(The numbers given below are only to assist in future references)
THERE are two allied powers in man: Knowledge and Wisdom. Knowledge is so much of the truth, seen in a distorted medium, as the mind arrives at by groping; Wisdom what the eye of divine vision sees in the spirit.
Inspiration is a slender river of brightness leaping from a vast and eternal knowledge; it exceeds reason more perfectly than reason exceeds the knowledge of the senses.
When I speak, the reason says, “This will I say”; but God takes the word out of my mouth and the lips say something else at which reason trembles.
I am not a Jnani, for I have no knowledge except what God gives me for His work. How am I to know whether what I see be reason or folly? Nay, it is neither; for the thing seen is simply true and neither folly nor reason.
If mankind only caught a glimpse of what infinite enjoyments, what perfect forces, what luminous reaches of spontaneous knowledge, what wide calms of our being lie waiting for us in the tracts which our animal evolution has not yet conquered, they would leave all and never rest till they had gained these treasures. But the way is narrow, the doors are hard to force, and fear, distrust and scepticism are there, sentinels of Nature to forbid the turning away of our feet from less ordinary pastures.
Late, I learned that when reason died then Wisdom was born; before that liberation, I had only knowledge.
What men call knowledge is the reasoned acceptance of false appearances. Wisdom looks behind the veil and sees. Reason fixes details and contrasts them. Reason divides, Wisdom marries contrasts in a single harmony.
Either do not give the name of knowledge to your beliefs only, and of error, ignorance or charlatanism to the beliefs of others; or do not rail at the dogmas of the sects and their intolerance.
What the soul sees and has experienced, that it knows; the rest is appearance, prejudice and opinion.
My soul knows that it is immortal. But you take a dead body to pieces and cry triumphantly “Where is your soul and where is your immortality?”
Immortality is not the survival of the mental personality after death, though that also is true, but the waking possession of the unborn and deathless Self of which body is only an instrument and a shadow.
They proved to me by convincing reasons that God does exist, and I believed them. Afterwards I saw God, for He came and embraced me. And now which am I to believe, the reasonings of others or my own experience?
They told me, “These things are hallucinations.” I inquired what was a hallucination and found that it meant a subjective or a psychical experience which corresponds to no objective or no physical reality. Then I sat and wondered at the miracles of the human reason.
Hallucination is the term of Science for those irregular glimpses we still have of truths shut out from us by our preoccupation with matter; coincidence for the curious touches of the artist, — in the work of that supreme and universal Intelligence which in its conscious being, as on a canvas, has planned and executed the world.
That which men term a hallucination is the reflection in the mind and senses of that which is beyond our ordinary mental and sensory perceptions and superstition arises from the mind's wrong understanding of these reflections. There is no other hallucination.
Do not like so many modern disputants smother thought under polysyllables or charm inquiry to sleep by the spell of formulas and cant words. Search always. Find out the reason for things which seem to the hasty glance to be mere chance or illusion.
Someone was laying down that God must be this or that or He would not be God. But it seemed to me that I can only know what God is and I do not see how I can tell Him what He ought to be. For what is the standard by which we can judge Him? These judgments are the follies of our egoism.
Chance is not in this universe; the idea of illusion is itself an illusion. There was never illusion yet in the human mind that did not conceal and disfigure a truth.
When I had the dividing reason I shrank from many things; after I had lost it in sight, I hunted through the world for the ugly and the repellent, but I could no longer find them.
God had opened my eyes; for I saw the nobility of the vulgar, the attractiveness of the repellent, the perfection of the maimed and the beauty of the hideous.
Forgiveness is praised by the Christian and the Vaishnava, but for me, I ask, “What have I to forgive and whom?”
God struck me with a human hand; shall I say then, “I pardon Thee thy insolence, O God”?
God gave me good in a blow. Shall I say, “I forgive thee, O Almighty One, the harm and the cruelty, but do it not again”?
When I pine at misfortune and call it evil, or am jealous and disappointed, then I know that there is awake in me again the eternal fool.
When I see others suffer, I feel that I am unfortunate, but the wisdom that is not mine, sees the good that is coming and approves.
Sir Philip Sidney said of the criminal led out to be hanged, “There, but for the grace of God, goes Sir Philip Sidney.” Wiser, had he said, “There, by the grace of God, goes Sir Philip Sidney.”
God is a great and cruel Torturer because He loves. You do not understand this, because you have not seen and played with Krishna.
One called Napoleon a tyrant and imperial cut-throat; but I saw God armed striding through Europe.
