Author Topic: Swami Vivekananda says Charity is fine when we do with a pure mind  (Read 2081 times)


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THE PRACTICE OF RELIGION (Delivered at Alameda, California, on April 18, 1900)
Volume 4, Lectures and Discourses

Charity is great, but the moment you say it is all, you run the risk of running into materialism. It is not religion. It is no better than atheism - a little less. ... You Christians, have you found nothing else in the Bible than working for fellow creatures, building . . . hospitals ? . . . Here stands a shopkeeper and says how Jesus would have kept the shop! Jesus would neither have kept a saloon, nor a shop, nor have edited a newspaper.

What is the goal of it all? Can senses ever be the goal? Can enjoyment of pleasure ever be the goal? Can this life ever be the goal of the soul? If it is, better die this moment; do not want this life! If that is the fate of man, that he is going to be only the perfected machine, it would just mean that we go back to being trees and stones and things like that. Did you ever hear a cow tell a lie or see a tree steal? They are perfect machines. They do not make mistakes. They live in a world where everything is finished. ...

Where God is, there is no other. Where the world is, there is no God. These two will never unite. [Like] light and darkness. That is what I have understood from Christianity and the life of the Teacher. Is not that Buddhism? Is not that Hinduism? Is not that Mohammedanism? Is not that the teaching of all the great sages and teachers? What is the world that is to be given up? It is here.

Great men have died. Weak men have died. Gods have died. Death — death everywhere. This world is a graveyard of the infinite past, yet we cling to this [body]: "I am never going to die". Knowing for sure [that the body must die] and yet clinging to it. There is meaning in that too [because in a sense we do not die]. The mistake is that we cling to the body when it is the spirit that is really immortal.

Practical religion is identifying myself with my Self. Stop this wrong identification! How far are you advanced in that? You may have built two thousand hospitals, built fifty thousand roads, and yet what of that, if you, have not realised that you are the spirit? You die a dog's; death, with the same feelings that the dog does. The dog howls and weeps because he knows that he is only matter and he is going to be dissolved.

There is death, you know, inevitable death, in water, in air, in the palace, in the prison - death everywhere. What makes you fearless? When you have realised what you are — that infinite spirit, deathless, birthless. Him no fire can burn, no instrument kill, no poison hurt.

Not theory, mind you. Not reading books. . . . [Not parroting.] My old Master used to say, "It is all very good to teach the parrot to say, 'Lord, Lord, Lord' all the time; but let the cat come and take hold of its neck, it forgets all about it" [You may] pray all the time, read all the scriptures in the world, and worship all the gods there are, [but] unless you realise the soul there is no freedom. Not talking, theorising, argumentation, but realisation. That I call practical religion.

You must see God. The spirit must be realised, and that is practical religion. It is not what Christ preached that you call practical religion: "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." Was it a joke? What is the practical religion you are thinking, of? Lord help us! "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." That means street-cleaning, hospital-building, and all that? Good works, when you do them with a pure mind.

The Kingdom of Heaven is within us. He is there. He is the soul of all souls. See Him in your own soul. That is practical religion. That is freedom. Let us ask each other how much we are advanced in that: how much we are worshippers of the body, or real believers in God, the spirit; how much we believe ourselves to be spirit. That is selfless. That is freedom.

Excepting the infinite spirit, everything else is changing. There is the whirl of change. Permanence is nowhere except in yourself. There is the infinite joy, unchanging. Meditation is the gate that opens that to us. Prayers, ceremonials, and all the other forms of worship are simply kindergartens of meditation. You pray, you offer something. A certain theory existed that everything raised one's spiritual power. The use of certain words, flowers, images, temples, ceremonials like the waving of lights brings the mind to that attitude, but that attitude is always in the human soul, nowhere else. [People] are all doing it; but what they do without knowing it, do knowingly.

That is the power of meditation. All knowledge you have — how did it come? From the power of meditation. The soul churned the knowledge out of its own depths. What knowledge was there ever outside of it? In the long run this power of meditation separates ourselves from the body, and then the soul knows itself as it is — the unborn, the deathless, and birthless being. No more is there any misery, no more births upon this earth, no more evolution. [The soul knows itself as having] ever been perfect and free.



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Re: Swami Vivekananda says Charity is fine when we do with a pure mind
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2010, 03:05:02 PM »

Dear prasanth,

Yes.  Purity of mind is the first pre-requisite.  All dharmas should
stem from this.  Mere social service, charity etc., with the ego still
bloating in the heart is of no use.  That is why, Bhagavan Ramana
said, whenever social reformers and political reformers came to Him:
First reform yourself.

God or Guru confers the peace. The peace in the mind, is the ultimate
aim.  If this peace could be attained through dhana and dharmas,
it is good.  But on many occasions, it does not.  It only makes a person go more egoistic.

Guru confers this peace, even without any mass level charity or
social service by arresting this bloating ego.  In His Presence,
one realizes the flow of peace, that passeth understanding.

Viswanatha Swami says in one of the 108 Names of Bhagavan:

Om hrutchantikara saanidhyaya Namah:

I bow to the One who gives Peace in my heart.

Incidentally, Viswanatha Swami's Liberation Day falls today,
this year, 22nd October.  He merged with Sri Bhagavan in 1979.
His Samadhi is among the five samadhis behind Cow Lakshmi's
Samadhi, a little on the higher ground.  One has to cross the
Annamalai Swami's bridge to see these five samadhis.  The
others are, I think, of Muruganar, Rajeswarananada, Kunju Swami
and Cycle Ramaswami Pillai.  As per digit of moon, today is Pournami or Chaturdasi in the morning. 

Arunachala Siva.