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Let Us Be Gods-Part VIII
Continued From The Seventh Part
In India they said that the reality of this universe is even beyond the mind; it is spirit ––invisible. It hasn’t got any form. But through our ignorance we see these things as having form. It is as simple as that. When you think about it, can you continue to live the life you are living? Can you? If what you see is all wrong, all a product of your illusion, that actually there is no world of forms, and yet you think this world of form is there, and not only that, but it is the most important thing that you can think of, does it not make you stop and think? Then, of course, science does not cover all the world of knowledge. We want to know many more things beyond the sphere of science. I say, let us think of science and religion, but bring them together.
You cannot say, ‘God made man, the sun, the moon and so on; and after studying science, find there is no such animal, sun, moon, world and man, that this is just wrong seeing. How do you reconcile these two things? You have to face this, I say. Don’t remain contented with all these little things that are meant for children. You have to be thoughtful, and when you become thoughtful, you can appreciate the teachings of Advaita Vedanta, or monistic Vedanta as taught by Swami Vivekananda. He felt that such teaching was necessary in this country, otherwise science will destroy religion.
Religion cannot destroy science. Religion tried to destroy science in the earlier centuries. When science began to rear its head in Europe, the Inquisition came and you know how many people were killed, destroyed. But it could not stop the progress of science. And the church then had to make a sort of compromise with science. So science cannot be destroyed. But there is a chance that science can destroy religion. Yes, there is a chance that people will become so embroiled in science and the findings of science, and all the other things that science is giving to men, that they will forget there is such a thing as a soul; that there is a God and so on.
You have been entrusted with a little of fire, feed it and blow on it until it begins to blaze. This is our greatest duty to mankind..
And here, my friends, is my appeal to you on this score. You all recognize that without spiritual values man will be reduced to a brute beast. Certainly we do not want to be reduced to that status. Yet merely going to church would not make a man religious. It is a matter of something within ourselves. Would you say just because a man talks like a very educated person, dresses well, that he’s a good man? It is what he has in his heart that will make him good or bad, not his outside appearance. So it is the heart of the man, the truth that is realized within himself that will make him spiritual or not spiritual, and not because of his external behaviour, whether he goes to church or not. So those who have got even a little of spiritual instinct, my appeal to them is cultivate it, cultivate it, cultivate it! You have been entrusted with a little of fire, feed it and blow on it until it begins to blaze. This is our greatest duty to mankind in the present juncture of history.
We must all become spiritual. Particularly those who have spiritual instincts may not ignore this, and may not destroy those instincts. It is so easy to destroy those things. Ignorance is strong. However intelligent a person is, he would not gain knowledge unless he goes to school. He has to make an effort to gain knowledge. Instincts and talents are not enough. Culture of these talents is very desirable, very necessary. So I say, cultivate those things. You cannot do anything better for mankind, for yourself, and for others, who will come in contact with you, than to cultivate your spiritual instincts. Let this fire blaze within you. Let others come and warm themselves at that fire and be lighted up by that fire.
To be continued
About the author
Swami Ashokananda (1893-1969) was a much-venerated monk of the Ramakrishna Order. He was ordained into sannyasa by Swami Shivananda, and was the editor of Prabuddha Bharata, an English monthly of the Ramakrishna Order brought out from the Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati in Uttaranchal. He was an outstanding writer and speaker and the leader of the Vedanta Society of Northern California (San Fransisco) from 1931 until his passing away in 1969.