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the moral and the spiritual laws which
govern our lives. That religion will not only
accept all the truths discovered by the various
branches of science but will have room for
other discoveries which will be made in future.
As the aim and ideal of modern science have
always been toward the support of truth and
the independence of blind faith or tradition,
so that religion which will be fitted for the
Twentieth Century must have the same aim,
the same ideal and the same object to perform.
Now, the question arises, is it possible to find
a religion which will be in absolute harmony
with science and with the great philosophies
of the world. The answer is in the affirmative.
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Religion of The Twentieth Century

True religion and science are always in perfect
harmony. There never has been any quarrel
or fight between true religion and science
both of which are universal in their scope and
are one in their ideal.

Prof. Huxley said : "True science will
continue to fulfil one of her most beneficient
functions, that of relieving men from the
burden of false science which is imposed upon
them in the name of religion."

Herbert Spencer had this in his mind when
he said : "The most abstract truth contained
in religion and the most abstract truth contain-
ed in science must be one in which the two
coalesce. To reach that point of view from
which the seeming discordance of religion and
science disappears and the two merge into one,
must cause a revolution of thought fruitful
and beneficial in consequences and must surely
be worth an effort".

Time has come when we must make an
effort to see the harmony that exists between
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Religion of The Twentieth Century

true Science and true Religion. We must
examine minutely and impartially all the
existing religions of the world and see which
of them is based upon the principle of Unity
in variety and which of them accepts the
grand scientific truth of one substance as the
material and efficient cause of the universe.

If we examine carefully Christianity,
Judaism, Mohammedanism, Zoroastrianism
and all other special religions, we find
that they are not based upon that principle of
Unity in variety, because they teach two
Creators, the Creator of good and the Creator
of evil. They are dualistic. The Creator of
good is fighting against the Creator of evil.
The Creator of evil is fighting against the
Creator of good, so they do not teach the
doctrine of Unity in variety but duality of
existence. Buddhism does not teach Unity
in Variety.



26



Religion of The Twentieth Century

Vedanta, The Universal Religion

There is only one religion which has been
teaching the same truth of Unity in variety
from pre-historic times, for nearly five
thousand years. This religion is now given
to the world. In the Upanishads we find :
"As one 'fire' coming into this world manifests
itself through various forms, so the one
Eternal, Absolute Being manifests itself in the
various phenomena of the world." "As one
*air\ passing through different holes of a flute
produces various notes of music, so the one
Eternal Substance manifests itself in the
various phenomena of the universe." "From
that one Substance has emanated Prana t
the life-force of the plant, life-principle in all,
mind and all the sense-power, also that which
is space, that which is gaseous, heat, liquid,
and that which is solid." This idea cannot
be found in any other Scripture of the world.

This universal religion is nameless and
formless. It is in absolute harmony with
27



Religion of The Twentieth Century

science. Vedanta teaches that one Substance or
Reality is the material and efficient cause of the
universe. It also describes the evolution of
the phenomenal world, and rejects the theory
of a special creation. The process of cosmic
evolution as described in Vedanta is this :
From that one Substance came ether, from
ether that which is gaseous, from the gaseous
state heat, from that state liquid, then that
which is solid ; and later came gradually the
vegetables, the lower animals, and from the
lower animals, up to the highest, man. Thus,
it explains that the phenomenal universe with
all the varieties of names, forms and forces
has evolved out of one eternal Cosmic Energy
called in Sanskrit Prakriti which is the mother
of all manifestations. It is One and universal.
Vedanta teaches that God is personal, imper-
sonal and beyond both. Individual souls,
according to this religion, are not created out
of nothing, but are eternal ; they are eternal
germs of life, subject to the Law of cause and
28



Religion of The Twentieth Century

sequence. They are indestructible, immortal ;

and these germs of life are free agents, manifes-
ting powers which are latent in them. It

teaches that mind and matter are the sub-
jective and objective manifestation of that One
Being.

