Swami Vivekananda, a true Sannyasin (monk), a great reformer, a preaching nationalist, an illuminated soul, lived a reformist active life of nine and half years. He expanded the Hinduism amidst thunder applauded by four thousand people assembled in World Parliament of Religions on Monday, September 11, 1893 at Art Institute in Chicago, US.
Addressing ‘Sisters and Brothers of America’ and thanking all the organisers in the name of the mother of all religions and millions of Hindu people irrespective of classes and sects, Swami Vivekananda said with the voice of lion, “I am proud to belong to a religion – Hinduism, which has taught the world both universal tolerance and acceptance. We accept all religions as true. My nation had sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions like Zoroastrians and all nations of the earth.”
The Hindu religion, the oldest surviving religion without beginning and end is perpetual and eternal (sanatana). It is based on divine revelation and realisation. It was the communication with cosmic entity (God) by the several enlightened rishis, saints, sages and seers who were on their journey of enlightenment through service to merger with divinity, being one with God.
In the Persian language, people who were living near the river bank of Indus were ‘Sindhu’ or later ‘Hindus.’ All revelations and the Four Vedas were recorded in ‘Sruti’ or ‘Smriti.’ There were other major scriptures – the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, Vedanta, Puranas, Upanishadas and the Bhagawat Gita.
For years, the spiritual treasury and the spiritual laws were discovered by the enlightened souls just as the law of gravitation existed before its discovery and would exist even if all humanity forgot it. So it is with the laws that govern the spiritual universe. The moral, ethical and spiritual connection between two souls and the relation between the individual spirit and the father of all the spirits were there and would remain forever.
The Vedas teach us that creation is without beginning or end. Science has proved that the sum total of cosmic energy is always the same. So it can be concluded that there has been creation at all times.
The Veda declared, ‘I am a spirit living in a body, I am not the body. The body will die but I shall not die. I shall go on living. I had also a past. The soul was not created, for creation means a certain future dissolution.’ If then the souls were created, they must die. Why? If they are all created, why does a just and merciful god create one happy and another unhappy? There must have been causes then before his birth, to make a man miserable or happy and those were his past actions. A soul with a certain tendency by laws of affinity would take birth in a body which is the fittest instrument for the display of the tendency. This is in accord with science that explains everything by habit. Habit is formed through repetition. So, Hindus believe that they are the spirits. Lord Krishna in Gita said, “Him the sword cannot pierce, him the fire cannot burn, him the water cannot melt, him the air cannot dry.”
Nainam chindanti sastrani
Nainam dahati pavakah
Na cainam kledayanty apo
Na sosayati marutah
A Hindu believes that every soul is a circle whose circumference is nowhere, but the centre is located in the body. On death, the centre changes to another body. The soul is not bound by the conditions of matter. It is free, unbounded, holy, pure, perfect, immortal and infinite. The present is determined by past actions and the future by the present.
Swami Vivekananda said in his address, “Hear, ye children of immortal bliss! Even ye 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. Allow me to call you, brethren by that sweet name – heirs of immortal bliss – yea Hindu refuses to call you sinners. It is sin to call a man sinner; it is a standing libel on human nature. Come up, O Lions and shake off the delusion that you are sheep; you are soul, immortal, spirit free, blest and eternal. Ye are not matter, ye are not bodies. Matter is your servant, not you the servant of matter.”
The Veda declares that there is one by whose command the wind blows, the fire burns, the cloud rains and death stalks upon the earth. He is everywhere - the pure and formless one, the Almighty and the all merciful. Thou art our father, thou art our Mother, thou art our beloved friend, thou art the source of all strength, give us strength. He is worshipped through Love, love for his love’s sake. Live in this world like a lotus leaf. Soul is divine. When fruits ripen, they fall down. Likewise, when the soul becomes perfect and enlightened, it frees from the bondage of body matter. Bondage can fall off through the mercy of God. Mercy comes on the pure. God reveals Himself to the pure heart.
The Hindu sage says, “I have the soul; I have seen god, I have talked to God.” Paramhansa Ramakrishna had talked to Mother Kali. A Hindu believes in realising, not in believing, but in being and becoming one with Him. On attaining perfection, one likes a life of bliss infinite. He then lives with God, the soul becomes perfect and absolute. It becomes one with Brahman – “the existence of absolute knowledge and bliss absolute.” The ultimate of happiness being reached when it would become a universal consciousness.
Science has proved that physical individuality is a delusion : really, my body is one little continuously changing body in an unbroken ocean of matter. Unity (Advaita) is the necessary conclusion of the other counterpart, the soul. Science is in finding unity. Its goal is to reach perfect unity. Chemistry’s goal is to discover one element out of which all others could be made. Physics discovers one energy of which all others are but manifestations. Science of Religion becomes perfect when it would discover Him, who is one life in a universe of death, Him who is the constant basis of an ever-changing world. One who is the only soul of which all souls are but delusive manifestations. Through multiplicity and duality, the ultimate unity is reached. Religion can go no further. This is the God of all sciences.
The entire universe has been manifested from my form.
All beings are dependent upon me but I am not dependent upon them.
I retain this world by a single fragment of myself.
Manifestation and not creation is the word of science today. The Hindu is glad but what he has been cherishing in his bosom for ages is going to be taught in forcible language with further light from the latest conclusions of science.
Hindu uses an external symbol when he worshipped. It helps him to keep his mind fixed on the Being to whom he prays. He applies all attributes of God to the images. It is not polytheism. He finds attributes of One to manifestations of many. He associates the ideas of holiness, purity, truth, virtues, omnipresence and such ideas with different images. Hindu’s religion is centred in realisation. Man is to become divine realising the divine. Idols are only the support.
