I’m not a Buddhist nor a Hindu. I categorize myself as a Christian. However I recognize that spirituality has nothing to do with religions and is apart from them. Although one may cultivate spirituality through religious practice, physical rituals do nothing with regard to the cultivation of the spirit. That being said, physical rituals could induce an effect in the man spirit when done properly with the correct intention.
Having said all that I found very interesting articles from the internet which I can verily agree with. Knowing we can not take information we can freely access from the internet for granted because it could someday just disappear, I decided to copy the whole article here thus helping to secure the information within.
I have seen the depravation of man through my experience with the corrupt Singapore regime which much the global world considers as a safe and respectable place. The stunting of character begets ignorance which in turn begets depravity. People who care only about their reputations but not their true characters. People who in their ignorance unable to see that the essence of being sees all and experiences all. To combat ignorance one must be equipped with the knowledge of being. For one who commits evil in ignorance ultimately is hurting itself. But the aforementioned sentence would only make sense when one realizes the nature of being.
I can only provide you my readers with information, but you have to walk the path to truly understand what I’m trying to say in this categorical Objective Consciousness blog of mine.
THE REAL NATURE OF MAN – Part I
(Delivered at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolors, London, June 21, 1896)
People are frightened when they are told that they are Universal Being, everywhere present. “Through everything you work, through every foot you move, through every lip you talk, through every heart you feel.” People are frightened when they are told this. They will again and again ask you if they are not going to keep their individuality. What is individuality? I should like to see it. A baby has no moustache; when he grows to be a man, perhaps he has a moustache and beard. His individuality would be lost if it were in the body. If I lose one eye or if I lose one of my hands, my individuality would be lost if it were in the body. Then a drunkard should not give up drinking, because he would lose his individuality. A thief should not be a good man, because he would thereby lose his individuality. Indeed, no man ought to change his habits, for fear of this. Nor can individuality be in memory. Suppose, on account of a blow on the head, I forget all about my past; then I have lost all individuality, I am gone. I do not remember two or three years of my childhood, and if memory and existence are one, then whatever I forget is gone. That part of my life which I do not remember, I did not live. That is a very narrow idea of individuality.
There is no individuality except in the infinite. That is the only condition which does not change. Everything else is in a state of flux. We are not individuals yet. We are struggling towards individuality; and that is the infinite. That is the real nature of man. He alone lives whose life is in the whole universe; the more we concentrate our lives on limited things, the faster we go towards death. Those moments alone we live when our lives are in the universe, in others; and living this little life is death, simply death, and that is why the fear of death comes. The fear of death can be conquered only when man realizes that so long as there is one life in this universe, he is living. When he can say, “I am in everything, in everybody; I am in all lives; I am the universe,” then alone comes the state of fearlessness. To talk of immortality in constantly changing things is absurd. Says an old Sanskrit philosopher: “It is only the spirit that is the individual, because it is infinite.” Infinity cannot be divided; infinity cannot be broken into pieces. It is the same one undivided unit forever; and this is the individual man, the real man. The apparent man is merely a struggle to express, to manifest, this individuality which is beyond. Evolution is not in the spirit.
These changes which are going on – the wicked becoming good, the animal becoming man; take them in whatever way you like – are not in the spirit. They are evolution of nature and the manifestation of the spirit. Suppose there is a screen hiding you from me, in which there is a small hole through which I can see some of the faces before me, just a few faces. Now suppose the hole begins to grow larger and larger, and as it does so, more and more of the scene before me reveals itself; when at last the whole screen has disappeared, I stand face to face with you all. You did not change at all; it was the hole that was evolving, and you were gradually manifesting yourselves. So it is with the spirit. No perfection is going to be attained. You are already free and perfect.
What are these ideas of religion and God and searching for the hereafter? Why does man look for a God? Why does man, in every nation, in every state of society, want a perfect ideal somewhere, either in man, in God, or elsewhere? Because that idea is within you. It was your own heart beating and you did not know; you were mistaking it for something external. It is the God within your own self that is impelling you to seek him, to realize him. After long searches here and there, in temples and in churches, on earth and in heaven, at last you come back to your own soul, completing the circle from where you started, and find that he whom you have been seeking all over the world, for whom you have been weeping and praying in churches and temples, on whom you were looking as the mystery of all mysteries, shrouded in the clouds, is nearest of the near, is your own Self, the reality of your life, body, and soul.
That Self is your own nature. Assert it, manifest it. You are not to become pure; you are pure already. You are not to become perfect; you are that already. Nature is like a screen which is hiding the reality beyond. Every good thought that you think or act upon simply tears the veil, as it were, and the purity, the infinity, the God behind, is manifested more and more. This is the whole history of man. Finer and finer becomes the veil, more and more of the light behind shines forth; for it is its nature to shine.
