Talk to students in memory of Swami Vivekananda

(This one-hour speech happened to be a first for me, and I want to thank the students that they made it easy for me and looked interested throughout.)

My three main points:

  1. To encourage the students to know and be proud of their heritage.
  2. To point out what is lacking in the west
  3. To give inputs on Jnana, Bhakti, Karma and Raja Yoga – the way of life which enables one to tap/ realise the Divinity within.

Here is my talk, most of it recreated from the points i had made:

Knowledge of India’s wisdom – and Swami Vivekananda was an excellent teacher of it – is very much needed as western education (and Indian education is also still western education) is highly lopsided.

Only yesterday I saw a news item: a 12th class student from Haridwar was fished out from the Ganga. He had posted on facebook “I go now and do suicide”.

Such a thing should never happen. It seems he had been reprimanded on that day. It shows how one-sided our education is. Strength of character is not imbibed. Yet exactly this strength of character is the priority of India’s wisdom and Swami Vivekananda is the best guide on how to gain this strength. “Man-making” was the most important task for him. “Strength is life, weakness is death”, he said.

  1. Some examples why you can be proud of your tradition – not in the sense of being arrogant, but of knowing its great value.

India always was a knowledge hub, both in material sciences and spiritually. Quest for Truth was the hallmark.

Do you for example know that the Rig Veda 10.22.14 says “the earth goes around the sun”? Yet there is a Copernicus Marg in Delhi and you surely have learnt that he discovered this.

Further, the Rishis thought in huge time frames. You even have names for huge numbers like arab, etc, while the Romans hardly could count a few thousand. Your Rishis got the age of the universe right when the west thought until recently, that the earth is maximum 10,000 years old. How was this possible? Because the rishis had the power of concentration, of complete mind control.

Patanjali says in his yoga sutras that the light of knowledge comes through mastery of samyana. Samyana is the state when concentration, meditation and absorption combined focus on one subject.

Yet even more important than scientific knowledge is the fact that the Rishis discovered the underlying conscious unity in the midst of all this diversity. They had dived deep enough to the source from which everything emerges and they were able to tap it.

Sadly, the British realised the strength of your tradition and cut you off from it by replacing the Sanskrit education system with the English system. Now you couldn’t read anymore the treasure that your ancestors had left. Not only this, the British told Indian children, that their tradition is not worth anything and that England is great. Of course, children believed it. And even today there are many so-called educated Indians who believe just this and pull down their tradition even abroad.

If Swami Vivekananda were here today, he surely would challenge them…

While this happened in India, Indian knowledge had reached already Europe and was greatly appreciated. When Swamiji went to Chicago in 1893, he made further a huge impact and scientists, too, were keen to meet him, like Nicola Tesla. Of course there were also some fundamental Christians who tried to spread bad rumours about him, but the open-minded elite was taken in by India’s knowledge.

Later, after Swami had passed away, most of those, who were laying the foundation for modern physics, like Heisenberg, Pauli, Schroedinger, were interested in Vedanta. Heisenberg came to India and met Rabindranath Tagore. India’s wisdom showed them the direction where to do research, and they came up with a literally earth shaking new paradigm of all being interconnected, of all being basically one energy.

Even the popular, young Bavarian king Ludwig II had books on Indian philosophy in his library, a friend who worked in the archive of the big Munich library told me.

There is much more, but this may convince you that you owe to your ancestors that you know about this profound knowledge and stand up for it.

  1. What is lacking in western societies:

Swami said in USA: why are you so proud of your society when Truth has no place in it?

He is right. It’s either all about “having fun” – seeing man only as body and mind which ends with death.

Or it is about a story around God (sending his son to earth, condemning non-Christians to hell, etc.) that is unlikely to be true.

The hallmark of Christianity is blind belief and the focus is on afterlife.

Result: people are directionless, see no meaning in life, depression.

A bit about myself, how I lost faith in Christianity and came to treasure India’s wisdom. I could not accept that non- Christians go to hell. Imagine, Christians have to believe that even Swami Vivekananda will be sent to hell on Judgment Day…

(here I posted more about my own journey https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/how-i-essentially-became-a-hindu/)

In India I read JNANA and RAJA yoga by Swami Vivekananda. It was a completely new world view yet at the same time greatly familiar.

What impressed me most was the underlying oneness of all: a wave thinks it is separate, but is one with ocean, a cup thinks it is a cup only and is not sure whether mud exists… (Similar: individual is essentially Brahman)

Upanishad: Brahman is NOT what the eyes can see but That by which the eyes can see… written ages ago, what wisdom!! … gives goose bumps.

My conclusion was:  If I am not what I think I am (= a person with body and mind), I want to live life in a way that there is a chance to know what I really am (= Atman).

3, How to go about discovering the truth?

To hear about it, to reflect on it and to practice/ realise it – shravana, manana, nidhidhyasa. Practice means jnana, bhakti, karma and raja yoga. Swami Vivekananda is the ideal guide. He explained all 4 yogas.

As an aside: in 1983 already I was asked to write a chapter for a reader for psychology students on those four yogas.. German students got to know about them. Indian students did not…

I personally was inclined towards Jnana Yoga. Used to sit on the roof terrace at night, asking basic questions and waiting for answers…

Ananadamyi Ma, a saintly woman from Bengal who passed away in 1982, stressed Bhakti. She claimed that Bhagwan is the only true beloved. Human loves have always some ego- motive involved. My diary turned into a dialogue with God. But how to love God??

I reflected on ‘falling in love” which is considered a highly desirable state in the west, and wondered why there is so much “falling out of love”, too. I wrote on my blog about it: “Love in India”. Please have a look https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/love-in-india/

The west is immature when it comes to love. Indians are copying now their immaturity. The emotional pain will be BIG. Romantic love is probably giving the greatest pain to people in the west, because it is not eternal, as one may believe, but often even turns into hate.

