondly, it does not suit the vast majority of people. 

So there are these three steps [Dvaita, Vishishtadvaita, and Advaita]. Begin with the first one. Then by thinking of that and understanding it, the second will open itself. Just as a race advances, so individuals have to advance. 

The steps which the human race has taken to reach to the highest pinnacles of religious thought, every individual will have to take. Only, while the human race took millions of years to reach from one step to another, individuals may live the whole life of the human race in a much shorter duration. But each one of us will have to go through these steps. 

                    - Swami Vivekananda, Class-Talk in New York

Friday, September 29, 2017

You Are the God of This Universe

The non-dualists say, "This universe does not exist at all; it is all illusion. The whole of this universe, these Devas, gods, angels, and all the other beings born and dying, all this infinite number of souls coming up and going down, are all dreams." There is no Jiva at all. 

How can there be many? 

It is the one Infinity. As the one sun, reflected on various pieces of water, appears to be many, and millions of globules of water reflect so many millions of suns, and in each globule will be a perfect image of the sun, yet there is only one sun, so are all these Jivas but reflections in different minds. These different minds are like so many different globules, reflecting this one Being. God is being reflected in all these different Jivas. 

But a dream cannot be without a reality, and that reality is that one Infinite Existence. You, as body, mind, or soul, are a dream, but what you really are, is Existence, Knowledge, Bliss. 

You are the God of this universe. You are creating the whole universe and drawing it in. Thus says the Advaitist. 

               - Swami Vivekananda, Class-Talk in New York

Monday, September 25, 2017

All Trying to Manifest the One

One principle … the Vedanta claims, is to be found in every religion in the world -- that man is divine, that all this which we see around us is the outcome of that consciousness of the divine. 

Everything that is strong, and good, and powerful in human nature is the outcome of that divinity, and though potential in many, there is no difference between man and man essentially, all being alike divine. 

There is, as it were, an infinite ocean behind, and you and I are so many waves, coming out of that infinite ocean; and each one of us is trying his best to manifest that infinite outside. 

                  - Swami Vivekananda, Lecture in Boston

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What Not to Pray For!

In all sensible religions, they never allow prayers to God; 
they allow prayers to gods. That is quite natural. 
The Roman Catholics pray to the saints; that is quite good. But to pray to God is senseless. To ask God to give you a breath of air, to send down a shower of rain, to make fruits grow in your garden, and so on, is quite unnatural. 
The saints, however, who were little beings like ourselves, may help us. But to pray to the Ruler of the Universe, prating every little need of ours, and from our childhood saying, "O Lord, I have a headache; let it go," is ridiculous. …

… A fool indeed is he who, resting on the banks of the Ganga, digs a little well for water; a fool indeed is he who, living near a mine of diamonds, digs for bits of crystal.

Swami Vivekananda, Lecture in England

Friday, September 22, 2017

Akasha and Prana

According to Vedanta philosophy, there are two things in nature, one of which they call Akasha, which is the substance, infinitely fine, and the other they call Prana, which is the force. 

Whatever you see, or feel, or hear, as air, earth, or anything, is material -- the product of Akasha
It goes on and becomes finer and finer, or grosser and grosser, changing under the action of Prana

Like Akasha, Prana is omnipresent, and interpenetrating everything. Akasha is like the water, and everything else in the universe is like blocks of ice, made out of that water, and floating in the water, and Prana is the power that changes this Akasha into all these various forms. 

           - Swami Vivekananda, Class-Talk in New York

Monday, September 18, 2017

Different Readings of the One

This universe, in its various forms, is but the various readings of the same Impersonal. 

When we read it with the five senses, we call it the material world. If there be a being with more senses than five, he will read it as something else. If one of us gets the electrical sense, he will see the universe as something else again. 

There are various forms of that same Oneness, of which all these various ideas of worlds are but various readings, and the Personal God is the highest reading that can be attained to, of that Impersonal, by the human intellect.

