Thursday, December 31, 2020

Microcosm in Macrocosm

Individuality in universality is the plan of creation. Each cell has its part in bringing about consciousness. Man is individual and at the same time universal. It is while realising our individual nature that we realise even our national and universal nature. Each is an infinite circle whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere. By practice one can feel universal Self-hood which is the essence of Hinduism. He who sees in every being his own Self is a Pandita (sage).

Rishis are discoverers of spiritual laws.

In Advaitism, there is no Jivâtmâ; it is only a delusion. In Dvaitism, there is Jiva infinitely distinct from God. Both are true. One went to the fountain, another to the tank. Apparently we are all Dvaitists as far as our consciousness goes. But beyond? Beyond that we are Advaitists. In reality, this is the only truth. According to Advaitism, love every man as your own Self and not as your brother as in Christianity. Brotherhood should be superseded by universal Selfhood. Not universal brotherhood, but universal Selfhood is our motto. Advaitism may include also the “greatest happiness” theory.

So’ham — I am He. Repeat the idea constantly, voluntarily at first; then it becomes automatic in practice. It percolates to the nerves. So this idea, by rote, by repetition, should be driven even into the nerves. (VI 121 – 122)

Swamiji provides us here with a very practical suggestion as to how to make the idea of the Divinity of the soul (soham) throb in our nerves so that our whole life  starts  vibrating to that  tune.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Cosmos and the Self

Every evolution is preceded by an involution. The whole of the tree is present in the seed, its cause. The whole of the human being is present in that one protoplasm. The whole of this universe is present in the cosmic fine universe. Everything is present in its cause, in its fine form. This evolution, or gradual unfolding of grosser and grosser forms, is true, but each case has been preceded by an involution. The whole of this universe must have been involute before it came out, and has unfolded itself in all these various forms to be involved again once more. Take, for instance, the life of a little plant. We find two things that make the plant a unity by itself — its growth and development, its decay and death. These make one unity the plant life. So, taking that plant life as only one link in the chain of life, we may take the whole series as one life, beginning in the protoplasm and ending in the most perfect man. Man is one link, and the various beasts, the lower animals, and plants are other links. Now go back to the source, the finest particles from which they started, and take the whole series as but one life, and you will find that every evolution here is the evolution of something which existed previously.

        Where it begins, there it ends. What is the end of this universe? Intelligence, is it not? The last to come in the order of creation, according to the evolutionists, was intelligence. That being so, it must be the cause, the beginning of creation also. At the beginning that intelligence remains involved, and in the end it gets evolved. The sum total of the intelligence displayed in the universe must therefore be the involved universal intelligence unfolding itself, and this universal intelligence is what we call God, from whom we come and to whom we return, as the scriptures  say. Call it by any other name, you cannot deny that in the beginning there is that infinite cosmic intelligence. (V, 255 - 256)    

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Cosmos is Eternal

The Vedas, as the Hindus say, are eternal. We now understand what they mean by their being eternal, i.e. that the laws have neither beginning nor end, just as nature has neither beginning nor end. Earth after earth, system after system, will evolve, run for a certain time, and then dissolve back again into chaos; but the universe remains the same. Millions and millions of systems are being born, while millions are being destroyed. 

        The universe remains the same. The beginning and the end of time can be told as regards a certain planet; but as regards the universe, time has no meaning at all. So are the laws of nature, the physical laws, the mental laws, the spiritual laws. Without beginning and without end are they; and it is within a few years, comparatively speaking, a few thousand years at best, that man has tried to reveal them. The infinite mass remains before us. Therefore the one great lesson that we learn from the Vedas, at the start, is that religion has just begun. The infinite ocean of spiritual truth lies before us to be worked on, to be discovered, to be brought into our lives. The world has seen thousands of prophets, and the world has yet to see millions.  (VI, 9)

