Hinduism – A Brief Sketch

Swami Vivekananda
The foremost disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa
Paper on Hinduism
Read at the World’s Parliament of Reliions! "hicao
#$th Septem%er #&$'
Three reliions now stand in the world! which have come down to us from time prehistoric(
Hinduism! )oroastrianism and *udaism+ The, have all received tremendous shocks and all of
them prove %, their survival their internal strenth+ But while *udaism failed to a%sor%
"hristianit, and was driven out of its place of %irth %, its all con-uerin dauhter! and a
handful of Parsees is all that remains to tell the tale of their rand reliion .)oroastrianism/!
sect after sect arose in 0ndia and seemed to shake the reliion of the Vedas to its ver,
foundations! %ut like the waters of the sea shore in a tremendous earth-uake it receded onl,
for a while! onl, to return in an all(a%sor%in flood! a thousand times more viorous! and
when the tumult of the rush was over! these sects were all sucked in! a%sor%ed! and
assimilated into the immense %od, of the mother faith+
1rom the hih spiritual flihts of the Vedanta philosoph,! of which the latest discoveries of
science seem like echoes! to the low ideas of idolatr, with its multifarious m,tholo,! the
anosticism of the Buddhists! and the atheism of the *ains! each and all have a place in the
Hindu’s reliion+
Where then! the -uestion arises! where is the common centre to which all these widel,
diverin radii convere2 Where is the common %asis upon which all these seeminl, hopeless
contradictions rest2 And this is the -uestion 0 shall attempt to answer+
There never was a time when there was no creation+
The Hindus have received their reliion throuh revelation! the Vedas+ The, hold that the
Vedas are without %einnin and without end+ 0t ma, sound ludicrous to this audience! how a
%ook can %e without %einnin or end+ But %, the Vedas no %ooks are meant+ The, mean the
accumulated treasur, of spiritual laws discovered %, different persons into different times+
*ust as the law of ravitation e3isted %efore its discover,! and e3ist if all humanit, forot it! so
is it with the laws that overn the spiritual world+ The moral! ethical! and spiritual relations
%etween soul and soul and %etween individual spirits and the father of all spirits! were there
%efore their discover,! and would remain even if we forot them+
The discoverers of these laws are called Rishis! and we honour them as perfected %eins+ 0 am
lad to tell this audience that some of the ver, reatest of them were women+ Here it ma, %e
said that these laws as laws ma, %e without end! %ut the, must have had a %einnin+ The
Vedas teach us that creation is without %einnin and end+ Science is said to have proved that
the sum total of cosmic ener, is alwa,s the same+ Then! if there was a time when nothin
e3isted! where was all this manifested ener,2 Some sa, it was in a potential form in 4od+ 0n
that case 4od is sometimes potential and sometimes kinetic! which would make Him muta%le+
5ver,thin muta%le is a compound! and ever,thin compound must undero that chane
which is called destruction+ So 4od would die! which is a%surd+ Therefore there never was a
time when there was no creation+
0f 0 ma, %e allowed to use a simile! creation and creator are two lines! without %einnin and
without end! runnin parallel to each other+ 4od is the ever active providence! %, whose
power s,stems after s,stems are %ein evolved out of chaos! made to run for a time and
aain destro,ed+ This is what the Brahmin %o, repeats ever, da,6 7The sun and the moon! the
8ord created like the suns and moons of previous c,cles+7 And this arees with modern
0 am a spirit livin in a %od,+ 0 am not the %od,+
The %od, will die! %ut 0 shall not die+
Here 0 stand and if 0 shut m, e,es! and tr, to conceive m, e3istence! 707! 707! 707! what is the
idea %efore me2 The idea of a %od,+ Am 0! then! nothin %ut a com%ination of material
su%stance2 The Vedas declare! 79o7+ 0 am a spirit livin in a %od,+ 0 am not the %od,+ The
%od, will die! %ut 0 shall not die+ Here am 0 in this %od,: it will fall! %ut 0 shall o on livin+ 0
had also a past+ The soul was not created! for creation means a com%ination! which means a
certain future dissolution+ 0f then the soul was created! it must die+ Some are %orn happ,!