I have forgotten what vice is and what virtue; I can only see God, His play in the world and His will in humanity.
I saw a child wallowing in the dirt and the same child cleaned by his mother and resplendent, but each time I trembled before his utter purity.
What I wished or thought to be the right thing does not come about; therefore it is clear that there is no All-Wise one who guides the world but only blind Chance or a brute Causality.
The Atheist is God playing at hide and seek with Himself; but is the Theist any other? Well, perhaps; for he has seen the shadow of God and clutched at it.
O Thou that lovest, strike! If Thou strike me not now, I shall know that Thou lovest me not.
O Misfortune, blessed be thou; for through thee I have seen the face of my Lover.
Men are still in love with grief; when they see one who is too high for grief or joy, they curse him and cry, “O thou insensible!” Therefore Christ still hangs on the cross in Jerusalem.
Men are in love with sin; when they see one who is too high for vice or virtue, they curse him and cry, “O thou breaker of bonds; thou wicked and immoral one!” Therefore Sri Krishna does not live as yet in Brindavan.
Some say Krishna never lived, he is a myth. They mean on earth; for if Brindavan existed nowhere, the Bhagavat could not have been written.
Strange! the Germans have disproved the existence of Christ; yet his crucifixion remains still a greater historic fact than the death of Caesar.
Sometimes one is led to think that only those things really matter which have never happened; for beside them most historic achievements seem almost pale and ineffective.
There are four very great events in history, the siege of Troy,
the life and crucifixion of Christ, the exile of Krishna in Brindavan and the
colloquy with Arjuna on the field of Kurukshetra. The siege of Troy created
Hellas, the exile in Brindavan created devotional religion, (for before there
was only meditation and worship,) Christ from his cross humanised Europe, the
colloquy at Kurukshetra will yet liberate
humanity. Yet it is said that none of these four events ever happened.
They say that the gospels are forgeries and Krishna a creation of the poets. Thank God then for the forgeries and bow down before the inventors.
If God assigns to me my place in Hell, I do not know why I should aspire to Heaven. He knows best what is for my welfare.
If God draw me towards Heaven, then, even if His other hand strive to keep me in Hell, yet must I struggle upwards.
Only those thoughts are true the opposite of which is also true in its own time and application; indisputable dogmas are the most dangerous kind of falsehoods.
Logic is the worst enemy of Truth, as self-righteousness is the worst enemy of virtue; for the one cannot see its own errors nor the other its own imperfections.
When I was asleep in the Ignorance, I came to a place of meditation full of holy men and I found their company wearisome and the place a prison; when I awoke, God took me to a prison and turned it into a place of meditation and His trysting ground.
When I read a wearisome book through and with pleasure, yet perceived all the perfection of its wearisomeness, then I knew that my mind was conquered.
I knew my mind to be conquered when it admired the beauty of the hideous, yet felt perfectly why other men shrank back or hated.
To feel and love the God of beauty and good in the ugly and the evil, and still yearn in utter love to heal it of its ugliness and its evil, this is real virtue and morality.
To hate the sinner is the worst sin, for it is hating God; yet he who commits it glories in his superior virtue.
When I hear of a righteous wrath, I wonder at man's capacity for self-deception.
This is a miracle that men can love God, yet fail to love humanity. With whom are they in love then?
The quarrels of religious sects are like the disputing of pots, which shall be alone allowed to hold the immortalising nectar. Let them dispute, but the thing for us is to get at the nectar in whatever pot and obtain immortality.
You say that the flavour of the pot enters the liquor. That is taste; but what can deprive it of its immortalising faculty?
Be wide in me, O Varuna; be mighty in me, O Indra; O Sun, be very bright and luminous; O Moon, be full of charm and sweetness. Be fierce and terrible, O Rudra; be impetuous and swift, O Maruts; be strong and bold, O Aryama; be voluptuous and pleasurable, O Bhaga; be tender and kind and loving and passionate, O Mitra. Be bright and revealing, O Dawn; O Night, be solemn and pregnant. O Life, be full, ready and buoyant; O Death, lead my steps from mansion to mansion. Harmonise all these, O Brahmanaspati. Let me not be subject to these gods, O Kali.
When, O eager disputant, thou hast prevailed in a debate, then art thou greatly to be pitied, for thou hast lost a chance of widening knowledge.
Because the tiger acts according to his nature and knows not anything else, therefore he is divine and there is no evil in him. If he questioned himself, then he would be a criminal.