Don’t be confused regarding Jnana and Bhakti: God is the Self. Yes. But if it is difficult to love the self, it may be easier to love and talk to Bhagawan. Even Adi Shankara, the pure Advaitin, wrote a love poem to Ma Durga.

It’s the same. Krishna promised, by whatever name you worship, it will reach ME, the one Truth…

Karma Yoga means to do your best, with no expectation for result. It also applies to sadhana or spiritual effort as well as in worldly affairs.  Sri Krishna himself tried to prevent the Mahabharata War. Yet it happened. Even HE could not prevent it. Don’t expect any result even from yoga, but do your best. Have a pure motivation.

Raja Yoga is the most structured of all yogas. It is the royal path to Self-realisation and to a strong character. It is a scientific method.

Yama and Niyama purify, refine and strengthen the character. The desire to know the truth grows by living a pure, truthful life.

Everyone has different samskaras. Find your own way to come close to the truth (and always remember you are already so close that closer is not possible – as close as the cup is to the mud…),

There will be difficult times. Everyone gets them. But try not to get bogged down. Remind yourself of your blessings – I saw a girl in Rishikesh with no arms.. she had a genuine smile. Or sing a song. Difficult times make you grow faster.

And if you can’t control anger or sadness, don’t worry. Main thing is you KNOW you are angry or sad. A bit of you should be a witness (Shakshi) of what is happening inside you without judging.

Have you ever noticed, for example in a restaurant, on different tables, the different atmosphere? Sometimes one even feels sorry for the kids… Who do you want to be? Angry, easily annoyed, depressed? Or calm, cheerful and happy?

When I was very young, I once saw a beautiful boy with a beautiful atmosphere around him. How nice would it be to be always with him I thought… but then the next thought came, ‘it would be even better if I myself become so beautiful. Then I have this beauty always with me…’

Apart from living a pure life, Raja yoga is mainly about MIND CONTROL

Mind has huge powers if it is focussed. It can also influence the thoughts of others

Do regularly try to still your mind to tap the still, thought free source of the mind, even for 5 minutes. Nowadays with smartphones, more is hardly possible…. Focus inside. Stop for a little while. Don’t think, but observe. Even during work or study, just for a few moments become aware where you are, what you see, hear, think, feel.

Your essence is divine. Discover it. This was the main message of Swami Vivekananda.

Hatha yoga is also helpful. After Hatha yoga, when you lie on your back in shavasana, it’s easy to feel the energy inside your body and stay without thoughts.

I once experienced in the train how resentment fully dissolved. An English woman was in my compartment who obviously looked for a fight. I won’t go into details, but it was bad and I felt resentment rising. Did I want to spend 36 hours in the train being resentful towards her? No. So I tried to just observe the waves of energy inside and drive away thoughts about her as soon as I noticed them. After maybe 15 minutes, I experienced the most beautiful expansive feeling and my resentment had completely dissolved. Now I was only amused by her attempts to be unpleasant, and maybe, if I had stayed in this meditation a little longer, I might have even felt compassion for her….

Nisargadatta Maharaj said: Mediation is radical refusal to think!!

Feel “I AM”. Not “I AM This”.

Ramana Maharshi: “Usually I don’t think…”

From thoughtless, pure awareness comes inspired thought.

Look at the example of the great mathematician Srinivasan Ramanuja. He was sure that Namagiri Devi gave him the solutions to Maths problems. One could also say instead of Namagiri Devi that Atman or Brahman revealed it. “The one Consciousness takes that form that is dearest to the disciple when he calls out for help.” Ramana Maharshi said this when a devotee had claimed that Ramana had appeared and saved him in an accident.

Before Einstein died, he said in an interview, “the scientist of the future needs to be a man of enhanced awareness”…. It means he needs to become a Yogi.

So please become yogis and you will even become inspired scientists. Live up to Swami Vivekananda’s expectations! Be strong, the same in all circumstances, rooted in your own self.

All those yogas may sound difficult, but actually it’s not very difficult. Main thing is that you want to know the truth about yourself. On my way here, I opened a book by Swamiji, wondering whether I get some quote to end the talk with. My eyes fell on this:

“My master told me: My child, if you desire God, God will come after you.”

Thank you

Maria Wirth

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41 comments

  1. Please post the video too…..

    1. no video of it. was asked to write down the gist.

  2. Ramasubramaniam · · Reply

    Well done. A great job. I have the least doubt that your maiden effort would have made each and everyone of the IIT-ians riveted in their seats with their fullest attention. How I would have loved to be present among the audience.

    I earnestly feel you should honor more such requests to deliver your speeches so that the next generation gets to know about themselves and their cultural roots.

    I was pretty dejected for the past couple of months over the role of the mainstream media to blow up a non event in Dadri to international levels keeping an eye on Bihar elections.
    I see light at the end of the tunnel by your elevating speech at IIT.

    Happy Diwali to you and I sincerely pray Lord Krishna blesses you with good health and a splendid life to use you for His work down here in this Great Land of Sages.

    With love,
    R. Ramasubramaniam

    1. thank you for your good wishes.
      i guess we just have to do our best and the result is not in our hands… Wonder why media feel compelled to be so communal (and calling it secular).

  3. Dr Himanshu Kumar · · Reply

    Maria ji ko sat sat naman,and we know how god speaks through her

  4. das war richtig gute..habe noch nie sowas gelesen. und habe die alter blogs, was sie geteilt haben auch sehr interessant gefunden. Sehr toll.
    Schone grusse aus Berlin

  5. As always, love your write up. I have been reading your blog for quite sometime and everything that you have written so far rings true inside of me.

    From what I have read so far from your writing, I always wanted to ask you a question and that is why do you think that all these are different a janani , a bhakt, a vayragi and a yogi when they are not different because the goal of all of them are some, to be a part of great divine . This is same as I am a husband, brother, son, father to someone. So how are they different?

    The other things that I have noticed is the way you disregard the other faiths, let’s say for example, if you get lost then the detour will be longer because if you are a seeker then you will find the truth one day , isn’t this true according to Bhagvad Gita ( true seeker will come to me one day, Krisna ). So why worry about those who gets lost to others because I wouldn’t.

