August 13, 2010

Swami Vivekananda 1.4.1

Soul, God, Religion
  • At the beginning of the 19th century, religion was disappearing. Essentially every religion is one and united.
  • Most religions declare that the body has something that does not mutate, remaining the same. But they claim that it had a beginning which would be impossible because anything that had a beginning must have an end.
  • Beginning only means beginning of a cycle.
  • If there was an absolute beginning, then the whole burden of impurity would go into God.
  • A child is born with past tendencies, no child is born with tabula rasa or a clean, blank mind. The ancient Greeks and the Egyptians thought that a child is born with hundred tendencies.
  • Christianity after coming out of its origin had lost the root of it in Europe.
  • All religion teach us about the eternity of the soul, and its luster has been deemed. No one understood that all the Gods were the same. 
  • The sun god, wind god and the nature's other gods changed into one God, monotheism rising from it. But then we learned that that God is immanent in nature which means we can reach Him.
  • By knowing that the God is essentially the same as us, we find that the kingdom of heaven is within us. It is the mind that is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Everything has been created by him, just as there are thousand different radii but they converge through only one point.
  • Love and charity is the oneness in every human which should be searched. Until religion makes you realize God, it is useless. It is as if a donkey is carrying sugar but does not know its sweetness.
  • A lion was born among a flock of sheep where it was raised with grass and learned to bleat. A stranger lion came and saw the lion eating grass, and took it to the pond, showed its face to it and after understanding that it was not a sheep but a lion, it learned to roar and not be a sheep any more.

    Some questions follow from the book:
    •  Q. A man in the audience said, "If ministers stop preaching hell-fire, they will have no control over their people."
      • A. They had better lose it then. The man who is frightened into religion has no religion at all. Better teach him of his divine nature than of his animal.
    • Q. What did the Lord mean when he said, "The kingdom of heaven is not of this world?"
      • A. That the kingdom of heaven is within us. The Jewish idea was a kingdom of heaven upon this earth. That was not the idea of Jesus.
    • Q. Do you believe we come up from the animals?
      • A. I believe that, by the law of evolution, the higher beings have come up from the lower kingdoms.
    • Q. Do you know of anyone who remembers his previous life ?
      • A. I have met some who told me they did remember their previous life. They had reached a point where they could remember their former incarnations.
    • Q. Do you believe in Christ's crucifixion?
      • A. Christ was God incarnate; they could not kill him. That which was crucified was only a semblance, a mirage.
    • Q. If he could have produced such a semblance as that, would not that have been the greatest miracle of all?
      • A. I look upon miracles as the greatest stumbling-blocks in the way of truth. When the disciples of Buddha told him of a man who had performed a so-called miracle — had taken a bowl from a great height without touching it — and showed him the bowl, he took it and crushed it under his feet and told them never to build their faith on miracles, but to look for truth in everlasting principles. He taught them the true inner light — the light of the spirit, which is the only safe light to go by. Miracles are only stumbling-blocks. Let us brush them aside.
    • Q. Do you believe Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount?
      • A. I do believe he did. But in this matter I have to go by the books as others do, and I am aware that mere book testimony is rather shaky ground. But we are all safe in taking the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount as a guide. We have to take what appeals to our inner spirit. Buddha taught five hundred years before Christ, and his words were full of blessings: never a curse came from his lips, nor from his life; never one from Zoroaster, nor from Confucius.

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