Unity, The Goal of Religion – Swami Vivekananda

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” This universe of ours, the universe of the senses, the rational, the intellectual, is bounded on both sides by the illimitable, the unknowable, the ever unknown. Herein is the search, herein are the inquiries, here are the facts; from this comes the light which is known to the world as religion. Essentially, however, religion belongs to the supersensuous and not to the sense plane. It is beyond all reasoning and is not on the plane of intellect. It is a vision, an inspiration, a plunge into the unknown and unknowable, making the unknowable more than known for it can never be “known”. This search has been in the human mind, as I believe, from the very beginning of humanity. There cannot have been human reasoning and intellect in any period of the world’s history without this struggle, this search beyond. In our little universe, this human mind, we see a thought arise. Whence it arises we do not know; and when it disappears, where it goes, we know not either. The macrocosm and the microcosm are, as it were, in the same groove, passing through the same stages, vibrating in the same key.”

– Swami Vivekananda

Unit, The Goal of Religion. The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vol.3

The Wish Fulfilling Tree – Sri Ramakrishna

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“A man sitting under the shade of the Kalpa-vriksha (wishing-tree) wished to be a king, and in an instant he was a king. The next moment he wished to have a charming damsel, and the damsel was instantly by his side. The man then thought within himself, if a tiger came and devoured him, and alas! in an instant he was in the jaws of a tiger! God is like that wishing-tree: whosoever in His presence thinks that he is destitute and poor, remains as such, but he who thinks and believes that the Lord fulfils all his wants, receives everything from Him.”

The Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna

(photo: Ranjit, Sri Chinmoy Centre galleries)

To be Capable of Stillness – Sri Aurobindo

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“To be capable of silence, stillness, illuminated passivity is to be fit for immortality —amr.tatv ¯aya kalpate.

It is to be dh¯ıra, the ideal of our ancient civilisation, which does not mean to be tamasic, inert and a block. The inaction of the tamasic man is a stumbling-block to the energies around him, the inaction of the Yogin creates, preserves and destroys; his action is dynamic with the direct, stupendous driving-power of great natural forces. It is a stillness within often covered by a ripple of talk and activity without,—the oceanwith its lively surface of waves. But even as men do not see the reality of God’s workings from the superficial noise of the world and its passing events, for they are hidden beneath that cover, so also shall they fail to understand the action of the Yogin, for he is different within from what he is outside.

The strength of noise and activity is, doubtless, great,—did not the walls of Jericho fall by the force of noise? But infinite is the strength of the stillness and the silence, in which great forces prepare for action.”

– Sri Aurobindo, Essays in Philosophy and Yoga p s9

Mystic Emotion – Albert Einstein

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“The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science. Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man. To know that what is impenetrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties – this knowledge, this feeling … that is the core of the true religious sentiment. In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself among profoundly religious men.”

— Albert Einstein

Mother Teresa

Recently I came across a book written about Mother Teresa, entitled, A Simple Path. The book was compiled by Lucinda Vardey, in 1995. It shares with the reader stories about the work done by the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity Order, under the then direction of Mother Teresa. It contains several prayers which I felt are worth sharing. The first one which is really a poem, is apparently displayed on a sign on the wall of a children’s home in Calcutta, it reads:

Take time to think
Take time to pray
Take time to laugh

It is the source of power
It is the greatest power on earth
It is the music of the soul

Take time to play
Take time to love and be loved
Take time to give

It is the secret of perpetual youth
It is God’s given privilege
It is too short a day to be selfish

Take time to read
Take time to be friendly
Take time to work

It is the fountain of wisdom
It is the road to happiness
It is the price of success
Take time to do charity
It is the key to Heaven.

This poem contains a fairly simple message, always try to remain childlike. Laugh, play, give and be friendly. Try to live more from the heart and less in the mind. Yet it also demands something of us. Take the time (or make the time!) to do these things. Some of them, such as laughing and being friendly, are pretty easy for most of us, but what about prayer? How many of us make the time to consciously pray for the betterment of others, for peace in the world, for love and friendship to be the norm in our communities? Some studies have apparently proven real positive results of prayer. For example in the area of health, praying for a loved one has been shown to increase the rate of recovery from some serious illnesses. Even without any thought of personal gain, selfless prayer probably does makes us happier, and is an easy way for us to do something positive.

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