The Self cannot be known; in vain we try to know it. Were it knowable, it would not be what it is; for it is the eternal subject. Knowledge is a limitation; knowledge is an objectification. It is the eternal subject of everything, the eternal witness of this universe – your own Self. Knowledge is, as it were, a lower step, a degeneration. We are that eternal subject already; how can we know it?
The infinite Self is the real nature of every man, and he is struggling to express it in various ways. Otherwise, why are there so many ethical codes? Where is the explanation of all ethics? One idea stands out as the center of all ethical systems, expressed in various forms – namely, doing good to others. The guiding motive of mankind should be charity towards men, charity towards all animals. But these are all various expressions of that eternal truth that “I am the universe; this universe is one.” Or else, where is the explanation? Why should I do good to my fellow men? Why should I do good to others? What compels me? It is sympathy, the feeling of sameness everywhere. The hardest hearts sometimes feel sympathy for other beings. Even the man who gets frightened if he is told that this assumed individuality is really a delusion, that it is ignoble to try to cling to this apparent individuality – that very man will tell you that extreme self-abnegation is the center of all morality. And what is perfect self-abnegation? It means the abnegation of this apparent self, the abnegation of all selfishness.
(To be continued)
THE REAL NATURE OF MAN – Part II
(Delivered at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolors, London, June 21, 1896)
This idea of “me” and “mine” – ahamkara and mamata – is the result of past superstition, and the more this present self passes away, the more the real Self becomes manifest. This is true self-abnegation, the center, the basis, the gist of all moral teaching, and whether man knows it or not, the whole world is slowly going towards it, practicing it more or less. Only, the vast majority of mankind are doing it unconsciously. Let them do it consciously. Let them make the sacrifice, knowing that this “me” and “mine” is not the real Self, but only a limitation. But one glimpse of that infinite reality which is behind, but one spark of that infinite fire that is the All, represents the present man. The infinite is his true nature.
What is the utility, the effect, the result of this knowledge? In these days we have to measure everything by utility – by how many pounds, shillings, and pence it represents. What right has a person to ask that truth should be judged by the standard of utility or money? Suppose there is no utility, will it be less true? Utility is not the test of truth. Nevertheless, there is the highest utility in this. Happiness, we see, is what everyone is seeking for; but the majority seeks it in things which are evanescent and not real. No happiness was ever found in the senses. There never was a person who found happiness in the senses or in enjoyment of the senses. Happiness is only found in the spirit. Therefore the highest utility for mankind is to find this happiness in the spirit.
The next point is that ignorance is the great mother of all misery, and the fundamental ignorance is to think that the infinite weeps and cries, that it is finite. This is the basis of all ignorance – that we, the immortal, the ever pure, the perfect spirit, think we are little minds, we are little bodies. It is the mother of all selfishness. As soon as I think I am a little body, I want to preserve it, to protect it, to keep it nice, at the expense of other bodies. Then you and I become separate. As soon as this idea of separation comes, it opens the door to all mischief and leads to all misery. This, then, is the utility of this knowledge – that if a small fractional part of human beings living today can put aside the idea of selfishness, narrowness, and littleness, this earth will become a paradise tomorrow. But with machines and improvements of material knowledge only, it will never be so. These only increase misery, as oil poured on fire increases the flame all the more. Without the knowledge of the spirit, all material knowledge is only adding fuel to fire, only giving into the hands of selfish man one more instrument to take what belongs to others, to live upon the life of others instead of giving up his life for them.
Is it practical? – is another question. Can it be practiced in modern society? Truth does not pay homage to any society, ancient or modern. Society has to pay homage to truth or die. Societies should be molded upon truth; truth has not to adjust itself to society. If such a noble truth as unselfishness cannot be practiced in society, it is better for man to give up society and go into the forest. That is the daring man.
There are two sorts of courage. One is the courage of facing the cannon; and the other is the courage of spiritual conviction. An emperor who invaded India was told by his teacher to go and see some of the sages there. After a long search for one, he found a very old man sitting on a block of stone. The emperor talked with him a little and became very much impressed by his wisdom. He asked the sage to go to his country with him. “No,” said the sage, “I am quite satisfied with my forest here.” Said the emperor: “I will give you money, position, wealth. I am the emperor of the world.” “No,” replied the man, “I don’t care for those things.” The emperor replied, “If you do not go, I will kill you.” The man smiled serenely and said: “That is the most foolish thing you ever said, Emperor. You cannot kill me. Me the sun cannot dry, fire cannot burn, sword cannot kill; for I am the birthless, the deathless, the ever living omnipotent, omnipresent spirit.” This is spiritual boldness, while the other is the courage of a lion or a tiger.