Only recently modern science has come to understand a little bit of the eternality of the cosmos. On the other hand, our great seers, based on their inner knowledge have described cosmos as infinite, indescribable and unexplorable. The secret of the eternal relevance of Indian spirituality is due to the fact that we have always held fast to the Eternal Truth. The great rishis of Upanishads were pointing to this Eternal Truth when they addressed humanity as ‘Children of Immortality’  

Monday, December 28, 2020

Knowledge is the Goal

We are slaves in the hands of nature — slaves to a bit of bread, slaves to praise, slaves to blame, slaves to wife, to husband, to child, slaves to everything. Why, I go about all over the world — beg, steal, rob, do anything — to make happy a boy who is, perhaps, hump-backed or ugly-looking. I will do every wicked thing to make him happy. Why? Because I am his father. 
And, at the same time, there are millions and millions of boys in this world dying of starvation — boys beautiful in body and in mind. But they are nothing to me. Let them all die. I am apt to kill them all to save this one rascal to whom I have given birth. This is what you call love. Not I. Not I. This is brutality.
When the mind comes to that state of disgust with all the vanities of life, it is called turning away from nature. This is the first step. All desires must be given up — even the desire of getting heaven. 

Therefore, all desires of enjoyment in this life, or in a life to come, should be given up. People have a natural desire to enjoy; and when they do not find their selfish enjoyments in this life, they think that after death they will have a lot of enjoyment somewhere else. If these enjoyments do not take us towards knowledge in this life, in this world, how can they bring us knowledge in another life?
Which is the goal of man? Enjoyment knowledge? Certainly not enjoyment. Man is not born to have  pleasure or to suffer pain. Knowledge is the goal. Knowledge is the only pleasure we can have. (IX 219 -221)

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Vairagya – a necessary Step to Knowledge

All the power of knowledge and wealth once made has passed away — all the sciences of the ancients, lost, lost forever. Nobody knows how. That teaches us a grand lesson. Vanity of vanities; all is vanity and vexation of the spirit. If we have seen all this, then we become disgusted with this world and all it offers us. This is called Vairâgya, non-attachment, and is the first step towards knowledge.

The natural desire of man is to go towards the senses. Turning away from the senses takes him back to God. So the first lesson we have to learn is to turn away from the vanities of the world.

How long will you go on sinking and diving down and going up for five minutes, to again sink down, again come up and sink, and so on — tossed up and down? How long will you be whirled on this wheel of Karma — up and down, up and down? 

How many thousands of times have you been kings and rulers? How many times have you been surrounded by wealth and plunged into poverty? How many thousands of times have you been possessed of the greatest powers? 

But again you had to become men, rolling down on this mad rush of Karma’s waters. This tremendous wheel of Karma stops neither for the widow’s tears nor the orphan’s cry. (IX, 219) ]

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Knowledge is based on Generalisations

        In acquiring knowledge we make use of generalisations, and generalisation is based upon observation. We first observe facts, then generalise, and then draw conclusions or principles. The knowledge of the mind, of the internal nature of man, of thought, can never be had until we have first the power of observing the facts that are going on within. It is comparatively easy to observe facts in the external world, for many instruments have been invented for the purpose, but in the internal world we have no instrument to help us. Yet we know we must observe in order to have a real science. Without a proper analysis, any science will be hopeless — mere theorising. And that is why all the psychologists have been quarrelling among themselves since the beginning of time, except those few who found out the means of observation. (I, 129)

To understand what exactly is meant by generalisation we can use a small example. When we say crows are black it is based on observations of many crows, their habit and behaviour which have led to generalisation. Same with any other common knowledge. The science of Raja Yoga proposes to give us such a means of observing the internal state. The instrument is mind itself. The power of attention, when properly guided and directed towards the internal world, will analyse the mind and illumine facts for us. This is our only means of knowledge.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Real Baptism