    BTW I am only going by from what you’ve written so far in all of your writing. 🙂

    My great shub kamna for Divali and prosperous new year. 🙂

    1. to your first question, people have different samskaras or tendencies, i for example felt more drawn to Jnana yoga, but yes, all yogas ultimately have to combine.

      your second question: the dogmatic religions have also one good thing: they acknowledge a supreme power/intelligence and ask to surrender/ pray to it. however the other aspects need a debate. even the moral code in dogm religions is not ideal, as it requires to hand over your consience to the “book” and work for making all accept either Jesus or Allah… yes, ultimately they also will reach over many births, however the problem is that they make life difficult for others due to their perceived ‘duty’ to convert (or kill) and this should not be taken lying down. their dogmas have nothing to do with the absolute truth. rather they prevent realising it. They claim “this is the truth” and expect (and did for long) to get away with it.

      1. I do iunderstand, what you mean. I’m not a big fan of those people either. Just wanted to see how you really felt. 🙂 HARRY

  6. You r a live example of how yoga is simple. Just pray that all of us get this. know that by knowing which everything is known . Thank You

  7. I loved it: sweet but firm, pure but bold. I wish I had been there, but to me reading you is almost as being present in the events you describe. Thanks for it, and thanks for your tireless defense of Dharma.

    1. There is nothing stopping you expect your own self. Do what needs to be done to do justice to your self. Namaste

  8. Radhika Nagrath · · Reply

    Wonderful Maria. I can visualise how the students must have been mesmerised to hear from a foreigner-Indian like you about their own country. May we all be enlightened and hope for many such talks in future

  9. Maria mam i read somewhere.Lufthansa named inspire from Sanskrit word.Is it right?

    1. i am not sure: Luft means air in German and hansa means a grouping together, originally of businessmen in the 14th century, and later some 200 cities in northern Germany. Hamburg for example is even today called “Hansestadt Hamburg” (Stadt means city)

      1. Ramasubramaniam Pourugutsa · ·

        In sanskrit,
        Luptha is fragile, elegant
        Hamsa is Swan
        So Luptha Hamsa means ELEGANT SWAN
        Luptha Hamsa is LUFT-HANSA

  10. Surya, usa · · Reply

    ” Do you for example know that the Rig Veda 10.22.14 says “the earth goes around the sun”? ”
    No. Ididnt know that .Thank you for letting me know, it would be nice to know the samskrutam verse, I shall work on that one myself.

    1. check on the net, but not on websites like truthaboutHinduism which in “about” state that they want to” expose the false religion of Hinduism”. strangely, those websites are the first to appear in a google search of the verse…

      i got the verse number from a scholar in Delhi and checked it in Rishikesh with a Brhmachari who had studied Sanskrit for 12 years. I did not tell him what the verse is meant to be. he read out: earth rounds sun… had goose bumps

  11. Surya, usa · · Reply

    now that is a treat for your readers.
    Vivekanads’s original speeches in his own voice.
    The background music was an add on. He spoke during the 1893 chicago conference of Parliament of world religions. Obviously Calcutta schools taught good english. He is so liked by the attendees, the organizers purposefully made him speak at the very last. Just so the crowds would patiently stay back and listen to all other speakers in order to listen to him.

  12. A brilliant speech, I wish I could listen in person.
    Your above words of great knowledge and wisdom should be spread across world.

    Will it be OK if I copy paste the content with credit on FB

    1. yes, of course you can copy and paste it on FB. Pls give link also to my blog. thanks

  13. Reblogged this on sarikanandacerebrate and commented:
    I have been following the posts by Maria Wirth, a Hindu of German ancestry. She has spent a lifetime learning scriptures and following Vedas. Her articles are illuminating…

  14. Great Bahn ji as usual, appreciate your insite on Sanatan Dharma. Probably you are contributing even more than our own people who are born and bought up at this great land.

    We are working towards uniting Hindu community and to make them aware with their past.You know at least three generations are passed with delusion of wrong approach which is never Dharma Sangat to our own faith, However come what may be , we are determined to fight with system and get it changed to our glorious past.

    Bharat Mata ki Jay ! Jay man Bharati ! Jayatu Jayatu HinduRashtram

  15. RC Tripathi · · Reply

    I like this exposition of Vivekanand and Indian philosophy. My greetings and congratulations.

