Showing posts from January, 2016

Jnana-Yoga : - 2.1.

(Delivered in London)

Great is the tenacity with which man clings to the senses.

Yet, however substantial he may think the external world in which he lives and moves, there comes a time in the lives of individuals and of races when, involuntarily, they ask, "Is this real?"

To the person who never finds a moment to question the credentials of his senses, whose every moment is occupied with some sort of sense-enjoyment — even to him death comes, and he also is compelled to ask, "Is this real?" Religion begins with this question and ends with its answer.

Even in the remote past, where recorded history cannot help us, in the mysterious light of mythology, back in the dim twilight of civilisation, we find the same question was asked, "What becomes of this? What is real?"

One of the most poetical of the Upanishads, the Katha Upanishad, begins with the inquiry :-

 "When a man dies, there is a dispute. One party decla…

Jnana-Yoga : - 1-17.


What is needed is a fellow-feeling between the different types of religion, seeing that they all stand or fall together, a fellow-feeling which springs from mutual esteem and mutual respect, and not the condescending, patronising, niggardly expression of goodwill, unfortunately in vogue at the present time with many.

And above all, this is needed between types of religious expression coming from the study of mental phenomena — unfortunately, even now laying exclusive claim to the name of religion — and those expressions of religion whose heads, as it were, are penetrating more into the secrets of heaven though their feet are clinging to earth, I mean the so-called materialistic sciences.

To bring about this harmony, both will have to make concessions, sometimes very large, nay more, sometimes painful, but each will find itself the better for the sacrifice and more advanced in truth.

And in the end, the knowledge which is confined within th…

Jnana-Yoga : - 1-16.


Even at the present time we find many sects and societies, with almost the same ideas, fighting each other, because one does not want to set forth those ideas in precisely the same way as another.

Therefore, religions will have to broaden.

Religious ideas will have to become universal, vast, and infinite; and then alone we shall have the fullest play of religion, for the power of religion has only just begun to manifest in the world.

It is sometimes said that religions are dying out, that spiritual ideas are dying out of the world.

To me it seems that they have just begun to grow.

The power of religion, broadened and purified, is going to penetrate every part of human life.

So long as religion was in the hands of a chosen few or of a body of priests, it was in temples, churches, books, dogmas, ceremonials, forms, and rituals.

But when we come to the real, spiritual, universal concept, then, and then alone religion will become real and livi…

Jnana-Yoga : - 1-15.


The religious ideals of the future must embrace all that exists in the world and is good and great, and, at the same time, have infinite scope for future development.

All that was good in the past must be preserved; and the doors must be kept open for future additions to the already existing store.

Religions must also be inclusive and not look down with contempt upon one another because their particular ideals of Cod are different.

In my life I have seen a great many spiritual men, a great many sensible persons, who did not believe in God at all that is to say, not in our sense of the word.
Perhaps they understood God better than we can ever do.

The Personal idea of God or the Impersonal, the Infinite, Moral Law, or the Ideal Man — these all have to come under the definition of religion.

And when religions have become thus broadened, their power for good will have increased a hundredfold. Religions, having tremendous power in them, have of…

Jnana-Yoga : - 1-14.


But the world-movers, men who bring, as It were, a mass of magnetism into the world whose spirit works in hundreds and in thousands, whose life ignites others with a spiritual fire — such men, we always find, have that spiritual background.

Their motive power came from religion.

Religion is the greatest motive power for realising that infinite energy which is the birthright and nature of every man.

In building up character in making for everything that is good and great, in bringing peace to others and peace to one's own self, religion is the highest motive power and, therefore, ought to be studied from that standpoint. Religion must be studied on a broader basis than formerly.

All narrow limited, fighting ideas of religion have to go.

All sect ideas and tribal or national ideas of religion must be given up.

That each tribe or nation should have its own particular God and think that every other is wrong is a superstition that should be…

Jnana-Yoga : - 1-13.


The lower types of humanity in all nations find pleasure in the senses, while the cultured and the educated find it in thought, in philosophy, in arts and sciences.
Spirituality is a still higher plane.

The subject being infinite, that plane is the highest, and the pleasure there is the highest for those who can appreciate it.

So, even on the utilitarian ground that man is to seek for pleasure, he should cultivate religious thought, for it is the highest pleasure that exists.

Thus religion, as a study, seems to me to be absolutely necessary.

We can see it in its effects.

It is the greatest motive power that moves the human mind No other ideal can put into us the same mass of energy as the spiritual.

So far as human history goes, it is obvious to all of us that this has been the case and that its powers are not dead.

I do not deny that men, on simply utilitarian grounds, can be very good and moral.

There have been many great men in this wor…

Jnana-Yoga : - 1-12.


And if we read the history of nations between the lines, we shall always find that the rise of a nation comes with an increase in the number of such men; and the fall begins when this pursuit after the Infinite, however vain Utilitarians may call it, has ceased.

That is to say, the mainspring of the strength Of every race lies in its spirituality, and the death of that race begins the day that spirituality wanes and materialism gains ground.

Thus, apart from the solid facts and truths that we may learn from religion, apart from the comforts that we may gain from it, religion, as a science, as a study, is the greatest and healthiest exercise that the human mind can have.

This pursuit of the Infinite, this struggle to grasp the Infinite, this effort to get beyond the limitations of the senses — out of matter, as it were — and to evolve the spiritual man — this striving day and night to make the Infinite one with our being — this struggle its…

Jnana-Yoga : - 1-11.


Man is man so long as he is struggling to rise above nature, and this nature is both internal and external.

Not only does it comprise the laws that govern the particles of matter outside us and in our bodies, but also the more subtle nature within, which is, in fact, the motive power governing the external. It is good and very grand to conquer external nature, but grander still to conquer our internal nature.

It is grand and good to know the laws that govern the stars and planets; it is infinitely grander and better to know the laws that govern the passions, the feelings, the will, of mankind.

This conquering of the inner man, understanding the secrets of the subtle workings that are within the human mind, and knowing its wonderful secrets, belong entirely to religion.

Human nature — the ordinary human nature, I mean — wants to see big material facts.

The ordinary man cannot understand anything that is subtle.

Well has it been said that th…

Jnana-Yoga : - 1-10.


At best, therefore, Utilitarian theories can only work under present social conditions.

Beyond that they have no value.

But a morality an ethical code, derived from religion and spirituality, has the whole of infinite man for its scope.

It takes up the individual, but its relations are to the Infinite, and it takes up society also —

because society is nothing but numbers of these individuals grouped together;

and as it applies to the individual and his eternal relations,

it must necessarily apply to the whole of society, in whatever condition it may be at any given time.

Thus we see that there is always the necessity of spiritual religion for mankind.

Man cannot always think of matter, however pleasurable it may be.

It has been said that too much attention to things spiritual disturbs our practical relations in this world.

As far back as in the days of the Chinese sage Confucius, it was said, "Let us take care of this world: and then,…