en;o, perfect health! with %eautiful %od,! mental viour and all wants supplied+ <thers are
%orn misera%le! some are without hands or feet! others aain are idiots and onl, dra on a
wretched e3istence+ Wh,! if the, are all created! wh, does a ;ust and merciful 4od create one
happ, and another unhapp,! wh, is He so partial2 9or would it mend matters in the least to
hold that those who are misera%le in this life will %e happ, in a future one+ Wh, should a man
%e misera%le even here in the rein of a ;ust and merciful 4od2
0n the second place! the idea of a creator 4od does not e3plain the anomal,! %ut simpl,
e3presses the cruel fiat of an all(powerful %ein+ There must have %een causes! then! %efore
his %irth! to make a man misera%le or happ, and those were his past actions+
Are not all the tendencies of the mind and the %od, accounted for %, inherited aptitude2 Here
are two parallel lines of e3istence( one of the mind! the other of matter+ 0f matter and its
transformations answer for all that we have! there is no necessit, for supposin the e3istence
of a soul+ But it cannot %e proved that thouht has %een evolved out of matter! and if a
philosophical monism is inevita%le! spiritual monism is certainl, loical and no less desira%le
than a materialistic monism: %ut neither of these is necessar, here+
The natural ha%its of a new(%orn soul: since the, were not o%tained in this present life! the,
must have come down from past lives+
We cannot den, that %odies ac-uire certain tendencies from heredit,! %ut those tendencies
onl, mean the ph,sical confiuration! throuh which a peculiar mind alone can act in a
peculiar wa,+ There are other tendencies peculiar to a soul caused %, its past actions+ And a
soul with a certain tendenc, would %, the laws of affinit, take %irth in a %od,! which is the
fittest instrument for the displa, of that tendenc,+ This is in accord with science! for science
wants to e3plain ever,thin %, ha%it! and ha%it is ot throuh repetitions+ So repetitions are
necessar, to e3plain the natural ha%its of a new(%orn soul+ And since the, were not o%tained
in this present life! the, must have come down from past lives+
There is another suestion+ Takin all these for ranted! how is it that 0 do not remem%er
an,thin of m, past life2 This can %e easil, e3plained+ 0 am now speakin 5nlish+ 0t is not m,
mother tonue! in fact no words of m, mother tonue are now present in m, consciousness:
%ut let me tr, to %rin them up! and the, rush in+ That shows that consciousness is onl, the
surface of the mental ocean! and within its depths are stored up all the e3periences+ Tr, and
strule! the, would come up and ,ou would %e conscious even of ,our past life+
This is direct and demonstrative evidence+ Verification is the perfect proof of a theor,! and
here is the challene thrown to the world %, the Rishis+ We have discovered the secret %,
which the ver, depths of the ocean of memor, can %e stirred up( tr, it and ,ou would et a
complete reminiscence of ,our past life+
So then the Hindu %elieves that he is a spirit+ Him the sword cannot pierce! him the fire cannot
%urn! him the water cannot melt .or make wet/( him the air cannot dr,+ The Hindu %elieves
that ever, soul is a circle whose circumference is nowhere! %ut whose centre is located in the
%od, and that death means the chane of this centre from %od, to %od,+ 9or is the soul %ound
%, the conditions of matter+ 0n its ver, essence it is free! un%ounded! hol,! pure! and perfect+
But somehow or other it finds itself tied down to matter! and thinks of itself as matter+
Wh, should the free! perfect and pure %ein %e thus under the thraldom of matter! is the ne3t
-uestion+ How can the perfect soul %e deluded into the %elief that it is imperfect2 We have
%een told that the Hindus shirk the -uestion and sa, that no such -uestion can %e there+
Some thinkers want to answer it %, positin one or more -uasi(perfect %eins! and use %i
scientific names to fill up the ap+ But namin is not e3plainin+ The -uestion remains the
same+ How can the perfect %ecome the -uasi(perfect: how can the pure! the a%solute! chane
even a microscopic particle of its nature2 But the Hindu is sincere+ He does not want to take
shelter under sophistr,+ He is %rave enouh to face the -uestion in a manl, fashion: and his
answer is6 70 do not know how the perfect %ein! the soul! came to think of itself as imperfect!
