The Open Arms of Religious Congeniality

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The Open Arms of Religious Congeniality

STREWN ACROSS the thickly seeded fields of religious opposition, competition, and oppression, are a host of unsavoury impediments to religious tolerance, what to speak of a resistance to humanistic amelioration leading to spiritual understanding. Bigotry, narrow-mindedness, pride, sense of superiority, ill-will, inflicting violence for the sake of a personal religious cause—these are just a few of the noticeable and detrimental growths found in that blood-stained soil with its violent history.

 

On the other hand, in the pristine higher elevations and atmospheres of religious and spiritual concrescence are to be found the well-established forests of eternal and ongoing principles: open-mindedness, willingness to learn from others, absence of warring regarding opinions and ideologies, recognition of the equality in all souls—these welcome and refreshing stations reflect the one true God that those who seek harmony and unity worship devoutly, no matter what their religious affiliation or preference.

 

The Undeniable Advantages of Non-duality

Upon scrutiny of all the choices that a sincere spiritual seeker can make in the fields of spiritual pathways and religions, a distinct advantage is enjoyed by those who intuitively know the formless nature of divine Reality. Once upon a time, in India, during the time of the rishis the principle of formlessness was understood and taught fearlessly, especially to the youth in whose hands the future and well-being of society depended.

 

In present times, this axiom of the formless nature of reality has become obscured by the prevalence of inferior forms of thinking around religious faith. This is due mostly to the growth and presence of spiritual superstition masquerading as the status quo in today’s churches and temples, itself based in the senseless chase after wealth and popular following. But the human soul is inherently noble, and no ruse of this kind can prevail for long. As Swami Vivekananda observed: ‘As soon as human beings perceive the glory of the Vedanta, all abracadabras fall off of themselves. This has been my uniform experience. Whenever mankind attains a higher vision, the lower vision disappears of itself.’1

 

This higher vision, called Advaita Vedanta, though present in some form or another in many religious traditions of the world, is heavily pronounced and emphasized in Indian religion and philosophy. Its exportation from the East to the West in recent times has not been without difficulties, but this is because the maxim of non-dualism has not been brought out of Western forms of religion. Moreover, Western philosophy has busied itself with the limits of rational intellectualism and the distractions of argumentation instead of proving truth via contemplative exploration and apt conclusion.

 

Truth is expressed in Advaita Vedanta by such mantras as: ‘In the beginning this was Existence alone, One only, without a second;’2 and, ‘Thou art That’ (6.16.2). Brahman is nitya, eternal, existence. To explain this important point in contemporary terminolog y one could declare that nothing does not exist; there is no such thing as ultimate voidness. There is always ‘that’, which observes the void and gives it its name and existence as a principle or a concept. Though a subtle teaching, this is not hard to comprehend. What is more difficult, however, is convincing people of a materialistic, pleasure-seeking society to invest thought, effort, and even interest into realizing such subtleties. As the great Swami Vivekananda, the bold and fearless champion of Advaita in this age, declares: ‘To put the Hindu ideas into English, and then to make out of dry philosophy, intricate mythology, and queer startling psychology a religion that shall be easy, simple, popular, and at the same time meet the requirements of the highest mind, is a task that only those can understand who have attempted it.’3

 

The Competition

What stands as an apparent contradiction to the non-dual path of Advaita, and is often seen as being in direct contrast to the axiom of formlessness, is the presence of the personal God in the minds of the people. The Ishta Devata, Chosen Ideal, as called in India, is both sweet and easy of comprehension—at least to those possessed of that most beneficial quality called faith.

 

But here, Indian philosophy is the testing ground, the proof, and the integration. Never satisfied to render divine Reality in terms of superiority and inferiority, or any other conflicting duality, Indian seers avoided the subtle traps of comparison and competition and opted for the route of synthesis instead. After intense scrutiny of both form and formlessness—what they termed Ishta Devata and Brahman—the meditators of this unique land and tradition espied the One in the many, and the many proceeding out of the One. ‘That (Existence) saw, “I shall become many;”’4 ‘That (Brahman) having created, entered into that very thing. And having entered there, it became the formed and the formless, the defined and the undefined, the sustaining and the non-sustaining, the sentient and the insentient, the true and the untrue. Truth became all this that there is. They call that (Brahman) Truth.’5 This was true not only of their philosophical stations and assignments but of their pantheon of deities as well, the like and expanse of which
few countries or societies, if any, have ever matched. To these great minds, the one God was deemed and termed limitless, but also capable of breaking into a limit, if God so wished. In such a comprehensive rendering and realization, where was the room for dissension or disagreement with regard to God with form and the formless reality?

