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Showing posts from February, 2016

Jnana-Yoga :2-10.


(Delivered in London)

Thus, when people cease to think of the past or future, when they give up the idea of body, because the body comes and goes and is limited, then they have risen to a higher ideal.

The body is not the Real Man, neither is the mind, for the mind waxes and wanes.

It is the Spirit beyond, which alone can live for ever.

The body and mind are continually changing, and are, in fact, only names of series of changeful phenomena, like rivers whose waters are in a constant state of flux, yet presenting the appearance of unbroken streams.

Every particle in this body is continually changing; no one has the same body for many minutes together, and yet we think of it as the same body.

So with the mind; one moment it is happy, another moment unhappy; one moment strong, another weak; an ever-changing whirlpool.

That cannot be the Spirit which is infinite.

Change can only be in the limited.

To say that the infinite changes in any way is ab…

Jnana-Yoga :2-9.


(Delivered in London)

The different philosophies seem to agree that this Atman, whatever it be, has neither form nor shape, and that which has neither form nor shape must be omnipresent.

Time begins with mind, space also is in the mind.

Causation cannot stand without time.

Without the idea of succession there cannot be any idea of causation.

Time, space and causation, therefore, are in the mind, and as this Atman is beyond the mind and formless, it must be beyond time, beyond space, and beyond causation.

Now, if it is beyond time, space, and causation, it must be infinite.

Then comes the highest speculation in our philosophy.

The infinite cannot be two. If the soul be infinite, there can be only one Soul, and all ideas of various souls — you having one soul, and I having another, and so forth — are not real.

The Real Man, therefore, is one and infinite, the omnipresent Spirit.

And the apparent man is only a limitation of that Real Man.

In that …

Jnana-Yoga :2-8.

First monastery building at Belur Math. Sri  Ramakrishna  Mission


(Delivered in London)

What is the force which manifests itself through the body? It is obvious to all of us, whatever that force be, that it is taking particles up, as it were, and manipulating forms out of them — the human body. None else comes here to manipulate bodies for you and me. I never saw anybody eat food for me. I have to assimilate it, manufacture blood and bones and everything out of that food. What is this mysterious force? Ideas about the future and about the past seem to be terrifying to many. To many they seem to be mere speculation.

We will take the present theme. What is this force which is now working through us? We know how in old times, in all the ancient scriptures, this power, this manifestation of power, was thought to be a bright substance having the form of this body, and which remained even after this body fell. Later on, however, we find a higher idea…

Jnana-Yoga :2-7.

First monastery building at Belur Math. Sri  Ramakrishna  Mission


(Delivered in London)

There is a great discussion going on as to whether the aggregate of materials we call the body is the cause of manifestation of the force we call the soul, thought, etc., or whether it is the thought that manifests this body. The religions of the world of course hold that the force called thought manifests the body, and not the reverse.

There are schools of modern thought which hold that what we call thought is simply the outcome of the adjustment of the parts of the machine which we call body. Taking the second position that the soul or the mass of thought, or however you may call it, is the outcome of this machine, the outcome of the chemical and physical combinations of matter making up the body and brain, leaves the question unanswered.

What makes the body? What force combines the molecules into the body form? What force is there which takes up material …

Jnana-Yoga :2-6.


(Delivered in London)

To return to mythology.

Behind all these stories we find one idea standing supreme — that man is a degeneration of what he was.

Coming to the present times, modern research seems to repudiate this position absolutely.

Evolutionists seem to contradict entirely this assertion.

According to them, man is the evolution of the mollusc; and, therefore, what mythology states cannot be true.

There is in India, however, a mythology which is able to reconcile both these positions.

The Indian mythology has a theory of cycles, that all progression is in the form of waves.

Every wave is attended by a fall, and that by a rise the next moment, that by a fall in the next, and again another rise.

The motion is in cycles.

Certainly it is true, even on the grounds of modern research, that man cannot be simply an evolution.

Every evolution presupposes an involution.

The modern scientific man will tell you that you can only get the amount of en…

Jnana-Yoga : - 2.5.


(Delivered in London)

Now, human language is the attempt to express the truth that is within.

I am fully persuaded that a baby whose language consists of unintelligible sounds is attempting to express the highest philosophy, only the baby has not the organs to express it nor the means.

The difference between the language of the highest philosophers and the utterances of babies is one of degree and not of kind.

What you call the most correct, systematic, mathematical language of the present time, and the hazy, mystical, mythological languages of the ancients, differ only in degree.

All of them have a grand idea behind, which is, as it were, struggling to express itself; and often behind these ancient mythologies are nuggets of truth; and often, I am sorry to say, behind the fine, polished phrases of the moderns is arrant trash.

So, we need not throw a thing overboard because it is clothed in mythology, because it does not fit in with the notions…

Jnana-Yoga : - 2.4.


(Delivered in London)

This This is the kernel of truth is again and again repeated in the scriptures of the Hindus; the dream of a period which they call the Age of Truth, when no man died unless he wished to die, when he could keep his body as long as he liked, and his mind was pure and strong.

There was no evil and no misery; and the present age is a corruption of that state of perfection.

Side by side with this, we find the story of the deluge everywhere.

That story itself is a proof that this present age is held to be a corruption of a former age by every religion.

It went on becoming more and more corrupt until the deluge swept away a large portion of mankind, and again the ascending series began.

It is going up slowly again to reach once more that early state of purity.

Manu, a great ancient sage, was praying on the bank of the Gangâ, when a little minnow came to him for protection, and he put it into a pot of water he had before him. &qu…

Jnana-Yoga : - 2.3.


(Delivered in London)

Two positions remain to mankind.

One is to believe with the nihilists that all is nothing, that we know nothing, that we can never know anything either about the future, the past, or even the present. For we must remember that he who denies the past and the future and wants to stick to the present is simply a madman.

One may as well deny the father and mother and assert the child.

It would be equally logical.

To deny the past and future, the present must inevitably be denied also.

This is one position, that of the nihilists.

I have never seen a man who could really become a nihilist for one minute.

It is very easy to talk.

Then there is the other position — to seek for an explanation, to seek for the real, to discover in the midst of this eternally changing and evanescent world whatever is real.

In this body which is an aggregate of molecules of matter, is there anything which is real?

This has been the search throughout t…

Jnana-Yoga : - 2.2.

(Delivered in London)

We may talk about seeing nothing beyond and keeping all our hopes and aspirations confined to the present moment, and struggle hard not to think of anything beyond the world of senses; and, perhaps, everything outside helps to keep us limited within its narrow bounds.

The whole world may combine to prevent us from broadening out beyond the present.

Yet, so long as there is death, the question must come again and again, "Is death the end of all these things to which we are clinging, as if they were the most real of all realities, the most substantial of all substances?"

The world vanishes in a moment and is gone.

Standing on the brink of a precipice beyond which is the infinite yawning chasm, every mind, however hardened, is bound to recoil and ask, "Is this real?"

The hopes of a lifetime, built up little by little with all the energies of a great mind, vanish in a second. Are they real? This question mu…