31 July 2011

Complete Works: Vol - VIII

The eighth volume of Swami Vivekananda’s complete works was released first in 1951 after the seventh volume got published.  As the publishers began getting fresh materials of Vivekananda’s talks from Europe and America, they put things together and released a volume. This volume also has Lectures and Discourses, Prose and Poems, Class talks, Sayings and Utterances and Epistles.

(1) Big or small, Lord God made them all

One of the fundamental teachings of all major religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism) that originated from India is that animals and humans are no different as they share the same soul. The Upanishads repeatedly assert this point and, for example, we see this verse in Isha Upanishad. One of the best passages I have come across in all principal Upanishads:

Those who see all creatures within themselves
    And themselves in all creatures, know no fear.
Those who see all creatures in themselves
    And themselves in all creatures, know no grief.
How can the multiplicity of life
    Delude the one who sees its unity?

(Isha 6-7)

This has also been translated this way….

One who sees God in his own Atma (Self)
And the same God in all other living beings
Frees himself from hatred and conflicts with others.
If you see Oneness in all beings then there will be no sorrow.

That is why Vivekananda teaches this fundamental principle of Advaita Vedanta in these words:

Vedanta formulates, not universal brotherhood, but universal oneness.
I am the same as any other man, as any animal – good, bad, anything.
It is one body, one mind and one soul throughout.
(p. 129)

Is that the reason Valluvar also said…

மன்னுயிர் ஓம்பி அருளாள்வார்க்கு இல்லென்ப தன்னுயிர் அஞ்சும் வினை.
Those who protect other life with kindness need not fear for their own lives
. (244)

(2) Vivekananda on Astrology

நான் கோவையிலிருந்த 9 வருடங்களில் (1991 முதல் 2001 வரை), நான் பார்க்காத மூட நம்பிக்கைகள் கிடையாது. ஒரு காசோலையில் கையொப்பமிடுவதற்கு நல்ல நேரம் பார்ப்பதும், வேலையில் சேர்வதற்கும் நல்ல நேரம் பார்ப்பதும் வழக்கமாக இருக்கிறது நம்முடைய தமிழகத்தில். அநேகமாக நம் நாட்டிலுள்ள எல்லா மாநிலங்களிலும் பொதுவாக
இந்நிலைமை இருக்கிறது என்று கூறினால் அது மிகையில்லை. என்னுடைய கோவை நன்பர்கள் பலர் (அதில் பகுத்தறிவுள்ள கற்றறிந்த அறிஞர்கள் பலர் அடங்கும்) ஜோசியத்தில் அசைக்கமுடியாத நம்பிக்கையுடையவராக இருக்கக் கண்டுள்ளேன். என்னுடன் தில்லியில் பணிபுரிந்த கால்நடை மருத்துவர் ஒருவன் (இப்போது அமெரிக்காவில் இருக்கிறான்), ஜோசியத்திலுள்ள "விஞ்ஞான பூர்வமான" கருத்துக்களை வலியுறுத்தி ஆணித்தரமாக விவாதிப்பான்

I have a simple question to ask all these people who vehemently support and believe in Astrology. How come most of the developed countries in this world (I am here referring to the West) are distributed in areas where people never believed in Astrology? i.e. in places where people who took all major decisions without referring to an astrologer. How come other communities who do not believe in Astrology, like Muslims for instance, manage to get married, live with prosperity and reproduce with good effect (without getting married on an auspicious day….!!)? These learned scholars (Brahmins particularly) never think in those lines. They are like frogs in the well. People like Periyar came and tried their level best, but they have only managed to attract some followers who have dispensed away with these practices.  I would also recommend the believers in Astrology to read the chapter on Astrology in Abraham Kovoor’s book “Begone Godmen” (Jaiko Publishers).

In the chapter “Man the Maker of his destiny”, Swami Vivekananda says clearly…..

If you can get an explanation of a phenomenon from within its nature,
It is nonsense to look for an explanation from outside
. (p. 184)

(3) On Christians and Hindus & their worship

When I was in Coimbatore, I had a Christian Malayali neighbor by name Roland. His wife was a devout Christian and in order the  propagate the Good news of the Bible, she used to invited the neighbours to attend to prayers and discourses conducted by a Brahmin who got converted to Christianity. She used to tell me that all the wealth and prosperity she got in her life is due to her prayers to the Lord and that I will also get benefited if I believe in Jesus and ask him for help. Vivekananda calls all this kind of worships as “Shop-keeping Worship”. He says in Volume VIII:

Christians are always wanting God to give them something.
They appear as beggars before the throne of the Almighty
. (p. 202)

People go to chur
ch like a flock of sheep.
They do not embrace God because they need Him.
Most persons are unconscious atheists who self-complacently think
    that they are devout believers. 
         (p. 203)

Vivekanda did not spare the Hindus either. In Hinduism I have seen, in spite of the great philosophy, there is a shortfall in actual practice. There is no scriptural binding to connect worship and morality.
உதாரணமாக, எல்லா கடைகளிலும் சாமிப்படம் இருக்கும். சாமி கும்பிடாமல் வியாபாரத்தைத் தொடங்கமாட்டான். அதே சமயம், பூஜை முடிந்தவுடன் கோதாவில் இறங்கிவிடுவான். வியாபார கோட்பாடுக்கு முறனான செயல்களை துவங்கிவிடுவான். நான் எல்லா வியாபாரிகளும் இப்படிப்பட்டவர் என்று கூறவில்லை. சமய நெறிமுறைகளை கடைப்பிடிப்பவர்களிடமுள்ள முறன்ப்பாட்டைத்தான் இங்கு சுட்டிக்காட்டுகிறேன். இதைத்தான் விவேகானந்தர் நையாண்டித்தனமாக இங்ஙணம் சுட்டிக்காட்டுகிறார்:

The Hindu is a peculiar person.
He does everything in a religious manner.
He eats religiously; he sleeps religiously;
He rises in the morning religiously;
He does good things religiously;
And he also does bad things religiously.
(p. 205)

(4) Every religion is imperfect

என்னுடைய மதம்தான் சரியானதுஅல்லதுஎன்னுடைய மதம்தான் மேன்மையானதுஎன்று பீத்திக்கொள்பவருக்கு கீழே தரப்பட்டுள்ள மகாத்மா காந்தியின் வாக்கியங்கள் போதுமானது:

If we had attained the full vision of Truth,
    we would no longer be mere seekers,
    but would have become one with God, for Truth is God.
But being only seekers, we prosecute our quest,
    and are conscious of our imperfection.
And if we are imperfect ourselves,
    religion as conceived by us must also be imperfect.
And if all faiths outlined by men are imperfect,
    the question of comparative merit does not arise.
All faiths constitute a revelation of Truth,
    but all are imperfect and liable to error.

(Mahatma Gandhi)

So, how can the imperfect man try to understand the Perfect? Referring to Hinduism, his own religion, Swami Vivekananda said in Volume VIII…..

We admit the imperfection of our system,
    because the reality must be beyond all system
And in this admission lies the portent and promise
    of an eternal growth.
(p. 255)

Referring to the Vedas, he says in Volume VIII….

Personally, I take as much of the Vedas as agree with reason.
Parts of the Vedas are apparently contradictory.
(p. 255)


1 comment:

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