 

But whereas this Reality was perceived as limitless, the rishis knew the human mind was not—its limits, shortcomings, and stumbling are legion. Through such a veiled mechanism, Reality remains obscure or is taken for granted. As a result, its real import fell victim to the ills of fundamentalism throughout religious history. Fundamentalism is not even a true dualism. Authentic dualism in India is based on two truths: first, God exists; and second, that even where dualism has its sway, the individual, jivatman, and God, Paramatman, are intrinsically connected, never separate. But in the West, and especially in this Americanized era, dualism is more a matter of the differences between science and Christianity; the former that has no urge or reason to believe in divine Reality, and the latter that envisions its God as a heavenly form at best, unawares or shying away from its infinite nature.

 

Here is where Advaita can be applied for reaping the highest results pertaining to the growth of the human mind. In the Advaitic perspective, the concern is not relegated to a status of higher and lower. It is more pertinent in terms of what stage or station each individual has arrived at. However, the great benefit of perceiving God in its formless aspect is that it destroys all concerns and quandaries in the human mind, not just the ones pertaining to relativity. Put in more direct way, God or Reality is endowed with both form and formlessness, but being aware of only its myriad forms will not complete the philosophical picture or mature the dual mind. It is formlessness that must be experienced to satisfy these consummate ends.

 

This experience is called nirvikalpa samadhi in Vedanta; asamprajnata in Yoga; svatantrya, absolute freedom, in tantra; and kaivalya, a freeing isolation from nature, from all form, according to Samkhya. Whatever the name given, it puts the finishing touches on the masterwork of the sincere seeker’s spiritual life, for whereas before non-dual realization there may have been great faith and devotion, with Advaita comes full knowledge of where faith leads and what devotion loves.

 

To place this in a simpler context, Swami Vivekananda has stated: ‘The ignorant see the person in the non-person. The sage sees the non-person in the person. Through pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow, this is the one lesson we are learning.’6 The crying need in this day and age, then, is to begin to bring back from our inmost memory the truth and efficacy of non-duality—the oneness of all things, the innate homogeneity of all beings. India’s Advaita Vedanta is best suited for this task. There is, simply put, no other philosophy or train of higher thought available to the world and its people that is able to bridge the gap between Brahman and Ishta Devata, and simultaneously convince humanity of the truth of the oneness of all existence, what to speak of the existence of existence itself. The way Swami Vivekananda expressed this in the early 1900s leaves no doubt as to the primary directive facing humankind at this time in its spiritual evolution: ‘On planes physical, ethical, and spiritual, an ever-broadening generalisation—leading up to a concept of Unity Eternal—is in the air; and this being so, all the movements of the time may be taken to represent, knowingly or unknowingly, the noblest philosophy of the unity of man ever had—the Advaita Vedanta’ (8.347).

 

The Advaita Vedanta, the highest teaching of the Vedas and Upanishads, is what is being offered to striving beings in the grip of maya today. Maya comes in the form of that all too familiar spiritually debilitating worldliness and complacency, or appears insidiously as the pervasiveness of ‘mundane religious convention’ with its pretence and posturing and lack of any real spiritual substance or solution.

 

There Is no such Thing as Foreign Religion

With all of this stated—being rather like an essential primer to the subject of the acceptance and practice of Advaita by seekers of all religions—the onerous impediment of religious doubt must be encountered and done away with—the fear of anything that falls outside the pale of one’s own limited knowledge. In this regard, the statement, ‘There is no such thing as a foreign religion’, can be of great help in this undertaking.

To delve deeper into this declaration is to gain experience in the truths of other religions. The sedulous religious seeker will discover that spiritual succour and all-round benefit is available to anyone who possesses the fearless spirit with which to venture outside conventional bound aries. Such enterprising beings, such intrepid spiritual travellers, will find, to their pleasant surprise, that all religion is indigenous to the soul, and what was palmed off on them previously by zealots and the money and power-seeking priests was either incomplete, or thoroughly untrue and, therefore, religiously unhealthy. Swami Vivekananda eschewed this mockery of true religion, both in the general Christianity he found in America at the turn of the last century and in the prevailing religious thinking of his own country as well. Therefore, he wrote: ‘On the one hand there is the conservative society, like a mass of inert matter; on the other, the restless, impatient, fire-darting reformer; the way to good lies between the two’ (5.127).

