The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 7/Inspired Talks/Monday, July 8
(RECORDED BY MISS S. E. WALDO, A DISCIPLE)
MONDAY, July 8, 1895.
There is no place for reasoning in Madhva's explanation, it is all taken
from the revelation in the Vedas.
Ramanuja says, the Vedas are the holiest study. Let the sons of the three upper castes get the Sutra (The holy thread.) and at eight, ten, or eleven years of age begin the study, which means going to a Guru and learning the Vedas word for word, with perfect intonation and pronunciation.
Japa is repeating the Holy Name; through this the devotee rises to the
Infinite. This boat of sacrifice and ceremonies is very frail, we need more
than that to know Brahman, which alone is freedom. Liberty is nothing more
than destruction of ignorance, and that can only go when we know Brahman. It
is not necessary to go through all these ceremonials to reach the meaning of
the Vedanta. Repeating Om is enough.
Seeing difference is the cause of all misery, and ignorance is the cause of
seeing difference. That is why ceremonials are not needed, because they
increase the idea of inequality; you practice them to get rid of something
or to obtain something.
Brahman is without action, Atman is Brahman, and we are Atman; knowledge
like this takes off all error. It must be heard, apprehended intellectually,
and lastly realised. Cogitating is applying reason and establishing this
knowledge in ourselves by reason. Realising is making it a part of our lives
by constant thinking of it. This constant thought or Dhyana is as oil that
pours in one unbroken line from vessel to vessel; Dhyana rolls the mind in
this thought day and night and so helps us to attain to liberation. Think
always "Soham, Soham"; this is almost as good as liberation. Say it day and
night; realisation will come as the result of this continuous cogitation.
This absolute and continuous remembrance of the Lord is what is meant by
This Bhakti is indirectly helped by all good works. Good thoughts and good
works create less differentiation than bad ones; so indirectly they lead to
freedom. Work, but give up the results to the Lord. Knowledge alone can make
us perfect. He who follows the God of Truth with devotion, to him the God of
Truth reveals Himself. . . . We are lamps, and our burning is what we call
"life". When the supply of oxygen gives out, then the lamp must go out. All
we can do is to keep the lamp clean. Life is a product, a compound, and as
such must resolve itself into its elements.