as ;oined to and conditioned %, matter+7 But the fact is a fact for all that+ 0t is a fact in
ever,%od,’s consciousness that one thinks of oneself as the %od,+ The Hindu does not attempt
to e3plain wh, one thinks one is the %od,+ The answer that it is the will of 4od is no
e3planation+ This is nothin more than what the Hindu sa,s6 70 do not know+7
Well then! the human soul is eternal and immortal! perfect and infinite! and death means onl,
a chane of centre from one %od, to another+ The present is determined %, our past actions
and the future %, the present+ The soul will o on evolvin up or revertin %ack from %irth to
%irth and death to death+ But there is another -uestion: 0s man a tin, %oat in a tempest!
raised one moment on a foam, crest of a %illow and dashed down into a ,awnin chasm the
ne3t! rollin to and fro at the merc, of ood and %ad actions( a powerless! helpless wreck in
an ever(rain! ever(rushin! uncompromisin current of cause which rolls on crushin
ever,thin in its wa, and waits not for the widow’s tears or the orphan’s cr,2 The heart sinks
at the idea! ,et this is the law of 9ature+ 0s there no hope2 0s there no escape2 –was the cr,
that went up from the %ottom of that heart of despair+ 0t reached the throne of merc,! and
words of hope and consolation came down and inspired a Vedic sae! and he stood up %efore
the world and in trumpet voice proclaimed the lad tidins6 7Hear! ,e children of immortal
%liss= 5ven ,e that reside in hiher spheres= 0 have found the Ancient <ne who is %e,ond all
darkness! all delusion+ >nowin Him alone ,ou shall %e saved from death over aain+7
7"hildren of immortal %liss7( what a sweet! what a hopeful name= Allow me to call ,ou!
%rethren! %, that sweet name( heirs of immortal %liss( ,ea! the Hindu refuses to call ,ou
sinners+ ?e are the children of 4od! the sharers of immortal %liss! hol, and perfect %eins+ ?e
divinities on earth( sinners= 0t is a sin to call a man so: it is a standin li%el on human nature+
"ome up! < lions! and shake off the delusion! that ,ou are sheep: ,ou are souls immortal!
spirits free! %lest and eternal: ,e are not matter! ,e are not %odies: matter is ,our servant!
not ,ou the servant of matter+
Thus it is that the Vedas proclaim not a dreadful com%ination of unforivin laws! not an
endless prison of cause and effect! %ut that at the head of all these laws! in and throuh ever,
particle of matter and force! stands <ne 7%, whose command the wind %lows! the fire %urns!
