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Digitized by the Internet Archive


in

2014

https://archive.org/details/scienceofreligioyoga

THE

SCIENCE OF RELIGION
BY

SWAMI |YOGANANDA,

A.B.

Founder of

Mt. Washington Educational Center, Los Angeles


Ranchi and Puri Brahmacharga Residential Schoots in India
Sat-Sanga (Fellowship with Truth), Boston
Sat-Sanga Summer School, Waltham
Vice-President: Sadhu Sabha, India
Delegate from India to International Congress of Religions
Boston, 1920

Swami Dhirananda, M.A., Associate

FOURTH EDITION

PUBLISHED BY
YOGODA AND SAT SANGA HEADQUARTERS
MT. WASHINGTON, SAN RAFAEL

AND ELYRIA

LOS ANGELES, CALIF.

MCMXXV

STS.

Firsl Edition Published in India


Second Edition Published in U. S. A., October, 1924
Third Edition Published in U. S. A., February, 1925
Fourth Edition Published in U. S. A., September, 1925

Copyright, 1924, by

swami yog ananda


Mt. Washington, Los Angeles
U.

S.

A.

EVERETT PRINTING SERVICE

6%
115's
I

U S'

FOR
His

piety,

open-handed generosity towards every worth-while move-

ment, unbounded devotion

and

exclusive

to the

cause of general education,

and pioneer patronage

in the establishment

of a unique residential Brahmacharya School in India

THIS BOOK

IS

INSCRIBED TO

The HON'BLE MAHARAJA SIR

NUNDY,

K.C.I.E.,

MANINDRA CHANDRA

OF KASIMBAZAR (BENGAL), INDIA

Member, Council of State, India Government

1530139

NOTE
The

book was published in India. The


second and subsequent editions, revised and enlarged, have been
first

edition of this

S. A.
thanks are due to Swami Dhirananda, M.A., Swami
Satyananda, B.A., and Sj. Tulsinarayan Bose, for various forms
of help I have received from them.

published in the U.

My

Swami Yogananda.

CONTENTS

Preface

Chapter

vii

xv

58

The Universality, Necessity and Oneness of


Religion:
Pleasure,

Chapter

between
God.

Distinction

and

Bliss:

Pain,

5989

II

The Four Fundamental Religious Methods.


Chapter

90107

III

The Instruments
ligious

of Knowledge:

Point of View.

The Re-

PREFACE
This book

is

intended to give, in bare

what we should understand by religorder to make it universally and prag-

outline,
ion, in

matically necessary.

that

It also seeks to present

of the idea

aspect

of the

God-head

which has a direct bearing on the motives and


actions of every minute of our lives.

true that
aspect,

God

and

is

it is

also true that to prepare a

chart detailing, so far as


reason,

what God

is like is

the Hmitations of the

is

consistent with

only an evidence of

human mind

attempt to fathom God.


true that the

It is

His nature and

Infinite in

human mind,

Still it is

in its

equally

in spite of all its

drawbacks, can not rest perfectly satisfied


with what

is finite.

It

has a natural urge to

what is human and finite in the


light of what is super-human and infinite,
what it feels but can not express, what

interpret

vii

PREFACE

VIII

within

it lies

implicit

but under circumstances

refuses to be explicit.

Our ordinary conception of God


is

Super-human,

and the

cient,

He

that

Omnipresent, Omnis-

In this general concep-

like.

many

tion there are

God
The

Infinite,

is

variations.

Some

call

some Impersonal, and so forth.


point emphasized in this book is that
whatever conception we have of God, if it
Personal,

not

does

from

it,

our

influence

every-day

and

if it

is

if

not found universally

necessary, then that conception

is

worse than

God is not conceived in such a


we can not do without Him in the

If

useless.

way

conduct,

daily

does not find an inspiration

life

that

satisfaction of a want, in our dealings with

people, in earning
in passing

most

trifling or

better
useless

money, in reading a book,

an examination, in the doing of the


the highest duties, then

we should
name less

it is

act discreetly, taking His


into churches

and temples.

God may be Infinite, Omnipresent, Omniscient,

PREFACE
Personal, Merciful, or

IX

anything, but these

conceptions are not sufficiently


to

make

well do without

compelling

We may

know God.

us try to

He may

Him.

Omnipresent, and so forth, but

be

as

Infinite,

we have no

immediate and practical use for those concep-

We

tions in our busy, rushing lives.

fall

back on those conceptions only when we seek


to justify, in philosophical
ings, in art or in

the

finite

craving

when we, with

all

and poetical writ-

warmed-up,
for

idealistic talks,

something beyond;

our vaunted knowledge, are

at a loss to explain

some of the most common

phenomena of the

universe; or

when we

get

stranded in the vicissitudes of the world.

"We

pray to the Ever-Merciful when we get

stuck," as the Eastern


for all this,

we seem

maxim has

to get along

it.

all

our work-a-day world without Him.

Except
right in

These

conceptions appear to be the safety-valves of

human thought. They explain


Him, but do not make us seek Him. They

our pent-up

PREFACE

We

lack motive power.

God when we

seeking

Omnipresent,

are not necessarily


call

These conceptions

Him
and

All-Merciful,
satisfy our

Infinite,

so

forth.

intellect,

but do

not soothe our soul. If respected and cherished


at heart, they

extent

may

may

broaden us to a certain

make

us moral and resigned


But they do not make God

towards Him.

own they are not intimate enough.


They place Him aloof from everyday concern

our

These conceptions savor of

of the world.

when we

outlandishness
factory,

Not because we
religion,

are on the street, in a

behind a counter, or in an
are really dead to

office.

God and

but because we lack a proper concep-

them a conception that can be interwoven with the fabric of daily life. What we
conceive of God should be of daily, nay
hourly, guidance to us. The very conception
tion of

of

God

should

stir

of our daily lives.

us to seek

This

is

Him in the midst

what we mean by

a pragmatic and compelling conception of

PREFACE
God.

We

XI

should take religion and

God out

of the sphere of belief into that of daily


If

we do not emphasize

the necessity of

and the need of

in every aspect of our lives


religion in every

God and

minute of our existence, then


drop out of our intimate

religion

daily consideration

day-in-a-week
this

life.

God

and become only a one-

affair.

In the

first

chapter of

work the attempt has been made to show

that in order

God and

to

understand the real necessity of

religion

we must throw emphasis on

that conception of both

which

is

most relevant

to

aim of our daily and hourly actions.


This book has also attempted to show the

the chief

universality

have been

and unity of Religion.

There

different religions at different ages.

There have been heated controversy, long warfare,

and much bloodshed over them. One

ligion stood against another,

with another.
religions,

sects

Not only

but there

is

is

also a

re-

one sect fought

there a variety in

wide diversity of

and opinions within the same

religion.

PREFACE

XII

But the question

arises,

when there is one God,

why there should be so many religions?


may be argued that particular stages
intellectual

growth and special types of men-

due to

tality belonging to certain nations,

different

It

of

geographical

locations

and other

extraneous circumstances, determine the or-

such as Hinduism

igin of different religions,

and Buddhism,
Asia

tics,

for

the

Indians

Mohammedanism

for the

and the
Arabs

(at

least at its beginning,) Christianity for the

Westerners, and so forth.

If

by Religion we

understand only practices, particular tenets,

dogmas, customs and conventions, then iher n

may

be ground for the existence of so

religions;

but

if

many

Religion means, primarily,

God-consciousness, or the realization of

both within and without, which


secondarily,

a body of

dogmas, then,

it

beliefs,

tenets,

strictly speaking, there is

one Religion in the world, for there

God

and

different customs,

God

really does

is

and
but

but one

forms of worship,

PREFACE
tenets,

and conventions

XIII

may

be held to form

the grounds for the origin of different denom-

and

inations

sects included

If Religion is

Religion.

way, then and then only can


be

maintained,

universalize

for

under that one

understood in this
its

universality

we can not

possibly

customs or conven-

particular

Only the element common to

tions.

so-called religions can

all

the

We

be universalized.

Then can

can ask every one to follow that.

it

be truly said that Religion is not only necessary

but

same

religion, for there is

but one,

universal element being one and the same.

its

t)nly
I

God

its

customs and conventions

have tried to show in


is

it

ning.

this

differ.

book that as

one, necessary for all of us, so Religion is

one, necessary

to

Everyone must

universal, as well.

it is

follow the

may

and

differ in

respects at the begin-

As a matter of fact, it

that there are two religions,

one God.

There

Only the roads

universal.

some

may

is

ludicrous to say

when

there

is

but

be two denominations

PREFACE

XIV

is only one Religion. What


we now call different religions should be
known as different denominations or sects
under that one universal Religion. And
what we now know as different denominations

or sects, but there

or

sects

should

be

specified

branch cults or creeds.

If

as

different

we once know

the

meaning of the word "Religion," which we are


going to discuss by and by,

we

shall naturally

be very circumspect in the use of


only the limited

human

it.

It is

point of view that

overlooks the underlying universal element in

the so-called different religions of the world,

and

this overlooking

many

has been the cause of

evils.

This book gives a psychological definition


of Religion, not an objective definition based

on dogmas or
seeks to

make

tenets.

In other words,

it

Religion a question of our

whole inward being and attitude, and not a

mere observance of
cepts, nor

certains rules

an intellectual aquiescence,

and preeither, in

XV

PREFACE

and

certain beliefs about God, the universe,

On

so forth.

universality

this psychological

has been established.

also discussed the merits


different

ground
I

its

have

and demerits of the

methods required to be followed

for

the attainment of that religious consciousness

which

is

here set forth.

In conclusion

it

should be remembered that

when the theory and practice of Religion are


poles apart, we must not stop at the theory
and lose energy over comment or criticism
thereon, leaving out of sight the practical

aspect of
,

it

that alone can lead to

understanding.
lies
is

in practice.

found at

then,

The
If

its

true

verification of a theory

a practice truly followed

last to militate against the theory,

and not

safely rejected.

till

then,

may

the theory be

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


CHAPTER

The Universality, Necessity, and Oneness


of Religion: The Distinction between
Pleasure, Pain, and Bliss God
:

we must know what Religion is, then


we judge whether it is necessary for

First

only can
all

of us to be religious.

Without necessity there

is

no

action of ours has an end of its

we perform

action.

Every

own

which

for

People of the world act va-

it.

riously to accomplish various ends.

There

is

a multiplicity of ends determining the actions


of

men

But
of

all

in the world.

is

there any

world?

Is there

for all of us

common and

the actions of

little

all

universal end

the people of the

any common,

highest necessity

which prompts us to

analysis of the motives

all

actions?

and ends of

men's actions in the world shows that, though

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

there are a thousand and one proximate or

immediate ends of

men

in regard to the par-

ticular calling or profession

which they take

up, the ultimate end which

all

other ends

merely subserve comes to be the avoidance of


pain and want and the attainment of per-

manent

Bliss.

Whether we can at

all

manently avoid pain and want and get


is

a separate question, but as a matter of fact,

in all our actions,

we

obviously try to avoid

the former and get the latter.

man
to

perBliss

act as a probationer?

become an expert

Why

does a

Because he wishes

in a certain business.

Why

does he engage in that particular busi-

ness?

Because money can be earned therein.

Why should money be earned at all?

Because

it will

put an end to personal and family wants.

Why

must wants be

will

fulfilled?

Because pain

thereby be removed and Bliss or happiness

be gained.

As a matter of fact, happiness and


same thing. We all aim at

Bliss are not the


Bliss,

but through a great blunder we imagine


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

pleasure and happiness to be Bliss.

that has

The ultimate motive


feel

is

really Bliss,

inwardly; but happiness

has taken

and the

How

come to be so will be shown presently.

its place,

latter

which we

pleasure

through our great blunder,

has come to be regarded as the

That

ultimate motive.
will later

or

this is a perversion

be obvious, though for convenience

these terms may sometimes be here used inter-

changeably.

Thus we

see that the fulfillment of

want, removal

of

some

pain,

some

physical or

mental, from the slightest to the acutest, and


the attainment of Bliss, form our ultimate end.

We can not question further why Bliss is to be


gained, for no answer can be given.

That

our ultimate end, no matter what

we do

is

enter a business, earn money, seek friends,

write books, acquire knowledge, rule king-

doms, donate millions, explore countries, look


for

fame, help the needy, become philan-

thropists,

or embrace martyrdom.

