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Word Hindu, who lived on other side of the river Indus (in
Sanskrit, Sindhu). All the people who lived on this side of the
Indus in modern times do not follow the same religion as they
did in ancient times.
The other words which alone we can use are either the vaidikas,
the followers of the Vedas or still, the Vedantists, followers
of the Vedant.
Vedas is not the utterance of persons, Vedas are eternal. Vedas
do not owe their authority to anybody, they are themselves the
authority, being eternal the knowledge of GOD. They are never
written, never created. The mass of knowledge called the Vedanta
was discovered by personages called Rishis, and the Rishi is
defined as a Mantra-drashtâ, a seer of thought.
The Vedanta comprises the Upanishads. All sects of India
Dualists, Qualified-Monists, Monists or the Shaivites,
Vaishnavites, Shaktas, Sauras….each one within the fold of
Hinduism are to obey the authority of Vedanta.
The Smritis are books written by sages, but the authority of
smritis is subordinate to that of the Vedanta.
The Purânas are history, cosmology, various symbological
illustration of philosophical principles etc. These were written
to popularise the religion of the Vedas.
The Tantras are very much like Puranas in some respects, and in
some of them there is an attempt to revive the old sacrificial
ideas of the Karma Kanda.
All these books constitute the scriptures of the Hindus. When
there is such amass of sacred books in a nation and a race which
has devoted the greatest part of its energies to the thought of
philosophy and spirituality, it is quite natural that there
should be so many sects.
The first is the question of creation. Sanskrit word for
creation should be projection. Therefore wherever in our
scriptures the words beginning and end are used, it means the
beginning and the end of one particular cycle.
The Brahmane is eternal, eternally pure, eternally awake, the
almighty, the all-knowing, the all-merciful, the omnipresent,
the formless, the partless. He creates this universe. If he is
always creating and holding up this universe .The mercy of God
is eternal and unchangeable.
We all agree that life is eternal. It is not that it has sprung
out of nothing, for that cannot be. Each one of us is the effect
of the infinite past. Each one of us is the maker of our own
fate. We, we, and none else, are responsible for what we suffer.
We are the effects, and we are the causes. We are free
therefore. The human will stands beyond all circumstance. Before
it — the strong, gigantic, infinite will and freedom in man —
all the powers, even of nature, must bow down, succumb, and
become its servants. This is the result of the law of Karma.
The soul is without beginning and without end, and immortal by
their very nature; also that all powers, blessing, purity,
omnipresence, omniscience are buried in each soul. That is a
grand idea we ought to remember. In every man and in every
animal, however weak or wicked, great or small, resides the same
omnipresent, omniscient soul. The difference is not in the soul,
but in the manifestation.
The goal of the soul is freedom. The human body is the highest
of all. This earth is the Karma Bhumi; it is this earth from
which we attain to liberation. Mukti, freedom - The idea is to
be free of external and internal nature. No more is there life;
no more death. No more enjoyment; no more misery. It is bliss
unspeakable, indestructible, beyond everything. Eternal Bliss is
our goal.Through love, Bhakti; by the worship of God, by loving
all beings as the temples of God knowledge comes, the bonds
breaks, and the soul gets free.
What a mine of strength is in this Impersonal God, when all
superstitions have been thrown overboard, and man stands on his
feet with the knowledge — I am the Impersonal Being of the
world! What can make me afraid? I care not even for nature's
laws. Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think
yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves
strong, strong you will be; if you think yourselves impure,
impure you will be; if you think yourselves pure, pure you will
be. This teaches us not to think ourselves as weak, but as
strong, omnipotent, and omniscient. No matter that I have not
expressed it yet, it is in me. All knowledge is in me, all
power, all purity, and all freedom. Why cannot I express this
knowledge? Because I do not believe in it. Let me believe in it,
and it must and will come out.
Make your children strong from their very childhood; teach them
not weakness, nor forms, but make them strong; let them stand on
their feet — bold, all-conquering, all-suffering; and first of
all, let them learn of the glory of the soul.
Variety is the very soul of life. We have each our Ishta. The
idea of our religion is one of inclusion of every one, exclusion
In this Kali Yuga there is one great work. What is needed in
this Yuga is giving, helping others. What is meant by Dana? The
highest of gifts is the giving of spiritual knowledge, the next
is the giving of secular knowledge, and the next is the saving
of life, the last is giving food and drink. He who gives
spiritual knowledge, saves the soul from the birth. He who gives
secular knowledge opens the eyes of human beings towards
spiritual knowledge, and far below these rank all other gifts,
even the saving of life. .. The highest and greatest help is
that given in the dissemination of spiritual knowledge. There is
an eternal fountain of spirituality in our scriptures, and
nowhere on earth, except in this land of renunciation, do we
find such noble examples of practical spirituality.
This is one of our greatest duties, and you will find that the
more you work to help others, the more you help yourselves. The
one vital duty incumbent on you, if you really love your
religion, if you really love your country, is that you must
struggle hard to be up and doing, with this one great idea of
bringing out the treasures from your closed books and delivering
them over to their rightful heirs.
First, learn to obey. The command will come by itself. Always
first learn to be a servant, and then you will be fit to be a
master. Avoid this jealousy and you will do great works that
have yet to be done. Our ancestors did most wonderful works, and
we look back upon their work with veneration and pride. But we
also are going to do great deeds, and let others look back with
blessings and pride upon us as their ancestors.
(The following address of welcome from the Hindus of Jaffna
was presented to Swami Vivekananda: on 24 Jan 1897) Full