the clouds rain! and death stalks upon the earth+7
And what is His nature2
He is ever,where! the pure and formless <ne! the Almiht, and the all(merciful+ 7Thou art our
father! Thou art our mother! Thou art our %eloved friend! Thou art the source of all strenth:
ive us strenth+ Thou art He that %eareth the %urdens of the universe: help me %ear the little
%urden of this life+7 Thus san the Rishis of the Vedas+ And how to worship Him2 Throuh love+
7He is to %e worshipped as the one %eloved! dearer than ever,thin in this and the ne3t life+7
This is the doctrine of love declared in the Vedas! and let us see how it is full, developed and
tauht %, >rishna! who the Hindus %elieve to have %een 4od incarnate on earth+
He tauht that a man ouht to live in this world like a lotus leaf! which rows in water %ut is
never moistened %, water: so a man ouht to live in the world( his heart to 4od and his hands
to work+
0t is ood to love 4od for hope of reward in this or the ne3t world! %ut it is %etter to love 4od
for love@s sake! and the pra,er oes6
78ord! 0 do not want wealth! nor children! nor learnin+ 0f it %e Th, will! 0 shall o from %irth to
%irth! %ut rant me this! that 0 ma, love Thee without the hope of reward( love unselfishl, for
love’s sake+7
<ne of the disciple of >rishna! the then emperor of 0ndia! was driven from his kindom %, his
enemies and had to take shelter with his -ueen in a forest in the Himala,as! and there one
da, the -ueen asked him how it was that he! the most virtuous of men! should suffer so much
miser,+ >in ?udhishthira answered6
7Behold m, -ueen! the Himala,as! how rand and %eautiful the, are: 0 love them+ The, do not
ive me an,thin! %ut m, nature is to love the rand! the %eautiful! therefore 0 love them+
Similarl,! 0 love the 8ord+ He is the source of all %eaut,! of all su%limit,+ He is the onl, o%;ect
to %e loved: m, nature is to love Him! and therefore 0 love+ 0 do not pra, for an,thin: 0 do
not ask for an,thin+ 8et Him place me wherever He likes+ 0 must love Him for love’s sake+ 0
cannot trade in love+7
Purit, is the condition of His merc,+
The Vedas teach that the soul is divine! onl, held in the %ondae of matter: perfection will %e
reached when this %ond will %urst! and the word the, use for it is therefore! Aukti( freedom
from the %onds of imperfection! freedom from death and miser,+
And this %ondae can onl, fall off throuh the merc, of 4od! and this merc, comes on the
pure+ So purit, is the condition of His merc,+ How does that merc, act2 He reveals Himself to
the pure heart: the pure and the stainless see 4od! ,ea! even in this life: then and then onl,
all the crookedness of the heart is made straiht+ Then all dou%t ceases+ He is no more the
freak of a terri%le law of causation+ This is the ver, centre! the ver, vital conception of
Hinduism+ The Hindu does not want to live upon words and theories+ 0f there are e3istences
%e,ond the ordinar, sensuous e3istence! he wants to come face to face with them+ 0f there is
a soul in him! which is not matter! if there is an all(merciful universal Soul! he will o to Him
direct+ So the %est proof a Hindu sae ives a%out the soul! a%out 4od! is6 70 have seen the
soul: 0 have seen 4od+7 And that is the onl, condition of perfection+ The Hindu reliion does
not consist in strules and attempts to %elieve a certain doctrine or doma! %ut in realisin(
not in %elievin! %ut in %ein and %ecomin+
Thus the whole o%;ect of their s,stem is %, constant strule to %ecome perfect! to %ecome
divine! to reach 4od and see 4od! and this reachin 4od! seein 4od! %ecomin perfect even
as the 1ather in Heaven! is perfect! constitutes the reliion of the Hindus+
And what %ecomes of a man when he attains perfection2 He lives a life of %liss infinite+ He
en;o,s infinite and perfect %liss! havin o%tained the onl, thin in which man ouht to have
pleasure! namel, 4od! and en;o,s the %liss with 4od+
So far all the Hindus are areed+ This is the common reliion of all the sects of 0ndia6 %ut then!