Swami Vivekananda, Lecture in England

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Principle of Generalisation

We have to come to an ultimate generalisation, which not only will be the most universal of all generalisations, but out of which everything else must come. 

It will be of the same nature as the lowest effect; the cause, the highest, the ultimate, the primal cause, must be the same as the lowest and most distant of its effects, a series of evolutions. 

The Brahman of the Vedanta fulfils that condition, because Brahman is the last generalisation to which we can come. It has no attributes but is Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss -- Absolute. Existence, we have seen, is the very ultimate generalisation which the human mind can come to.

Swami Vivekananda, Lecture in England

Monday, September 11, 2017

11th Septermber 1893

11th September, 1893
   Swami Vivekananda At the World's Parliament of Religions, Chicago

Sisters and Brothers of America,

It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. 
I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions; and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.

My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honour of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. 
I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. 
We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: 
"As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee."

The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me." Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. 
They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilisation and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope 
that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death - knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.

More at:
Response to Welcome

Friday, September 8, 2017

Science of Religion

Believing certain things because an organized body of priests tells him to believe, believing because it is written in certain books, believing because his people like him to believe, the modern man knows to be impossible for him. 

There are, of course, a number of people who seem to acquiesce in the so-called popular faith, but we also know for certain that they do not think. Their idea of belief may be better translated as "not - thinking - carelessness". …

… Is religion to justify itself by the discoveries of reason, through which every other science justifies itself? 
Are the same methods of investigation, which we apply to sciences and knowledge outside, to be applied to the science of Religion? 
In my opinion this must be so, and I am also of the opinion that the sooner it is done the better. 

                 - Swami Vivekananda, Lecture in England

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Secular and Spiritual Knowledge

Knowledge of the sciences covers, as it were, only part of our lives, but the knowledge which religion brings to us is eternal, as infinite as the truth it preaches. 
Claiming this superiority, religions have many times looked down, unfortunately, on all secular knowledge, and not only so, but many times have refused to be justified by the aid of secular knowledge. 
In consequence, all the world over there have been fights between secular knowledge and religious knowledge, the one claiming infallible authority as its guide, refusing to listen to anything that secular knowledge has to say on the point, the other, with its shining instrument of reason, wanting to cut to pieces everything religion could bring forward.

                              - Swami Vivekananda, Lecture in England

Monday, September 4, 2017

Same Divine Nature in All

According to the Advaita philosophy, then, this differentiation of matter, these phenomena, are, as it were, for a time, hiding the real nature of man; but the latter really has not been changed at all. 
In the lowest worm, as well as in the highest human being, the same divine nature is present. 
The worm form is the lower form in which the divinity has been more overshadowed by Maya; that is the highest form in which it has been least overshadowed. 

Behind everything the same divinity is existing, and out of this comes the basis of morality. 
Do not injure another. Love everyone as your own self, because the whole universe is one. 
In injuring another, I am injuring myself; in loving another, 
I am loving myself.

              - Swami Vivekananda, 
             Address to Graduate Philosophical Society, 
             Harvard University

Friday, September 1, 2017

Maya - Anirvachaniya

… it is not, the Vedantists say, that there is something as phenomenon and something as noumenon. 
The rope is changed into the snake apparently only; and when the delusion ceases, the snake vanishes. 

When one is in ignorance, he sees the phenomenon and does not see God. When he sees God, this universe vanishes entirely for him. Ignorance or Maya, as it is called, is the cause of all this phenomenon -- the Absolute, the Unchangeable, being taken as this manifested universe. 

This Maya is not absolute zero, nor non-existence. 
It is defined as neither existence nor non-existence. 
It is not existence, because that can be said only of the Absolute, the Unchangeable, and in this sense, Maya is non-existence. 
Again, it cannot be said it is non - existence; for if it were, it could never produce the phenomenon. So it is something which is neither; and in the Vedanta philosophy it is called Anirvachaniya or inexpressible. 

                               - Swami Vivekananda, 
                                Address to Graduate Philosophical Society, 
                               Harvard University