Falling into either of these inferior pathways is to be avoided, but once these deviant routes have been taken, there will come a host of negative effects, the likes of which are to be seen today in the forms of: doubt as to the existence of God; ignorance of what or who God is; confusion as to the meaning and direction of one’s life; fear of what occurs at the time of death and what happens beyond it; preoccupation with matter, materials, objects, and the brooding that attends it; a weak and deluded dalliance with pleasure-seeking that really only amounts to an ineffective retreat from the unavoidable pains and suffering of embodied existence—all based in forgetfulness of the inseparability of God and humankind, in humans knowing that God has manifested as humans.

 

At this juncture there will be a great struggle to affect the retracing of one’s former footsteps and even this will not suffice as a consummate end. The ultimate remedies are really to be found in religion; not religion of the conventional and dogmatic kind, but true religion, taught and transmitted by illumined souls to sincere seekers of Truth. And Western seekers of this Truth, having had it veiled from them for so long, must free themselves from the pride of power and secular learning, seek out these great souls from other countries, and take refuge there and be taught. Can they do this, free of the fear that they are abandoning their own religion? Certainly, especially if their own religion has failed them—failed to be a true religion over the long efflux of time.

 

It is not that India did not suffer the rise and fall of religion and its selfish manipulations by the brahmana priests. It did so repeatedly and over vaster sweeps of time than the West. As Swami Vivekananda noted: ‘It is in the books written by priests that madness like that of caste is to be found, and not in books revealed by God. Let the priests enjoy the fruits of their ancestor’s achievements, while I follow the word of God, for my good lies there’ (6.394).

 

Swami Vivekananda placed the blame for the fall of religion on humankind, and with humans’ inability to rightly comprehend religion and to put its timeless tenets into well-guided practice. The blame is never with religion, not true religion, which is the Truth, which is eternal. Along these important lines of distinction he wrote:
The modern reformers saw no way to reform but by first crushing out the religion of India. They tried and they failed. Why? Because few of them ever studied their own religion, and not one ever underwent the training necessary to understand the Mother of all Religions. I claim that no destruction of religion is necessary to improve the Hindu society, and that this state of society exists not on account of religion, but because that religion has not been applied to society as it should have been. This I am ready to prove from our old books, every word of it (5.47).

The Dynamics of Allegiance to True Religion

By noting India’s careful scrutiny of the jivatman and admiring the deep and loving fealty by which her seers have regarded and protected non-dual Truth over the ages, it is easy, even natural, for any sincere seeker of any religion to pay homage to Vedanta, in whatever way and to whatever extent they can manage. The promise of Vedanta is that by following its tenets—dualistic, qualified, and non-dualistic, according to the stage of practice and achievement the aspirant is presently occupying—a Muslim will become a better Muslim, a Jew a better Jew, and a Christian a better Christian. One of the winning facets of Vedanta is that it does not require that a soul born to another religion convert to Hinduism. Making converts, at least in the way it is usually understood, is one of the abiding ills of conventional religion, for it follows the bigoted ‘my watch gives the only correct time’ method, which causes more harm than good. Put another way, the one-size-fits-all theory only tortures many feet.

 

As for Vedanta, it is not a religion like Hinduism with its complex and often confusing polytheistic side, so one cannot really convert to it. Vedanta is a faithful presenter of true religion, a philosophical way of life, and an eternal dharma.Being a Vedantist is about following and adhering to the unique path of universality wherein all religions are seen and known as diverse pathways leading to one ultimate summit, each one appealing to a plethora of souls that are psychologically earmarked in their present embodiment for that particular religious destiny.

 

In other words, each soul’s religion of choice is neither a partiality nor a paradox; it is a preconscious preference; there is immediate and predestined purpose to it. But that purpose gets frustrated if narrowness of view gets imposed upon it. Or, put another way, when access to interreligious communion and philosophical freedom is disallowed, true religion fades to the background to await rediscovery in a later age. Therefore, these bars to progress on the spiritual level are the first impediments the sincere seeker must reject, and once gone, the free air of religious interactions can be enjoyed. If explored deeply, this fresh approach will lead to what the seers have called the ‘open space beyond religion’. This is a rare access, only attained by the few.

