Swami Vivekananda On Hinduism – Part I E-mail

The Hindu believes that he is a spirit. Him the sword cannot pierce; him the fire cannot burn; him the water cannot melt; him the air cannot dry. The Hindu believes that every soul is a circle whose circumference is nowhere, but whose center is located in the body, and that death means the change of this center from body to body.

Nor is the soul bound by the conditions of matter. In its very essence it is free, unbounded, holy, pure and perfect.  But somehow or other it finds itself tied down to matter, and thinks of itself as matter. Why should the free, perfect and pure being be thus under the thralldom of matter is the next question. How can the perfect soul be deluded into the belief that it is imperfect? . . . . The Hindu is sincere. He does not want to take shelter under sophistry. He is brave enough to face the question in a manly fashion; and his answer is, "I do not know. I do not know how the perfect being, the soul, came to think of itself as imperfect, as joined to and conditioned by matter."

The human soul is eternal and immortal, perfect and infinite; and death means only a change of center from one body to another. The present is determined by our past actions, and the future by the present. The soul will go on evolving up or reverting back from birth to birth and death to death. But here is another question: is man a tiny boat in a tempest, raised one moment on the foamy crest of a billow and dashed down into a yawning chasm the next, rolling to and fro at the mercy of good and bad actions-a powerless, helpless wreck in an ever-raging, ever-rushing, uncompromising current of cause and effect; a little moth placed under the wheel of causation, which rolls on crushing everything in its way, and waits not for the widow's tears; or an orphan's cry? The heart sinks at the idea, yet this is the law of nature. "Is there no hope? Is there no escape?" was the cry that went up from the bottom of the heart of despair.

It reached the throne of mercy, the words of hope and consolation came down and inspired the Vedic sage, and he stood up before the world and in trumpet voice proclaimed the glad tidings: 

"Hear, ye children of immortal bliss! even ye that reside in higher spheres! I have found the Ancient One, who is beyond all darkness, all delusion: knowing Him alone you shall be saved from death over again."

Thus it is that the Vedas proclaim not a dreadful combination of unforgiving laws, not an endless prison of causes and effect, but that at the head of all these laws, in and through every particle of matter and force, stands One,

"By whose command the wind blows, the fire burns, the clouds rain, and death stalks upon the earth." 

The 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 therefore is mukti (freedom), freedom from the bonds of imperfection, freedom from death and misery. 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 realizing -- not in believing -- in being and becoming.

Thus the whole object of their system is by constant struggle to become perfect, to become divine, to reach God and see God, and this reaching God, seeing God, becoming perfect even as the Father in Heaven is perfect, constitutes the religion of the Hindus.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 April 2007 )
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“As our human relations can be made divine, so our relationship with God may take any of these forms and we can look upon Him as our father or mother or friend or beloved. Calling God Mother is a higher ideal than calling Him Father; and to call Him Friend is still higher; but the highest is to regard Him as the Beloved. The highest point of all is to see no difference between lover and beloved.” – Swami Vivekananda