"In Wonders We Sail, Questing for the Answers in Veil"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Religious Fanaticism : The Reason And Source Explained by Swami Vivekananda

We find, in studying history, one fact held in common by all the great teachers of religion the world ever had; they all claim to have got these truths from beyond, only many of them did not know what they were getting. For instance, one would say that an angel came down in the form of a human being, with wings, and said to him, “Hear, oh man, this is the message.” Another says that a Deva, a bright being, appeared to him. Another says he dreamed that his ancestor came and told him all these things. He did not know anything beyond that. But this thing is common, that all claim either that they say angels, or heard the voice of God,or saw some wonderful vision. All claim that this knowledge came to them from beyond, not through their reasoning power. What does the science of Yoga teach? It teaches that they were right in claiming that this knowledge came to them from beyond reasoning, but that it came from within themselves.

The Yogi teaches that the mind itself has a higher state of existence, beyond reason, a super-conscious state, and when the mind gets to that higher state, then this knowledge,beyond reasoing, comes to a man, metaphysical knowledge, beyond all physical knowledge. Metaphysical and transcendental knowledge comes to that man, and this state of going beyond reason, transcending ordinary human nature, sometimes may come by chance to a man who does not understand its science; he, as it were, stumbles into it.When he stumbles into it, he generally interprets it as from outside. So this explains why an inspiration, or this transcendental knowledge, may be the same in different countries, but in one country it will seem to come through an angel, and in another through a Deva, and in another through God. What does it mean? It means that the mind brought the knowledge by its own nature, and that the finding of the knowledge was interpreted according to the beliefs and education of the person through whom it came. The real fact is that these various men, as it were, stumbled into this super-conscious state.

The Yogi says there is a great danger in stumbling into this state. In a good many cases there is the danger of the brain being destroyed, and, as a rule, you will find that all those men, however great they were, who have stumbled into this super-conscious state, without understanding it, grope in the dark, and generally have, along with their knowledge,some quaint superstition. They open themselves to hallucination. Prophet Mohammed claimed that the Angel Gabriel came to him in a cave one day and took him on the heavenly horse, Harak, and he visited the heavens. But, with all that, Prophet Mohammed spoke some wonderful truths. If you read the Quran, you find the most wonderful truths mixed with these superstitions. How will you explain it? That man was inspired, no doubt, but that inspiration was, as it were,stumbled upon. He was not a trained Yogi, and did not know the reason of what he was doing. Think of the good Mohammed did to the world, and think of the great evil that has been done through his fanaticism! Think of the millions massacred through his teachings, mothers bereft of their children, children made orphans, whole countries destroyed,millions upon millions of people killed!

So we see in studying the lives of all these great teachers that there was this danger. Yet we find, at the same time,that they were all inspired. Somehow or other they got into this super-conscious state, only whenever a prophet got into that state by simple force of emotion, just by heightening his emotional nature, he brought away from that state some truths, but also some fanaticism, some superstition which injured the world as much as the greatness of the teaching did good. To get any reason out of this mass of incongruity we call human life we have to transcend our reason, but we must do it scientifically, slowly, by regular practice, and we must cast off all superstition. We must take it up just as any other science, reason we must have to lay our foundation, we must follow reason as far as it leads, and when reason fails,reason itself will show us the way to the highest plane. So whenever we hear a man say “I am inspired,” and then talk the most irrational nonsense, simply reject it. Why? Because these three states of the mind - instinct, reason, and super-consciousness, or the unconscious, conscious, and super-conscious states - belong to one and the same mind.There are not three minds in one man, but one develops into the other. Instinct develops into reason, and reason into the transcendental consciousness; therefore one never contradicts the other. So, whenever you meet with wild statements which contradict human reason and common sense, reject them without any fear, because the real inspiration will never contradict, but will fulfil. Just as you find the great prophets saying, “I come not to destroy but to fulfill,” so this inspiration always comes to fulfil reason, and is in direct harmony with reason, and whenever it contradicts reason you must know that it is not inspiration.

-An Excerpt from Swami Vivekananda's 'Raja Yoga'


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