  16. Sashank Sriram · · Reply

    NAMASTE, Ms. Maria Wirth
    I admire your dedicated works towards promoting ancient Vedic texts and rituals and reminding us of our wonderful culture. I appreciate your effort to create awareness among youngsters about how the Western stereotyped and are still stereotyping the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, etc. and projecting Hinduism as a feudal and backward religion with social evils like caste system, widow burning, etc. But I have a difference of opinion in many things what you say. If you would let me highlight some of them, you would be astonished about what things really are when it comes to the Vedic perspective. These ideas were given by a friend of mine, whom I also recognise as my “spiritual guru”, though he is just a highly posted software engineer at Logitech, not commercial businessmen like Srila Prabhupada, Sai Baba, Ramdev, Ravi Shankar, Jaggi Vasudev, etc. Still, his understanding of Sanskrit language, its essence and its application while exploring the Vedas are unique and worth reading, and has a potential to be appreciated by many people. I am not promoting him and his view here, this is also my point of view and I thought that this would provide a better alternative than the usual Vedic understanding.
    1) The Meaning of Life: People wonder what the meaning of life is. In this quest for finding it, they forget about their own lives and waste them considerably. With the upcoming of the Puranas, natural forces and energies the Vedas mentioned (shall be explained later) were modeled into a personal God or Goddess. This led to the formation of a Bhakti cult and with the uprising of Buddhism and Jainism which placed Nirvana (Giving up) as the true meaning of life. Shankara, the great thinker, then proved that this idea was derived from the Vedas and introduced an equivalent, Moksha (Giving up). This required Sanyasa at a very early age, like 10-15 years. But Vedas interestingly present a different picture. Evidence will be provided as you read. Vedic philosophy is not “giving up”, it is “seeking more”. There was the Atman, the Supreme Consciousness, which wanted to REALISE ITSELF. So, it became Brahman (meaning “ever evolving”) and manifested itself into the universe. Multiple forces that operated in the universe created the earth as it is, which after some time, became a place for life. As Charles Darwin’s ToE says, from unicellular prokaryotes, multicellular, eukaryote, aquatic animals, one-limbed animals, two-limbed animals, four-limbed animals, monkeys, stone man and then the civilised human being, evolved. We have to evolve further. This requires research into fields of science, which expands our scope of understanding. Implementing them and enjoying them, further evolves us into beings of higher consciousness. Sustainable Development is necessary, because if we gulp everything and leave nothing for our future generations, human race and earth as a whole, will perish. We also need to keep evolving because if we are stagnant, then also we will perish. The reasons shall be explained in the next points.
    2) The actual meanings of “Gods” and “Goddesses” that the Vedas talk about (according to my guru) are actually what the Rishis of yore talked about. This translates Brahma as gravity, Vishnu as inertia, Maya as rest-mass Rudra (Shiva) as eleven force fields, Ganapathi as the human brain, Skanda as the six forms of energy, Shakti (Feminine) as the ever-evolving energy, which is also associated with the Brahman, Devas as matter/quarks and Asuras as anti-matter/anti-quarks.
    The explanations to these are provided in the following links:
    rivr.sulekha.com/thebigthinkg-blog_1056622
    http://vedabhasya.blogspot.in
    http://thebigthinkg.blogspot.in/?view=timeslide
    Sustainable Evolution mentioned in the Vedas is also mentioned here.
    3) Rebirth, Seven Janmas, Karma Effect and Afterlife: I think it (rebirth) may be a mis-understood concept. The root-question is, ‘Is there a ‘soul’ that is eternal and that is present in us? The answer is ‘Yes’, according to me. That is the Atman the Supreme consciousness that drives the evolution. We are a manifestation of that Atman. That consciousness is in us. The next question is ‘Does each and every individual being in this world have a different Atman or Soul and hence the universe if full of variety of souls that keep taking on different births?’ If I believe Shankara and of course the Vedas, the Jeevatma and Paramatma are one and the same. If there is only one soul across the Universe, then the question of rebirth or reincarnation does not arise at all, does it? If you believe in Krishna he says in the Bhagavad Gita ‘When adharma rises, that Atman emits/pours (people like) me”. There is one Atman in all matter and beings. Our bodies are like the clothes of that Atman. That Atman wears our bodies like clothes. If adharma rises it emits/produces people like Krishna. A positively charged ion automatically ionises atoms into negatively charged ions. When balance goes off the opposite is introduced by nature. When adharma increases dharma (Krishna) is automatically produced. This concept has been mis-understood as different souls in different beings. This is my view. The concept of seven ‘Janmas’ though I think may be a valid concept. We need more research data to come out on that. A being of particular characteristics (a Janma) undergoes changes in the duration it lives. It passes on these changes to the next generation. These changes ultimately change the characteristics of the being itself. This is genetics. I think (it is not confirmed) a certain set of exactly same genetic characteristics may be expressed no more than seven times. By the eighth time, it might definitely die out (I mean change) due to mutations. Again it is not necessary that son/daughter expresses all characteristics of their parent. They may be expressing the characteristics of someone who is far above their ancestral tree. I mean this expression need not be successive. It can occur over several centuries. In this way, I may be the next ‘Janma’ of someone whom I don’t know, I never met with, do not even belong to my caste or race or religion. I think this ‘Janma’ has been confused with Atman and then we have a whole lot of understanding out of this confusion. Deeds of the past affect the next birth is a scientific statement. It is evolution. It is genetics. What we do with our body, our genes learn them, adapt them and modify themselves. These modifications are passed on to the next birth in terms of younger generations. That’s how monkeys that used the limbs to hang on trees with two limbs, developed a hand-like structure in subsequent generations. Had they not hung on trees and not used their fore-limbs to pick fruits, insects and stones, hands would not have developed. Even now human beings who had lot of hair on the body lost them in subsequent generations as they started living in caves and huts the hair that covered them from temperature variation no longer was required as they started living in enclosures. When man starts living in cold regions, melanin becomes less and subsequent generations change color. When white-skinned people start living in hot conditions, they develop melanin over several generations and become brown. What we do and how we do influence the next births in this planet.. This is a perfectly valid concept even according to modern science. Universe is a ‘Sacrifice’ or ‘Yajna’. This is the Yajna that Purusha Suktam talks about. In this Yajna beings with lower consciousness are sacrificed to build beings with higher consciousness. Elements are sacrificed to become compounds. Compounds are sacrificed to become biological living beings. From bacteria virus several beings evolve and they use the bacteria and virus for their living. Deer thrives on grass. Lions survive on Deer. Without lions, deer will multiply and eat all the grass. Without grass there will be less oxygen and more carbon dioxide and no food generation from sun. We are all built one over another. The consciousness evolution happens and as it happens, higher consciousness beings thrive on lower consciousness beings. This system of sacrifice or Yajna that Purusha Suktam talks about evolves the Universe. When it comes to afterlife, it happens in six stages, if we go by the Puranas: Pretha, Bhoota, Paisasa, Vasu, Rudra and Adithya. Pretha corresponds to that stage where some parts of the body like nails, grow. Bhoota is when everything stops. Paisasa is the organic disintegration of our body. Vasu is that stage where our body becomes one with nature by becoming atoms/molecules. Then, it becomes matter influenced by force fields. At last, it becomes sub-atomic particles like baryons, leptons, mesons, kaons, etc. After we die, people say the consciousness leaves our body. No, it doesn’t. It is present in every single atom of our body. It is only the ‘I’ or ego, a perception caused by the neurons, that vanishes along with the neurons.