 

Though the heights of non-duality are in accessible to most souls at the outset, the greatest of sages and seers agree that all beings ought to hear the non-dual axioms early on in spiritual life and practice. Swami Vivekananda was one of those, wanting and willing to spread them door to door, even personally. At the turn of the nineteenth century this is precisely what he was doing, in flats, lofts, and parlours—from the East coast to the West—what to speak of the entire world. The Great Master, Sri Ramakrishna, had himself instructed Swami Vivekananda to hear the non-dual Truth initially and keep it ‘tied in his wearing cloth’ taking it out whenever he needed it. Due to its rare and superlative nature, it is not to be bantered about or given to just anyone. Preparedness is the key prior to its practice—as subtle as its practice is.

 

Advaita, though highly sensitive and hard to hold, is not difficult to comprehend upon first exposure. But due to the many overlays in the mind, placed there by short-sighted parenting, overall apathy of society, and the deceitful obscuration of fundamentalist religion, this most precious Truth, ringing so clearly when the call is intuitively heard, followed by access to and instructions from an illumined teacher, simply departs surface awareness and sinks into the deepest recesses of the mind as daily life proceeds. Therefore, constant concentration is enjoined. Following are a few of the simple but profound maxims of Advaita Vedanta, which will give the sedulous seeker an idea of what reality and enlightenment are. These are to be held in awareness over the passage of increments of time, a mental effort that in itself constitutes a type of Advaitic sadhana.

 

The following list gives declarations and guides, interchangeably, to ensure that the soul will always remain in recognition of its non-dual essence, despite, and due to, the vicissitudes of everyday life. Advaita, then, is practical, in that it reveals the ultimate Truth and then moves to expose the impediments to realizing it as well:
    • Brahman alone is real; all else is appearance
    • Brahman and jiva, or God and soul or self, are identical
    • Bondage is the result of ignorance of the Self
    • False identification with the non-self, nature, is the cause of bondage
    • Freedom is attained when ignorance and false identification disappear
    • Disappearance of ignorance entails disappearance of the non-self
    • Freedom is the essence of the Self; loss of freedom is a case of forgetfulness
    • The Self is always free; freedom is never attained but it is realized
    • The impediment to freedom is preoccupation with the objective world
    • The solution for obsession with relativity is cultivation of detachment
    • So long as mind perceives a separate self, there will be fear and attachment
    • Freedom consists of seeing nothing but the Self
    • The Self is Brahman and is not to be confused with the body/mind complex
    • The ego is consciousness but limited and distorted by the ignorant mind

The next list presents attributes of the attributeless Brahman. What is meant by this seeming contradiction is that these particular qualities and attributes do not just attend upon formless Reality, but rather cite its very nature—like the analogy of ornaments on a Christmas tree, as contrasted to the green colour of the tree itself. The former are add-ons, while the latter is the tree’s essential property: (i) unbounded Freedom; (ii) infinite Power; (iii) perfect Omniscience; (iv) integral Knowledge; (v) eternal Contentment/Peace; and (vi) perpetual Existence.

 

In other words, Brahman is ajah, unborn; stanuh, unmoving ; nityah, absolute; puranah, oldest/original; achala, immovable; sanatanah, eternal; avikaryah, unchangeable; shashvatah, immutable; avyaktah, unmanifest; avyayam, in-exhaustible; avinashi, indestructible; sarvagatah, all-pervading ; achintyah, incomprehensible.

 

Though incomprehensible, Advaita does not mean that the aspirant is to give up trying to know Brahman. The implication is that the ordinary or untrained mind can never know Brahman. But as we see by the comprehensive lists given above, the jiva is one with Brahman. Contemplating this fact, the seeker soon understands that knowledge, the knower, the act of knowing, and the thing to be known—all dissolve into their own divine nature. The mind, once purified, helps in this task.

 

What has been transmitted above in the form of mere lists forms a huge part of the practice of Advaita. New sadhakas approaching Vedanta from other religious climes must hear this Truth, first of all. The power of words is undeniable and indispensable for the realization of the Self by the jiva, embodied being, temporarily locked in maya’s dubious embrace. What starts out as a seeming exercise for the intellect gradually turns into a bubbling fountain of bliss, which also keeps at bay all the vagaries of life and mind. If there is any detectable practice for a non-dualist, it is this—the constant contemplation of the nature of formless Reality, which, if one looks around at people and society today, is sorely missing.

