The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 7/Inspired Talks/Tuesday, July 9
(RECORDED BY MISS S. E. WALDO, A DISCIPLE)
TUESDAY, July 9, 1895.
Man as Atman is really free; as man he is bound, changed by every physical condition. As man, he is a machine with an idea of freedom; but this human body is the best and the human mind the highest mind there is. When a man attains to the Atman state, he can take a body, making it to suit himself; he is above law. This is a statement and must be proved. Each one must prove it for himself; we may satisfy ourselves, but we cannot satisfy another. Râja-Yoga is the only science of religion that can be demonstrated; and only what I myself have proved by experience, do I teach. The full ripeness of reason is intuition, but intuition cannot antagonise reason.
Work purifies the heart and so leads to Vidyâ (wisdom). The Buddhists said,
doing good to men and to animals were the only works; the Brahmins said that
worship and all ceremonials were equally "work" and purified the mind.
Shankara declares that "all works, good and bad, are against knowledge".
Actions tending to ignorance are sins, not directly, but as causes, because
they tend to increase Tamas and Rajas. With Sattva only, comes wisdom.
Virtuous deeds take off the veil from knowledge, and knowledge alone can
make us see God.
Knowledge can never be created, it can only be discovered; and every man who
makes a great discovery is inspired. Only, when it is a spiritual truth he
brings, we call him a prophet; and when it is on the physical plane, we call
him a scientific man, and we attribute more importance to the former,
although the source of all truth is one.
Shankara says, Brahman is the essence, the reality of all knowledge, and
that all manifestations as knower, knowing, and known are mere imaginings in
Brahman. Ramanuja attributes consciousness to God; the real monists
attribute nothing, not even existence in any meaning that we can attach to
it. Ramanuja declares that God is the essence of conscious knowledge.
Undifferentiated consciousness, when differentiated, becomes the world. . .
Buddhism, one of the most philosophical religions in the world, spread all
through the populace, the common people of India. What a wonderful culture
there must have been among the Aryans twenty-five hundred years ago, to be
able to grasp ideas!
Buddha was the only great Indian philosopher who would not recognise caste,
and not one of his followers remains in India. All the other philosophers
pandered more or less to social prejudices; no matter how high they soared,
still a bit of the vulture remained in them. As my Master used to say, "The
vulture soars high out of sight in the sky, but his eye is ever on a bit of
carrion on the earth."
* * *
The ancient Hindus were wonderful scholars, veritable living encyclopaedias.
They said, "Knowledge in books and money in other people's hands is like no
knowledge and no money at all."
Shankara was regarded by many as an incarnation of Shiva.