        We attend lectures and read books, argue and reason about God and soul, religion and salvation. These are not spirituality, because spirituality does not exist in books or theories  or in philosophies. It is not in learning or reasoning, but in actual inner growth. Even parrots can learn things by heart and repeat them. If you become learned, what of it? Asses can carry whole libraries. So when real light will come, there will be no more of this learning from books — no book-learning. The man who cannot write even his own name can be perfectly religious, and the man with all the libraries of the world in his head may fail to be. Learning is not a condition of spiritual growth; scholarship is not a condition. The touch of the Guru, the transmittal of spiritual energy, will quicken your heart. Then will begin the growth. That is the real baptism by fire. No more stopping. You go on and go on………………

The Guru must teach me and lead me into light, make me a link in that chain of which he himself is a link. The man in the street cannot claim to be a Guru. The Guru must be a man who has known, has actually realised the Divine truth, has perceived himself as the spirit. A mere talker cannot be the Guru. A talkative fool like me can talk much,but cannot be the Guru. A true Guru will tell the disciple, “Go and sin no more”; and no more can he sin, no more has the person the power to sin……………………………………….. 

  The power that can transform life in a moment can be found only in the living illumined souls, those shining lights who appear among us from time to time. They alone are fit to be Gurus. (VIII, 115-116)  

Monday, December 21, 2020

Self Realisation through Knowledge

The soul is also sexless; we cannot say of the Atman that it is a man or a woman. Sex belongs to the body alone. All such ideas, therefore, as man or woman, are a delusion when spoken with regard to the Self, and are only proper when spoken of the body. So are the ideas of age. It never ages; the ancient One is always the same. How did It come down to earth? There is but one answer to that in our scriptures. Ignorance is the cause of all this bondage. It is through ignorance that we have become bound; knowledge will cure it by taking us to the other side. How will that knowledge come? Through love, Bhakti; by the worship of God, by loving all beings as the temples of God. He resides within them. Thus, with that intense love will come knowledge, and ignorance will disappear, the bonds will break, and the soul will be free. (III, 128)

Above is quoted a continuation of Swamiji’s lecture at Jafna titled Vedantism. It was for the first time that the world, as also Bharat, was listening to the wonderful ideals enshrined in Upanishads in such a precise scientific and rational language. No wonder he earned for himself the meaningful title of ‘Vedanta Kesari’. 

He wanted the Upanishadic ideals to become part of the upbringing of the Indian child. He used to say, ‘from childhood make your children strong. Weaknesses of any kind and meaningless rituals should not be taught to them. Teach them to stand on their own feet. Let them learn of the glory of the soul. That you get alone in the. Vedanta.t. Vedanta also has the ideals to grow up as courageous, full of magnanimity. First of all let them be centered in the Self of love, worship, etc. found in the other religions, but the idea of the Self within is the most inspiring, the most wonderful. Vedantic religion alone can hormonise the material universe with the highest Truths of religion.  

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Knowledge through Experience

We gain all our knowledge through experience; that is the only way. What we call experiences are on the plane of consciousness. For illustration: A man plays a tune on a piano, he places each finger on each key consciously. He repeats this process till the movement of the fingers becomes a habit. He then plays a tune without having to pay special attention to each particular key. Similarly, we find in regard to ourselves that our tendencies are the result of past conscious actions. A child is born with certain tendencies. Whence do they come? No child is born with a tabula rasa— with a clean, blank page — of a mind. 

The page has been written on previously. The old Greek and Egyptian philosophers taught that no child came with a vacant mind. Each child comes with a hundred tendencies generated by past conscious actions. It did not acquire these in this life, and we are bound to admit that it must have had them in past lives. The rankest materialist has to admit that these tendencies are the result of past actions, only they add that these tendencies come through heredity. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents come down to us through this law of heredity. Now if heredity alone explains this, there is no necessity of believing in the soul at all, because body explains everything. We need not go into the different arguments and discussions on materialism and spiritualism. So far the way is clear for those who believe in an individual soul. We see that to come to a reasonable conclusion we must admit that we have had past lives. This is the belief of the great philosophers and sages of the past and of modern times.  (I, 320 – 321)

