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Jnana-Yoga : 4-7.

CHAPTER-4. Maya and the Evolution of the Conception of God-7.
(Delivered in London, 20th October 1896)

We shall now be in a position to understand the theory of Maya.

In all the regions of the world the one question they propose to discuss is this : -

Why is there disharmony in the universe? Why is there this evil in the universe?

We do not find this question in the very inception of primitive religious ideas, because the world did not appear incongruous to the primitive man, were not inharmonious for him; there was no dash of opinions; to him there was no antagonism of good and evil.

There was merely a feeling in his own heart of something which said yea, and something which said nay. The primitive man was a man of impulse.

He did what occurred to him, and tried to bring out through his muscles whatever thought came into his mind, and he never stopped to judge, and seldom tried to check his impulses.

Swami Vivekananda
To be continued ...


Jnana-Yoga : 4-6.

CHAPTER-4. Maya and the Evolution of the Conception of God-6.
(Delivered in London, 20th October 1896)

 But man's ideas of God are constantly changing and expanding. We shall see later on how the real man behind each one of these human manifestations is immovable, unchangeable, pure, and always perfect; and in the same way the idea that we form of God is a mere manifestation, our own creation. Behind that is the real God who never changes, the ever pure, the immutable.

But the manifestation is always changing revealing the reality behind more and more. When it reveals more of the fact behind, it is called progression, when it hides more of the fact behind, it is called retrogression. Thus, as we grow, so the gods grow. From the ordinary point of view, just as we reveal ourselves as we evolve, so the gods reveal themselves.

Swami Vivekananda
To be continued ...


Jnana-Yoga : 4-5.

CHAPTER-4. Maya and the Evolution of the Conception of God-5.
(Delivered in London, 20th October 1896)

These ideas, in the setting of past times, were harmonious and not more hideous than our present ideas.

It is only when we try to take them out of their settings and apply to our own present circumstances that the hideousness becomes obvious.

For the old surroundings are dead and gone.

Just as the ancient Jew has developed into the keen, modern, sharp Jew, and the ancient Bharatiya into the intellectual Hindu similarly Jehovah has grown, and Devas have grown.


The great mistake is in recognising the evolution of the worshippers, while we do not acknowledge the evolution of the Worshipped.

He is not credited with the advance that his devotees have made.

That is to say, you and I, representing ideas, have grown; these gods also, as representing ideas, have grown.

This may seem somewhat curious to you — that God can grow.

He cannot.

He is unchangeable.

Swami Vivekananda
To be continued …

Jnana-Yoga : 4-4.

CHAPTER-4. Maya and the Evolution of the Conception of God-4.
(Delivered in London, 20th October 1896)

The idea of the cruel and ruthless Jehovah in the Old Testament has frightened many — but why? What right have they to assume that the Jehovah of the ancient Jews must represent the conventional idea of the God of the present day? And at the same time, we must not forget that there will come men after us who will laugh at our ideas of religion and God in the same way that we laugh at those of the ancients.

Yet, through all these various conceptions runs the golden thread of unity, and it is the purpose of the Vedanta to discover this thread. "I am the thread that runs through all these various ideas, each one of which is; like a pearl," says the Lord Krishna; and it is the duty of Vedanta to establish this connecting thread, how ever incongruous or disgusting may seem these ideas when judged according to the conceptions of today.

Swami Vivekananda
To be continued ...


Jnana-Yoga : 4-3.

CHAPTER-4. Maya and the Evolution of the Conception of God-3.
(Delivered in London, 20th October 1896)

In judging others we always judge them by our own ideals.

That is not as it should be.

Everyone must be judged according to his own ideal, and not by that of anyone else.

In our dealings with our fellow-beings we constantly labour under this mistake, and I am of opinion that the vast majority of our quarrels with one another arise simply from this one cause that we are always trying to judge others' gods by our own, others' ideals by our ideals, and others' motives by our motives.

Under certain circumstances I might do a certain thing, and when I see another person taking the same course I think he has also the same motive actuating him, little dreaming that although the effect may be the same, yet many other causes may produce the same thing.

He may have performed the action with quite a different motive from that which impelled me to do it.

So in judging of those ancie…