    4) Hate towards Abrahamic religions: I see that you have dismissed Abrahamic religions as dogma. Though it is quite true that unlike Vedic philosophy, there is no freedom of speech/action in Abrahamic religions, few points are worth noting. The concept of ‘God’ in our civilization and the western civilization differs. In our civilization GOD symbolizes the force(s) that operate beyond all of us. It is much more in tune with what we see, perceive and understand. There were also territorial gods, who due to their righteous deeds were deemed to be an incarnation of a particular cosmic god, based on their characteristics, mostly after their time. ”Devotion’, ‘Bhakti’ are the ways to cultivate our mind with humility and reception, so that it continuously receives ‘Gnyana’, ‘Wisdom’ and improves itself. In the western civilizations, God is the King and we are all his subjects. God rules over his subjects like a shepherd who rules over his sheep. So the minds steeped in western thoughts look for a shepherd or king to whom we can beholden ourselves. The way of life of Jesus is exemplary, his teachings revolutionary for his time. Jesus like Ram could have been a good king of his subjects (though he was not in a direct way a king, but he was the king of those who subjected themselves to him). As Ram is treated as an incarnation of a cosmic force, Jesus is treated as an incarnation of GOD (god in flesh). Jesus was unique for his time. Mohammad was Unique for his time. Ram was Unique for his time. Krishna was Unique for his time. Gandhiji was Unique for his time. Since they were Unique, we talk about them today as Unique. A white light appears to be of a single color. But in fact it is the convergence of multiple colors. Pure Light is white. If you want to be part of white light, u have to accept all. Otherwise u will be holding on to a single wavelength or idea. The values that Jesus taught are important for the human society forever. We need to understand what he talked with respect to his environment and people whom he talked to. Jesus declared to his subjects that he is their savior. What Christ says here is exactly same as Krishna said to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. No difference. What Mohammad says and what Krishna says are strikingly similar. One of the central tenets of Islam (Koran) is God is unborn, eternal, permanent, never has come into being, never will come into being. And this is what Krishna says exactly, word-by-word to Arjuna. Krishna also emphasizes the temporary nature of human bodies and the relationships and says nobody is killer or killed. Almost same as in Koran, victory to God. Does it not mean that we need not value the life that we have? And we should give it up or take it out for the cause of Dharma? Jesus Mohammed lived a perfect life for their respective times. Even their enemies could not find fault with him. If these people had not lived such a life, they would not have been talked about at all. This is what sets great people apart from people like you and me. Sacrifice is a common element that is present from the Big-Bang to Stellar evolution to Biological life evolution. The entire eco-system of predators and preys is a system of sacrifice that facilitates evolution of higher intelligence. It is Jesus’ and Paul’s sacrifice that created a great way of life called Christianity that has brought in new thoughts into human civilization. Jesus’ sacrifice is not to proclaim that he is the SON of GOD, but to demonstrate the power of love, compassion, pardon and affection to his subjects. This is what we need to understand from Jesus’ life and follow. The message of SON of GOD is for those people who politick his thoughts for their own selfish needs. Assuming Jesus claimed “he is the only way to God”, it is true, because he thought that is the only way his subjects could see love, compassion, pardon and a beautiful life. At his point of time, there was nothing else that his subjects could have, that would teach the power of love, compassion and sacrifice. Assume there is a boy who speaks truth always and never lies. When he is asked by his teacher “How many kids are in your family?” and the boy says ‘I am the only son”. That the boy is the only son to his father could be true. Even that is not known fully, as the son may not know how many kids his father really has. He may be the only son of his father through his mother. To extrapolate his statement of “I am the only son” to say that there are no other sons in this world, as the son has claimed exclusivity, is ridiculous. We have to see what the boy spoke in the context of his environment and the question asked to him. Hence your entire assumption is like a boy wearing a red colored spectacle claiming the world red looks red. The world is lit with pure white light, which in fact is comprised of multitudes of wavelengths. God may not be the law of gravity or IPC 420. But we are free to see law of gravity or IPC 420 as a manifestation of god. If you jump the balcony in earth, you will fall down. In moon, you will fall down at a slower rate. In space, you may not fall down. Neither your belief nor your disbelief will change anything. Preference or Ignorance is limited to your mind. It is present within those three pounds of protein and fat and its multi-million connections that run helter-skelter. If you believe in something, it can help you as a mental crutch. It can give u hope and confidence to fight the struggles of your life. But all actions of yours will definitely come back to you as reactions. You can’t run away from it. Jesus popularized the concept of pardon/forgiveness in the societies of those days. In a society where animosities are deep-rooted and historical, forgiveness is the only way people can live together and flourish. Hence it is a very important tool for society’s sustenance. Now also, we need to go back to Jesus to learn from him, how to forgive our enemies. It is very much the need of the hour for the humans. But to extrapolate it and say that god will forgive every sin of ours and we can keep committing sins, is a foolish joke that churches often perpetuate. The reality is that by laws of this world, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. We have to undergo the punishments for our sins. In my view, mad man, devil of Hell or lord and god are all same. It depends on how one views it. The society in which Jesus lived, thought that he was either mad or devil of Hell. Hence they made sure that the worst criminal Burnabos, is freed, but Jesus is killed. People of that region wanted to kill Jesus, even at the dangers of the criminal whom they afforded to release. When the same society realized the power of Jesus’ teachings in terms of love, compassion and forgiveness, it treated Jesus as the SON of God. In every continent, there are abundant Jesus Christs. They are not understood in their period of time. Later on they are eulogized and immortalized. In Hinduism, there are various schools of thought. There is a Bhakti way or devotion path that claims that the path of Shiva or Vishnu or Shakti or Skanda or some other god/son-of-god is open to all, as claimed by Bible. It depends on individuals to choose their path. None of our thoughts are sinful in nature. To co-exist we need to have some rules, so that we do not abuse the power we have. These rules are either legal laws or set of morals we define for ourselves. ‘Sin’ appears so, when it is rubbed against a set of laws or morals. Not only humans, life of all kinds, have their own rules, so that they co-exist and survive. To take these sins to an extreme end and talk about sinning is frivolous. Humans can stop sinning in the way you see it only when stop living and die, which is what so many ‘nirvana’ religions preached. To say that human nature is evil and you can continue to sin, but come to the Lord and get forgiven, can enhance Church, but not Christ, who totally gave up his life as an example of love, compassion and forgiveness. Even when Jesus gave up his life, he prayed for the forgiveness of the people around him. It shows his greatness. In a way he paid for the sins of the people around him. But not truly. The deeds of the people who put Jesus on cross and freed up Barnabas followed them. It did not leave them. Jesus came back victorious in a way after several hundred years to them. The Institutionalizing of ‘Lord paying for the sins of his subjects’, in my view, is the only way Church found to establish itself. While the truth is Jesus stood as a human example for others. He stood as the ultimate testimony of a good human being, for people to emulate and follow. There are several people who have stood as examples themselves in their lives. It is easy to spin a religion for each of them and make money out of it. Instead, if one really feels that Jesus is great, they should be acting instead of preaching. Act according to his wishes. Act according to what one considers as his teachings.