During the Mutiny of 1857, there was a swami, a very great soul, whom a Mohammedan mutineer stabbed severely. The Hindu mutineers caught and brought the man to the swami, offering to kill him. But the swami looked up calmly and said, “My brother, thou art He, thou art He!” and expired. This is another instance.
What good is it to talk of the strength of your muscles, of the superiority of your Western institutions, if you cannot make truth square with your society, if you cannot build up a society into which the highest truth will fit? What is the good of this boastful talk about your grandeur and greatness if you stand up and say, “This courage is not practical”? Is nothing practical but pounds, shillings, and pence? If so, why boast of your society? That society is the greatest where the highest truths become practical. That is my opinion. And if society is not fit for the highest truths, make it so – and the sooner, the better.
Stand up, men and women, in this spirit, dare to believe in the truth, dare to practice the truth! The world requires a few hundred bold men and women. Practice that boldness which dares know the truth, which dares show the truth in life, which does not quake before death, nay, welcomes death, makes a man know that he is the spirit, that in the whole universe nothing can kill him. Then you will be free. Then you will know your real soul.
“This Atman is first to be heard of, then thought about, and then meditated upon.” There is a great tendency in modern times to talk too much of work and decry thought. Doing is very good, but that comes from thinking. Little manifestations of energy through the muscles are called work. But where there is no thought, there will be no work. Fill the brain, therefore, with high thoughts, with the highest ideals; place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work. Talk not about impurity, but say that we are pure. We have hypnotized ourselves into this thought that we are little, that we are born and that we are going to die, and into a constant state of fear.
There is a story about a lioness who was big with young. Going about in search of prey, and seeing a flock of sheep, she jumped upon them. She died in the effort and a little baby lion was born, motherless. It was taken care of by the sheep and they brought it up. It grew up with them, ate grass, and bleated like the sheep. And although in time it became a full-grown lion, it thought it was a sheep. One day another lion came in search of prey and was astonished to find that in the midst of this flock of sheep was a lion, fleeing like the sheep at the approach of danger. He tried to get near the sheep-lion to tell it that it was not a sheep but a lion, but the poor animal fled at his approach. However, he watched his opportunity and one day found the sheep-lion sleeping. He approached it and said, “You are a lion.” “I am a sheep,” cried the other lion; it could not believe the contrary, but bleated. The lion dragged it towards a lake and said, “Look here: there is my reflection and there is yours.” Then came the comparison. The sheep-lion looked at the lion and then at its own reflection, and in a moment came the idea that it was a lion. The lion roared; the bleating was gone.
You are lions; you are the soul, pure, infinite, and perfect. The might of the universe is within you. “Why weepest thou, my friend? There is neither birth nor death for thee. Why weepest thou? There is no disease or misery for thee. Thou art like the infinite sky: clouds of various colors come over it, play for a moment, then vanish; but the sky is ever the same eternal blue.”
Why do we see wickedness? There was a stump of a tree, and in the dark a thief came that way and said, “That is a policeman.” A young man waiting for his beloved saw it and thought that it was his sweetheart. A child who had been told ghost stories took it for a ghost and began to shriek. But all the time it was the stump of a tree. We see the world as we are. Suppose there is a baby in a room with a bag of gold on the table, and a thief comes and steals the gold. Would the baby know it was stolen? That which we have inside, we see outside. The baby has no thief inside and sees no thief outside. So with all knowledge.
Do not talk of the wickedness of the world and all its sins. Weep that you are bound to see wickedness yet. Weep that you are bound to see sin everywhere. If you want to help the world, do not condemn it. Do not weaken it more. For what is sin and what is misery – what are all these but the results of weakness? The world is made weaker and weaker every day by such teachings. Men are taught from childhood that they are weak and sinners. Teach them that they are all glorious children of immortality, even those who are the weakest in manifestation. Let positive, strong, helpful thoughts enter into their brains from very childhood. Lay yourselves open to these thoughts, and not to weakening and paralyzing ones. Say to your own minds, “I am He, I am He.” Let it ring day and night in your minds like a song, and at the point of death declare “I am He.” That is the truth. The infinite strength of the world is yours. Drive out the superstition that has covered your minds. Let us be brave. Know the truth and practice the truth. The goal may be distant, but awake, arise, and stop not till the goal is reached
From “The Real Nature of Man” by Swami Vivekananda, quoted from “VIVEKANANDA, WORLD TEACHER: His Teachings on the Spiritual Unity of Humankind”, Edited and with an Introduction by Swami Adiswarananda.