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Para and Apara Knowledge

Generally, all knowledge is divided into two classes, the Aparâ, secular, and the Parâ, spiritual. One pertains to perishable things, and the other to the realm of the spirit. There is, no doubt, a great difference these two classes of knowledge, and the way to the attainment of the one may be entirely different from the way to the attainment of the other. Nor can it be denied that no one method can be pointed out as the sole and universal one which will serve as the key to all and every door in the domain of knowledge. But in reality all this difference is only one of degree and not of kind. It is not that secular and spiritual knowledge are two opposite and contradictory things; but they are the same thing — the same infinite knowledge which is everywhere fully present from the lowest atom to the highest Brahman — they are the same knowledge in its different stages of gradual development. This one infinite knowledge we call secular when it is in its lower process of manifestation, and spiritual when it reaches the corresponding higher phase. (IV, 433 – 434)

In Indian tradition knowledge is divided into into two parts. Even though it is understood that the knowledge is the central core of one’s being, still the paths revealed by great incarnations and teachers have a uniqueness of their own. It is this ‘para’ knowledge, which is specially effective in personal transformation, that is traditionally handed over from Guru to Shishya. Swamiji also warns those disciples who become fanatically attached to their Guru and their teachings to the point of sacrificing Truth for the sake of the individual.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Expansion of Mind and its Control

Each tendency shows the life-work of the past, the line or radius along which that man must move. All radii lead to the centre. Never even attempt to disturb anyone’s tendencies; to do that puts back both teacher and taught. When you teach Jnana, you must become a Jnani and stand mentally exactly where the taught stands. Similarly in every other Yoga. Develop every faculty as if it were the only one possessed, this is the true secret of so-called harmonious development. That is, get extensity with intensity, but not at its expense. We are infinite. There is no limitation in us, we can be as intense as the most devoted Mohammedan and as broad as the most roaring atheist.

The way to do this is not to put the mind on any one subject, but to develop and control the mind itself; then you can turn it on any side you choose. Thus you keep the intensity and extensity. Feel Jnana as if it were all there was, then do the same with Bhakti, with Raja (-Yoga), with Karma. Give up the waves and go to the ocean, then you can have the waves as you please. Control the “lake” of your own mind, else you cannot understand the lake of another’s mind. (VII, 98 – 99)

Real teacher is one who can enter into the mind of the disciple and using his will power bring about transformations within. For this, the teacher must have a mind enriched with sympathy and understanding.

The teacher has to first  find out the reason why the disciple has  wrong impressions of the world. Only then can the teacher work to rectify the wrong impressions and substitute  them with highly positive impressions based on pure knowledge.   

Monday, December 14, 2020

True Guru

            Even disgust for the world and a burning desire for God are not sufficient. Initiation by the Guru is necessary. Why? Because it is the bringing of yourself into connection with that great source of power which has been handed down through generations from one Guru to another, in uninterrupted succession. The devotee must seek and accept the Guru or spiritual preceptor as his counsellor, philosopher, friend, and guide. In short, the Guru is the sine qua non of progress in the path of spirituality. Whom then shall I accept as my Guru?

            — “He who is versed in the Vedas, without taint, unhurt by desire, he who is the best of the knowers of Brahman.” Shrotriya — he who is not only learned in the Shâstras, but who knows their subtle secrets, who has realised their true import in his life. “Reading merely the various scriptures, they have become only parrots, and not Pandits. He indeed has become a Pandit who has gained Prema (Divine Love) by reading even one word of the Shâstras.” Mere book-learned Pandits are of no avail. 

Nowadays, everyone wants to be a Guru; even a poor beggar wants to make a gift of a lakh of rupees! Then the Guru must be without a touch of taint, and he must be Akâmahata — unhurt by any desire — he should have no other motive except that of purely doing good to others, he should be an ocean of mercy-without-reason and not impart religious teaching with a view to gaining name or fame, or anything pertaining to selfish interest.