The animal, before he is corrupted, has not yet eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; the god has abandoned it for the tree of eternal life; man stands between the upper heaven and the lower nature.
One of the greatest comforts of religion is that you can get hold of God sometimes and give him a satisfactory beating. People mock at the folly of savages who beat their gods when their prayers are not answered; but it is the mockers who are the fools and the savages.
There is no mortality. It is only the Immortal who can die; the mortal could neither be born nor perish.
There is nothing finite. It is only the Infinite who can create for himself limits. The finite can have no beginning nor end, for the very act of conceiving its beginning and end declares its infinity.
I heard a fool discoursing utter folly and wondered what God meant by it; then I considered and saw a distorted mask of truth and wisdom.
God is great, says the Mahomedan. Yes, He is so great that He can afford to be weak, whenever that too is necessary.
God often fails in His workings; it is the sign of His illimitable godhead.
Because God is invincibly great, He can afford to be weak; because He is immutably pure, He can indulge with impunity in sin; He knows eternally all delight, therefore He tastes also the delight of pain; He is inalienably wise, therefore He has not debarred Himself from folly.
Sin is that which was once in its place, persisting now it is out of place; there is no other sinfulness.
There is no sin in man, but a great deal of disease, ignorance and misapplication.
The sense of sin was necessary in order that man might become disgusted with his own imperfections. It was God's corrective for egoism. But man's egoism meets God's device by being very dully alive to its own sins and very keenly alive to the sins of others.
Sin and virtue are a game of resistance we play with God in His efforts to draw us towards perfection. The sense of virtue helps us to cherish our sins in secret.
Examine thyself without pity, then thou wilt be more charitable and pitiful to others.
A thought is an arrow shot at the truth; it can hit a point, but not cover the whole target. But the archer is too well satisfied with his success to ask anything farther.
The sign of dawning Knowledge is to feel that as yet I know little or nothing; and yet, if I could only know my knowledge, I already possess everything.
When Wisdom comes, her first lesson is, “There is no such thing as knowledge; there are only aperçus of the Infinite Deity.”
Practical knowledge is a different thing; that is real and serviceable, but it is never complete. Therefore to systematise and codify it is necessary but fatal.
Systematise we must, but even in making and holding the system, we should always keep firm hold on this truth that all systems are in their nature transitory and incomplete.
Europe prides herself on her practical and scientific organisation and efficiency. I am waiting till her organisation is perfect; then a child shall destroy her.
Genius discovers a system; average talent stereotypes it till it is shattered by fresh genius. It is dangerous for an army to be led by veterans; for on the other side God may place Napoleon.
When knowledge is fresh in us, then it is invincible; when it is old, it loses its virtue. This is because God moves always forward.
God is infinite Possibility. Therefore Truth is never at rest; therefore, also, Error is justified of her children.
To listen to some devout people, one would imagine that God never laughs; Heine was nearer the mark when he found in Him the divine Aristophanes.
God's laughter is sometimes very coarse and unfit for polite ears; He is not satisfied with being Molière, He must needs also be Aristophanes and Rabelais.
If men took life less seriously, they could very soon make it more perfect. God never takes His works seriously; therefore one looks out on this wonderful Universe.
Shame has admirable results and both in aesthetics and in morality we could ill spare it; but for all that it is a badge of weakness and the proof of ignorance.
The supernatural is that the nature of which we have not attained or do not yet know, or the means of which we have not yet conquered. The common taste for miracles is the sign that man's ascent is not yet finished.
It is rationality and prudence to distrust the supernatural; but to believe in it, is also a sort of wisdom.
Great saints have performed miracles; greater saints have railed at them; the greatest have both railed at them and performed them.
Open thy eyes and see what the world really is and what God; have done with vain and pleasant imaginations.
This world was built by Death that he might live. Wilt thou abolish death? Then life too will perish. Thou canst not abolish death, but thou mayst transform it into a greater living.
This world was built by Cruelty that she might love. Wilt thou abolish cruelty? Then love too will perish. Thou canst not abolish cruelty, but thou mayst transfigure it into its opposite, into a fierce Love and Delightfulness.
This world was built by Ignorance and Error that they might know. Wilt thou abolish ignorance and error? Then knowledge too will perish. Thou canst not abolish ignorance and error, but thou mayst transmute them into the utter and effulgent exceeding of reason. (Footnote: Or, exceeding of reason.)
If Life alone were and not death, there could be no immortality; if love were alone and not cruelty, joy would be only a tepid and ephemeral rapture; if reason were alone and not ignorance, our highest attainment would not exceed a limited rationality and worldly wisdom.