And

it

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

will

God becomes

be shown that the seeking of

a real fact to us
orously in view.

may

myriads

when

that end

Millions

may

is

to

though

Man

it

attain

permanent

is

always

Bliss,

even

be through a long chain of actions.

likes to

and has to go along the chain

He commits

to get to the final end.

to

rig-

be the intermediate acts and

motives; but the ultimate motive


the same

kept

be the steps,

suicide

end some pain, perpetrates murder to

get rid

some

of

some form of want or pain or

He

cruel heart-thrust.

thinks he will

thereby attain a real satisfaction or

which he mistakes
to notice

is

relief,

But the point


the same working

for Bliss.

that here, too,

is

(though wrongly) towards the ultimate end.

Some one may

say, "I

do not care anything

about pleasure or happiness;

live fife

to

accomplish something, to achieve success."

Another says: "I want to do good in the


world.

not."

do not care whether

But

if

you look

into the

am

in pain or

minds of these

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


people also, you will find that there

is

the

same working towards the goal of happiness.


Does the first want a success that has in its
achievement no pleasure or happiness?

Does

the second want to do good to others, yet


himself get no happiness in doing it?

ously not.

and one physical pains or mental


inflicted

Obvi-

They may not mind a thousand

by others or

sufferings

arising out of situations

incidental to the pursuit of success or the do-

ing of good to others; but because the one finds

great satisfaction in success, and the other intensely enjoys the happiness of doing good to

others the former seeks success, and the latter


others' good, in spite of

Even the most


est intention of
ity for its

own

minor troubles.

altruistic motive, the sincer-

advancing the good of humansake,

have sprung from the

basic urge for a chastened personal happiness,

approaching Bliss.

But it is not the happiness

of a narrow self-seeker. It

is

broad seeker of that "pure

the happiness of a

self" that is in

you

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

and
little

me and

This happiness

all.

alloyed.

is

Bliss,

So with Pure Bliss as a per-

sonal motive for altruistic action, the altruist


is

not laying himself open to the charge of nar-

row

selfishness, for

one can not himself have

Pure Bliss unless he is broad enough to wish and


seek

So
are

for others, too.

it

That

is

the world law.

the motives for the actions of

if

traced

further

all

men

and further back, the

ultimate motive will be found to be the same

with

all

the removal of pain and the attain-

ment of Bliss. This end being universal, it


must be looked upon as the most necessary one.
And what is universal and most necessary for

man

is,

of course, religion to him.

religion necessarily consists in the

Hence

permanent

removal of pain and the realization of Bliss or


God.

And

for the

the actions which we must adopt


permanent avoidance of pain and the

realization of Bliss or
If

we understand

universality

God

are called religious.

religion in this

becomes obvious.

way, then

its

For no one

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


can

deny that

This must

be universally

is

its

avoid

permanent

attain

none can gainsay


existence

wants to

he

and

permanently

pain
Bliss.

admitted, since

Man's very

truth.

bound up with

it.

If

he says he

does not want Religion, he must needs say he


does not like existence, which he can not

For existence means

possibly do.

struggle,

which in ultimate analysis means satisfying of

may

wants, that one

attain Bliss.

And

this is

what we understand by Religion.


You want to live because you love Religion.
Even if you committed suicide it would be because you love Religion, too; for by doing

rate,

you think you will attain a happier


than you find while living. At any
you think you will be rid of some pain

that

is

that
state

bothering you.

In this case your

too crude to bear the name

religion is crude

But

of religion.

Your goal

is

it is

Religion, just the same.

perfectly right, the

persons have.

same that

all

For both you and they want

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

But your means are

to get happiness, or Bliss.


ridiculous.

not

Because of your ignorance you do

know what

yourself to get

So

in

religious,

it.

one sense every one in the world

inasmuch as every one

get rid of

Every one

But

you to Bliss, the


you think of killing

will bring

goal of happiness; so

want and
is

is

trying to

is

and gain

Bliss.

working for the same

goal.

pain,

in a strict sense only a

few in the world

are religious, for only a few in the world,

though they have the same goal as

know

all

others,

the most effective means for removing,

for good, all pain or

or spiritual

You have

and

want

physical, mental,

gaining permanent Bliss.

to bid good-bye for a while to the

rigidly narrow orthodox conception of Religion,

though that conception

is

in a

connected with the conception

remote way

am

bringing

some time you do not go to church


or temple, or attend some of its ceremonies or
forms, meantime working toward religion in

out. If for

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


your daily

life

by being calm,

poised, concen-

trated, charitable, squeezing happiness

the most trying

situations,

from

then ordinary

people of a pronounced orthodox or narrow

bent will nod their heads and declare that,

though you are trying to be good,

still,

from

the point of view of real religion, or in the eyes


of God,

you are

"falling off," as

you did not

of late enter the precinct of the holy places.

While of course there can not be any valid


excuse for permanently keeping

away from

the holy places, there can not, on the other

hand, be any legitimate reason for one's being


considered

more religious for attending church,


same time neglecting to apply

while at the

in daily life the principles

upholds,

viz.,

those that

which the church

make

ultimately for

the attainment of permanent Bliss.

Religion

with the pews of the


bound up with the ceremonies
performed therein. If you have an attitude
of reverence, if you live your daily life always
is

not dove-tailed

church, nor

is it

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

10

with a view to

how you may bring undisturbed

Bliss-consciousness into
as religious out of the

you

it,

be just

will

church as in

it.

Of

course this should not be understood as an

argument
church

for forsaking the church, for the

usually a real help in

is

The point

much

is

many

ways.

that you should put forth just as

effort outside of the

church hours to

gain eternal happiness as you forego while

from the pews you are passively enjoying a

Not that

good sermon.
good thing,

The word
religare,

whom

in its

it

bind,

and why?

us?

it is

Not

it

is.

from the Latin

What

(see p. 58).

any orthodox explanation,


that

certainly

it

religion is derived

to bind

does

listening is not a

way, for

binds,

Leaving aside

stands to reason

"we" who are bound.

What

binds

We are

chains or shackles, of course.

talking of Religion, not of a slave dealer, so can

not be bound that way. Religion


to bind us

And why?

by

may

be said

rules, laws, or injunctions only.

To make

us slaves?

To

disallow

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

11

us the birthright of free thinking or free action?

That

is

unreasonable.

sufficient motive, its

Religion

must have a

motive in "binding" us

The very fact of binding,


not enough; there must be a purpose

must

also

then,

is

be good.

or motive for binding us, which


thing.

What

is

rational answer

motive?

that

we can

give

is

is

the chief

The only

that Religion

binds us by rules, laws, injunctions, in order


that

we may not

degenerate, that

have pain, misery, suffering


or Spiritually.

we may not

bodily, mentally,

(Bodily and mental suffering

we know. But what is Spiritual suffering?


To be in ignorance of the Spirit is Spiritual
suffering.
The latter is present, always,
though often unnoticed,

in

every

limited

and mental suffering


What other motive of the

creature, while bodily

come and
word

go.)

"binding"

than

ascribe to religion that


cal or repelling?

the
is

above

can

we

not either nonsensi-

Obviously other motives,

if

any, must be subservient to the one given.

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

12

Is

not the definition already given of Religion

consistent with the above-mentioned motive

of the

word "binding," the root meaning of

We

Religion?

consists in the

that Religion, in part,

said

permanent avoidance of pain,

Now

misery, suffering.

Religion can not

lie

merely in getting rid of something, such as


pain, but

it

something
tive,

must

else.

also

It

He in getting hold of

can not be purely nega-

but must be positive, too.

How

can we

permanently get away from pain without


holding

to

its

opposite

Though

Rliss?

Rliss is not exactly opposite to pain, it

any

rate,

is,

a positive consciousness to which

can cling in order to get away from pain.

can not, of course, forever hang in the

that

neutral feeling
reverse.

is

at

we

We

air of

neither pain nor the

repeat that Religion consists not

only in the avoidance of pain, suffering,

etc.,

but also in the attainment of

God

(that Bliss

and God

same thing

will

Bliss, or

in one sense

be discussed

later).

mean

the

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

By

13

looking, then, into the motive of the

root meaning of Religion ("binding")

we arrive

same definition of Religion as we reached


the
analysis of man's motive for action.
by
at the

Religion
If our

is

a question of fundamentals.

fundamental motive

is

we

do, not a single

the seeking of

not a single act

Bliss, or happiness, if there is

moment we

live,

determined ultimately by that

one in

we not
human

ion be

if it is

should

call this

nature?

Religion,

if it is

This

not

motive,

And what can

Relig-

not somehow intertwined with

human

nature?

to be anything that has

must base

craving.

final

is

craving a deep-seated

the deep-rooted craving of

value,

that

is

itself

on a

life

life

instinct or

an a priori plea for the

conception of Religion set forth in this book.


If

you say there are many other human

instincts (social, self-preserving, etc.) besides

a craving for happiness, and ask

why we

should not interpret Religion in the light of


those instincts, too, the answer

is

that those

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

14

instincts are either subservient to the instinct

of seeking happiness or are too indissolubly

connected with the latter to affect substantially

our interpretation of Religion.

To revert once more to the former argument


(page

6),

that which

necessary to
is

man

is

universal and

is

Religion to him.

most necessary and universal

is

If

most
what

not Religion

what then can it be? That which is


most accidental and variable can not be it, of
course.
If we try to make money the one and
to him,

only thing requiring attention in our

then

money becomes

Dollar

is

our God."

motive, whatever it

Religion to us

The predominant

may

life,

"the
life

be, is Religion to us.

Leave aside here the orthodox interpretation,

and not

for principles of action,

intellectual

profession of dogmas, or observance of cere-

monies, determine, without the need of our


personal

have.

advertisement,

We

need

not

what

wait

theologian or the minister to

for

religion

we

either

the

name our sect

or

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


Religion for us

our

principles

have a million tongues to

and actions
to us

and

it all is

that

tell it

But the amusing part

others.

of

15

back of whatsoever thing we worship with


blind exclusiveness

motive.

That

is

is, if

always one fundamental

we make money,

business,

or obtaining the necessities or luxuries of

the be-all and end-all of our existence,

back of our action

lies

life
still

we

a deeper motive:

seek these things because they banish pain and


bring happiness.
is

This fundamental motive

humanity's real Religion

other secondary

motives form pseudo-religions. Because Religion

is

not conceived in a universal

way

it is

relegated to the region of clouds, or thought to

be a fashionable diversion for women, the aged,


or the feeble.

Thus we

see that the Universal Religion (or

Religion conceived in this universal way)


practically

or pragmatically

necessity

not

is

artificial

necessary.

or forced.

is

Its

Though

in the heart its necessity is perceived, yet un-

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

16

fortunately

Had we

we

been

are not always fully alive to


so,

pain would long since have

For ordinarily

disappeared from the world.

what a man thinks to be

really necessary

thought by a

is

he

If the earning of

will seek at all hazards.

money

it.

man

to be really nec-

essary for the support of his family, he will

not shrink from running into dangers to


secure

it.

It is a pity

we do not

consider

Religion to be necessary in the same way.


Instead,

we

oration,

and not a component part of man's

regard

it

as

an ornament, a dec-

life.

It is also a great pity that

of every
ligious,

man

in this world

inasmuch as he

is

is

though the aim


necessarily re-

working always to

remove want and attain Eternal

Bliss,

yet due

to certain grave errors he has been misdirected

and

led to consider the true Religion, the

definition of

thing

which we have just given, as a

of minor

cause of this?

importance.

Why

What

is

do we not perceive

the
its


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

17

real necessity in place of its apparent necessity?

The answer

is

and our

society,

herent tendencies in an indirect way.

in-

It is

company we keep that determines for us


we feel for different things. To
do good to people is what has been taught
the

the necessity

from our childhood as necessary and edifying,

and so we now believe


fluence of persons

Consider the in-

it.

and circumstances.

wish to orientalize an occidental,


in the

midst of the Asiatics or


;

occidentalize

an

oriental,

if

plant

and mark the


inevitable. The man

Europeans
learns

love

to

you want to
him among
It

results.

obvious

modes of

you
place him
If

the customs,

living

habits,

is

West

of the

dress,

and thought and manner of

viewing things of the East, and the

man

the East comes to like those of the West.

of

The

very standard of truth seems to them to vary.