And he must be the intense knower of Brahman, that is, one who has realised Brahman even as tangibly as an Âmalaka-fruit in the palm of the hand. Such is the Guru, says the Shruti. When spiritual union is established with such a Guru, then comes realisation of God — then god-vision becomes easy of attainment.

After initiation there should be in the aspirant after Truth, Abhyâsa or earnest and repeated attempt at practical application of the Truth by prescribed means of constant meditation upon the Chosen Ideal. Even if you have a burning thirst for God, or have gained the Guru, unless you have along with it the Abhyasa, unless you practice what you have been taught, you cannot get realisation. When all these are firmly established in you, then you will reach the Goal. (III, 452-453)

The external teacher is but the suggestion. When faith in the external teacher is strong, then the Teacher of all teachers within speaks; eternal wisdom speaks in the heart of that man. He need not go any more to any books or any men or any higher beings; he need not run after supernatural or preternatural beings for instruction. The Lord Himself becomes his instructor. He gets all he wants from himself. [There is] no more need to go to any temple or church. His own body has become the greatest temple in the world, and in that temple lives the Lord of Creation. In every country great saints have been born, wonderful lives have been [lived] — coming out of the sheer power of love. (IX, 223)

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Qualities of a Guru

The Guru is not a man who twists and tortures texts 

        “Different ways of throwing out words, different ways of explaining texts of the scriptures, these are for the enjoyment of the learned, not for freedom.” Shrotriya, he who knows the secret of the Shrutis, Avrijina, the sinless, and Akâmahata, unpierced by desire — he who does not want to make money by teaching you — he is the Shânta, the Sâdhu, who comes as the spring which brings the leaves and blossoms to various plants but does not ask anything from the plant, for its very nature is to do good. It does good and there it is. Such is the Guru,

— “Who has himself crossed this terrible ocean of life, and without any idea of gain to himself, helps others also to cross the ocean.” This is the Guru, and mark that none else can be a Guru

(III, 346)

Continuing his description of a true Guru Swamiji quotes from the Upanishads “Themselves steeped in darkness, but in the pride of their hearts, thinking they know everything, the fools want to help others, and they go round and round in many crooked ways, staggering to and fro, and thus like the blind leading the blind, both fall into the ditch.” Thus say the Vedas……… 

…………..Go back to your old orthodoxy, for in those days every sound that came from these books, every pulsation, was out of a strong, steady, and sincere heart; every note was true………..

 Go back, go back to the old days when there was strength and vitality. Be strong once more, drink deep of this fountain of yore, and that is the only condition of life in India.

‘Guru’ is the most wonderful panacea discovered and gifted by the  Sanatana Dharma for the human beings who drown themselves again and again in the sea of samsar. The Guru is capable of absorbing all the defects of disciples and purifying them. The words Srotriya and Brahmanishta are the qualifications of the Guru which also indicate his knowledge and his capacity to practise and impart the same. The grand Indian spiritual tradition has been built up on the Guru-sishya parampara of transferring knowledge form generation to generation. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Need for a Guru

The person from whose soul such impulse comes is called the Guru — the teacher; and the person to whose soul the impulse is conveyed is called the Shishya — the student. To convey such an impulse to any soul, in the first place, the soul from which it proceeds must possess the power of transmitting it, as it were, to another; and in the second place, the soul to which it is transmitted must be fit to receive it. The seed must be a living seed, and the field must be ready ploughed; and when both these conditions are fulfilled, a wonderful growth of genuine religion takes place.

“The true preacher of religion has to be of wonderful capabilities, and clever shall his hearer be” —  ; and when both of these are really wonderful and extraordinary, then will a splendid spiritual awakening result, and not otherwise. Such alone are the real teachers, and such alone are also the real students, the real aspirants. All others are only playing with spirituality. 