Death transformed becomes Life that is Immortality; Cruelty transfigured becomes Love that is intolerable ecstasy; Ignorance transmuted becomes Light that leaps beyond wisdom and knowledge.
Pain is the touch of our Mother teaching us how to bear and grow in rapture. She has three stages of her schooling, endurance first, next equality of soul, last ecstasy.
All renunciation is for a greater joy yet ungrasped. Some renounce for the joy of duty done, some for the joy of peace, some for the joy of God and some for the joy of self-torture, but renounce rather as a passage to the freedom and untroubled rapture beyond.
Only by perfect renunciation of desire or by perfect satisfaction of desire can the utter embrace of God be experienced, for in both ways the essential precondition is effected, — desire perishes.
Experience in thy soul the truth of the Scripture; afterwards, if thou wilt, reason and state thy experience intellectually and even then distrust thy statement, but distrust never thy experience.
When thou affirmest thy soul-experience and deniest the different soul-experience of another, know that God is making a fool of thee. Dost thou not hear His self-delighted laughter behind thy soul's curtains?
Revelation is the direct sight, the direct hearing or the inspired memory of Truth, drishti, sruti, smriti; it is the highest experience and always accessible to renewed experience. Not because God spoke it, but because the soul saw it, is the word of the Scriptures our supreme authority.
The word of Scripture is infallible; it is in the interpretation the heart and reason put upon the Scripture that error has her portion.
Shun all lowness, narrowness and shallowness in religious thought and experience. Be wider than the widest horizons, be loftier than the highest Kanchenjunga, profounder than the deepest oceans.
In God's sight there is no near or distant, no present, past or future. These things are only a convenient perspective for His world-picture.
To the senses it is always true that the sun moves round the earth; this is false to the reason. To the reason it is always true that the earth moves round the sun; this is false to the supreme vision. Neither earth moves nor sun; there is only a change in the relation of sun-consciousness and earth-consciousness.
Vivekananda, exalting Sannyasa, has said that in all Indian history, there is only one Janaka. Not so, for Janaka is not the name of a single individual, but a dynasty of self-ruling kings and the triumph-cry of an ideal.
In all the lakhs of ochre-clad Sannyasins, how many are perfect? It is the few attainments and the many approximations that justify an ideal.
There have been hundreds of perfect Sannyasins, because Sannyasa had been widely preached and numerously practised; let it be the same with the ideal freedom and we shall have hundreds of Janakas.
Sannyasa has a formal garb and outer tokens; therefore men think they can easily recognise it; but the freedom of a Janaka does not proclaim itself and it wears the garb of the world; to its presence even Narada was blinded.
Hard is it to be in the world, free, yet living the life of ordinary men; but because it is hard, therefore it must be attempted and accomplished.
When he watched the actions of Janaka, even Narada the divine sage thought him a luxurious worldling and libertine. Unless thou canst see the soul, how shalt thou say that a man is free or bound?
All things seem hard to man that are above his attained level and they are hard to his unaided effort; but they become at once easy and simple when God in man takes up the contract.
To see the composition of the sun or the lines of Mars is doubtless a great achievement; but when thou hast the instrument that can show thee a man's soul as thou seest a picture, then thou wilt smile at the wonders of physical Science as the playthings of babies.
Knowledge is a child with its achievements; for when it has found out something, it runs about the streets whooping and shouting; Wisdom conceals hers for a long time in a thoughtful and mighty silence.
Science talks and behaves as if it had conquered all knowledge. Wisdom, as she walks, hears her solitary tread echoing on the margin of immeasurable Oceans.
Hatred is the sign of a secret attraction that is eager to flee from itself and furious to deny its own existence. That too is God's play in His creature.
Selfishness is the only sin, meanness the only vice, hatred the only criminality. All else can easily be turned into good, but these are obstinate resisters of deity.
The world is a long recurring decimal with Brahman for its integer. The period seems to begin and end, but the fraction is eternal; it will never have an end and never had any real beginning.
The beginning and end of things is a conventional term of our experience; in their true existence these terms have no reality, there is no end and no beginning.
“Neither is it that I was not before nor thou nor these kings nor that all we shall not be hereafter.” Not only Brahman, but beings and things in Brahman are eternal; their creation and destruction is a play of hide and seek with our outward consciousness.
The love of solitude is a sign of the disposition towards knowledge; but knowledge itself is only achieved when we have a settled perception of solitude in the crowd, in the battle and in the mart.