However, most people


worldly

life,

and woe,

is

with

its

worth

will

cares

living.

agree that the

and pleasures, weal

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

18

But of the

necessity of the Universal Religion

few or none will ever remind us, and so we are


not quite alive to it. It is a truism that man
can not look beyond the

Whatever

placed.

he

to

conduct.

circle in

which he

within his

own

and

standard of thought and

be the

What

is

circle

follows, imitates, emulates,

justifies,

feels

falls

is

beyond

his

own

sphere he

overlooks or lessens the importance

of.

lawyer will praise and be most attentive to

what concerns
rule,

have

less

law.

Other things

will,

as a

importance for him.

The pragmatical

or practical necessity of

the Universal Religion

is

often understood as

merely a theoretical necessity, Religion being


considered an object of intellectual concern.
If

we know

our

the religious ideal merely through

intellect,

ideal

we think we have reached

and that

realize

it.

it is

not required to live

It is a great

this
it

or

mistake on our part

to confuse pragmatical necessity with theoretical necessity.

Many would perhaps admit,

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


on a
is

little reflection,

and the conscious

and

tance

realization of Bliss, but few,

practical necessity that this religion

carries with

it.

He

:Je

Now

understand the impor-

inertness,

their

to

that Universal Religion

permanent avoidance of pain

surely the

due

19

it is

necessary for us to investigate

cause of pain and

the ultimate

suffering,

mental and physical, in the avoidance of which


the Universal Religion partly consists.
First of all

mon

we should

from our com-

assert,

universal experience, that

we

are always

conscious of ourselves as the active power

performing

Many
indeed

all

of our mental and bodily acts.

different functions are

perceiving,

remembering,

we

performing,

apperceiving,

feeling, acting, etc.

lying these functions

we can

thinking,

Yet under-

perceive that

is an "Ego," or "Self," which governs


them and thinks of itself as substantially the

there

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

20

same through

all its

past and present existence.

The Bible says, "Know ye not that ye are


Gods and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
thee?"

All of us as individuals are so

reflected

spiritual

Blissful Spirit

many
in a

the

of

selves

God.

many

universal

Just as there appear

images of the one sun, when reflected

number

of vessels full of water, so are

apparently divided into

many

souls,

we

occupy-

ing this bodily and mental vehicle, and thus

outwardly separated from the One Universal


Spirit.

In

reality,

God and man

are one,

and

this separation is only apparent.

Now, being blessed and reflected Spiritual


why is it that we are utterly unmindful

selves,

of our Blissful state


to

and

are instead subject

physical and mental pain

The answer
brought on

is,

itself this

ever process

it

and suffering?

that the Spiritual self has

may

present state (by whatbe)

by

identifying itself

with a transitory bodily vehicle and a restless

mind.

The Spiritual self being thus identified,

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


feels

itself

21

sorry for or delighted at a corre-

sponding unhealthy and unpleasant or healthy

and pleasant state of the body and mind.


Because of this identification, the Spiritual
self is

being continually disturbed by their

transitory states.

To take even the figurative


who is in deep

sense of identification: a mother


identification
feels intense

with her only child suffers and

pain merely by the very hearing

of her child's probable or real death, whereas

she

may

feel

no such pain

if

she hears of the

death of a neighboring mother's child with

whom

she has not identified herself.

Now we

can imagine the consciousness when the identification is real


the

and not

figurative.

Thus

sense of identification with the transitory

body and

restless

mind

is

the source or root-

cause of our Spiritual selfs misery.


Identification of the Spiritual self with the

body and mind being the primary cause of


pain,

we should now turn

to

a psychological

analysis of the immediate or proximate causes of

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

22

and

pain

pleasure,

the

to

and

between

distinction

pain,

Bliss.

Because of this identification the Spiritual


self

seems to have certain tendencies, mental

and physical.

Desire for the fulfillment of

these tendencies creates want, and

want pro-

Now these tendencies

or inclina-

duces pain.

tions are either natural or created, natural

tendencies producing natural

want and created

tendencies producing created want.

A created

want becomes a natural want in time through


habit.
Of whatever sort the want may be, it
gives pain. The more wants we have, the
greater

the possibilities of pain.

For the

more wants we have, the more difficult is it


to fulfill them, and the more wants remain
unfulfilled,

desires

Thus

if

the greater

desire finds

fulfillment,

or

immediately

arises.

is

is

the pain.

and wants, and pain

is

Increase

also increased.

no prospect of immediate

finds

an

obstruction,

And what

is

pain

desire?

It

nothing but a new condition of "excitation"

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

23

which the mind puts on itself a whim of the


mind created through company. Thus desire,
or the increase of conditions of "excitation" of
the

mind,

is the

source of pain or misery,

and

also of the mistake of seeking to fulfill wants by


first

creating

by trying

lessening them
It

and

increasing them,

them with

to satisfy

from

and

then

objects rather than

the beginning.

might appear that pain

is

sometimes

produced without the presence of previous


desire, for

example, pain from a

we should observe
main

in

boil.

But

here that the desire to re-

a state of health which, consciously or

subconsciously,

is

present in our

mind and

is

crystallized into our physiological organism,


is

contradicted in the above case

ence of the unhealthy state,

viz.,

by the presthe presence

Thus when a certain exciting conof the mind in the form of a desire is

of the boil.
dition

not satisfied or removed, pain results.

As
so

it

desire, I

have pointed out, leads to pain,

leads also to pleasure, the only difference

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

24

being that in the


desire

not

is

first

satisfied,

case

want involved

in

while in the second case

want involved in desire seems to be satisfied


by the presence of external objects. But this
pleasurable experience, resulting from the fulfillment of the want by objects, does not remain long but dies away, and we retain only
the

memory of the objects that seemed to have

removed the want. Hence, in future,


those objects brought

in

by memory

arises

unfulfilled,

again leads to pain.


is

revives,

a feeling of want which,

and there
Pleasure

desire for

a double consciousness

if

made up

of an "excitation" consciousness of possession

of the thing desired and of the consciousness

that pain for want of the thing

That

is,

there

thought in
ness,

i.e.,

it.

is

is felt

no more.

an element of both feeling and


This latter contrast conscious-

the entire consciousness (how

much

when I did not have the thing and


how I now have no pain, as I have got the
thing I wanted), is what mainly constitutes for
pain

I felt


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION
men

25

Hence we

the charm of pleasure.

that consciousness of want precedes


consciousness of the
into

pleasurable

want
which

and
the

cerned.

want being

pleasure

It is

of

Thus it is
want with

consciousness

mind that

and

fulfilled enters

consciousness.

the -fulfillment

see

creates

is

con-

want and

fulfills it.

It is a great

mistake to regard a certain

object as pleasurable in itself and to store the

idea of

it

in the

a want by
objects

If

its

mind

in the

hope of

fulfilling

actual presence in the future.

were pleasurable in themselves,

then the same dress or food would always


please every one, which

is

not the case.

What

mind

is

called pleasure is a creation of the

is

a deluding, "excitation consciousness, depend-

ing

it

'

upon

the satisfaction of the preceding state of

and upon present contrast consciousness.


The more a thing is thought to excite pleas-

desire

urable consciousness and the


it is

more the want of

harbored in the mind, the more the pos-

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

26

sibility of

hankering after the thing

presence of which

is

urable consciousness and


of want.

itself

the

thought to bring a pleas-

Both of these

absence a sense

its

states of consciousness

lead ultimately to pain.

So

if

we

are to really

lessen pain, we are, as far as possible, to free the

mind gradually from


want.

all desire

and sense of

If desire for a particular thing, sup-

posed to remove the want,

is

banished, delud-

ing, "excitation" consciousness of pleasure

not

arise,

before us.

even

if

the thing

we

does

somehow present

But instead of lessening

ing the sense of want,


it

is

or decreas-

habitually increase

and create new and various wants

for the

satisfying of one, resulting in a desire to ful-

them all. For instance, to avoid the want of


money we start a business. In order to carry
on the business we have to pay attention to
fill

thousands of wants and necessities that the


carrying on of a business entails.

and necessity

more

Each want

in turn involves other

attention,

and so on.

wants and

Thus we

see that

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


the original pain involved in

27

want of money

is

a thousand times multiplied by the creation

Of course

of other wants and interests.


is

it

not meant that the running of a busior earning

ness

of

solutely unnecessary.

money is bad or
The point is that

desire to create greater

ab-

the

and greater wants

is

bad.

money

some
end we make money our end, our madness begins.
For the means becomes the end and the
If in undertaking to earn

real

end

is lost

for

And so again our mis-

sight of.

The question may be how


does our misery begin? The answer is this. In
ery commences.

this

world every one has his duties to perform.

Let

us, for the

sake of convenience, review the

The family man has to earn


means the

former instance.

money

to support his family, which

doing away of his wants and those of his


family.

To

earn money,

starts a business
details that will

let

us suppose he

and begins to attend to the

make

it

possible

and success-


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

28

Now what

ful.

ordinarily happens after a

The business goes on successfully and


money perhaps rapidly accumulates until it is
much more than is necessary for the fulfillment
time?

of his wants and those of his family.

one of two things happens.

comes to be earned

for its

Either

own

Now
money

sake and a

peculiar pleasure comes to be felt in hoarding,

or

it

this

may happen
business for

that the hobby of running


its

increases the more.

case the

means

own sake

We

persists

or

see that in either

of quelling original wants

has

become an end in
itself
money or business has become the end.
Or it may happen that new and unnecessary
wants are created and an effort is made to
meet them with things. In any case our sole
attention drifts away from Bliss (which we, by
nature, mistake for pleasure and the latter
becomes our end). Then the purpose for
which we apparently started business becomes
which was the end

secondary

to

the

creation

or

increase

of

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


conditions or means.

And

29

at the root of

means

creation or increase of conditions or

there

is

a desire for them which

is

an excitation

or feeling, and also a mental picture of the past

when

these conditions gave rise to pleasure.

Naturally the desire seeks fulfillment by the


presence
fulfilled,

pain

of

when it is
when not fulfilled,
And because pleasure, as we
conditions;

these

pleasure arises,

arises.

remarked already,

is

born of desire and

connected with transitory things,


excitation

and pain when there

ance of those things.

commences.

To put

That
it

is

is

is

leads to

a disappear-

how our misery

briefly:

original purpose of the business,

from the
which was

we turn

the removal of physical wants,

means,

it

either to the business

to the

itself or to

hoarding of wealth coming out of

it,

the

or

sometimes to the creation of new wants, and


because

we

find

drawn away to
is

we
we pointed

pleasure in these

pain, which, as

always an indirect outcome of pleasure.

are
out,

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

30

What

true of the earning of

is

money

true of every action of the world.

we forget our

true

end

the state, condition, or

leading to

and

the attainment of Bliss or

mode

direct

it

also

is

Whenever

of living eventually

our sole attention

to the

things which are mistakenly thought to be the

means

or conditions of Bliss,

and turn them

into

ends,

our wants,

excitations

go

on

increasing,

desires,

and we

are started on the road

to

We should never forget our


We should put a hedge round our
wants. We should not go on increasing them
misery or pain.
goal.

from more to more,


in the end.

for that will bring misery

do not mean, however, that we

should not satisfy necessary wants, arising out


of our relation to the whole world,
idle

dreamers and

essential part in

To sum
in

and become

idealists, ignoring

our

own

promoting human progress.

up: pain results from desire, and

an indirect way

also

from pleasure, which

stands as a will-o'-the-wisp to lure people

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


away

into the mire of

31

wants to make them

ever miserable.

Thus we
which

see desire

arises

of our "self" with

we should do

is

the root of

all

misery,

out of the sense of identification

mind and body.

is to kill

So what

attachment by doing

with the sense of identification.

We

away

should

break the cord of attachment and identification only.

We

should play our parts,

as

appointed by the Great Stage Manager, on the


stage of the world with our whole mind,
intellect,

and body, inwardly as unaffected or

unruffled

by pleasure and pain consciousness

as are the players

there

is

tion,

on an ordinary stage.

When

dispassion and severing of identifica-

Bliss-consciousness

arises

in

us.

As

human you can not but have


Being human, how then can you

long as you are


desires.

realize
desires,

your divinity?

First rationalize

your

then stimulate your desire for nobler

things, all the while trying to attain Bliss-consciousness.