perfection is a%solute! and the a%solute cannot %e two or three+ 0t cannot have an, -ualities+
0t cannot %e an individual+ And so when a soul %ecomes perfect and a%solute! it must %ecome
one with Brahman! and it would onl, realise the 8ord as the perfection! the realit,! of its own
nature and e3istence! the e3istence a%solute! knowlede a%solute! and %liss a%solute+ We
have often and often read this called the losin of individualit, and %ecomin a stock or a
7He ;ests at scars that never felt a wound+7
0 tell ,ou it is nothin of the kind+ 0f it is happiness to en;o, the consciousness of this small
%od,! it must %e reater happiness to en;o, the consciousness of two %odies! the measure of
happiness increasin with the consciousness of an increasin num%er of %odies! the aim! the
ultimate of happiness %ein reached when it would %ecome a universal consciousness+
Therefore! to ain this infinite universal individualit,! this misera%le little prison(individualit,
must o+ Then alone can death cease when 0 am one with life! then alone can miser, cease
when 0 am one with happiness itself! then alone can all errors cease when 0 am one with
knowlede itself: and this is the necessar, scientific conclusion+ Science has proved to me that
ph,sical individualit, is a delusion! that reall, m, %od, is one little continuousl, chanin %od,
in an un%roken ocean of matter: and Advaita .unit,/ is the necessar, conclusion with m, other
counterpart! soul+
Science is nothin %ut the findin of unit,+ As soon as science would reach perfect unit,! it
would stop from further proress! %ecause it would reach the oal+ Thus "hemistr, could not
proress farther when it would discover one element out of which all others could %e made+
Ph,sics would stop when it would %e a%le to fulfil its services in discoverin one ener, of
which all the others are %ut manifestations! and the science of reliion %ecome perfect when it
would discover Him who is the one life in a universe of death! Him who is the constant %asis of
an ever chanin world+ <ne who is the onl, Soul of which all souls are %ut delusive
manifestations+ Thus it is! throuh multiplicit, and dualit, that the ultimate unit, is reached+
Reliion can o no farther+ This is the oal of all science+
All science is %ound to come to this conclusion in the lon run+ Aanifestation! and not creation!
is the word of science toda,! and the Hindu is onl, lad that what he has %een cherishin in
his %osom for aes is oin to %e tauht in more forci%le lanuae! and with further liht from
the latest conclusions of science+
There is no pol,theism in 0ndia
Bescend we now from the aspirations of philosoph, to the reliion of the inorant+ At the ver,
outset! 0 ma, tell ,ou that there is no pol,theism in 0ndia+ 0n ever, temple! if one stands %,
and listens! one will find the worshippers appl,in all the attri%utes of 4od! includin
omnipresence! to the imaes+ 0t is not pol,theism! nor would the name henotheism e3plain
the situation+ 7The rose called %, an, other name would smell as sweet+7 9ames are not
0 remem%er! as a %o,! hearin a "hristian missionar, preach to a crowd in 0ndia+ Amon other
sweet thins he was tellin them was that if he ave a %low to their idol with his stick! what
could it do2
<ne of his listeners sharpl, answered6 70f 0 a%use ,our 4od! what can He do27
The preacher said! 7?ou would %e punished when ,ou die+7
The Hindu retorted 7So m, idol will punish ,ou when ,ou die+7
The tree is known %, its fruits+ When 0 have seen amonst them that are called idolaters!
men! the like of whom in moralit, and spiritualit, and love 0 have never seen an,where! 0 stop
and ask m,self! C"an sin %eet holiness2’
We can no more think a%out an,thin without a
mental imae than we can live without %reathin+
Superstition is a reat enem, of man! %ut %iotr, is worse+ Wh, does a "hristian o to
"hurch2 Wh, is the cross hol,2 Wh, is the face turned toward the sk, in pra,er2 Wh, are
there so man, imaes in the "atholic "hurch2 Wh, are there so man, imaes in the minds of
Protestants when the, pra,2 A, %rethren! we can no more think a%out an,thin without a
mental imae than we can live without %reathin+ B, the law of association! the material
imae calls up the mental idea and vice versa+ This is wh, the Hindu uses an e3ternal s,m%ol
when he worships+ He will tell ,ou! it helps to keep his mind fi3ed on the Bein to whom he
pra,s+ He knows as well ,ou do that the imae is not 4od! is not omnipresent+ After all! how
much does omnipresence mean to almost the whole world2 0t stands merel, as a word! a
s,m%ol+ Has 4od superficial area2 0f not! when we repeat that word Comnipresent’! we think of
the e3tended sk, or of space! that is all+
The whole reliion of the Hindu
is centred in realisation+
As we find that somehow or other! %, the laws of our mental constitution! we have to
associate our ideas of infinit, with the imaes of the %lue sk,! or of the sea! so we naturall,
connect our idea of holiness with the imae of a church! a mos-ue! or a cross+ The Hindus
have associated the idea of holiness! purit,! truth! omnipresence! and such other ideas with