They have just a little curiosity awakened, just a little intellectual aspiration kindled in them, but are merely standing on the outward fringe of the horizon of religion. There is no doubt some value even in that, as it may in course of time result in the awakening of a real thirst for religion; and it is a mysterious law of nature that as soon as the field is ready, the seed must and does come; as soon as the soul earnestly desires to have religion, the transmitter of the religious force must and does appear to help that soul. When the power that attracts the light of religion in the receiving soul is full and strong, the power which answers to that attraction and sends in light does come as a matter of course. (III, 45 – 46)

The need of a Guru–Sishya hierarchy for transmitting higher spiritual knowledge from one generation to another is a typical Indian tradition. All through our spiritual literature we can find this unique tradition. The Guru first initiates the disciple, making him/her worthy and capable of imbibing the spiritual wisdom. The disciple is almost like a son/daughter to the Guru. Wonderful stories and anecdotes are found in our spiritual literature.  To cite a few examples are the stories of Yama and Nachiketa, Sri Krishna and Arjuna, and that of Satya Kama Jabali.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

True Teacher

The true teacher is one who can throw his whole force into the tendency of the taught. Without real sympathy we can never teach well. Give up the notion that man is a responsible being, only the perfect man is responsible. The ignorant have drunk deep of the cup of delusion and are not sane. You, who know, must have infinite patience with these. Have nothing but love for them and find out the disease that has made them see the world in a wrong light, then help them to cure it and see aright. 

Remember always that only the free have free will; all the rest are in bondage and are not responsible for what they do. Will as will is bound. The water when melting on the top of the Himalayas is free, but becoming the river, it is bound by the banks; yet the original impetus carries it to the sea, and it regains its freedom. The first is the “fall of man”, the second is the “resurrection”. Not one atom can rest until it finds its freedom.

Some imaginations help to break the bondages of the rest. The whole universe is an imagination but one set of imagination will cure another set. Those which tell us that there is sin and sorrow and death in the world are terrible; but other set which says ever “I am holy, there is God, there is no pain”, these are good and help to break the bondages of others. The highest imagination that can break all the links of the chain is that of personal God. (VII, 99)

Swamiji sometimes used the example of a small container containing a very long coiled spring, to illustrate man’s innate desire for freedom.

 On October 2nd, as we celebrate the birth day of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of our Nation, who, following the ideals of Truth, non violence and renunciation helped our nation to break the bondage of slavery, let us remember how he acknowledged the inspiring power of Swamiji’s life and message. The words quoted above throw light into the life of Mahatma Gandhi as well. To quote Gandhiji’s words about Swamiji “I have gone through his works very thoroughly, and after having gone through them, the love that I had for my country became a thousand fold. I ask you young men, not to go away empty handed without imbibing something of the spirit of the place where Swami Vivekananda lived and died.” 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Ignorance breeds Unhappiness

Dear Miss Noble,

One idea that I see clear as daylight is that misery is caused by ignorance and nothing else. Who will give the world light? Sacrifice in the past has been the Law, it will be, alas, for ages to come. The earth’s bravest and best will have to sacrifice themselves for the good of many, for the welfare of all. Buddhas by the hundred are necessary with eternal love and pity.

Yours affectionately,

Vivekananada(VII, 501)

Not only the ‘ Sri Ramakrishna family’ but the whole of India accepted Sister Nivedita as Swamiji’s dear daughter. Her role in our freedom movement is written in golden letters. Born in Ireland she grew up as a British citizen, became Swamiji’s disciple and transformed herself totally by integrating into her character and behaviour all that is truly Indian. She raised her voice against the authorities for justice towards India and Indians. When we think of Swamiji we can’t but remember this wonderful Guru Shishya ideal. Her mortal remains were put to rest in Dehradoon. But her soul continues to inspire thousands of Niveditas in India even today. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Who is a true Jnani, and who is a true Bhakta?