You will feel that the cord of your

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

32

individual attachment to those desires

That

automatically snapped.

is

being

is

to say, from

that calm center of Bliss you will ultimately


learn to disown your

them

own

desires and feel


you by a great Law.

as being urged in

So Jesus Christ

When

said,

my

Father, not

"Let

Thy

will

say that to attain Bliss

what

is

usually called pleasure, or that

intellectual satisfaction

fulfillment of desire

mixed with an

excitation, as

excitement, nor

"my

which

is it

arises

from the

and want and which

are pleasurably excited.

that

is

when we say we

In Bliss there

is

no

a contrast consciousness

pain or want has been removed by

the presence of such and such objects."

the

is

mean by

universal end of Religion, I do not


Bliss

be done,

own."

consciousness

of

perfect

It is

tranquillity

consciousness of our calm nature unpolluted by

the intruding consciousness that pain

more.

An

clear.

illustration will

have a

boil,

and

make
feel

is

no

the thing

pain;

when

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


cured

3is

This pleasurable con-

I feel pleasure.

sciousness consists of an "excitation" or feeling,

and a contrast thought-consciousness that


no longer
the

feeling the pain of the boil.

man who

has

attained

having had a boil on his

Bliss,

when the

disturbed,

regained

when

it

though

when

leg, will feel,

cured, that his state of tranquillity

been

was cured.

boil

He

I am
Now

had neither
was,

feels

nor

that he

passed through a pain-pleasure universe with

which he really has no connection or which can


neither disturb nor heighten the tranquil or
blissful state

which flows on without ceasing.

This state of Bliss


tions

is

free

from both

and excitement involved

inclina-

in pleasure or

this pain.

There

is

a positive and a negative aspect

in Bliss-consciousness.
is

The negative

aspect

the absence of pleasure-pain consciousness

the positive one


superior

calm

is

the transcendental state of a

including

within

itself

the

consciousness of a great expansion and that of

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

34

One and One

in

"all

An

degrees.
taste of

it,

in

has

It

all."

earnest truth-seeker gets a

a seer or a prophet

is filled

its

little

with

it.

Pleasure and pain having their origin in


desire

and want,

wish to attain

should be our duty,

it

Bliss, to

seriously fans desire.

scientific, social,

by

this

if

we

banish desire and what


If all

and

our improvements

political

are

guided

common universal end, removal


why should we bring in a foreign

one

of pain,

pleasure and forget to be dura-

something

bly fixed in what

who

is

tranquillity or Bliss?

He

enjoys the pleasure of health will inevit-

ably sometimes feel the pain due to ill-health,

because pleasure depends upon a condition of


the mind,

viz.,

good health
it.

But

to

is

the idea of health.

not bad nor

is

objected to.

To have

wrong to seek

have attachment to

pleasurably or painfully

what

is it

affected

it,

by

to be
it,

is

For to be so means

entertaining desire, which will lead to misery.

We must seek

health not for the pleasure in

it

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


but because

it

35

makes the performance of

and the attainment of our goal possible.


will some time or other be contradicted by

duties
It

the opposing condition,

viz., ill-health.

But

depends upon no particular condition,

Bliss

external or internal.

Therefore

spirit.

it

It is

a native

state of the

has no fear of being con-

tradicted by the opposing condition. It will flow

on continually

for ever, in defeat or success,

in health or disease, in opulence or poverty.

Now

the above psychological

about pain, pleasure, and


of the following

my
sity

Bliss,

two examples,

conception of the highest

discussion

with the help

make clear
common neceswill

and of the God-head, which was touched

upon incidentally at the beginning. We


remarked at the outset that if we made a close
observation of the actions of men, we should
see that the one fundamental and universal
motive for which man acts is the permanent
avoidance of pain and the consequent attain-

ment

of Bliss, or God.

The

first

part of the

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

36

permanent

the

avoidance

motive,

i.e.,

pain,

something we can not deny,

is

observe the motives of

of

a person

who

wishes

and that of a truly

suicide

of

we

the best and worst

all

actions performed in the world.

case

if

Take the
commit

to

religious

man who

has dispassion for the things of the world.

There can be no doubt about the fact that


both of these

men

the pain which

is

are trying to get rid of

troubling them.

Both are

trying to permanently put an end to pain.

Whether they are


different question,

are concerned there

means

of the

or

successful

not

is

unity.

all

of permanently

doing away

actions in this world directly

by the
manent
the

desire
Bliss,

(The question

with pain will be discussed later on.)


are

is

but so far as their motives

for

But

prompted

the attainment of per-

or God, the second part of

common motive

debauchee have for

for all actions?


his

attainment of Bliss?

Does the

immediate motive the


Hardly.

The reason

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


for this

we pointed out

about pleasure and

in

our discussion

We

Bliss.

37

found that

because of the identification of the Spiritual


self

with the body

indulging

in

it

and

desires

creation of wants.

lead to pain,

has got into the habit of

if

not

by

the

consequent

These desires and wants


fulfilled

and to pleasure,

fatal error

But here occurs a


on the part of man. When a want

is fulfilled

man

and

his

if

fulfilled

fixes

objects.

gets a pleasurable excitement


eye,

through a sad mistake,

upon the objects which create this excitement, and supposes them to be the main

solely

causes of his pleasure.

He

entirely forgets

that he had formerly an excitation in the

form of desire or want in

his

own mind, and

that later he had another excitation in his

mind superseding the

first

one, in the

form of

pleasure which the coming of objects seems to

produce.

So, as a matter of fact, one excita-

tion arose in the

mind and was superseded by

another in the same mind.


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

38

Outward objects are only the occasions


They are mistakenly

they are not causes.

thought to produce pleasure.

Desire for deli-

by a poor person can be satisfied by an


ordinary sweetmeat, and this fulfillment will
give rise to pleasure. But the desire for
cacies

delicacies

on the part of a rich person can

perhaps be

only by the

satisfied

best

of

Christmas cake, and the fulfillment will also


give the same amount of pleasure.

Then does

pleasure depend on outward objects, or on the

mind?

state of

ure, as
is

we

Surely the

said, is

latter.

But

pleas-

an excitation. Therefore

it

never justifiable to drive away the excita-

tion

that

in

desire

by another

excitations never end,

misery never cease.


set at rest

the excitation that

This setting

possible, in

an

viz.,

and so our pain and

What we

not to fan or continue


pleasure.

excitation,

Because we do this our

felt in pleasure.

effective

it

should do

is

by

at rest

in desire

is

to

and

excitation in
is

rendered

way, only by Bliss-

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


consciousness which

is

39

not callousness but a

superior stage of indifference to both pain and

Every

pleasure.

human

being

is

seeking

to

attain Bliss by fulfilling desire, but he mistak-

enly stops at pleasure,


end,

and he

is

and

so his desires never

swept away into the whirlpool of

pain.

Pleasure

And

yet

is

it is

dangerous will-o'-the-wisp.

this pleasurable association that

becomes our motive


alas! this

But

for future actions.

has proved to be as deceptive as

the mirage in a desert.

Since pleasure, as was

said before, consists of

an excitation-conscious-

ness plus a contrast-consciousness that the


is now no more, we prepare
when we aim at it instead of at

pain

ourselves,
Bliss,

for

running headlong into that cycle of empirical


existence which brings pleasure

never-ending succession.
rible distress

We

and pain

fall

in

into hor-

because of the change in our

angle of vision from Bliss to pleasure, which


latter crops

up

in place of the former.

Thus

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

40

we

see that

though the true aim of mankind

is

the avoidance of pain and the attainment of


Bliss,

yet owing to a fatal error man, though

trying

to

avoid

pain,

pursues

deluding

named pleasure, mistaking it for


Bliss.
That the attainment of Bliss and not
pleasure is the Universal and Highest Necessity is indirectly proved by the fact that man
something

is

never satisfied with one object of pleasure.

He

always

money
to

flies

From

from one to another.

to dress, from dress to property, thence

there

conjugal

continuity.

pleasure

And

into pain, even

if

so he

is

is

restless

constantly falling

he wishes to avoid

it,

by the

adoption of what he deems proper means.

Yet an unknown and

unsatisfied

craving

seems ever to remain in his heart.

But a
which

religious

man

(the second

example

proposed to show) always wishes to

adopt proper religious means by which he can

come in contact with Bliss-God.


Of course when I say that God

is Bliss,

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

41

also that He is Ever-existent and that


He is also conscious of His Blissful Existence.
And when we wish Eternal Bliss or God, it is

mean

implied that with Bliss

we

also wish Eternal,

Immortal, Unchangeable, Ever-conscious Ex-

That

istence.

all

of us, from the highest to

the lowest, desire to be in Bliss has been

proved a

priori,

and by a consideration of the

motives and acts of men.

To

repeat the

in a slightly different way: suppose


some Higher Being should come to us and say

argument
to

all

"You

people of the world,

the world

I will give

you

creatures of

eternal sorrows

and

misery along with eternal existence; will you


take that?"

Not

one.

along

Would any one

All

want

like the prospect?

eternal Bliss

with eternal existence

matter of

fact, consideration of

of the world also shows there

would
larly,

like to

no one

annihilation

have

Bliss or

(Anandam)

(Sat).

is

no one but

Anandam.

likes the prospect of


if it is

suggested,

As a

the motives

Simi-

immediate

we shudder

at

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

42

the idea.

All desire to

But

(Sat).

if

permanently

exist

we were given

eternal existence

without the consciousness of that existence,

we would

For who

reject that.

would embrace existence

is

there that

sleep?

in

None.

We

all

But

for a pragmatical consideration only

want conscious existence. Furthermore, we want Blissful Conscious Existence.


We want Satchidanandam that is God.

we

emphasize the Blissful aspect of God and our

motive for

Bliss, leaving

Sat and Chit,

i.e.,

other aspects of

Now, what

is

out two other aspects

Conscious Existence. Also

Him

are not dwelt

God?

If

on

here.

God be something

other than Bliss, and His contact produces in

us no Bliss, or produces in us only pain, or

His contact does not drive pain away from


should

we want Him?

something useless to

What

is

the use of a

No.

If

God

if

us,
is

we want Him not.


God who remains always
us,

unknown and whose presence

is

not inwardly

manifest to us at least in some circumstance in


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION
our

43

Whatever conception of God we

life?

form by the exercise of reason or


Transcendant, Immanent,

intellect, viz.,

etc.,

will

always

remain vague and indistinct unless really


In

as such.

fact,

distance, conceiving

we keep God

Him

felt

at a safe

sometimes as a mere

Personal Being, and then again theoretically


thinking

Him

to be within us.

of this vagueness in ouridea

God

It is

because

and experience

the real necessity of

we are not able to grasp


God and the pragmatical

value of Religion.

This colorless theory or

concerning

that

idea does not bring conviction to us.

not change our

lives, influence

an appreciable way, or make us

What

It

can

our conduct in
try to

know God.

does "Universal Religion" say about

God? It says that the proof of the existence of


God lies in ourselves. It is an inner experience.
Recall to your mind at least some moment in
your life in prayer or worship when you felt
that the trammels of your body had nearly
vanished, that the duality of experience


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

44

pleasure and pain, petty love and hate, etc.

had almost receded from your mind. Pure Bliss


and

had been welling up

tranquillity

in

your

heart and you were enjoying an unruffled

calm

Bliss

Though

and contentment.

this

kind of higher experience does not often come


to

all,

that
in

yet there can be no doubt of the fact

all

men, some time or other,

mood

in a less

marked

degree, at least.

proof

than

existence

the

Is this

God?

a proof of the existence of


direct

in prayer or

of worship or meditation, perceive

What
of

of the existence

there

is

of God,

and nature

of

God?

other

Bliss

we

ourselves in real prayer or worship can

it

not

in
give

Though

the cosmological proof of the existence

from

effect

we

rise to cause,

world to the world-maker,


teleological proof as well,

adaptation) in

from the

and there

from the

the world,

we

is

the

telos (plan,

rise

to

the

Supreme Intelligence that makes the plan and


adaptation.

There

is

also the

moral proof

from conscience and the sense of perfection we

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


rise to

the Perfect Being to


due.

sibility is

these proofs are

We

inference.

whom

45

our respon-

Still,

we should admit

more

or less the products of

can not have

full

that

or direct

knowledge of God through the limited powers


of the intellect.

Intellect gives only a partial

and indirect view of

To view

things.

a thing

by being one with


it is to view it by being apart from it.
But

intellectually is not to see it


it:

Intuition,

which we

shall later explain, is the

direct grasp of truth.

that

It is in this Intuition

Bliss-consciousness,

or

God-conscious-

ness, is realized.