Scriptures say, “External worship, material worship is the lowest stage, struggling to rise high, mental prayer is the next stage and highest is the realisation of the Lord. Hindu travels from lower to higher truth and from truth to truth.” Sri Krishna, an incarnation of the Lord said, “I am in every religion as the thread through a string of pearls. Wherever thou seest extraordinary holiness and extraordi-nary power raising and purifying humanity, know there that I am there”. Every religion is evolving a god out of material man. It is the same light coming through glasses of different colour. Paramhansa Sri Ramakrishna said, “I am Krishna, I am Ram”, when he was asked who you are. Paramahansa Yogananda talking to disciples at SRF Hermitage, Encinites, California said, “Everything is God. This very room and the Universe are floating like a motion picture on the screen of my consciousness. I see nothing but pure spirit, pure light and pure joy. The picture of my body and your bodies and all things in this world are only rays of light streaming out of that one sacred light. As I see that light I behold nothing anywhere but pure spirit.”
“After obtaining a large reservoir of water, there is no use of a small reservoir of water. Likewise, all the purposes and contents of Vedas are of no use for One who has obtained enlightenment.”
Swamiji said, “At present the word Hindu means anything bad, never mind, by an action let us be ready to show that this is the highest word that any language can have. Hindus stand for everything that is glorious, that is spiritual. Children of ancient Aryans, have the same pride through the grace of the Lord. You may have the same pride, may that faith in your ancestors come into your blood, may it become part and parcel of your lives, may it work towards the salvation of the world. All the fortunes and miseries of the world will pass over without hurting us, and we shall come out of the flames like Prahlad; so long as we hold on the grandest of inheritances and spirituality. We are the children of Almighty, we are sparks of the infinite divine force. Losing faith in one’s self means losing faith in God.”
Spirituality in India is ‘Anubhuti’, realisation. God has been seen by ancients as well as moderns. The words of love alone will come out of that heart, which has realised the truth and realised the blissfulness. Lord Krishna talked to Arjuna, his beloved disciple. He told him about Yoga “Union”. It is union between a man and the whole humanity and union between himself, God and love. He said that there are four types of Yoga – Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. Karma Yoga is the attainment of God through selfless action/actions without attachment and expectation of fruits. King Janaka attained realisation. So you should make on the path of progeny, perform selfless action just for the sake of people.
Jnana Yoga (Yoga of knowledge) : To the Yogi of knowledge, God is the life of his life, the soul of his soul. God is own self, nothing else remains which is other than soul. Lord Krishna told Arjuna, “Free from attachment, fear and anger, fully absorbed in me, purified by knowledge and mediation have attained union with my being.”
Rajayoga (Yoja of Concentration): It is controlling of the mind. He deals with concentration. Lord Krishna said, “A Yogi who wants to concentrate on God should restrain his mind, live alone in a private and quiet place, should be free from the bondage of desires and feeling of possessions and should constantly meditate on God.”
Bhakti Yoga (Yoga of devotion): This is Yoga of love-love-love alone. A man in love uses all sorts of rituals, flowers, incense and so on. Paramahansa Ramakrishna used to feed Mother Kali, talked to Her in love - ecstasy. Emotional natures do not care for abstract definitions of the Truth. His love is childlike for mother. His love is selfless, no expectation, no attachment to world except God. Wherever the heart expands, He is there manifested. Mahaprabhu Chaitanya, Saint Bamakhapa, Swami Trailanga, Mirabai all were great lovers too. Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore in one of his songs writes, “I will call you Maa, Maa like a little child in emotional pleasure of his being able to speak. I will cite God’s name with tears, and smile but not in any expectation.” Lord Krishna said, “One who by fixing him on me, steadfast in me, always worships and has supreme faith in me, is extremely merged in me. I consider then to be most devoted to me.”
Lord Krishna said, “Concentrate your mind on me, my devotee and offer your homage on to me. This way you will attain me. I promise this as you are very dear to me. God appears in this world in His original true form by His Divine Potency.
Lord Krishna says, “Whenever there is a degradation of religion and righteousness and surge in irreligion and unrighteousness, at that time I move myself. For the protection of the pious and to annihilate the wrongdoers, as well as to re-establish religion and righteousness, I manifest myself, era after era.” In Bhagawad Gita, Lord Krishna said a realised person works for the welfare of all beings : “Sarbabhutite Rata”. Those holy men whose sins have been least, who are working for the welfare of other beings, those who are self restrained and have cleared all these doubts and dualities attains the eternal happiness or God. Hindu believes in welfare of all. He works for the welfare of all.
Swami Vivekananda said, “The Hindu’s Universal Religion, it so happens, will have no location in place or time. It will be infinite like God. The sun of Universal Religion will shine on all followers of all preachers and religions. It will have no place for persecution or intolerance in its polity.
It will recognise divinity in every man and woman. Its whole force will be central making humanity realise its own true, divine nature.” Love your religion, be humble and respectful to other religions. You are infinite. The body is manifestation of spirit which is youthful.
Have faith in yourself and God. Affirm you are not a sinner.
You are a perfect and infinite soul. Come out of the bondage of habit. Be not the slave of habit, but be master of body matter – habit. March on the path of perfec-tion, realisation and unity with the ultimate cosmic infinity – God. Be one with the universal unity. Unity in variety is the plan of nature. Love, but face brutes. Be not fanatic, but face fanatics. Love your religion, but respect other religions. If you are a Christian, be Christian, if you are a Hindu, be a Hindu. Keep harmony and peace.