 

This shocking absence of awareness of one’s own birthless, deathless, timeless, causeless Self—called by whatever name one might assign to it—is the reason that a once innate spirituality has all but disappeared from the world, and from human consciousness. The result, at least in this age, is materialism or worldliness, a deluded and inexcusable dependence upon insentient nature by the sentient self. The result of this is suffering, which does not abate after death, but recurs for the jiva that incarnates again and again due to the loss of remembrance of their true identity.

 

This act of reincarnation, based upon forgetfulness of the jiva and the mounting unresolved karma that occurs, brings in the efficacy of the personal God, a divine station that the adherents of most religions know about and rely upon, considering it the ultimate resort in life. Advaita allows for this presence, but is quick to point out that ‘everything is soluble into Brahman’, even the personal God. The famous analogy of icebergs forming on the breast of the infinite ocean and melting back into it due to the heat of the sun applies here. In other words, an iceberg is only solidified water, so the personal God is only God with qualities, saguna. Brahman is like the ocean, free of all qualities, nirguna. Further, the sun represents pure Intelligence, whose healing and illuminating rays both dissolves all forms and takes away all attending ills that accompany form. A larger picture of God with form will help the seeker of non-duality immensely, since much misunderstanding has collected over the ages, and in all religions, around the personal God and its many aspects—especially in its role as saviour.

 

The Puzzle Piece of the Personal God

Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, Moses, and other forms of highest Consciousness are beings that manifested on earth as direct emanations of non-dual awareness through their own shining intelligence. They are knowers of the formless Reality first and foremost, and thereafter sacrificers of the highest order due to their assumption of name and form for the benefit of jivas that are embodied in ignorance. Thus, their primary reason for projecting a form on earth is not due to any desire, or for the working out of karma, or for sportive play, or out of compassion for suffering ; these are secondary purposes at best. Primarily, they come to both reveal and demonstrate the inherently perfect nature of the jiva. This is beyond being ‘saved’, even beyond being ‘liberated’. They epitomize the eternally liberated nature of the Self, whether it be embodied or disembodied.

 

As the axioms in our previous list state, the body, mind, and senses are not the Self. The non-dualist has already accepted the axioms pertinent to Reality, applying them to relativity as well, and must not reject them in the face of trials, challenges, and the various acts of apparent transformation that are continually going on in the world. Suffering is to be accepted as a fact of existence. The appearance and acceptance of a saviour figure in our lives is not to be used for the purpose of attempting to perfect what is inherently imperfect. The mechanisms consciousness occupies are flawed by nature, and nature is flawed by nature as well. One must not serve God and Mammon, for only God exists. Thus, the saviour manifests to wean one off the world and its mutable and transitory offerings, not to perform miracles so that one can enjoy it.To recognize the purpose of the saviour, or avatara, and to follow his teachings to the ultimate end, called enlightenment, is the crying need. Few accomplish this; many fall away from the prescribed spiritual praxis necessary for enlightenment; and most fail both directives.

 

When the formless Brahman emanates as a form, and given—due to our list of non-dual axioms—that it always remains formless, it does so by way of assumption, never by identification.Conscious emanation, rather than ignorant projection, is utilized and the divine form lives, acts, breathes, moves, and works as if playing a part in someone else’s dream, for that is precisely what is going on. Life, along with the apparent movements of birth and death, are all known by the avatara as collective mental dreaming, much of it based in ignorance of the Self. Shining like a million suns, the conscious avataras appear by way of certain divine laws. These laws are also the six attributes of Bhagavan: (i) unlimited abundance, (ii) magnificent glory, (iii) irresistible strength, (iv) penetrating wisdom, (v) awesome splendour, and (vi) natural renunciation.

 

The last of these attributes, tyaga, renunciation, is possibly the most important one for the qualified aspirant seeking non-dual realization. If one studies the lives of the various avataras of different religions, the giving up of the world shows through in all of them, if not, at least, a strong detachment from it. This detachment is not only effected at the obvious and crucial level of illusions and delusions but also with regard to the very appearance of name and form; the first is a mental renunciation and the latter is a physical one. Seeing through all of projection by the mind, they perceive simultaneously that the world is ‘shifting sand’ as well as being perpetrated by the mind at cosmic, collective, and individual levels of awareness. In this way, their renunciation is what is called mature tyaga as contrasted to those ascetics who renounce the world, but fail to see it as a manifestation of the mental processes in maya. If the world were wholly unreal, it would not need renouncing. This difference marks the avatara as the perfect being to help humanity at all levels of awareness, from the striving practitioner to the suffering soul and even down to the miserable wretch.

