The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 8/Epistles - Fourth Series/LXIII Sturdy
To Mr. E. T. Sturdy
The work here is going on splendidly. I have been working incessantly at two classes a day since my arrival. Tomorrow I go out of town with Mr. Leggett for a week's holiday. Did you know Madame Antoinette Sterling, one of your greatest singers? She is very much interested in the work.
I have made over all the secular part of the work to a committee and am free
from all that botheration. I have no aptitude for organising. It nearly
breaks me to pieces.
. . . What about the Nârada-Sutra? There will be a good sale of the book here, I am sure. I have now taken up the Yoga-Sutras and take them up one by one and go through all the commentators along with them. These talks are all taken down, and when completed will form the fullest annotated translation of Patanjali in English. Of course it will be rather a big work.
At Trübner's I think there is an edition of Kurma Purâna. The commentator,
Vijnâna Bhikshu, is continually quoting from that book. I have never seen
the book myself. Will you kindly find time to go and see if in it there are
some chapters on Yoga? If so, will you kindly send me a copy? Also of the
Hatha-Yoga-Pradipikâ, Shiva-Samhitâ, and any other book on Yoga? The
originals of course. I shall send you the money for them as soon as they
arrive. Also a copy of Sânkhya-Kârikâ of Ishwara Krishna by John Davies.
Just now your letter reached along with Indian letters. The one man who is
ready is ill. The others say that they cannot come over on the spur of the
moment. So far it seems unlucky. I am sorry they could not come. What can be
done? Things go slow in India!
Ramanuja's theory is that the bound soul or Jiva has its perfections
involved, entered, into itself. When this perfection again evolves, it
becomes free. The Advaitin declares both these to take place only in show;
there was neither involution nor evolution. Both processes were Maya, or
In the first place, the soul is not essentially a knowing being.
Sachchidânanda is only an approximate definition, and Neti Neti is the
essential definition. Schopenhauer caught this idea of willing from the
Buddhists. We have it also in Vâsanâ or Trishnâ, Pali tanhâ. We also admit
that it is the cause of all manifestation which are, in their turn, its
effects. But, being a cause, it must be a combination of the Absolute and
Maya. Even knowledge, being a compound, cannot be the Absolute itself, but
it is the nearest approach to it, and higher than Vasana, conscious or
unconscious. The Absolute first becomes the mixture of knowledge, then, in
the second degree, that of will. If it be said that plants have no
consciousness, that they are at best only unconscious wills, the answer is
that even the unconscious plant-will is a manifestation of the
consciousness, not of the plant, but of the cosmos, the Mahat of the Sankhya
Philosophy. The Buddhist analysis of everything into will is imperfect,
firstly, because will is itself a compound, and secondly, because
consciousness or knowledge which is a compound of the first degree, precedes
it. Knowledge is action. First action, then reaction. When the mind
perceives, then, as the reaction, it wills. The will is in the mind. So it
is absurd to say that will is the last analysis. Deussen is playing into the
hands of the Darwinists.
But evolution must be brought in accordance with the more exact science of
Physics, which can demonstrate that every evolution must be preceded by an
involution. This being so, the evolution of the Vasana or will must be
preceded by the involution of the Mahat or cosmic consciousness. (See also
Vol VIII Sayings and Utterances & Vol V Letter to Mr. Sturdy.)
There is no willing without knowing. How can we desire unless we know the
object of desire?
The apparent difficulty vanishes as soon as you divide knowledge also into
subconscious and conscious. And why not? If will can be so treated, why not