Monday, 18 July 2016

India's Spiritual Wisdom

Much of the eight volumes of Swami Vivekananda's published works is an elaboration of the doctrines implied in the statement – Each soul is potentially Divine.......... Systematic expositions are contained especially in his learned lectures on Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga, besides dissertations that are scattered everywhere in his general lectures on Hinduism.

Some of the special points in the Swami's exposition of India's spiritual wisdom are :

1.     He accepted that the Sanatana Dharma is based on the Vedas or Revelation, and that the Veda is 'Apourusheya' (not man-made), in the sense that it is eternal. But by Vedas he meant no books but the eternal spiritual laws which existed even before the Rishis discovered them, just as the Law of Gravitation existed even before its discovery by Newton.

2.    The teachings of the Vedas are not dogmas deriving authority from any personality or church. They are spiritual experiences open even today to all men who undergo the necessary training, irrespective of race or country. Records of spiritual experiences show that great minds in other countries and cultures too had identical experiences.

3.    The Sanatana Dharma, though based on the Vedas, is eternal and universal. It is also scientific, being based on experience open to all.

4.    The uniqueness of the Vedic doctrine lies in that it takes a man where he is in his spiritual evolution and helps him to progress towards the next stage. Thus no hard and fast dogmas about God and soul are enforced on all alike, because at different stages of growth the angle of vision changes and the evolving individual becomes fit for different conceptions of the ultimate varities. Thus when man is fully body-centred in his conception of himself, he thinks of the Divine as an extra-cosmic Being, and the soul and the Universe as entirely separate from Him. All the dualistic faiths of the world, including the vaunted monotheism of Semetic origin, mark this stage of growth. Further at this stage God is comprehended as power, as the mysterious and the tremendous, and the devotee feels a corresponding religious emotion that has popularly come to be known as"' fear of God' as contrasted with love of Him. At the next stage of evolution, when love of God develops in the heart, man begins to think of himself as a spiritual being forming a part of Him, and conceives of Him not as an extra-cosmic being, but as the Spirit immanent in all. At the highest stage of development, when thought has developed the capacity to be absolutely dispassionate and impersonal, the aspirant realizes the Divine as his very self, as the substratum of what he and all beings conceive to be their individuality, and is thus established in the sense of non-duality.