different imaes and forms+ But with this difference that while some people devote their whole
lives to their idol of a church and never rise hiher! %ecause with them reliion means an
intellectual assent to certain doctrines and doin ood to their fellows! the whole reliion of
the Hindu is centred in realisation+ Aan is to %ecome divine %, realisin the divine+ 0dols or
temples or churches or %ooks are onl, the supports! the helps! of his spiritual childhood6 %ut
on and on he must proress+
He must not stop an,where+ 753ternal worship! material worship!7 sa, the scriptures! 7is the
lowest stae: strulin to rise hih! mental pra,er is the ne3t stae! %ut the hihest stae is
when the 8ord has %een realised+7
Aark the same earnest man who is kneelin %efore the idol tells ,ou! 7Him the sun cannot
e3press! nor the moon! nor the stars! the lihtnin cannot e3press Him! nor what we speak of
as fire: throuh Him the, shine+7 But he does not a%use an,one’s idol or call its worship sin+
He reconises in it a necessar, stae of life+ 7The child is father of the man+7 Would it %e riht
for an old man to sa, that childhood is a sin or ,outh a sin2
0f a man can realise his divine nature with the help of an imae! would it %e riht to call that a
sin2 9or even when he has passed that stae! should he call it an error+ To the Hindu! man is
not travellin from error to truth! %ut from truth to truth! from lower to hiher truth+ To him
all the reliions! from the lowest fetishism to the hihest a%solutism! means so man, attempts
of the human soul to rasp and realise the 0nfinite! each determined %, the conditions of its
%irth and association! and each of these marks a stae of proress: and ever, soul is a ,oun
eale soarin hiher and hiher! atherin more and more strenth! till it reaches the 4lorious
Dnit, in variet, is the plan of nature! and the Hindu has reconised it+ 5ver, other reliion la,s
down certain fi3ed domas! and tries to force societ, to adopt them+ 0t places %efore societ,
onl, one coat! which must fit *ack and *ohn and Henr,! all alike+ 0f it does not fit *ohn or
Henr,! he must o without a coat to cover his %od,+ The Hindus have discovered that the
a%solute can onl, %e realised! or thouht of! or stated! throuh the relative! and the imaes!
crosses! and crescents are simpl, so man, s,m%ols( so man, pes to han the spiritual ideas
on+ 0t is not that this help is necessar, for ever, one! %ut those that do not need it have no
riht to sa, that it is wron+ 9or is it compulsor, in Hinduism+
<ne thin 0 must tell ,ou! 0dolatr, in 0ndia does not mean an,thin horri%le+ 0t is not the
mother of harlots+ <n the other hand! it is the attempt of undeveloped minds to rasp hih
spiritual truths+ The Hindus have their faults! the, sometimes have their e3ceptions: %ut mark
this! the, are alwa,s for punishin their own %odies! and never for cuttin the throats of their
neih%ours+ 0f the Hindu fanatic %urns himself on the p,re! he never lihts the fire of
0n-uisition+ And even this cannot %e laid at the door of his reliion an, more than the %urnin
of witches can %e laid at the door of "hristianit,+
To the Hindu! then! the whole world of reliions is onl, a travellin! a comin up! of different
men and women! throuh various conditions and circumstances! to the same oal+ 5ver,
reliion is onl, evolvin a 4od out of the material man! and the same 4od is the inspirer of all
of them+ Wh,! then! are there so man, contradictions2 The, are onl, apparent! sa,s the
Hindu+ The contradictions come from the same truth adaptin itself to the var,in
circumstances of different natures+
0t is the same liht comin throuh lasses of different colours+ And these little variations are
necessar, for purposes of adaptation+ But in the heart of ever,thin the same truth reins+
The 8ord has declared to the Hindu in His incarnation as >rishna! 70 am in ever, reliion as the
thread throuh a strin of pearls+ Wherever thou seest e3traordinar, holiness and
e3traordinar, power raisin and purif,in humanit,! know thou that 0 am there+7 And what
has %een the result2 0 challene the world to find! throuhout the whole s,stem of Sanskrit
philosoph,! an, such e3pression as that the Hindu alone will %e saved and not others+ Sa,s
V,asa! 7We find perfect men even %e,ond the pale of our caste and creed+7 <ne thin more+
How! then! can the Hindu! whose whole fa%ric of thouht centres in 4od! %elieve in Buddhism
which is anostic! or in *ainism which is atheistic2
The Buddhists or the *ains do not depend upon 4od: %ut the whole force of their reliion is
directed to the reat central truth in ever, reliion! to evolve a 4od out of man+ The, have not
seen the 1ather! %ut the, have seen the Son++ And he that hath seen the Son hath seen the
1ather also+
This! %rethren! is a short sketch of the reliious ideas of the Hindus+ The Hindu ma, have
failed to carr, out all his plans! %ut there is ever to %e a universal reliion! it nust %e one
which will have no location in place or time: which will %e infinite like the 4od it will preach!