If when thou art doing great actions and moving giant results, thou canst perceive that THOU art doing nothing, then know that God has removed His seal on thy eyelids.
If when thou sittest alone, still and voiceless on the mountaintop, thou canst perceive the revolutions thou art conducting, then hast thou the divine vision and art freed from appearances.
The love of inaction is folly and the scorn of inaction is folly; there is no inaction. The stone lying inert upon the sands which is kicked away in an idle moment, has been producing its effect upon the hemispheres.
If thou wouldst not be the fool of Opinion, first see wherein thy thought is true, then study wherein its opposite and contradiction is true; last, discover the cause of these differences and the key of God's harmony.
An opinion is neither true nor false, but only serviceable for life or unserviceable; for it is a creation of Time and with time it loses its effect and value. Rise thou above opinion and seek wisdom everlasting.
Use opinion for life, but let her not bind thy soul in her fetters.
Every law, however embracing or tyrannous, meets somewhere a contrary law by which its operation can be checked, modified, annulled or eluded.
The most binding Law of Nature is only a fixed process which the Lord of Nature has framed and uses constantly; the Spirit made it and the Spirit can exceed it, but we must first open the doors of our prison-house and learn to live less in Nature than in the Spirit.
Law is a process or a formula; but the soul is the user of processes and exceeds formulas.
Live according to Nature, runs the maxim of the West; but according to what Nature, the nature of the body or the nature which exceeds the body? This first we ought to determine.
O son of Immortality, live not thou according to Nature, but according to God; and compel her also to live according to the deity within thee.
Fate is God's foreknowledge outside Space and Time of all that in Space and Time shall yet happen; what He has foreseen, Power and Necessity work out by the conflict of forces.
Because God has willed and foreseen everything, thou shouldst not therefore sit inactive and wait upon His providence, for thy action is one of His chief effective forces. Up then and be doing, not with egoism, but as the circumstance-instrument and apparent cause of the event that He has predetermined.
When I knew nothing, then I abhorred the criminal, sinful and impure, being myself full of crime, sin and impurity; but when I was cleansed and my eyes unsealed, then I bowed down in my spirit before the thief and the murderer and adored the feet of the harlot; for I saw that these souls had accepted the terrible burden of evil and drained for all of us the greater portion of the churned poison of the world-ocean.
The Titans are stronger than the gods because they have agreed with God to front and bear the burden of His wrath and enmity; the gods were able to accept only the pleasant burden of His love and kindlier rapture.
When thou art able to see how necessary is suffering to final delight, failure to utter effectiveness and retardation to the last rapidity, then thou mayst begin to understand something, however faintly and dimly, of God's workings.
All disease is a means towards some new joy of health, all evil and pain a tuning of Nature for some more intense bliss and good, all death an opening on widest immortality. Why and how this should be so, is God's secret which only the soul purified of egoism can penetrate.
Why is thy mind or thy body in pain? Because thy soul behind the veil wishes for the pain or takes delight in it; but if thou wilt — and perseverest in thy will — thou canst impose the spirit's law of unmixed delight on thy lower members.
There is no iron or ineffugable law that a given contact shall create pain or pleasure; it is the way thy soul meets the rush or pressure of Brahman upon the members from outside them that determines either reaction.
The force of soul in thee meeting the same force from outside cannot harmonise the measures of the contact in values of mind-experience and body-experience, therefore thou hast pain, grief or uneasiness. If thou canst learn to adjust the replies of the force in thyself to the questions of world-force, thou shalt find pain becoming pleasurable or turning into pure delightfulness. Right relation is the condition of blissfulness, rtam the key of Ananda.
Who is the superman? He who can rise above this matter-regarding broken mental human unit and possess himself universalised and deified in a divine force, a divine love and joy and a divine knowledge.
If thou keepest this limited human ego and thinkest thyself the superman, thou art but the fool of thy own pride, the plaything of thy own force and the instrument of thy own illusions.
Nietzsche saw the superman as the lion-soul passing out of camelhood, but the true heraldic device and token of the superman is the lion seated upon the camel which stands upon the cow of plenty. If thou canst not be the slave of all mankind, thou art not fit to be its master, and if thou canst not make thy nature as Vasistha's cow of plenty with all mankind to draw its wish from her udders, what avails thy leonine supermanhood?
Be to the world as the lion in fearlessness and lordship, as the camel in patience and service, as the cow in quiet, forbearing and maternal beneficence. Raven on all the joys of God as a lion over its prey, but bring also all humanity into that infinite field of luxurious ecstasy to wallow there and to pasture.