 

In the realized renunciation of avataras, all of nature, of humanity, even of maya, transforms into Brahman with attributes. Since they know Brahman beyond attributes, they are the singular, archetypical soul that truly sees whereas others see only partly at best. The avataras therefore perceive everything as divine Reality in its assumed and presumed modes. Another list will illustrate this well. God’s powers at this level of awareness are the following : (i) living beings, (ii) universe, (iii) mind, (iv) intelligence, (v) love, and (vi) wisdom.

 

Under the press of the ordinary mind, what to speak of the distracted, deluded, or fragmented mind, the six powers noted above are nothing extraordinary. This power of powers is the direct result of non-dual realization, of knowing God to be formless. To quote Swami Vivekananda on this subject:
Ishwara is the sum total of individuals; yet He Himself also is an individual in the same way as the human body is a unit, of which each cell is an individual. Samashti or the Collective is God. Vyashti or the component is the soul of Jiva. The existence of Ishwara, therefore, depends on that of Jiva, as the body on the cell, and vice versa. Jiva, and Ishwara are co-existent beings. As long as the one exists, the other also must. Again, since in all the higher spheres, except on our earth, the amount of good is vastly in excess of the amount of bad, the sum total or Ishwara may be said to be All-good, Almighty, and Omniscient. These are obvious qualities, and need no argument to prove, from the very fact of totality (8.385). 8
These three principles, Brahman, Ishvara, and jiva—formless Reality, God with form, and the embodied soul—are all eternal and interconnected. Ultimately, they are beyond mere connections and are nothing other than identical with one another, depending upon what level of consciousness one is apprehending.

 

But dualistic religion does not focus here and fundamentalism denies such grand declarations. For the good of the people and for the continuing existence of their spiritual life and practice, Advaita is to be accepted and scrutinized. For without Brahman, Ishvara and humankind cease to appear, while even if humanity and its personal God were to dissolve, Brahman would still exist. As our non-dual axioms tell us, Brahman is perpetual existence—unborn, eternal, indestructible, and all-pervading. As Swami Vivekananda has stated: ‘Brahman is beyond both of these [Ishvara and the world], and is not a state. It is the only unit not composed of many units. It is the principle which runs through all, from a cell to God, and without which nothing can exist. Whatever is real is that principle, or Brahman. When I think “I am Brahman”, then I alone exist. It is so also when you so think, and so on. Each is the whole of that principle’ (ibid.).

 

The abundant inner wealth of Advaita, with all its wisdom and subtle power, is waiting with the open arms of congeniality and the spirit of concrescence for all enterprising seekers of Truth. It will achieve healthy amelioration leading to enlightenment where dualistic and fundamentalist perspectives will only err again and again. Even now, after so much wisdom has been communicated, all very satisfying, and very convincing, if the human mind still clings to its doubts and fears, then these final words of solace can be added.

 

India has come many steps towards the West in her willingness to share all that many millennia of study, spiritual sadhana, devotion, and meditation have revealed. Not only has India seen all that the world has to dole out—painful, pleasurable, and transcendent—it has also practised what it has preached and accepted, fully and without reserve, the teachers and teachings of other countries and nations. It has even accepted their highest ideals of the personal God, venerating Jesus, Mohammed, and the ideals of the Sikhs, Jains, and others. As Swami Vivekananda wrote: ‘I preach nothing against the great One of Galilee. I only ask the Christians to take in the great Ones of Ind along with the Lord Jesus’ (5.13).

 

The time is upon us to partake abundantly of India’s special storehouse of transcendent wisdom called Advaita. By championing it, studying it, and practising its eternal principles and axioms, the mistakes and shortcomings of conventional religious pathways around the world will be erased from the mind, and the atmosphere of harmony, unity, and indivisibility will reign supreme in the human heart and mind. This is the promise of true and authentic spirituality: ‘The noblest philosophy of the unity of man ever had—the Advaita Vedanta.’

 

(Source: Prabuddha Bharatha Special Edition January 2014)

 

References

1. The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, 9 vols (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1–8, 1989; 9, 1997), 8.346.
2. Chhandogya Upanishad, 6.2.1.
3. Complete Works, 5.104.
4. Chhandogya Upanishad, 6.2.3.
5. Taittiriya Upanishad, 2.6.1.
6. Complete Works, 8.429.
By | 2018-06-12T13:40:01+00:00 June 8th, 2018|Prabuddha Bharata, Public Articles|0 Comments

About the Author:

Spiritual Director, Sarada-Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Association of Oregon