and whose sun will shine upon the followers of >rishna and of "hrist! on saints and sinners
alike: which will not %e Brahminic or Buddhistic! "hristian or Aohammedan! %ut the sum total
of all these! and still have infinite space for development: which in its catholicit, will em%race
in its infinite arms! and find a place for! ever, human %ein! from the lowest rovellin savae
not far removed from the %rute! to the hihest man towerin %, the virtues of his head and
heart almost a%ove humanit,! makin societ, stand in awe of him and dou%t his human
nature+ 0t will %e a reliion which will have no place for persecution or intolerance in its polit,!
which will reconise divinit, in ever, man and woman! and whose whole scope! whose whole
force! will %e created in aidin humanit, to realise its own true! divine nature+
<ffer such a reliion! and all the nations will follow ,ou+ Asoka’s council was a council of the
Buddhist faith+ Ak%ar’s! thouh more to the purpose! was onl, a parlour meetin+ 0t was
reserved for America to proclaim to all -uarters of the lo%e that the 8ord is in ever, reliion+
Aa, He who is the Brahman of the Hindus! the Ahura(AaEda of the )oroastrians! the Buddha
of the Buddhists! the *ehovah of the *ews! the 1ather in Heaven of the "hristians! ive
strenth to ,ou to carr, out ,our no%le idea= The star arose in the 5ast: it travelled steadil,
towards the West! sometimes dimmed and sometimes effulent! till it made a circuit of the
world: and now it is aain risin on the ver, horiEon of the 5ast! the %orders of the Sanpo! a
thousandfold more effulent than it ever was %efore+
Hail! "olum%ia! motherland of li%ert,= 0t has %een iven to thee! who never dipped her hand in
her neih%our’s %lood! who never found out that the shortest wa, of %ecomin rich was %,
ro%%in one’s neih%ours! it has %een iven to thee to march at the vanuard of civilisation
with the fla of harmon,+
T<P GTo top of this pae

1ounder of Hinduism
Huestion6 Was there a specific founder of the reliion .Hinduism2/
Hinduism cannot %e descri%ed as an oraniEed reliion+ 0t is not founded %, an, individual+
Hinduism is 4od centred and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded %, 4od! %ecause the
answer to the -uestion CWho is %ehind the eternal principles and who makes them work2’ will
have to %e C"osmic power! Bivine power! 4od’
Swami Vivekananda wrote6
There are these eternal principles! which stand upon their own foundations without dependin
on an, reasonin! even much less on the authorit, of saes however reat! of 0ncarnations
however %rilliant the, ma, have %een+ We ma, remark that as this is the uni-ue position in
0ndia! our claim is that the Vedanta onl, can %e the universal reliion! that it is alread, the
e3istin universal reliion in the world! %ecause it teaches principles and not persons+
IThe "omplete Works of Swami Vivekananda! 000!
