Monday, 17 July 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Sister Christine : 15

TEACHING AT THOUSAND ISLAND PARK

We all attended our class lectures. To a Hindu the teaching itself might have been familiar, but it was given with a fire, an authority, a realization which made it sound like something entirely new. He too "spake like one having authority". To us of the West to whom it was all new it was as if a being from some radiant sphere had come down with a gospel of hope, of joy, of life. Religion is not a matter of belief but of experience. One may read about a country, but until one has seen it, there can be no true idea. All is within. The divinity which we are seeking in heaven, in teachers, in temples is within us. If we see it outside, it is because we have it within. What is the means by which we come to realize this, by which we see God? Concentration is the lamp which lights the darkness.

There are different methods for different states of evolution. All paths lead to God. The guru will put you on the path best suited to your development. With what sense of release did we hear that we not only may, but must follow reason. Before that it had seemed that reason and intuition are generally opposed to each other. Now we are told that we must hold to reason until we reach something higher — and this something higher must never contradict reason.

The first morning we learnt that there is a state of consciousness higher than the surface consciousness — which is called samadhi. Instead of the two divisions we are accustomed to, the conscious and the unconscious — it would be more accurate to make the classification, the subconscious, the conscious, and the superconscious. This is where confusion arises in the Western way of thinking, which divides consciousness into the subconscious or unconscious and the conscious. They cognize only the normal state of mind, forgetting that there is a state beyond consciousness — a superconscious state, inspiration. How can we know that this is a higher state? To quote Swami literally, "In one case a man goes in and comes out as a fool. In the other case he goes in a man and comes out a God." And he always said, "Remember the superconscious never contradicts reason. It transcends it, but contradicts it never. Faith is not belief, it is the grasp on the Ultimate, an illumination."

To be continued.... (Memoirs of  Sister Christine)