There
absolute

is

not a shadow of doubt as to the

identity

of

Bliss-consciousness

God-consciousness, because

Bliss-consciousness

we

when we have

feel

that our narrow

individuality has been transformed

we have

risen

and
that

and that

above the duality of petty love

and hate, pleasure and pain,

etc.,

and have

attained a level from which the painfulness

and worthlessness of empirical consciousness

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

46

become
feel

glaringly

apparent.

And we

also

an inward expansion and all-embracing

sympathy

The tumults

for all things.

of the

world die away, excitements disappear, and


the "all in

One and One

seems to dawn upon

glorious vision of

All imperfections, all angular-

light appears.
ities,

in all" consciousness

us.

We

sink into nothingness.

seem to be

translated into another region, the fountain-

head of perennial

Bliss,

the starting point of

one unending continuity.


sciousness,

then,

sciousness, in

the

Is

same

not Bliss-conas

God-con-

which (God-consciousness) the

above states of realization seem obvious?


is

evident, then, that

It

God cannot be better con-

ceived than as Bliss coming within the range


of every one's calm-experience.
will

over.

God be
Is this

No

longer

supposition, to be theorized

not a nobler conception of God?

He is perceived

as manifesting Himself in our

hearts in the form of Bliss in meditation

prayerful or worshipful mood.

// we

in

conceive

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


God

47

i. e., as Bliss, then and then


we make Religion universally necessary.
For no one can deny that he wishes to get
Bliss, and if he wishes to get Bliss in the

of

in this way,

only can

proper way, he

going to be religious through

is

approaching and feeling God,

who

is

described

as very close to his heart as Bliss.

This Bliss-consciousness or God-consciousness can pervade

all

our actions and moods,

if

we but let it. If we can get firm hold of this,


we shall be able to judge the relative religious
worth of every minor action and motive on
this earth.

If

we

are once convinced that the

attainment of this Bliss-consciousness

is

our

Religion, our goal, our ultimate end, then all

doubts as to the meaning of multifarious


teachings, injunctions,

and prohibitions of the

different faiths of the

world will disappear.

Everything will be interpreted in the light of


the stage of growth for which

Truth
will

will shine out, the

be solved, and a fight

it is

prescribed.

mystery of existence
will

be thrown upon


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

48

the details of our lives, with their various actions

We

and motives.

shall

be able to separate

the naked truth from the outward appendages


of religious doctrines and see the worthlessness
of conventions that so often mislead
create
if

differences

between them.

religion is understood in this

man

in the world

old person

may
be

it

way

men and
Further,

there

is

no

be he a boy, youth, or an

who can not practise

be the station of

life

it,

whatever

to which he belongs,

student or professional

life,

or be he a

lawyer, doctor, carpenter, brazier, scholar, or


philanthropist.

want and
that

is

abolish

If to

attain Bliss

is

the sense of

Religion,

who

is

there

not trying to be religious and will not

try to be so in a greater degree,

methods are pointed

out.

if

proper

Herein does not

arise the question of the variety of religions

that of Christ, of

Every one
be

religious,

pletely so

Mahomet,

in the world

is

or of the Hindus.

inevitably trying to

and can seek to be more com-

by the adoption of proper means.

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


There
sect

no distinction here of caste or

is

or faith,

dress

For

creed,

age or sex,

or clime,

profession or position.

49

this Religion is

Universal.
If

you

said that all the people of the world

ought to accept the Lord Krishna as their God,

would

all

the Christians and the

Mahomedans

you asked every one to take


Jesus as their Lord, would all the Hindus and
Mahomedans do that? And if again you bade
accept that?

all

accept

If

Mahomet

as their Lord, would

all

the Christians and Hindus agree to that?

But if you say, "Oh, my Christian, Mahomedan


and Hindu Brethren, your Lord God
Blissful

only

Ever-

Conscious Existence (Being)," will

they not accept this?


reject it?

is

Will they not

Can they possibly


demand Him as the

One who can put an end

to

all their

miseries?

Nor can one escape

this

conclusion

saying that Christians, Hindus, or

by

Mahom-

edans do not conceive Jesus, Krishna, or


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

50

Mahomet

respectively as their Lord God,

they are thought to be only the standardbearers of God, the


divinity.
It is

or
in,

What

if

human

incarnations of

one thinks

that

Mahomet that we are


nor are we so much

historical place

immemorable

primarily interested

concerned with the

they occupy.

Nor

are they

to us because of their different

and interesting ways of preaching God.


revere

them because they knew and

It

that fact that interests

is

historical existence

of

way?

not the physical body of Jesus, Krishna,

expressing

the

and in

felt

We
God.

us in their

ways
They might or

their manifold

truth.

might not be on the same plane.

Let the

hard-shelled theologians and difference-hunters in religion fight over that question eternal-

and vainly. But did they not belong to a


more or less close family of God? Did they
not all realize God as Bliss and reveal real
ly

blessedness as true godliness?


sufficient

Is

not that a

bond of unity among them,

let

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

51

Godhead and truth they


might have realized and expressed. Shouldn't
a Christian, a Hindu, and a Mahomedan
find a mutual interest in each other's prophets,
inasmuch as each of them cherished in his
alone other aspects of

heart God-consciousness as primarily Superior


Bliss-consciousness?
ligions, is it

Him

of

As God

unites

re-

all

not the conception and realization

as Bliss,

if

not anything

else,

that

unites the consciousness of the prophets of

all

religions?*

One should not think that this conception

God is too

abstract, having nothing to

of

do with

our spiritual hopes and aspirations, which


require the conception of

Being.
*

It is

as a Personal

not the conception of an Imper-

Bliss-consciousness

religions,

God

is also

such as Buddhism.

not, as mistakenly supposed

stressed in so-called atheistic

The Buddhistic "Nirvana" is


by Western writers, a "blowing

out of light," an extinction of existence. It is rather the


stage where narrow individuality is blotted out and transcendant calm in universality is reached. This is exactly what

comes
is

of higher Bliss-consciousness, though the


not attached to it by the Buddhist.

name

of

God

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

52

commonly understood, nor

sonal Being, as

that of a Personal Being, as narrowly con-

God

ceived.

ing, volition

is

not a Person, as are

Our

narrowness.

we

in our

being, consciousness, feel-

have but a shadow of resemblance

to His Being (Existence), Consciousness,

He

Anandam.

dental sense.

and

is

a Person in the transcen-

Our

being, consciousness, feel-

ing are limited and empirical; His are unlimited and transcendental.

Nor should He

be thought of as Abstract, Absolute, Impersonal, Unconditional,

reach of

He, as

all

Remote, and beyond the

experience

even

our inner one.

have remarked, comes within the

calm experience of men.


sciousness that

we

It is in Bliss-con-

realize

Him.

There can

be no other direct proof of His existence.


is

in

Him

as Bliss that our spiritual hopes

aspirations find fulfillment

hve find an

object.

Personal Being
magnified

is

who

our

devotion

It

and

and

No

other conception of a

is

nothing but ourselves

required for us.

God may be

or


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION
become anything

Personal, Impersonal,

merciful, Omnipotent,
is

that

53

etc., etc.

we do not require

All-

What we say

to take note of these.

Whatever conception we have put forth exactly


suits

our purposes, our

tions,

and our

hopes,

our

aspira-

perfection.

Nor should we think that this conception of


God will make us dreamy idealists, severing
our connection with the duties and responsibilities,

joys and sorrows, of this practical

God is Bliss and if we seek Bliss to


know Him, we can not neglect the duties and
world.

If

responsibilities of the world.

ance of them

we can

In the perform-

still feel Bliss,

beyond them, and so they can not

We

for it
affect

is
it.

transcend the joys and sorrows of the

world in
duties

Bliss,

and

but we do not transcend the

responsibilities

neglecting them.

in

the sense of

For in doing everything

eating, drinking, seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting, sorrowing, feeling pleasure, per-

forming every minute duty of the world

we

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

54

do nothing, we

drink,

eat,

smell, taste nothing,

we

see,

feel

We remain unattached;

pleasure.

flow from our nature

that

hear, feel,

no sorrow nor

is

bathed in an unending flow of

all

actions

human.
Bliss, feel

We,
our

"self" to be the dispassionate seer of all our

Our narrow egoism

actions.

vanishes,

the

All-Ego dawns, and Bliss spreads through our


being.

We

that

feel

we

are

playing our

appointed parts on the stage of the world,

without being inwardly affected by the weal

and woe, love and hate, that the playing of a


part involves.
Verily,

likened

in all respects the world can

to

stage.

chooses people to help

a certain play.

He

particular persons

ing to his directions.

makes a

be

The stage manager


him in the enactment of

allots particular parts to


all

of them work accordOne the stage manager

king, one a minister, one a servant,

another the hero, and so on.

One has

to play

a sorrowful part, another a joyful one.

If

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

55

each one plays his part according to the


directions of the stage manager, then the play,

with

its

all

of comical, serious,

diversities

becomes

sorrowful parts,

Even

successful.

the insignificant parts have their indispensable places in the play.

play

The

success of the

in the perfect playing out of each part.

lies

Each actor plays his part of sorrow or pleasure


and to all outward appearances
seems to be affected by it; but inwardly he
remains untouched by it or by the passions he
realistically,

portrays

humility.

part,

hate,

love,

But

if

any

identified

malice,

desire,

glory,

actor, in the playing of

himself with

a certain

situation or a particular feeling expressed in

the play and lost his

would be thought

A story
Once

will bring

it

individuality,

say the

out the latter point

in the house of a rich

Ramayan was
play

own

foolish, to

staged.

man

he

least.

clearly.

the play of

In the course of the

was found that the man who should

play the part of

Hunuman

(monkey), the

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

56

Ram, was

attendant-friend of

his perplexity the stage

missing.

manager

seized

In

upon

an ugly simpleton, Nilkamal by name, and


sought to

make him

enact the part of

Nilkamal at

man.

first

refused,

appear on the stage.

forced to

Hunu-

but was
His ugly

appearance excited loud laughter among the


spectators

and they began to shout

in merri-

'

ment, 'Hunuman, Hunuman!" Nilkamal could


hardly bear
play,

The
this

He

and bawled out

disgust,

Why

this.

"Why,

it

was a

in real exasperation

do you

Sirs,

call

and

me Hunuman?

am not a Hunuman.
manager made me come out here

do you laugh?

stage

forgot that

way."

This

excited

further

roars

of

laughter from the audience and they began to

shout in right earnest, "Hunuman, Hunuman!"


Nilkamal,

mad

with rage and disgust, not

understanding the meaning of

all this,

retired

from the stage exclaiming,

"I

am

not a

Hunuman; how can

be made a Hunuman."

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


Nilkamal
real

failed to distinguish

Hunuman and

In this world our

But

alas I

we

and hence

We

lives are

all

nothing but plays.

feel disgust, sorrow, pleasure, etc.

forget the direction

lives

of the play.

identify ourselves with the play,

and injunction of the

Great Stage Manager.


our

between the

Hunuman

the

57

In the act of living

we

playing our parts

feel as real

our sorrows and pleasures, loves and hates

in

a word,

we become

This play of the world

must play for the sake

of the play

when playing pleasurable

but should never be inwardly

with

with the play


loves

his part, as

must act sorrowful when playing sorrow-

ful parts, or pleased

parts,

without beginning

by the Great Stage Manager, un-

grudgingly
only;

attached, affected.

Every one must play

and end.
assigned

is

and hates.

another's part.

its

identified

sorrows and pleasures,

Nor should one wish


If every

to play

one aspires to play

the role of a king, the play will be impossible.

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

58

He who has attained to the superior stage of


Bliss-consciousness will feel the world to be a

stage and play out his part as best he can,


feeling it

as such, remembering the Great

Stage

Manager (God), and knowing and

feeling

His nature in

its

every aspect

His

plan and direction.

Note. The derivation of the word "religion" from religare, to


bind (see page 10) has been adopted by St. Augustine, Lactantius,
Lucretius, and Servius.
(See Enc. Brit., 11th Edition.)

CHAPTER

II

Four Fundamental Religious Methods

We

have seen in the

last

chapter that the

body

identification of the Spiritual self with

and mind
pain,

is

the fundamental cause of our

and

suffering,

excitations

almost blind to the state of

We

we

such

feel

and pleasure, and are

as pain

consciousness.

and that

limitations,

because of this identification

have

God-

Bliss, or

also seen that re-

ligion essentially consists in the

permanent

avoidance of such pain and in the attainment


of pure Bliss, or God.

