Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"I Vivekananda say so!!!"

'I look behind and after
And find that all is right
In my deepest sorrows
There is a soul of light.' -
Swami Vivekananda

As for the sense of superiority, that is a little difficult to avoid when greater horizons open before the consciousness, unless one is already of a saintly and humble disposition. There are men like Nag Mahashaya (among Sri Ramakrishna's disciples) in whom spiritual experience creates more and more humility; there are others like Vivekananda in whom it creates a great sense of strength and superiority – European critics have taxed him with it rather severely; there are others in whom it fixes a sense of superiority to men and humility to the Divine. Each position has its value. Take Vivekananda's famous answer to the Madras Pundit who objected to one of his assertions saying: "But Shankara does not say so", to whom Vivekananda replied: "No, but I, Vivekananda, say so", and the Pundit was speechless. That "I, Vivekananda," stands up to the ordinary eye like a Himalaya of self-confident egoism. But there was nothing false or unsound in Vivekananda's spiritual experience. For this was not mere egoism, but the sense of what he stood for and the attitude of the fighter who, as the representative of something very great, could not allow himself to be put down or belittled. This is not to deny the necessity of non-egoism and of spiritual humility, but to show that the question is not so easy as it appears at first sight. For if I have to express my spiritual experiences I must do that with truth – I must record them, their bhАva, their thoughts, feelings, extensions of consciousness which accompany them. What am I to do with the experience in which one feels the whole world in oneself or the force of the Divine flowing in one's being and nature or the certitude of one's faith against all doubts and doubters or one's oneness with the Divine or the smallness of human thought and life compared with this greater knowledge and existence? And I have to use the word I – I cannot take refuge in saying "This body" or "This appearance", especially as I am not a Mayavadin. Shall I not, therefore, fall into expressions which will make X shake his head at my asser tions as full of pride and ego? I imagine it would be difficult to avert it.

Another thing: it seems to me that you identify faith very much with the mental belief, but real faith is something spiritual, a knowledge of the soul. The assertions you quote in your letter are the hard assertions of mental belief leading to a great vehement assertion of one's mental creed and goal because they are one's own and must therefore be greater than those of others – an attitude which is universal in human nature. Even the atheist is not tolerant, but declares his credo of Nature and Matter as the only truth and on all who disbelieve it or believe in other things he pours scorn as unenlightened morons and superstitious half-wits. I bear him no grudge for thinking me that, but I note that this attitude is not confined to religious faith but is equally natural to those who are free from religious faith and do not believe in Gods or Gurus. You will not, I hope, mind my putting the other side of the question; I want to point out that there is the other side, that there is much more to be said than at first sight appears.

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