If Art's service is but to imitate Nature, then burn all the picture galleries and let us have instead photographic studios. It is because Art reveals what Nature hides, that a small picture is worth more than all the jewels of the millionaires and the treasures of the princes.
If you only imitate visible Nature, you will perpetrate either a corpse, a dead sketch or a monstrosity; Truth lives in that which goes behind and beyond the visible and sensible.
O Poet, O Artist, if thou but holdest up the mirror to Nature, thinkest thou Nature will rejoice in thy work? Rather she will turn away her face. For what dost thou hold up to her there? Herself? No, but a lifeless outline and reflection, a shadowy mimicry. It is the secret soul of Nature thou hast to seize, thou hast to hunt eternally after the truth in the external symbol, and that no mirror will hold for thee, nor for her whom thou seekest.
I find in Shakespeare a far greater and more consistent universalist than the Greeks. All his creations are universal types from Lancelot Gobbo and his dog up to Lear and Hamlet.
The Greeks sought universality by omitting all finer individual touches; Shakespeare sought it more successfully by universalising the rarest individual details of character. That which Nature uses for concealing from us the Infinite, Shakespeare used for revealing the Anantaguna in man to the eye of humanity.
Shakespeare, who invented the figure of holding up the mirror to Nature, was the one poet who never condescended to a copy, a photograph or a shadow. The reader who sees in Falstaff, Macbeth, Lear or Hamlet imitations of Nature, has either no inner eye of the soul or has been hypnotised by a formula.
Where in material Nature wilt thou find Falstaff, Macbeth or Lear? Shadows and hints of them she possesses, but they themselves tower above her.
There are two for whom there is hope, the man who has felt God's touch and been drawn to it and the sceptical seeker and self-convinced atheist; but for the formularists of all the religions and the parrots of free thought, they are dead souls who follow a death that they call living.
A man came to a scientist and wished to be instructed; this instructor showed him the revelations of the microscope and telescope, but the man laughed and said, “These are obviously hallucinations inflicted on the eye by the glass which you use as a medium; I will not believe till you show these wonders to my naked seeing.” Then the scientist proved to him by many collateral facts and experiments the reliability of his knowledge but the man laughed again and said, “What you term proofs, I term coincidences, the number of coincidences does not constitute proof; as for your experiments, they are obviously effected under abnormal conditions and constitute a sort of insanity of Nature.” When confronted with the results of mathematics, he was angry and cried out, “This is obviously imposture, gibberish and superstition; will you try to make me believe that these absurd cabalistic figures have any real force and meaning?” Then the scientist drove him out as a hopeless imbecile; for he did not recognise his own system of denials and his own method of negative reasoning. If we wish to refuse an impartial and open-minded enquiry, we can always find the most respectable polysyllables to cover our refusal or impose tests and conditions which stultify the enquiry.
When our minds are involved in matter, they think matter the only reality; when we draw back into immaterial consciousness, then we see matter a mask and feel existence in consciousness alone as having the touch of reality. Which then of these two is the truth? Nay, God knoweth; but he who has had both experiences, can easily tell which condition is the more fertile in knowledge, the mightier and more blissful.
I believe immaterial consciousness to be truer than material consciousness. Because I know in the first what in the second is hidden from me and also can command what the mind knows in matter.
Hell and Heaven exist only in the soul's consciousness. Ay, but so does the earth and its lands and seas and fields and deserts and mountains and rivers. All world is nothing but arrangement of the Soul's seeing.
There is only one soul and one existence; therefore we all see one objectivity only; but there are many knots of mind and ego in the one soul-existence, therefore we all see the one Object in different lights and shadows.
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The idealist errs; it is not Mind which created the worlds but that which created mind has created them. Mind only mis-sees, because it sees partially and by details what is created.
Thus said Ramakrishna and thus said Vivekananda. Yes, but let me know also the truths which the Avatar cast not forth into speech and the prophet has omitted from his teachings. There will always be more in God than the thought of man has ever conceived or the tongue of man has ever uttered.
What was Ramakrishna? God manifest in a human being; but behind there is God in His infinite impersonality and His universal Personality. And what was Vivekananda? A radiant glance from the eye of Shiva; but behind him is the divine gaze from which he came and Shiva himself and Brahma and Vishnu and OM all-exceeding.
He who recognises not Krishna, the God in man, knows not God entirely; he who knows Krishna only, knows not even Krishna. Yet is the opposite truth also wholly true that if thou canst see all God in a little pale, unsightly and scentless flower, then hast thou hold of His supreme reality.