As the

sun's true image cannot be perceived

in the surface of
blissful

nature

moving water, so the true

of

the

Spiritual

reflection of the Universal Spirit

the

self

cannot be

understood owing to the waves of disquietude


that arise from identification of the self with
the changing states of the body and mind.

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

60

As the moving waters

distort the true

image

of the sun, so does the disturbed state of the

mind, through identification, distort the true,


Ever-Blissful nature of our

The purpose

own

of this chapter

self.
is

to discuss

the easiest, most rational, and most funda-

mental methods (practical for

that will

all)

free the Ever-Blissful, Spiritual self

from

its

baneful connection and identification with the


transitory

body and mind, thus causing

permanently avoid pain and attain

which constitutes Religion.

it

to

Bliss,

Therefore

the

fundamental methods to be considered are


religious

and involve religious

actions, because

only by means of these can the Spiritual self be


freed from the
pain,

body and mind and thus from

and be made to attain permanent

Bliss,

or God.

general idea of the religious

given in one,
teachings.

among

He

method

is

a great many, of Christ's

says, "Unless

ye have

up the Son of man, ye can not enter

lifted

into the

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


kingdom of God."

The "Son

the progeny of man,

i.e.,

of

the

61

man" means

body which

is

human body. It may


"Son of man" means some-

born out of another

seem to us that

thing other than thisthat

Granting

this,

we

it

means

Christ.

are then to interpret the

next saying of Christ, "The Son of


shall
shall

man
He

be delivered unto the Gentiles and

be crucified," as meaning that Christ, the

Eternal Spirit, was to be crucified by material


nails

and His

which

is

Spirit destroyed,

obviously absurd

an explanation

for it

was the

material body only, in which the Spirit of


Christ

was

crucified,
first

clothed, that could possibly be

not the

Spirit.

We

can explain the

quoted saying of Christ in this way:

unless

we can

transcend the

ourselves as spirit,

kingdom or

body and

we cannot

realize

enter into the

state of that Universal Spirit.

We find an echo of this in a Sanskrit couplet of


the Oriental scriptures: "If thou canst tran-

scend the body and perceive thyself as

spirit,

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

62

thou shalt be eternally

blissful

and

free

from

(When Christ called himself Son of


God, he meant the Universal Spirit dwelling

all

pain."

in him.)

Now

there are four fundamental, universal

religious
life,

methods which,

from the trammels of


Under

vehicles.

methods

followed in daily

if

time liberate the Spiritual

will in

these

include

its

four classes of religious

all

the possible religious

practices that have ever been enjoined


saint or savant or

and

fall

mean-

into forms, conven-

rigid practices.

of sectarianism.

in

import of these

doctrines, accept their exoteric or outer

ing and gradually

Re-

by prophets

Men of limited intellect,

failing to interpret the true

tions,

by any

any prophet of God.

ligious practices are inculcated

the form of doctrines.

self

bodily and mental

This

is

the origin

Rest from work on the sab-

bath day was interpreted by the Jews to mean


rest
is

from

all

work

the danger to

even

men

religious work.

This

of limited understanding.

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

We

we

should remember that

for the sabbath,

made

rules are

made

made

are not

but that the sabbath

we

for us;

63

are not

for us

they
We

cumstances change.

made

change as

Change of forms and customs

many

tutes for

its

consti-

a change from one religion

But the deepest import of

to another.

cir-

are to hold to the

essence of a rule, not dogmatically to

form.

is

for rules,

doctrines of all the different prophets

all

is

the

often

Most men do not understand this.

the same.

But there

equal danger in the case of the

is

They

intellectually great.

try to

know

the

Highest Truth by the exercise of the intellect


only.

But the Highest Truth can be known

only by realization.

Realization

other than mere understanding.


possibly
if

is

something

We could not

understand the sweetness of sugar

we had not

knowledge

is

tasted

it.

Just so, religious

drawn from the deepest expe-

rience of one's

when we seek

own

soul.

This we often forget

to learn about God, religious

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

64

dogmas, and morality.

We

know these through inner

religious experience.

It is a pity that

men

do not seek to

of great intellectual

power, successful in their use of reason in the

way

of discovering the deep truths of the nat-

ural sciences, etc., think that they will also

be able to grasp intellectually the highest


ligious

and moral

truths.

re-

It is also a pity

that the intellect or reason of these men,


instead of being a help,
their

found to be a bar to

is

comprehension of the Highest Truth by

the only

means

possible

living it in one's

life.

Let us consider the four methods characterizing religious growth.


I.

Intellectual

Method.

The

monly-adopted, natural method, not so

comeffec-

tive in realizing the end.

Intellectual

development and progression

has been natural and hence


rational beings.

common

to

It is our self-conscious

all

un-

derstanding which differentiates us from the


lower animals, that are conscious but not

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

In the grades and processes

self-conscious.

we

of evolution

gradually

65

see that this consciousness

becomes self-consciousness

from

animal consciousness self-consciousness

arises.

The

consciousness gradually tries to free itself

and

tries to

know

itself

by

and

itself,

it

thus changed into self-consciousness.

change

is

is

This

due to an evolutional necessity, and

the universal urge toward intellectual pursuits is

due to

The

this evolutional tendency.

Spiritual self, identified with various degrees

and

sorts of bodily

and mental

states, tries

gradually and naturally to return to itself

through

itself.

The development

scious thought-process

which the Spiritual

is

self

of the con-

one of the methods

adopts to

rise

The

the trammels of body and mind.

above
effort

of the Spiritual self to return to itself


lost condition

through

thought-process

is

cess of the world.

its

the development of

natural.

This

is

The Universal

the pro-

Spirit ex-

presses itself in different grades of develop-


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

66

ment, from lower to higher. In stone and earth


there

is

no

there

is

vegetative growth, an approach to

life,

yet no full-grown

thought-process at
life

the

and

Self

life

and no conscious

In animals there

all.

also consciousness of

culmination

sciousness of

it,

there

point

and

man

In

life.

is

is

man

life,

con-

also consciousness of the

Self-consciousness).

(i.e.,

natural for

In trees

or consciousness.

life

Hence

it

is

to develop himself through

thinking and reasoning, by deep study of


books,

by

original research work,

and by

la-

borious investigations into causes and effects


in the natural world.

The more deeply a man

engages in thought-processes, the more he can

be said to be

utilizing the

has come to be what he


world-evolution process

is

method by which he
in the course of the

(i.e.,

the method by

which consciousness develops into Self-consciousness)

and the nearer, knowingly or

unknowingly, he approaches the


thought

we

rise above the body.

Self.

The

For in

deliberate

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


folbwing of

this

67

method will bring about sure

Exercise of thought in study,

results.

solely for the

etc.,

acquirement of knowledge of

a certain thing, though to some extent improving the self-consciousness,


tive as that thought-process

is

not so

effec-

which has as

sole object the transcending of the

its

body and see-

ing the truth.

One

of the defects of this method

is

very slow process for the Spiritual


realize itself.

It

may

it is

self to

thus

involve a good deal of

While the Spiritual

time.

that

self

begins

to

apprehend self-consciousness by this method,


still

it

is

always engaged with a

series of

passing mental thoughts with which

it

has no

Tranquillity of the spirit

is

some-

relation.

thing beyond thought or bodily sensation,

though

when once

attained

it

overflows

both.
II.

Devotional Method.

This consists

in fixing the attention of the Spiritual self

on

one object of thought, rather than on different

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

68

series of

thoughts and on different subjects, as

method

in the intellectual

method. Under

are included

forms of worship (such as

all

which we must

prayer, from
thoughts

of

worldly

The

reverence.

things),

Spiritual

eliminate

or

self

attention deeply on whatsoever

concentrate on.
likes.

al

The

It

may

this

all

of

objects

must
it

fix

its

chooses to

be any thing that

it

Spiritual self may create a Person-

God, an Impersonal Omnipresent God, or

any other

thing.

It

must simply concentrate

on one subject of thought

By

gradually

turbances

estly,

drive

becomes

from the disturbances of

freed

vagrant thoughts

think

in good earnest.

this process the Spiritual self

the

second series of dis-

and gets time and opportunity to

itself.
When we pray earnwe forget all bodily sensations and
away all intruding thoughts that try to

itself in

engage our attention.

The deeper our


the satisfaction

prayer, the

felt,

and

more

this

intense

is

becomes the

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

69

by which we measure how far we


have approached Bliss-God. As the bodily
sensations are left behind and the vagrant
criterion

thoughts are checked, the superiority of this


over the foregoing method becomes manifest.

method presents certain


Owing to the longcontinued attachment and slavery of the
Spiritual self to the body to this deep-rooted
bad habit it ineffectually tries to turn its
attention away from the sphere of bodily and
mental sensations. However much one may
wish to pray or engage in any form of worship
However,

defects

this

and

difficulties.

with one's whole heart, one's attention


mercilessly

is

invaded by the raiding bodily

sensations and vagrant thoughts brought in

by memory.

In prayer

we

are often wholly

engrossed in the consideration of the circumstances favorable to

it,

or

we

are too ready to

remove any of our disturbing bodily discomforts.

In spite of

all

our conscious efforts our

bad habit, which has become a second nature

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

70

to us, lords

over the

it

self's

In spite

wishes.

mind becomes restless.


"Wherever your mind shall be there shall

of

our

our

wish,

your heart be also," and "Pray God with


thy heart."

Instead,

we

God with our mind and


and

bodily

mental

self's effort

may

heart occupied with

Let

disturbances.

look for a more effective

all

generally pray to

us

way by which our

be made easier and be more

greatly helped.

Meditation Method.
This and
the next method are purely scientific, inIII.

volving a practical course of training, and


are prescribed

by great savants who have

the truth personally in their

realized
I

There

is

nothing of mystery in them, or any-

They

thing to be dreaded as harmful.

very easy,

them.
true.

own

myself learned them from one of these.

lives.

if

They

one
will

is

are

properly acquainted with

be found to be universally

Practically-felt

knowledge

is

the best

proof of their validity and pragmatic

utility.

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

By

undergoing regularly

meditation

pleasurable tranquil state just


falling into

In

consciousness.

we become

from

when we

are

free

and approaching

it

state

this

from

all

outer bodily sensations, and

time to think of

itself

it

of

conscious

thoughts and
the self gets

comes into the bliss-

from time to time, according to the

depth and frequency of


itation.

calm and

deep sleep and approaching uncon-

sciousness, or rising

ful state

of

a state of conscious

ourselves

We generally experience this

sleep.

sleep

processes

they become a habit, we can

till

bring upon

the

71

In this state

of and free from

all

practice of

its

we

med-

are utterly forgetful

bodily and mental disturb-

ances which divert the

self's attention.

By

this process of meditation the outer organs

are

controlled

by the

controlling

of the

voluntary nerves, as in sleep.

But the process of meditation has


drawbacks and
as in sleep,

we

defects.

By

also its

this process, just

learn to control only our outer

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

72

organs, the only difference being that in sleep

the outer organs are automatically controlled,


while in meditation, on the contrary, the outer

organs are voluntarily controlled.

This pro-

duces a state of "conscious sleep." The Spiritual self

then experiences this state of con-

scious sleep, being continually disturbed

by the

involuntary and internal organs,

lungs,

heart,

e.g.,

and other organs which we mistakenly

suppose to be beyond control.*

We must look for a better method than this,


for so long as the Spiritual self

shut out

all

which are

can not at

will

bodily sensations, even interior ones,

the occasions of the rise of thought,

but

remains vulnerable to these disturbances,

can have no hope of


opportunity to
IV.

know

final rest

itself.

Organic, Scientific Method.

Paul said: "J die daily


*We

(1

Cor. 15, 31).

St.

By

know or learn how to give rest to these internal


we suppose them to be beyond control, they
overworked and suddenly stop, which stoppage we term
never

organs. Because

get

it

nor time or

"Death," or the "Eternal or Great Sleep."

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


this

73

he meant that he knew the process of


the internal

controlling

and could

organs

voluntarily free his Spiritual self from the

body and mind, the sudden freedom of which,


due to the wearing out of
mind,

termed

is

body and
by undergoing a

this gross

Now

death.

practical

and regular course of training

scientific

method the

self

can be

in this

felt as

being

separated from the body.


