CHAPTER-4. Maya and the Evolution of the Conception of God-18.
(Delivered in London, 20th October 1896)
The Vedanta was (and is) the boldest system of religion.
It stopped nowhere, and it had one advantage.
There was no body of priests who sought to suppress every man who tried to tell the truth.
There was always absolute religious freedom.
In India the bondage of superstition is a social one; here in the West society is very free.
Social matters in India are very strict, but religious opinion is free.
In England a man may dress any way he likes, or eat what he lilies — no one objects; but if he misses attending church, then Mrs. Grundy is down on him.
He has to conform first to what society says on religion, and then he may think of the truth.
In India, on the other hand, if a man dines with one who does not belong to his own caste, down comes society with all its terrible powers and crushes him then and there.
If he wants to dress a little differently from the way in which his ancestor dressed ages ago, he is done for.
I have heard of a man who was cast out by society because he went several miles to see the first railway train.
Well, we shall presume that was not true!
But in religion, we find atheists, materialists, and Buddhists, creeds, opinions, and speculations of every phase and variety, some of a most startling character, living side by side.
Preachers of all sects go about reaching and getting adherents, and at the very gates of the temples of gods, the Brâhmins — to their credit be it said — allow even the materialists to stand and give forth their opinions.
To be continued ...