Q.- Who is a true Jnani, and who is a true Bhakta?

A.- The true Jnani is he who  has the deepest love within his  heart and at the same time is a practical seer of Advaita in his outward relations.And the true Bhakta (lover) is he who, realising his own soul as identified with the universal Soul, and thus possessed of the true Jnana within, feels  for and loves everyone. Of Jnana and Bhakti he who advocates one and denounces the other cannot be either a Jnani or a  Bhakta but he is a thief and a cheat.

Q.-Why should a man serve Ishvara?

A.-If  you once admit that there is such a thing as Ishwara (God), you have numberlessoccasionsto serve Him.Service of the Lordmeans according to all the scriptural  authorities, remembrance (Smarana). If you believe in the existence of God, you will be reminded of Him at every step of your life. (V, 318)

Clarifying the difference between a jnani and a bhakta Swamiji further adds that karma means either service to humanity or preaching. To real preaching, no doubt, none has the right except the Siddhapurusha. But to service every one has the right and not only so, but every one is under obligation to serve others, so long as he is accepting service from others. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Being and Becoming.

        Vedas teach that the soul is divine, only held in the bondage of matter; perfection will be reached when this bond will burst, and the word they use for it is therefore, Mukti — freedom, freedom from the bonds of imperfection, freedom from death and misery.

And this bondage can only fall off through the mercy of God, and this mercy comes on the pure. So purity is the condition of His mercy. How does that mercy act? He reveals Himself to the pure heart; the pure and the stainless see God, yea, even in this life; then and then only all the crookedness of the heart is made straight. Then all doubt ceases. He is no more the freak of a terrible law of causation. This is the very centre, the very vital conception of Hinduism. The Hindu does not want to live upon words and theories. If there are existences beyond the ordinary sensuous existence, he wants to come face to face with them. 

        If there is a soul in him which is not matter, if there is an all-merciful  universal Soul, he will go to Him direct. He must see Him, and that alone can destroy all doubts. So the best proof a Hindu sage gives about the soul, about God, is: “I have seen the soul; I have seen God.” And that is the only condition of perfection. The Hindu religion does not consist in struggles and attempts to believe a certain doctrine or dogma, but in realising — not in believing, but in being and becoming. (I, 12-13)

As different from other religions, God’s grace reveals itself  by making the seeker’s mind more and more pure so that the light of the Self within shines better and better. It lifts human mind to a universal level, eradicating dualistic ideas and feelings,opening up doors to the realisation of Self.  God’s grace hastens this process of progress towards spiritual perfection. God’s grace is never meant for acquiring material benefits.   

Thursday, December 3, 2020

A few Pearls of ‘ Brahmananda’

.......Hence, when you call Shri Ramakrishna an Incarnation and in the same breath plead your ignorance unhesitatingly, I say, “You are false to the backbone!” If Ramakrishna Paramahamsa be true, you also are true. But you must show it. ... In you all, there is tremendous power. The atheist has nothing but rubbish in him. Those who are believers are heroes. They will manifest tremendous power. The world will be swept before them. “Sympathy and help to the poor”; “Man is God, he is Nârâyana”; “In Atman there is no distinction of male or female, of Brahmin or Kshatriya, and the like”; “All is Narayana from the Creator down to a clump of grass.” The worm is less manifested, the Creator more manifested. Every action that helps a being manifest its divine nature more and more is good, every action that retards it is evil.

The only way of getting our divine nature manifested is by helping others to do the same.

If there is inequality in nature, still there must be equal chance for all — or if greater for some and for some less — the weaker should be given more chance than the strong.