Shun the barren snares of an empty metaphysics and the dry dust of unfertile intellectuality. Only that knowledge is worth having which can be made use of for a living delight and put out into temperament, action, creation and being.
Become and live the knowledge thou hast; then is thy knowledge the living God within thee.
Evolution is not finished; reason is not the last word nor the reasoning animal the supreme figure of Nature. As man emerged out of the animal, so out of man the superman emerges.
The power to observe law rigidly is the basis of freedom; therefore in most disciplines the soul has to endure and fulfil the law in its lower members before it can rise to the perfect freedom of its divine being. Those disciplines which begin with freedom are only for the mighty ones who are naturally free or in former lives have founded their freedom.
Those who are deficient in the free, full and intelligent observation of a self-imposed law, must be placed in subjection to the will of others. This is one principal cause of the subjection of nations. After their disturbing egoism has been trampled under the feet of a master, they are given or, if they have force in them, attain a fresh chance of deserving liberty by liberty.
To observe the law we have imposed on ourselves rather than the law of others is what is meant by liberty in our unregenerate condition. Only in God and by the supremacy of the spirit can we enjoy a perfect freedom.
The double law of sin and virtue is imposed on us because we have not that ideal life and knowledge within which guides the soul spontaneously and infallibly to its self-fulfilment. The law of sin and virtue ceases for us when the sun of God shines upon the soul in truth and love with its unveiled splendour. Moses is replaced by Christ, the Shastra by the Veda.
God within is leading us always aright even when we are in the bonds of the ignorance; but then, though the goal is sure, it is attained by circlings and deviations.
The Cross is in Yoga the symbol of the soul and nature in their strong and perfect union, but because of our fall into the impurities of ignorance it has become the symbol of suffering and purification.
Christ came into the world to purify, not to fulfil. He himself foreknew the failure of his mission and the necessity of his return with the sword of God into a world that had rejected him.
Mahomed's mission was necessary, else we might have ended by thinking, in the exaggeration of our efforts at self-purification, that earth was meant only for the monk and the city created as a vestibule for the desert.
When all is said, Love and Force together can save the world eventually, but not Love only or Force only. Therefore Christ had to look forward to a second advent and Mahomed's religion, where it is not stagnant, looks forward through the Imams to a Mehdi.
Law cannot save the world, therefore Moses' ordinances are dead for humanity and the Shastra of the Brahmin is corrupt and dying. Law released into Freedom is the liberator. Not the Pandit, but the Yogin; not monasticism, but the inner renunciation of desire and ignorance and egoism.
Even Vivekananda once in the stress of emotion admitted the fallacy that a personal God would be too immoral to be suffered and it would be the duty of all good men to resist Him. But if an omnipotent supra-moral Will and Intelligence governs the world, it is surely impossible to resist Him; our resistance would only serve His ends and really be dictated by Him. Is it not better then, instead of condemning or denying, to study and understand Him?
If we would understand God, we must renounce our egoistic and ignorant human standards or else ennoble and universalise them.
Because a good man dies or fails and the evil live and triumph, is God therefore evil? I do not see the logic of the consequence. I must first be convinced that death and failure are evil; I sometimes think that when they come, they are our supreme momentary good. But we are the fools of our hearts and nerves and argue that what they do not like or desire, must of course be an evil!
When I look back on my past life, I see that if I had not failed and suffered, I would have lost my life's supreme blessings; yet at the time of the suffering and failure, I was vexed with the sense of calamity. Because we cannot see anything but the one fact under our noses, therefore we indulge in all these snifflings and clamours. Be silent, ye foolish hearts! Slay the ego, learn to see and feel vastly and universally.
The perfect cosmic vision and cosmic sentiment is the cure of all error and suffering; but most men succeed only in enlarging the range of their ego.
Men say and think “For my country!” “For humanity!” “For the world!” but they really mean “For myself seen in my country!” “For myself seen in humanity!” “For myself imaged to my fancy as the world!” That may be an enlargement, but it is not liberation. To be at large and to be in a large prison are not one condition of freedom.
Live for God in thy neighbour, God in thyself, God in thy country and the country of thy foeman, God in humanity, God in tree and stone and animal, God in the world and outside the world, then art thou on the straight path to liberation.