    5) Sanyasa according to the Ashrama Dharma: The Ashrama Dharma says that as we get old, we get so stressful which leads to memory loss. To prevent this, it says that we must not get attached to our (great) (grand) children and not expect them to take care of us so well. In those days, when people reached the age of 75, they would retire to the forests with their spouses. But today, there is a more innovative method: inventing new relationships, if you understand what I mean. People have found that this method also helps people to reduce stress and memory loss. This is also a kind of “Sanyasa” where we give up old relationships and accept new relationships.
    6) India’s gurus: The word “Rishi” is derived from the root-word, “Drishi” which means “observer”. They wrote the Vedas which were a “Shruti” type text. Shruti means heard/observed. So it is right that the Vedas are Apaurusheya i.e., they are not caused by humans, they are texts which talk about natural forces. Therefore, their origins lie in the nature. Rishis inferred that one must continuously dedicate one’s life to researching and implementing scientific advancements in a sustainable manner, so that one can live a happy life. For this, Maharishi Patanjali wrote the rational and scientific Yoga Sutras so that humans could concentrate on their work better. Ashtanga Yoga is the eight steps of Yoga. First, we need to have an Instantaneous Self-Control (Yama). This means that anything we do, should be according to our will only, and we must not become slave and dance to the tunes of what interests us. We must, on the contrary, make the interests dance to the tune of our will and character. The second step is Continuous Self-Control or Self Control while doing our work (NiYama). Here, we must always be focused while doing our work and not get distracted. The third step is Asanas, which merge our body and mind. The fourth is breadth control (pranayama). Fifth is controlling our senses and not being coloured by sensory perceptions (Pratyahara). Sixth step is learning to bind and fix our thoughts on a particular object/issue (Dharana). Seventh, is enjoying what actions we perform and being at peace (Dhyana). And eigth and last is performing an action to such an extent that we forget our self (i.e.) performing our actions selflessly, without worrying about the fruits of our actions (Samadhi). Slowly, I don’t know how, but the knowledge slowly got eroded and lost and the real scientific clarity that the Vedas and Upanishads had were also lost. Thus, Smriti-type texts called Puranas personified the Vedic forces into human-type beings. Manu, a king, wrote the Manusmriti, as he didn’t want the Shudras to increase, as he feared poverty would increase (For clarity, please refer to the blogs on Varna Ashrama Dharma by my friend on his Sulekha blog, the link I have provided you earlier.) Though earlier, people could change their castes while in the Manusmriti Jati system, later, it became an evil birth-based caste system. Other dogmas and evils like Sati, Gender-based polygamy, conservative patriarchy, etc. arose. Later, around eigth century AD, Shankara introduced a new system of thought which he called the Advaita. He claimed that the Jeevatma and Paramatma were one. His interpretation of Tat Tvam Asi (Chandyoga Upanishad) was that even when salt dissolved in water, there was no difference between them as they were ultimately made of protons, electrons and neutrons. He claimed to follow the Bhakti Yoga and adopted Sanyasa at the age of eight. He said that one needs to be in constant meditation to become part of the Self. Unfortunately, there was too much Puranic influence into what he practiced and he wasn’t exposed to the real aim of Vedas. He also saw that Buddhism and Jainism were multiplying rapidly. To counter their growth, he introduced Moksha, an equivalent of Nirvana and adopted the philosophy of giving up. He united the Vaishnava, Shaiva and Shakti sects under the banner of Smarta. He was indeed a visionary, but still did not reach the actual message of the Vedas. We cannot blame him; we can only blame the erosion of true Vedic knowledge and the emergence of the Puranas. He did what he could. In about 12th or 13th centuries, three great philosophers: Ramanuja, Madhva and Nimbarka emerged. Ramanuja was the founder of the Vishishtadvaita sect and propagated that the Atman was a part of the Brahman. He translated Tat Tvam Asi as You belong to That, or, in simple illustration, he said that salt dissolved in water is a part compared to the solution of salt-water. Madhva, the founder of the Dvaita sect, propagated that the Atman and Brahman are entirely different. Sa Atma Tat Tvam Asi was actually Sa Atma A Tat Tvam Asi (Oh Atman, Thou art not that). He said that we were the servant of the Supreme (Vishnu), literally he said that the atomic structure of NaCl was entirely different from that of H2O. Nimbarka, accredited to be the founder of the Dvaitadvaita sect, thought Tat Tvam Asi as a double meaning: Thou Art That and Thou Art Not That. He said that there was equal difference and non-difference between the Atman and Brahman and he literally said that, though ultimately salt and water were made of protons, neutrons and electrons, their atomic structure was completely different. Around 14th Century came Vallabha, a propagator of the Shuddhadvaita sect. He claimed the Tat Tvam Asi meant that the essence of the Atman was same as that of the Brahman but still, the Brahman was supreme to the Atman. Literally, he said that the salt water and salt tasted the same, but still salt water was more compared to the salt. Later, came Chaitanya, a Gaudiya Vaishnava, who propagated Achintya Bheda Abheda. He said that there was an inconceivable and unimaginable oneness between the Atman and the Brahman, but there was no doubt that the Atman is a part of the Brahman and that the Brahman is supreme. We cannot even imagine the atomic structure of salt and water but we know that salt is a part of salt water. This was his interpretation of Tat Tvam Asi. Fast forward to 20th and 21st centuries, here we have Srila Prabhupada, a Gaudiya Vaishnava, who has founded an international institution called the ISKCON. He claims to be an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna and has temples of Him, built all over the world. Hare Krishna temples can be seen in New York, Bangalore, Melbourne, London, Johannesburg and a variety of other places. Westerners have been converted to Hinduism in bulk, and have sent an alarm to the Church and to Muslims. Prabhupada has written his understanding of the Gita: Bhagavad Gita- As It Is. It is so ironical, as even great thinkers like Shankara and Ramanuja have written the Gitabhasya with titles headed like “My commentary on the Gita”, etc. Prabhupada, though wearing saintly clothes, runs a worldwide business that even continues today. Every Sunday, the Hare Krishna temples serve pizzas, burgers, etc. The devotees are so, so strikingly similar to Abrahamic religions, when they say, “Krishna is the only God. He is the Supreme. All others are Demi-Gods. Including Shiva. They are anti-Vedic Gods.” And they show THEIR INTERPRETATION of the Srimad Bhagavata Purana which is again a “Smriti” rather than a “Shruti”. Then come our local Babas. They are unemployed and have no source of money. They have no option but to fool people. When rationalists like EVR Periyar, Kalburgi, Dhabolkar, etc. raise their voices, they are attacked in public and shot at sight. Baba Ramdev, Ravi Shankar, Jaggi Vasudev, etc. are very good examples of spiritual businessmen. They pass their sessions with simple Pranayama exercises, question-answer sessions and some spiritual rubbish-talk and end up fooling people en masse. I used to go to Sai Baba’s Balavikas classes when I was young. They used to tell me that people are poor because of the bad deeds they committed in their last births. We must not care about them. People here Sai Baba performs miracles. I don’t know, it may be true, it may not be true, God knows. Many hospitals and schools are also built in the name of Sai Baba, so I am assuming that at least he and his devotees have a sense of service and duty towards people. Here comes the “protector of Hinduism”, the Sangh Parivar and the Hindu Mahasabha. It seems Hindus are under threat by other Abrahamic religions. So people must be killed for eating beef as cow is a mother to Hinduism. Misunderstood verses from the Vedas are quoted to justify their barbaric acts. Don’t get me wrong, but they resemble ISIS and Al Qaeda.