Is it not a remarkable fact that these ancient
Seekers of truth discovered that which is the
spirit of this age, that is, Unity in variety and
the one Substance which is the material and
the efficient cause of the universe ? These are
the grandest truths, but when modern science
has proved these truths and confirmed the old
truths, the scientific truth is doubly true, be-
cause we find that different thinkers, starting
from different standpoints, arrived at the same
conclusion. The great Seers of ancient India
arrived at that conclusion from their subjec-
tive conception and vision of the truth, and
reached that highest goal ; while modern
science starting from the r objective world has
reached the same goal. These two when com-
29



Religion of The Twentieth Century

bined will produce the most wonderful har-
mony between true science and true religion.

Modern science is just beginning to grasp
the truth that the Cause lies in the Effect,
that cause and effect are like the unmanifested
and manifested states of the same thing. But
this truth has been taught in India from very
ancient times.

Science is trying to discover the eternal
truth of the universe ; and religion is trying
to worship that eternal Truth, but that
worship of the eternal Truth must depend upon
its discovery. If we do not know the eternal
Truth, how can we worship it ? We must put
every thing aside which is not in harmony
with the highest conclusions of modern science.
So, this religion which is such a universal
religion, and which as I have already said is
nameless, is the one which embraces all the
religions of the world. No other religion can
be so universal because other religions are
more or less built around the personality of
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Religion of The Twentieth Century

their Founders, Christanity is built around
the personality of Christ ; Buddhism around
Buddha ; Mohammedanism around Mohammed,
Christian Science around Mrs. Eddy. Any
religion that is built around the personality
of its Founder cannot be universal, be-
cause that personality may not be accepted
by all. This religion, however we find is
not built upon the personality of one being,
but upon the Spiritual Laws which govern our
soul-life. It has existed for five thousand years
and it will continue to be the religion of the
world in future ; this is the religion of Vedanta.
It deals with principles and leaves all the
details to be worked out by science. It admits
a personal God who is to be worshipped
through devotion and through love. It teaches
that God is one Substance, and we are but
parts ; as Christ said : "I and my Father are
one," so the absolute monistic Vedanta teaches 'I
am He* , that we are all absolutely one
with the Supreme Spirit, that our individual
31



Religion of The Twentieth Century

souls are nothing but so many expressions of
the one universal cosmic Being, who is the
Lord of the universe. The Creator is nothing
but the first manifestation of the Absolute
Being, therefore, He is called the first-born
Lord. Modern science has one idea which
was given in Vedanta centuries before Christ.
In modern science we study that Evolution is
followed by Involution and that evolution lasts
for a certain period of time, which is called a
cycle, while the cycle of evolution is followed
by the cycle of involution, and this chain of
the cycles of evolution and involution and then
again evolution and involution is eternal. So,
there is the beginning of the cycle of evolution,
but there is no beginning of matter, no begin-
ning of force, no beginning of the substance of
the universe.

Just as there may be a beginning of the physi-
cal form, but there is no beginning of the es-
sence that lives and enforces the physical forms
of the individual soul. Each individual soul is
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Religion op The Twentieth Century

subject to the Law of Cause and Sequence,
which is called in Vedanta, the Law of Karma,

Law of Karma

By studying this Law of Cause and Se-
quence, and of action and reaction, we find that
we get to the scientific explanation of the
cause regarding the sin, misery, sickness and
suffering of the world. Vedanta does not
teach that the Creator of evil is one personality
and the Creator of good is another. Vedanta
teaches, that so long as there is good, there
will be evil ; one cannot exist without the
other, so if we take the one we will have to
take the other. Reject both, and see that the
Soul is neither good nor evil. Evil is only
ignorance ; whatever we do without proper
knowledge is a mistake, and each mistake is a
great teacher in the long run. Therefore, each
sinful act has its value ; it teaches the soul the
law that governs that act. In that way all
sinful acts are the great mistakes which we
are bound to commit, because we have come to
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Religion op The Twentieth Century