There are lesser and larger eternities; for eternity is a term of the soul and can exist in Time as well as exceeding it. When the Scriptures say “sãswatih samãh”, they mean for a long space and permanence of time or a hardly measurable aeon; only God Absolute has the absolute eternity. Yet when one goes within, one sees that all things are really eternal; there is no end, neither was there ever a beginning.
When thou callest another a fool, as thou must sometimes, yet do not forget that thou thyself hast been the supreme fool in humanity.
God loves to play the fool in season; man does it in season and out of season. It is the only difference.
In the Buddhists' view to have saved an ant from drowning is a greater work than to have founded an empire. There is a truth in the idea, but a truth that can easily be exaggerated.
To exalt one virtue, — compassion even, — unduly above all others is to cover up with one's hand the eyes of wisdom. God moves always towards a harmony.
Pity may be reserved, so long as thy soul makes distinctions, for the suffering animals; but humanity deserves from thee something nobler; it asks for love, for understanding, for comradeship, for the help of the equal and brother.
The contributions of evil to the good of the world and the harm sometimes done by the virtuous are distressing to the soul enamoured of good. Nevertheless be not distressed nor confounded, but study rather and calmly understand God's ways with humanity.
In God's providence there is no evil, but only good or its preparation.
Virtue and vice were made for thy soul's struggle and progress; but for results they belong to God, who fulfils himself beyond vice and virtue.
Live within; be not shaken by outward happenings.
Fling not thy alms abroad everywhere in an ostentation of charity; understand and love where thou helpest. Let thy soul grow within thee.
Help the poor while the poor are with thee; but study also and strive that there may be no poor for thy assistance.
The old Indian social ideal demanded of the priest voluntary simplicity of life, purity, learning and the gratuitous instruction of the community, of the prince, war, government, protection of the weak and the giving up of his life in the battlefield, of the merchant, trade, gain and the return of his gains to the community by free giving, of the serf, labour for the rest and material havings. In atonement for his serfhood, it spared him the tax of self-denial, the tax of blood and the tax of his riches.
The existence of poverty is the proof of an unjust and ill-organised society, and our public charities are but the first tardy awakening of the conscience of a robber.
Valmikie, our ancient epic poet, includes among the signs of a just and enlightened state of society not only universal education, morality and spirituality but this also that there shall be none who is compelled to eat coarse food, none uncrowned and unanointed, or who lives a mean and petty slave of luxuries.
The acceptance of poverty is noble and beneficial in a class or an individual, but it becomes fatal and pauperises life of its richness and expansion if it is perversely organised into a general or national ideal.
Poverty is no more a necessity of social life than disease of the natural body; false habits of life and an ignorance of our true organisation are in both cases the peccant causes of an avoidable disorder.
Athens, not Sparta, is the progressive type for mankind. Ancient India with its ideal of vast riches and vast spending was the greatest of nations. Modern India with its trend towards national asceticism has fully become poor in life and sunk into weakness and degradation.
Do not dream that when thou hast got rid of material poverty, men will ever so be happy or satisfied or society freed from ills, troubles and problems. This is only the first and lowest necessity. While the soul within remains defectively organised there will always be outward unrest, disorder and revolution.
Disease will always return to the body if the soul is flawed; for the sins of the mind are the secret cause of the sins of the body. So too poverty and trouble will always return on man in society, so long as the mind of the race is subjected to egoism.
Religion and philosophy are best to rescue man from his ego; then the kingdom of heaven within will be spontaneously reflected in an external divine city.
Mediaeval Christianity said to the race, “Man, thou art in thy earthly life an evil thing and a worm before God; renounce then egoism, live for a future state and submit thyself to God and His priest.” The results were not over-good for humanity. Modern knowledge says to the race, “Man, thou art an ephemeral animal and no more to Nature than the ant and the earthworm, a transitory speck only in the universe. Live then for the State and submit thyself antlike to the trained administrator and the scientific expert.” Will this gospel succeed any better than the other?
Vedanta says rather, “Man, thou art of one nature and substance with God, one soul with thy fellow-men. Awake and progress then to thy utter divinity, live for God in thyself and in others.” This gospel which was given only to the few, must now be offered to all mankind for its deliverance.
The human race always progresses most when most it asserts its importance to Nature, its freedom and its universality.
Animal man is the obscure starting-point, the present natural man, varied and tangled, the mid-road, but supernatural man the luminous and transcendent goal of our human journey.
Life and action culminate, are eternally crowned for thee when thou hast attained the power of symbolising and manifesting in every thought and act, in art, literature and life, in home and government and society, in wealth-getting, wealth-having or wealth-spending the One Immortal in His lower mortal being.