I will give

only a general idea of the process

and the true


based.

set

experience.

down

it

can say

Bliss,

which

ultimate end,

ful, I

ment

can also safely say

any

ever afford us.

our

The practice of

it

is

Blissfulfar more purely Bliss-

venture to say, than


that

my own

in intense degree in the act of

practising this method.


itself intensely

it is

be found to be

as I pointed out,

is,

is felt

here from
it will

And

universally true.
that

theory on which

scientific

the greatest enjoy-

of our five senses or the mind can


I

do not wish to give any one

any other proof of

its

truth than

is

afforded by

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

74

his
it

own

The more one

experience.

with patience and duration, the

feels

intensely

Owing

practises

more one

and durably fixed in Bliss.


bad habits, the

to the persistence of

consciousness of bodily existence, with

memories, revives

occasionally

against that tranquillity.


regularly

and

If

all its

and

fights

any one practises

for extended periods, it

can be

guaranteed that in time he will find himself in

a highly super-mental

state

of

Bliss.

We

should not, however, overwisely seek to imagine

beforehand the possible results to which the


process may lead, and then cease practising the

method

after a short trial.

In order to

make

real progress the following

things are necessary: First, loving attention


to the subject to be learned
learn

and an earnest

second, desire to

spirit of inquiry;

steadfastness until the desired end


If

we go

third,

attained.

only half-way and then, after a short

practice, reject
follow.

is

it,

the desired result will not

If novices in spiritual practices try to

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

75

pre-judge the experience of experts, they will

appear as ridiculous as a child

who

tries to

imagine what post-graduate studies would be


It is

like.

a great pity that

their best efforts

and time

men

will

spend

what

in securing

is

needed for worldly existence or in indulging in


intellectual

controversy

seem never to think

it

over theories,

but

worth their while to

realize

and patiently experience in

truths

which not only vivify but impart

meaning to

it.

Misguided

their attention longer

efforts

life

the

can engage

than well-guided

efforts.

I have been practising the above-mentioned

method for the last 18 years, and the more I do


so, the more I feel the joy of a state of permanent and unfailing Bliss. We should bear in
mind that the Spiritual self has been in
bondage to the body for how many ages we

know

not.

It

cannot be freed in one day, nor

will short or desultory practice of the

method

take one to the Supreme State of Bliss or


give one control over the internal organs.

It

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

76

will require patient practice for

time.

guarantee

a long, hng

however,

this,

that

the

following of this process will bring the great

The more we

joy of pure Bliss-consciousness.


practise
I

it,

the

more we get that

wish that, as seekers of

Bliss,

Blissful state.

which

all

of us

you should try to experience for yourselves


that universal truth which is in all and may be
felt by all.
This is not an invention of anyone.
are,

It is already there.

We are simply to discover

it.

Do

not, until

you have

tested this truth,

look upon what I write with indifference.

may

It

be that you are tired of hearing various

theories,

none of which has hitherto had any

direct bearing

on your

life.

This

is

no theory,

I am trying to give you a


what can be really experienced.

but realized truth.


general idea of
I

had the fortune to learn

Scientific

a good

this

"Holy,

Truth" from a great saint of India

many years ago. You may ask why I


why I draw your attention to

urge you

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


these facts?
this I

Have

any

selfish interest?

answer in the affirmative.

wish to

77

To
sell

you with the hope of getting in


return pure joy by helping you find your joy
in the practice and realization of it.
this truth to

Now I have to enter into a little physiology,


which will enable us to understand the method,
at least in a general way.

work

of the

main

centres

must

describe the

and the

electrical

current that flows from the brain through


these centres to the outer and internal organs

and keeps them vibrating with


There are

six

main

life.

centres through which

Pranic Current, Vital Current, or Life Electricity

from the brain

is

out the nervous system.

discharged through-

These are:

Medulla-centre.

Lumbar-centre.

Cervical-centre.

Sacral-centre.

Dorsal-centre.

Coccygeal-centre.

The brain is the supreme electrical PowerHouse (supreme centre). All the centres are
connected with one another and act under

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

78

the influence of the supreme centre (brain-

The

cells).

brain-cells discharge life current,

or electricity, through these

turn discharge
efferent

and

tively carry

electricity

and

which

in

different

motor impulse and sensation of

is the life

This

electrical

flow from the

of the organism (of

external organs) ,

medium

the

nerves which respec-

afferent

touch, sight, etc.


brain

cells,

to

and

it

is

its

internal

this electrical

through which all our sensation re-

ports reach the brain


turbances.

The

self,

and cause thought


if it

dis-

wishes effectively

to shut out the disturbing reports of bodily

sensations (which are also the occasions of

the rise of the thought-series), must control

and concentrate the


it

to

electrical flow

and draw

back from the nervous system as a whole


the seven main

brain),

so that

by

centres

(including

the

may

give

this process it

the outer and internal organs perfect rest.


sleep, the electrical conductivity

brain and the outer organs

is

In

between the

partially inhib-

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

79

so that ordinary sensations of sound,

ited,

touch,

etc.,

cannot reach the brain.

because this inhibition

is

ficiently strong stimulus

But

not complete, a suf-

from without restores

this electrical conductivity

and

is

the brain, awakening the person.

reported to

Yet always

in sleep there is a steady electrical flow into

the internal organs,

heart,

lungs, etc.,

so

that they keep on throbbing and working.

As the

control of

life electricity

in sleep

is

not complete, bodily sensations of discomfort,


disease, or strong outside stimuli disturb

But through a
which

is

it.

scientific process of control,

not here described in

detail,

we can

simultaneously control the external and internal organs of the system in a perfect way.

That
it

is

the ultimate result of practice.

But

will take long, long years to attain that

perfect control.

the

outer

internal

As

organs

organs,

after sleep,

are

after

which

invigorated,
rest,

is rest,

so

the

as a result of

the practice of this scientific

method, are

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

80

and with the consequent

greatly vitalized,

crease in their working

As we do not

power

life is

in-

prolonged.

fear to go to sleep, lest for

the time being the outer organs remain inert,


so

we ought not

fear to practise death,

i.e.,

Death

will

give rest to the internal organs.

we think
this bodily house is unfit and broken, we shall
be able to leave it of our own accord. "The
last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."
then be under our control; for when

(1 Cor. 15, 26.)

We may describe
main telephone

the process thus: If the

office

in a

town

is

perma-

nently connected by wires with different parts


of

the town,

men

telephoning from those

parts can always, even against the will of the


authorities of the

main telephone

messages to the central

medium

send

through the

of the electric current running along

the connecting wires.


office

office

office,

If the

main telephone

wishes to stop communication with the

different parts,

it

can turn

off the

main

electri-

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


and there

cal switch

81

be no flow to the

will

different quarters of the town.

Similarly, the

method teaches a process enabling


us to draw to its central part spine and

scientific

brain

the

life

current distributed through-

out the organs and other parts of the body.

The

process, roughly speaking, lies in

izing the spinal column,

magnet-

which contains the

seven main centres, with the result that the


distributed

life electricity is

drawn back to the


and is experi-

original centres of discharge

enced in the form of

light.

In this state the

Spiritual self can consciously free itself


its

from

The

and mental disturbances.

bodily

Spiritual self

is,

even against

its

ports from

two

as

it

wish,

were, being disturbed,

by the telephone

re-

(bodily sen-

classes of people

gentlemen

(thoughts) and low class people


sations).

them

it

In order to break connection with


has only to draw away the electricity

flowing through the telephone wires to the


central battery of its house

by turning

off the

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

82

switch

practise the fourth method), in

(i.e.,

order to enjoy
Attention
of

energy.

relief.

the great director and discharger

is

It

the

is

active

discharge of the electrical

life

cause

of the

current from the

brain to the sensory and motor nerves.

we

example,

drive

away a troublesome

discharging, through the

For
fly

by

power of attention,

the proper electrical current along the motor


nerves, thereby producing the desired

ments.

I cite this to

by which the

move-

give an idea of the power

electrical flow of the

system can

be controlled and drawn back to

its

seven

seven star-like centres

centres.

It is of these

and

mystery that we find mention even

their

in the chapter

on revelation in the

Bible.

St.

John experienced these seven centres as seven


stars while he was in the spirit.
'The mystery
'

of the seven stars, which thou sawest, write

them

in a book."

Revelation

should be noted that


flow of the

body

is

when

1: 19, 20.

It

say the electrical

controlled,

mean

all

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


electrical currents,

83

whether flowing volunta-

rily or involuntarily.

In conclusion

wish to describe the nature

of the states which emerge


flow

when the

ning a most attractive sensation


course

of magnetizing

the

But continued and long

electrical

In the begin-

completely controlled.

is

is felt

spinal

in the

column.

practice will bring

about a state of conscious Bliss which counteracts the exciting state of our body-conscious-

This blissful state has been described as

ness.

our universal aim and highest necessity, because


in

it

feel

we are

really conscious of God, or Bliss,

and

The more
the more our

the expansion of our real selves.

frequently this

is

experienced,

narrow individuality

falls

the state of universality


closer

and more

direct

is

away, the sooner

is,

we know

as God.

Religion

but

merging

of

the

universality.

reached, and the

our touch with what

our

is

really nothing

individuality

in

Therefore, in the consciousness

of this Blissful state

we ascend

the steps of


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

84

Religion.

We

leave the noxious atmosphere

of the senses and vagrant thoughts and


to a region of

Heavenly

We

Bliss.

come
by

learn

this process

what

will

be found to be univer-

sally true.

When by

constant practice the

consciousness of this Blissful state of our

becomes

Spiritual self

we

real

find ourselves

always in the Holy presence of the Blissful

God

in us.

We

discharge our duties better,

having an eye more for the duties themselves

than for our "egoism" and the pleasure-painconsciousness rising therefrom.


solve the mystery of existence

meaning to what
Underlying
Christianity,

there

is

is

all

known
the

as

Religions

so-called

one truth remaining,


as spirit,

real

fife.

Mahomedanism,

you know yourself

Then we can

and impart

Hinduism

viz.,

that unless

as the fountain-

head of Bliss, separate from body and mind,


your existence
life

is

is

devoid of meaning and your

akin to that of the brute.

know God only by knowing

We

can

ourselves, for our

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


natures are similar to His.

Man

created in the image of God.

If the

85

has been

methods

here suggested are earnestly practised, you


will

know

will

yourself to be a Blissful spirit and

realize

nothing that
also in

God.
is

In these things there

Mahomedanism and Hinduism, not

the latter that

is

found in Christianity and not

is

the methods laid

not in the former.

down embrace

all

in

Further,

the con-

means essential to the realization of


They do leave out of consideration the

ceivable

God.

thousand and

minor practices
different

one conventional rules and


enjoined by the

religions,

because

relate to differences in the

so-called

some of these

frame of mind of the

individuals, hence are less important,

though

by no means unnecessary, and because others

come up

in the course of practice of these

methods, hence do not require

fuller treat-

ment in our limited space.


The superiority of this method over others
lies in the fact that it lays its hand just on the

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

86

thing that binds us


dividuality

the

down

life-force

to our narrow inthat,

of

instead

being turned back and absorbed into the


expansive self-conscious force of the

goes

self,

outward, keeps our body and mind always in


motion, and causes disturbances to the Spiritual

self,

in the shape of bodily sensations

and

moves
outward, sensations and thoughts disturb and
Because

passing thoughts.

distort the

life-force

calm image of "Self "-consciousness.

This method teaches us to turn the


inward.

life-force

Hence it is direct and immediate.

It

takes us straight to the consciousness of the


"Self"

Bliss-God.

It does

not require the

and
by the
control and regulation of a known and

help of an intermediary.

It

controls

directs the course of the life-force

directly connected manifestation of the

force

itself.

(It

is

not desirable nor

lifeis

it

possible that this process be explained further


in this book.)

The

other methods employ the help of the

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


intellect,

87

or thought process, to control the

life-force in

order to induce consciousness of

the "Self" in
It should

its Bliss-ful

be noted that

and other

all religious

aspects.

methods

in the world directly or indirectly, tacitly or

expressly, enjoin the control, regulation,

and

we may
transcend the body and mind and know the
"Self" in its native state. The fourth method
turning back of the

life-force

directly controls itself

other methods do

mediary

it

thought,

by

so that

itself,

whereas the

through some other interprayer, worship or medi-

tation, etc.