this world, and are making experiments all the
time to find out exactly what we want. Being
born in ignorance we are bound to make
mistakes. Why should we blame the Creator for
our mistakes ? Therefore, Vedanta teaches
that there is no Creator of good, no Creator of
evil, but the Law of Karma ( Cause and
Sequence ) will explain all the inequalities
and diversities that exist in the world, and
God is not regarded as the Giver of rewards
or the Bestower of punishments. God never
punishes the wicked, nor rewards the virtuous,
but that which we call punishment is the
reaction of our own mistakes, which must
come back to the soul from which the action
started. That which we call reward is also
the reaction of our own good acts. So, why
should we blame God ? God is the Ocean
of love, the Ocean of intelligence and justice.

Modern science says that the source of the
universe is unknown and unknowable. Vedanta
also teaches that it is Unknown and Unknow-
34



Religion op The Twentieth Century

able by the mind, but can be realised by the
Spirit, because it is nearer than our mind,
nearer than our heart ; because it is the Soul
of our soul, and the essence of our being is
that Substance. It can be realized by entering
into a higher state of super-consciousness.
Thus, it harmonizes with the monistic science
of modern times. But Vedanta teaches that, that
one Substance is not insentient, but it is the
source of intelligence and all knowledge; other
, wise, if we did not admit this, then the question
will rise where did our knowledge come from ?
Can intelligence come from something which
does not possess intelligence ? It would be
as absurd as something coming out of nothing.
Therefore, Vedanta is more logical and more
scientific than the materialistic Monism of
science. Vedanta gives a scientific basis to
religion, because it explains religion through
science, in other words through the accepted
rules of inductive and deductive logic and
it accepts within its limits the supremacy of
35



Religion of The Twentieth Century

reason. Any system which admits these two
points is absolutely scientific. But if we apply
the rules of logic to the existing religions of
the world, at every step we shall find that they
cannot stand reasoning ; consequently, they
fall to pieces. None but the universal religion
of Vedanta can stand the test of logic and
science. The conflict between science and
religion ends in the universal religion of
Vedanta. Herbert Spencer wrote just before
his death with reference to Vedanta that "he
was gratified to find a philosophy akin to his
own thought in India. "

Again, Vedanta gives the fundamental
principles of, and the rational foundation to
ethics ; for true ethics must be based upon
scientific principles, otherwise it has no value.
The greatest ethical law, which teaches
"Love thy neighbour as thyself," does not give
any reason why we should love our neighbour
as ourselves. Christ preached the same, but
he did not give the reason. The reason we



Religion of The Twentieth Century

find in Vedanta which teaches the same truth.
We shall love our neighbours not because they
have done some good to us, but because we
are one with our neighbour in spirit, "Tat twam
a8i" ; because we are all children of the same
Infinite Being. Love means expression of
oneness. That spiritual oneness should be the
foundation of ethics, and then we shall never
do anything to hurt anybody, nor anything to
enrich ourselves at the expense of others.

The truth of Vedanta, which is absolutely
scientific, should be preached before the world
and then we shall find not only peace and
harmony among the different sectarian religions
of the world but also we shall find harmony
between true religion and true science, and
that harmony is needed in the Twentieth
Century. Max Muliar said : "Vedanta is the
most sublime of all philosophies, and the most
comforting of all religions. It has room for
every religion ; nay, it embraces them all".



37



Works of Swami Abhedananda



Doctrine of Karma

What is Vedanta

Christian Science & Vedanta

Does the Soul Exist after Death ?

Philosophy of Good & Evil

Religion of the Hindus

Cosmic Evolution and Its Purpose

Scientific Basis of Religion

Why a Hindu accepts Christ and rejects

Churchianity
Woman's place in Hindu Religion
Swami Vivekananda and his work



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Online LibrarySwami AbhedanandaThe religion of the Twentieth Century → online text (page 2 of 2)