03 July 2011

Complete Works: Vol - IV

This week we take the fourth volume of Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda for some insight. Like all other volumes, it also contains more than 500 pages of information on Bhakti-Yoga, Lectures and Discourses, Prose and Poems and his translations. It has the speech he delivered at Los Angeles, California in 1990 on “Christ, the Messenger” (pages 138-153). The speech became so popular that it got even published as booklets and sold in the US. The entire lecture is available here at the following link for those who are interested in knowing what Vivekananda spoke about Jesus: Christ the Messenger

Some important quotes I like in Volume 4:

1) On meat eating

Many of you may be surprised to know that Vivekananda, in spite of being a vegetarian, did not consider meat eating a disgrace. On the contrary he advocated meat eating for the working class of India and to make India stronger. He very pragmatic in his approach to everything in this world and the issue of vegetarianism was not an exception.

You speak of the meat-eating Kshatriya.
Meat or no meat, it is they who are the fathers of all that is noble and beautiful in Hinduism.
    Who wrote Upanishads? Who was Rama? Who was Krishna?
    Who was Buddha? Who were the Tirthankaras of the Jains?
    Whenever the Kshatriyas have preached religion,
        they have given it to everybody;
    And whenever the Brahmins wrote anything,
        they would deny all right to others.
(p 359)
Is God a nervous fool like you that the flow of His river of mercy would be dammed up by a piece of meat? 
If such he He, His value is not a pie!
(p 359)

2) About blind faith

Faith is blind”, they say. Since Faith depends on your Belief in the unknown, it has to be blind. So goes the explanation. No wonder then people like Sri Aurobindo have been quoted as saying:

“Reason gives me no basis for this faith, thou murmurest.
Fool! if it did, faith would not be needed or demanded of thee.”

(In: Thoughts and Aphorisms 255).


நீ என்ன முனுமுனுத்தாலும், ஒருவனின் நம்பிக்கையும் விசுவாசமும் "காரணத்தின்' அடிப்படையிலாகாது.
முட்டாள்! அப்படியானால், உன்னிடமிருந்து ஏன் நம்பிக்கை வேண்டுமென்று கோரிக்கையிடுகின்றனர்?

But Swami Vivekananda did not believe in blind faith, because his definitions of belief and/or faith were different. He reiterates this point again and again…..

“I cannot take belief as a basis; that is atheism and blasphemy”    VII 97.1      
“Believe nothing and disbelieve everything; that is the first step”    N.D. 3.360.1      
“Believe in yourselves first, and then believe in anything else”    III 426.3      
“You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself”    V 409.6   

And he says in Volume 4….

Perfection does not come from belief or faith.
Talk does not count for anything. Parrots can do that.
Perfection comes through the disinterested performance of action.
  (p 137)

To believe blindly is to degenerate the human soul.
Be an atheist if you want, but do not believe in anything unquestioningly. ….
Stand up and reason out, having no blind faith.
Religion is a question of being and becoming, not of believing.
(p. 216)

3) Letter and spirit

Vivekananda never believe in words, symbols, rituals, all of which called “dry bones” or “kindergartens” of religions. He believed in the Spirit of Message and not in Letters or words. Here are some quotes from Volume 4 that reiterates this:

If you want to be a Christian, it is not necessary to know whether Christ was born in Jerusalem or Bethlehem or just the exact date on which he pronounced the Sermon on the Mount; you only require to feel the Sermon on the Mount.   (p 25)

Religion is not talk, or doctrines, or theories; nor is it sectarianism.
Religion cannot live in sects and societies.
It is the relation between soul and God; 

how can it be made into a society? …..
Religion does not contain in erecting temples or building churches, or attending public worship.
It is not to be found in books, or in words, or in lectures, or in organization.
Religion consists in realization.
(p. 179-180)

4) You are all prophets

கடைசியாக நாம் எல்லோருக்கும் விவேகானந்தரின் ஒரு உபதேசம்:

Will other and greater prophets come? Certainly they will come in this world,
    but do not look forward to that. ….
Take all the old messages, supplement them with your own realization,
    and become a Prophet unto others.
(p. 134)

என்ன ஒரு அதிசயம்! 2,500 வருடங்களுக்கு முன் வாழ்ந்த கன்பூசியஸ் இதே கருத்தைத்தான் வலியுறுத்தினார். அதாவது Reviewing the old and deducing the new, makes a teacher.”


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