Topic @The Saes of 0ndia@J
Swami Vivekananda wrote6
0f ,ou want to %e reliious! enter not the ate of an, oranised reliion+ The, do a hundred
times more evil than ood! %ecause the, stop the rowth of each one@s individual
development++++ Reliion is onl, %etween ,ou and ,our 4od! and no third person must come
%etween ,ou+ Think what these oranised reliions have done= What 9epoleon was more
terri%le than those reliious persecutions2 0f ,ou and 0 oranise! we %ein to hate ever,
person + 0t is %etter not to love! if lovin onl, means hatin others+ That is no love+ That is
hell= 0f lovin ,our own people means hatin ever,%od, else! it is the -uintessence of
selfishness and %rutalit,! and the effect is that it will make ,ou %rutes+
IThe "omplete Works of Swami Vivekananda! Volume 0!
Topic @The 4ita 000@J
Swami Vivekananda wrote6
Truth is of two kinds6 .#/ that which is conisa%le %, the five ordinar, senses of man! and %,
reasonins %ased thereon: .K/ that which is conisa%le %, the su%tle! super(sensuous power
of ?oa+
>nowlede ac-uired %, the first means is called science: and knowlede ac-uired %, the
second is called the Vedas+
The whole %od, of super sensuous truths! havin no %einnin or end! and called %, the name
of Vedas! is ever e3istent+ The "reator Himself is creatin! preservin and destro,in the
universe with the help of these truths+
The person in whom this super(sensuous power is manifested is called a Rishi! and the super(
sensuous truths! which he realises %, this power! are called the Vedas+
This Rishihood! this power of super(sensuous perception of the Vedas! is real reliion+ And so
lon as this does not develop in the life of an initiate! so lon is reliion a mere empt, word to
him! and it is to %e understood that he has not taken ,et the first step in reliion+
The authorit, of the Vedas e3tends to all aes! climes and persons: that is to sa,! their
application is not confined to an, particular place! time and persons+
The Vedas are the onl, e3ponent of the universal reliion+
Huestion6 How did Hinduism start and when did it %ein2
Hinduism is 4od centred+ <ther reliions are prophet centred+
Hinduism is %ased upon 5ternal Principles+ 5ternal principles appl, to all human %eins
ever,where+ The laws of ph,sics e3ist and work all the time+ The healin principle will et to
work immediatel, the moment a little cut is sustained on a finer+ 9o one can tell when this
healin principle %ean or when it will end+ 0t is there e3istin eternall,! all pervadin
.availa%le ever,where/! omniscient .aware all the time and therefore healin principle ets to
work when in;ur, is sustained/+ .These simplified e3amples serve to understand 4od’s power6
omniscient! omnipresent! omnipotent/+
Hinduism is %ased upon 5ternal Principles+ 0f a reat scientist like 5instein! discovered or
realiEed laws of ph,sics! Hinduism would call him a reat Rishi .Aaharshi or seer of truth+/
Such seers of truth are not confined to an, one ae or countr,+ Self realiEed persons like *esus
"hrist would %e called Rishis .seers/ and their teachins would %e readil, accepta%le to those
who properl, understand the principles of CHinduism’+ 1rom the ancient times! man, reat
Rishis achieved self(realisation throuh such practices as meditation and austerities and the,
realised knowlede concernin 5ternal Principles+ Their knowlede! tauht to disciples! and
eventuall, made availa%le in written form! is known as the Vedas .Ved L knowlede/! the
scriptures upon which Sanatan Bharma .Hinduism/ is %ased+ Sanatan means eternal and
Bharma means reliion+
The word @Hinduism C does not appear an,where in Hindu scriptures! The proper name for
Hinduism is CSanatan Bharma’ Sanatan L eternal Bharma L reliion+
Hinduism is 4od centred whereas other reliions are prophet centred+ 1or this reason the
whole of mankind has to a%ide %, .or is affected %,/ the eternal principles+ The -uestion of
acceptance or re;ection of Hinduism %, an, individual simpl, does not arise! or is irrelevant+ 0t
is illoical to talk of conversion to Hinduism+ 0t is like sa,in that the laws of ph,sics
.e++ravit,/ will appl, to ,ou onl, if ,ou %elon to an oraniEation or oraniEed reliion+