    1. Surya, usa · · Reply

      Sahank Sriram,
      Namaste. Morons like you are aplenty in India and beyond. You are reinterpreting Islam and Christianity to project them as great religions mankind should hold in high esteem. You must stop pretending to be a scholar and study what the real scholars have got to say about the faiths they grew up with and sudied. Google and youtube the names like wafa sultan, ayaan hirsi ali, nori darwish, faithfreedom.org, formermuslimsunited, taslima nasreen etc etc. They are the smart ones, you are fake , sorry no offense meant.

      Here is a piece of today’s Guardian news for you: Quote “….Two Pakistani clerics have come to blows at a meeting of the religious establishment over the fraught issue of the status of Ahmadis, a Muslim sect that hardliners want declared apostates.

      A scuffle broke out on Tuesday between the two at a gathering of Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) when the chairman, Mohammad Khan Sherani, called on the group to consider whether Ahmadis, who are declared non-Muslims by the constitution, should be considered murtads that have rejected Islam.

      A declaration of apostasy by the constitutional body charged with advising parliament on lawmaking would likely put Ahmadis in even greater peril, given that many interpretations of Islamic law prescribe death for people who quit the religion……” end quote.

      In the name of religion, backed by mullahs, the army of islamic brothers, slaughter the shias, ahmedis, sufis etc, mainly the culprits are sunnis though. Majority of sunnis support ISIS which is abducting the christian and sinjar women and using as sex slaves, all this in 2015.

      Dont try to spread lies about these abrahamic faiths with your deluded and twisted mind (sorry again). Crusades, Jihads and inquisitions have no comparable sanskrit, Pali or any other indic language words that we can recall. Dharmic faiths, all along, have spread religious tolerance to their own peril. Whereas the Abrahamic faiths, especially the christianity and Islam have spewed venom, slaughtered large masses of humanity and forcibly converted nation after nation into their faiths. Iran is one such example; the zotastrians (now called Parsis in India) were killed en masse and their women were abducted and used as sex slaves nonstop till such time that mass conversions had happened to stem the violence as an act of self preservation. Result? Today’s Iranians hate zorastrians for keeping their old faith instead of converting out. Simply put,Islam preaches hatred.

      Mohammed married 6 yrs old Ayesha and slept with her when she was 9, he had anharam full of wives and sex slaves. He was no way a role model for anybody. He started the violent campaign against all in middle east, his successors have continued the practice to this day. The caliphate of ISIS, Baghdadi, is a PhD in Islamic studies from Baghdad. He declared all the atrocities are compatible with Islam when a holy war is going on. He also claimed Islam is not a religion of piece.

      Still dont belive, search youtube ‘ how to beat wife, islam’. See how mullah after mullah shows up to entertain you. Get educated yourself first, I was like you not longtime ago. I had to work and live in Iran for a few years, and there their culture and judiciary had shocked me, disgusted and depressed people have had confided in me what their mullahs are doing to them in the name of Islam. Girls are raped all the time in muslim countiries, yet not a single rape complaint is ever filed by those victims. Reason? She has to get 4 male witnesses to testify against the man. Usually it tis the woman who gets punished for having’ sex outside marriage’ by the mullahs. Their sharia courts are run by mullahas. If an unmarried girl is sentenced to death (on false charges of course) she should be officially raped by an religious man before she is killed. The reason, it is not right to execute a virgin, they say.

