Wednesday 26 June 2013

24 June : The Recurrence of Cosmic Cycles

ॐ वीरेश्वराय विद्महे विवेकानन्दाय धीमहि । तन्नो वीर: प्रचोदयात् । 

In his jnana yoga class "The Atman: Its Bondage and Freedom," held on the evening of January 8, 1896 (see chapter six, section six), Swamiji introduced the subject of the cyclic recurrence of forms, time without end, with these words: "The vast mass of mankind are content with material things, but there are some who become awakened and want to get back, who have had enough of the playing down here [Complete Works, 2: 259]. Along with this comes a very important question, and because I may forget it, I will discuss it now." He then went on (and with the kind permission of the Vedanta Centre, Cohasset, Massachusetts, I quote from Goodwin's transcript, which differs in spots from the same passage in the Complete Works):
     The question is why should we attempt to get our and get back to the centre. Suppose we have all come from God, but we find this world is pleasurable and nice; then we would rather try to get more and more of this. Why should we try to get out of it? The alpha and omega of Vedanta philosophy is to "give up the world"; that is the idea with which we started, giving up the unreal and taking the real. [But] why should we not turn towards enjoyment and not away from it?... The answer is this, that all these forms that we are seeing now are being manifested again and again, and we know that this world in which we live has been here many times before. I have been here and talking to you.... And many times more it will be the same.... This world has been here many times. We are all certain that this world will die and will be broken to pieces. Secondly, we see that these things periodically occur. Suppose there are three or four dice, and when we throw them one comes up five, and another four, and another three, and another two, and you keep on throwing and throwing. There must come times when those very same numbers will recur. Go on throwing, and no matter how long may be the interval, those numbers must come again. It can be mathematically asserted in how many throws they will come again; this is the law of chance. So with souls. However distant may be the period, these things are happening again and again, all these combinations and dissolutions. There is only a short rest, and then - and then this eating and drinking here comes back, and then death again....

     Along with this [idea] of throwing dice, comes [the] very interesting (view) that it was not the same soul, that this body is one link in the whole chain, and that the whole chain is composed of many links, beginning from the little worm, and let us hope ending in man, and these links form a circle, and this circle is revolving like the Ferris wheel at Chicago, the carriages of which are rolling forward all the time, but the occupants are changed. A soul goes into a carriage, goes through the circle, and comes out again. The wheel still goes on and on. All these forms are what is called permanent; cyclically the wheel revolves, showing all these forms, but you and I must get out. Different souls are riding in this wheel. This is how it can be explained that a man can read the past and future life of another man. The most astonishing powers of reading the past and the future have been known in every country and every age....

     This last sentence occurs in volume two of the Complete Works, at the beginning of paragraph two of page 261. It should be noted here that the remainder of the paragraph does not appear in Goodwin's transcript, according to which Swamiji went on to say that everything within the Ferris wheel - even the struggle to be free - acts according to law and is predictable.

- Appendix B : Swami Vivekananda in The West - New Discoveries [Vol-III; Page:555]

Today's-Special : 24-June in Swami Vivekananda Life

24th June, 1896 : To Swami Ramakrishnananda from London
Max Müller wants all the sayings of Shri Ramakrishna classified, that is, all on Karma in one place, on Vairagya in another place, so on Bhakti, Jnana, etc., etc. You must undertake to do this forthwith. ... We must take care to present only the universal aspect of his teachings. . . .
Sharat starts for America tomorrow. The work here is coming to a head. We have already got funds to start a London Centre. .. — This London is the hub of the world. The heart of India is here. How can I leave without laying a sure foundation here? Nonsense! For the present, I shall have Kali here, tell him to be ready. ...
We want great spirit, tremendous energy, and boundless enthusiasm, no womanishness will do. Try to go on exactly as I wrote to you in my last. We want organisation. Organisation is power, and the secret of this is obedience.

24th June 1899 : Swami Vivekananda on his second voyage to West reached Madras


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