  All expansion is life, all contraction is death. All love is expansion all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore love for love’s sake, because it is the only law of life, just as you breathe to live. This is the secret of selfless love, selfless action and the rest. ...  (VI, 318 – 320)

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Way to Blessedness

What is this Self? We have seen that It is even beyond the intellect. We learn from the same Upanishad that this Self is eternal and omnipresent, that you and I and all of us are omnipresent beings, and that the Self is changeless. Now this omnipresent Being can be only one. There cannot be two beings who are equally omnipresent — how could that be? There cannot be two beings who are infinite, and the result is, there is really only one Self, and you, I, and the whole universe are but one, appearing as many. 

“As the one fire entering into the world manifests itself in various ways, even so that one Self, the Self of all, manifests Itself in every form.” But the question is: If this Self is perfect and pure, and the One Being of the universe, what becomes of It when It goes into the impure body, the wicked body, the good body, and so on? How can It remain perfect? “The one sun is the cause of vision in every eye, yet it is not touched by the defects in the eyes of any.” If a man has jaundice he sees everything as yellow; the cause of his vision is the sun, but his seeing everything as yellow does not touch the sun. Even so this One Being, though the Self of every one, is not touched by the purities or impurities outside. “In this world where everything is evanescent, he who knows Him who never changes, in this world of insentience, he who knows the one sentient Being, in this world of many, he who knows this One and sees Him in his own soul, unto him belongs eternal bliss, to none else, to none else. 

        There the sun shines not, nor the stars, nor the lightning flashes, what to speak of fire? He shining, everything shines; through His light everything becomes effulgent. When all the desires that trouble the heart cease, then the mortal becomes immortal, and here one attains Brahman. When all the crookedness of the heart  disappears, when all its knots are cut asunder, then alone the mortal becomes immortal. This is the way. May this study bless us; may it maintain us; may it give us strength, may it become energy in us; may we not hate each other; peace unto all!” (II, 411- 412)

        Which other culture or religion can claim a better universal and unifying vision?  It is this Vedic Vision that has sustained the dynamism and relevance of our spiritual heritage. It is this vision that has been handed over from generation to generation through the uniquely Indian Guru Shishya Tradition and has provided the unique fragrance to the Indian culture which is sought out by the discerning people all over the world.

Every Hindu born in this Punyabhumi, in spite of his being ignorant of the great Hindu traditions, is aware of at least  one thing, that is, within him lies the imperishable Atman which is one with everything in the universe. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

What is That, knowing which everything is known.

You must remember the one theme that runs through all the Vedas: “Just as by the knowledge of one lump of clay we know all the clay that is in the universe, so what is that, knowing which we know everything else?” This, expressed more or less clearly, is the theme of all human knowledge. It is the finding of a unity towards which we are all going. Every action of our lives — the most material, the grossest as well as the finest, the highest, the most spiritual — is alike tending towards this one ideal, the finding of unity. 

        A man is single. He marries. Apparently it may be a selfish act, but at the same time, the impulsion, the motive power, is to find that unity. He has children, he has friends, he loves his country, he loves the world, and ends by loving the whole universe. Irresistibly we are impelled towards that perfection which consists in finding the unity, killing this little self and making ourselves broader and broader. This is the goal, the end towards which the universe is rushing. Every atom is trying to go and join itself to the next atom. Atoms after atoms combine, making huge balls, the earths, the suns, the moons, the stars, the planets. They in their turn, are trying to rush towards each other, and at last, we know that the whole universe, mental and material, will be fused into one. (VI, 4- 5) 

   Swamiji explains further clarifying the above statement.

“The process that is going on in the cosmos on a large scale, is the same as that going on in the microcosm on a smaller scale. Just as this universe has its existence in separation, in distinction, and all the while is rushing towards unity, non-separation, so in our little worlds each soul is born, as it were, cut off from the rest of the world. The more ignorant, the more unenlightened the soul, the more it thinks that it is separate from the rest of the universe. The more ignorant the person, the more he thinks, he will die or will be born, and so forth — ideas that are an expression of this separateness.” (VI, 5)  

Man - making Education

You cannot make a plant grow in soil unsuited to it. A child teaches itself. But you can help it to go forward in its own way. What you ca...