      Sorry didnt mean to write such a lengthy post. Thanks for reading.

    2. Sashank Sriram, you started off in one direction, made a long detour, throwing in some high sounding expressions and landed up in the opposite direction. Maybe next time you could think about what you want to say before writing. It would save you and the reader time.
      Your last sentence is intriguing. “Don’t get me wrong, but they (the Sangh Parivar and the Hindu Mahasabha) resemble ISIS and Al Qaeda.”
      How would I get you wrong? Do I get you right that you don’t mean what you wrote? Or do you really mean that they ‘resemble ISIS and Al Qaeda”? if you do mean the latter, your capacity for discrimination between right and wrong and good and bad is impaired maybe due to brainwashing by mainstream media about “the danger from saffron outfits”.

  17. Reblogged this on umeshsajjanar and commented:
    Absolutely an eye opener and guiding light for many anglicized youth in India for whom it will be a transformation journey once they realize the value of these words of advise by Maria Wirth. Namo Namaha _/\_.

  18. Suneeth Kumar TV · · Reply

    Great article. Very inspiring and just what the youth of India need to listen and follow.

  19. Maria, u urself a great treasure of indian heritage. GOD BLESS U.

  20. Shivakumar · · Reply

    Excellent speech. Thank you very much.

    1. Dear Lovybhardwaj,
      first, I wonder about this website by a Danish freelance journalist Hans Henrik Lichtenberg and its purpose. I just checked sponsors of his website. They are all Christian names and one http://www.sufimystic.net/ is in some Asian language (Korean/ Japanese/etc??) and seems like a soft porn site. Among the Christians is a link to the website https://jeshua21.wordpress.com/jeshua/, titled “getting to know Jesus in the 21th century”.

      Now to the letter. Assuming it is genuine and it may be, I would be generous to Swami Vivekananda in this regard. He clearly stated
      “that Advaitism is the last word of religion and thought and the only position from which one can look upon all religions and sects with love. I believe it is the religion of the future enlightened humanity.”
      Then he rues that Hindus don’t live the oneness of all, and praises Islam for its brotherhood concept. This praise could be no doubt a bit tuned down from “It is Islam and Islam alone”.

      However, in essence, there is truth in it. A personal experience. When I was travelling with Abdullah, we sometimes met Muslims. I could not distinguish at that time, for me all were Indians, but the warmth with which they treated “Abdullah, my brother…” was striking. Of course, this may be on the surface, but ‘brotherhood’ is certainly an important concept and helps the faithful to stick to their faith. Who wants to lose such a big ‘family’ of likeminded people…
      I feel Swami was referring to this attitude which he would like to see expanded to all humanity. With Vedanta being the brain, as he proposes, exclusivity would have no room.

      Islamic body, he may refer to the confidence with which Muslims stand by their faith, while Hindus were diffident. The historical situation needs to be considered, too. India was under the British and it was a bad time. Terrible famines, Indians were shipped all over the world as indented labour, Hinduism was ridiculed and demonised by the British. The average Hindu was lying low, did not advertise his faith, and certainly not fight for it, unlike the Muslims (not that I would see this as a positive), but stripped of the poison of exclusivity, it would be an admirable quality to stand up for what one believes or rather is convinced of to be right and true.

      Also, Swami was a product of Macauley’s English education. It took him long to accept as his guru an “illiterate, mad villager” as some contemporaries must have seen Ramakrishna Paramahansa. He had not heard anything good about Hinduism in school, rather the opposite. He had not heard anything bad about Christianity and probably Islam, too, in his education. He may not have known the crimes of Christianity for example in South America. After all, he was still young, only 30, when he went to USA, and at that time it was not so easy to get information as it is today.
      Still, he realised that there was truth in Advaita, and it goes to Swami’s credit, that the four Vedic Mahavakyas (Ayam Atman Brahman, Aham Brahmasmi, Tat Tvam Asi, Prajnanam Brahman) came into mainstream thought of English speaking Indians (and foreigners) and he explained the three yogas of the Bhagavad Gita (Jnana, Bhakti, Karma) and Patanjali’s Raja Yoga for the English speaking class.

      His first talk in Chicago was conciliatory. I would have liked him to prick the superiority complex of the dogmatic religions at least a little, but in the given circumstances, I don’t blame him. We need to check ourselves, how frank we are especially when talking to Muslims. Unfortunately they are not known to treasure rational debates.
      Also, just because someone is a well-known spiritual personality, I don’t expect him to be perfect in every sense, but am grateful to him for the good he does/did. I would even understand if Swami at his time thought that for kshatryas, meat might make them more aggressive, and the animal would do some worthwhile seva for sacrificing itself for a worthy cause, when Hindus were much less confident than they are today. But surely he would not have condoned eating meat in general. And if we had a debate with Swami about it today, he might react differently even regarding kshatriyas.

      i just got a link sent where Swami Vivekananda is very blunt in expressing his views on Islam
      https://vijaygkg.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/swamivivekanandaonislam/

      while in the above mentioned letter he may have not just expressed his opionion but hoped to get the cooperation of that gentleman, therefore he tried to present some positives.

      here is link to my article on Abdullah
      https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/abdullah/

  21. I pray to God that you attain to Nirvana as soon as possible! Wonderful article! 🙂

  22. Nice article. Indian spiritualism in present age was aptly represented by Saints like Devraha Baba. To read amazing experiences about him in hindi visit the link:

    http://omprakashsinghpatna.blogspot.com

  23. […] Talk to students in memory of Swami Vivekananda […]

  24. E.Raveendra · · Reply

    Great speech. Hope the students were mature enough to absorb.

  25. siyawardas · · Reply

    Same wisdom prevailed in the indigenous people of Europe, then Christianity came and destroyed it all. The Christianization of Europe was also very brutal.

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