Presence of
of

it is

life's

life

in

man

is

existence, absence

Hence the method that teaches


power to control itself must be

death.

direct

the best of

Now

all.

savants of different ages and climes

have suggested methods adapted to the mental

frame and condition of the people among

whom

they lived and preached.

laid stress

on prayer, some on

Some have
feeling,

some

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

88

on

love,

some on reason or thought, some on


But their motives have been the

meditation.

same.

They

all

meant that body

should

be

transcended by the control and turning back


of the life-force inward,

and that the "Self"

should be realized as the image of the sun in

a calm, unruffled water.

is

the

that which the fourth

of just

inculcation

method teaches

Their purpose

directly,

without the help

of any intermediary.

At the same time

it

should be noted that

the practice of this method does not prevent


the cultivation of the intellect, the building up
of the physique, and the activity of a social

and useful

of the best feelings

and

motives, devoted to philanthropic works.

As

life,

a matter of

life

fact, all-sided training

prescribed for

all.

should be

It positively helps rather

than retards the practice of the method


only thing required

is

that

its

the

point of view be

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


Then

retained.

89

all actions, all pursuits, will

result to our advantage.

The main thing


is

in this process, in a word,

to understand thoroughly the mystery of

the life-force that sustains the bodily organism

man, causing

of

to vibrate with

it

life

energy, illumine the intellect, and build

and
up a

strong physique, for the creation of the ideal


social

man.

Unless

and what the

are

we understand what we
with which we have

life

daily connection means, our knowledge

So

perfect.

man, as
it is,
it

say

we

is

should analyze the

im-

life

of

were, in a laboratory, find out what

it

and then devise means to make

ought to be. This process

invention;

it

is

not of

it

what

my own

has been found to be univer-

sally true in all climes

and

ages.

Truth

is

always found to be the same everywhere and

by every

one.

our sight.
ing,

we hear

what

Only, some times

Though
not.

seeing,

we

it is

out of

see not, hear-

have only wished to

relate

have found through the help of others.

CHAPTER

III

Instruments of Knowledge: Religious


Point of View

The
ligious

universality

Ideal

and necessity of the Re-

(Ever-existent, Ever-conscious

Bliss-God) and the practical methods to reach


it

have been discussed

ters.

Now we

in the previous chap-

wish to discuss the grounds

The methods

of validity of the methods.


are essentially practical, and

they are

if

fol-

lowed the ideal must be reached, whether


deal with the theories or not.

of validity
is

is

Their ground

the practical result

palpable and real.

It is not,

we

itself,

be

it

which
under-

show the theoretical


But simply to satisfy

stood, really necessary to

grounds of validity.
others

we

treat

a priori of the validity of

the theories of knowledge on which the meth-

ods are based, that their validity

be theoretically shown.

may

also

This will launch us

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

91

How

into the epistemological question:

and

how far can we know the Ideal, the Truth?


To show how we know the ideal we must consider how we know the actual world.
We
must deal with the process of knowing the
world. Then we shall see whether the process of knowing the world is the same as the
process of knowing the Ideal, and whether
is

separate from the Ideal or

latter

pervades the former, only

the actual world

whether the

the process of knowing the two being different.

Before proceeding further

us discuss the

let

the

way by
which knowledge of the world is made possible
"instruments"

of knowledge

to us.

There are three instruments or means of


knowledge: Perception, Inference,
I.

Perception.

Our

senses

Intuition,
are,

as

it

were, windows, through which stimuli from the


outside

come and

strike

the mind, which

passively receives these impressions.

the

mind

operates,

Unless

no impression can be made

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

92

on

it

by the

stimuli

coming from the outside

Mind not

through the sense-windows.


furnishes

received

the

connections

the

to

only

stimuli

through the different senses, but

stores their influences in the

form of impres-

But these impressions remain a conmass until the discrimfaculty (Buddhi) operates on the

sions.

fused, disconnected

inative

impressions.

relevant connection

is

then

established and the details of the outer world

are recognized as such.


so to speak,

post.

known

This

distinct associations

measure, and meaning.

tity, quality,

then

is

as

it,

we

First

mind

see an object,

and storing them.

its

it

when

receiving these impressions

Buddhi

and seems to project them


house with

house

a house, and not as a

and then hear the sound of

struck, our

quan-

the result of the operation of the

Intellect (Buddhi).
feel

are projected,

and known in the forms of time

and space, having

is

They

interprets
in the

various parts

them

form of a

size,

shape,

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


color,

form, fashion, and

space.

This

arises.

An

is

in

how knowledge

insane

to others

its relation

in the present, past, or future

person

93

time and

of the world

has

impressions

stored in his mind, but they are in a chaotic


state

not sorted and made up into


groups by Buddhi

well-ordered

Now
(the

comes the question:


Ever-conscious,

Ideal,

Bliss-God) be

known by

distinct,

(Intellect).

Can

Reality

Ever-existent,

perception of this

Is the process of knowing this world,


by perception, valid in the matter of
knowing the Highest truth?
Now we know Buddhi can work only upon
the materials supplied by the senses. It is

sort?
viz.,

certain

that

the senses give us only the

stimuli of qualities

and

variety.

Not only do

the senses give variety, but Buddhi

itself deals

with variety and remains in the region of


variety.

Though

diversity,"

drawback.

it

it

can think of "unity in

cannot be one with

it.

This

is its

Perception can not really give the


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

94

true nature of Substance

One,

Universal

This

underlying diverse manifestations.


the verdict of Reason
(in

the broad sense, thought) turns back upon

itself

to judge

how

far,

sense-impressions,

it

Reality,

itself

it

finds

is

by

interpreting the

capable of knowing
hopelessly

shut up

within the domain of the sense-world.


is

is

When Buddhi

itself.

no loop-hole through which

it

There

can peep into

the super-sensuous world.

Some may say

that because

we

drive a

wedge between the sensuous and the supersensuous worlds, Reason can not bring itself to
believe that it can have any knowledge of the
super-sensuous.

the

They say that

super-sensuous

as

if

we

think of

manifesting in and

through the sensuous, then in knowing the


sensuous

with

adaptation) and

its
all

connection (teleology, or
the details and varieties

we

the processes of the intellect

shall

by
be

knowing the super-sensuous manifested as


"unity in diversity." But

it

maybe questioned,

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


what

is

95

the nature of that knowing?

merely an idea in our brain, or

is it

Is it

seeing the

truth (unity in diversity) face to face,

hand and
carry the

with

it

knowing

direct?

first-

Does that form of knowing

same conviction which being one

would carry?
is

very

Surely not, for that


defective.

partial,

merely looking through a colored


super-sensuous world

lies

glass.

It

is

The

These are

beyond.

the a priori arguments against perception


as an instrument for knowing Reality, or

God.

From calm

experience, also,

can not attain that Blissful


Reality and the Ideal

itself,

previous chapters, until

we

we

find that

state,

as

which

shown

rise to

we
is

in the

a consider-

able extent from the restless, perceptual stage.

The more we

leave behind the disturbing

perceptions and interior thoughts, the greater


is

the possibility of the dawning of that super-

mental state of

Bliss, or Bliss-God.

Ordinary

perception and Bliss seem to be mutually

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

96

common

exclusive in

none of our methods

is

However,

experience.

based on pure percep-

tion,

hence

know

Reality does not affect the former.

the

inability

Inference. This

II.

of the latter to

ence

be

we

hence

if

infer

there

is

fire

But

it

fire.
is

This

being

is

is

deductive

(perception)

with

associated

dependence on perception.

We

a certain kind of bacillus

is

We

In

possible only because

inductive inference, also, there

cholera.

per-

wherever there

of our previous experience


as

on

we see smoke on any occasion,

inference.

smoke

of

infer-

deductive or inductive.

it

our experience we find

smoke

But

based on experience,

itself is

ception,

way

another

is

deriving knowledge of the world.

is

fire.

of

In

the same

observe that
the cause of

find out the causal connection

between that kind of bacillus and cholera and


at once inductively infer that wherever
find

this

bacillus,

While there

is

we

cholera will be present.

a leap here from the

known


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

97

unknown cases, still by


new fact, though the cases
The very possibility of the

cases of cholera to the

inference

may

we

get no

be new.

establishment of causal connection between


bacilli

and cholera depended upon observation

So inference
upon perception. In inferred cases we do not get any new truth
nothing really new that was not found in
(perception)

of certain cases.

ultimately depends

observed cases.
followed

by

In observed cases

cholera,

and

in

cases, too, bacilli are followed

new truth, though


So

bacilli are

the

by

inferred

no

cholera

the cases are fresh and new.

in all forms of thought, reasoning, infer-

ence, or imagination

we

are not face to face

with Reality. Reason or thought

and systematize

may

arrange

facts of experience. It can en-

deavor to see things as a whole. It

may

try to

penetrate into the mystery of the world.


its

effort is

which
!

it

hampered by the materials on

works

impressions.

But

facts

They

of experience, sense

are bald, hard facts, dis-


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

98

connected, limited by our powers of perception.

The

materials disturb rather than help

the thought process, which also has a restless


continuity.

The

first

intellectual

method, as we pointed out,

method.

It busies itself

is

the

with the

thought process in order to know Reality


state of Bliss

and calm realization. But it fails.

Bodily perceptions disturb, and the thought


process also, due to

its

working on varied,

restless sense-impressions, forbids

our remain-

ing for long in a concentrated state, that

may know and


Bliss

feel

we

that calm condition of

and have the consciousness of unity

in

One merit of the Intellectual


method is that when we are absorbed in the
thought-world, to a certain extent we transcend bodily sensations. But this is always
diversity.

temporary.

Devotional and
the thought process

In the other two methods

Meditation
it

is

present.

is less.

Still,

In the devotional method,

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


i.e.,

99

in ritual worship or otherwise, in prayer,

congregational or individual,

thought-process

ment

much

of the

engaged in the arrange-

is

of favorable conditions.

Still

there

is

the attempt to concentrate on some subject of

worship or prayer.

thought processes

So far as the diversity in


checked or prevented,

is

the devotional method


defect

is

is

successful.

Still

the

due to our bad habit, con-

this:

firmed in the course of ages, our concentration

is

not deep, leaving the possibility of

setting the diversity of thought-processes at

work on the

slightest disturbance.

In the Meditation method outward formalities,

conventions,

rites,

etc.,

being

dis-

pensed with, thus barring the possibility of


the thought-processes being set into motion as
easily as in the

Devotional method, concen-

tration

on one object of thought.

And

is

there

fixed
is

a gradual tendency to leave the

sphere of thought to step into that of Intuition,

which we

shall next consider.


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

100

So

Intuition.

III.

far

we have been

considering the instruments and processes of

knowing

this

sensuous

we now
which we know the
with which

the world that

is

world.

Intuition,

by

deal, is the process

super-sensuous world

beyond senses and thoughts.

It is true that the super-sensuous expresses


itself in

know

and through the sensuous, and to

the latter in completeness

is

to

know

the

former, but the process of knowing the two

must be

different.

To know

the latter, per-

ception and thought will be fairly sufficient,

but to know the super-sensuous, Intuition


is

cause

super-sensuous

the

is

no argument to say that be-

required. It

expresses

itself

through the sensuous, the process of knowing


the latter (Perception and Thought) will also

hold good in the case of the former.

we

able to

know

all its fullness,

For, are

the sensuous world even, in

by these

processes?

Assuredly

number

of facts,

things, laws, connections in nature,

and even

not.

There

is

an

infinite

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


in

own

our

organism, which are

101

and

still

probably ever will be a sealed book to mankind. Far less, then, shall

what

really

is

we be

able to

know

beyond sense-perception and

thought-perception by mere sense and thought.


Intuition comes from within; thought from

without.

The former

gives a face-to-face view

of Reality; the latter gives an indirect view


of

it.

Intuition,

by a strange sympathy,

into parts.
tuition, as

sees

it

up

Every man has the power of

in-

it in its totality,

while thought chops

As

he has the power of thought.

thought can be cultivated, so Intuition can be


developed.
Reality

In Intuition

with

we

are in tune with

the world of Bliss, with the

"unity in diversity" with

the

inner

laws

governing the spiritual world, with God.

How

do we know that we

sense-perception?

that

we

exist

Do

the senses

whence

existence comes?

exist?

Through

first tell

us

the consciousness of

That can never

the consciousness of existence

is

be.

For

pre-supposed

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

102

in the attempt of the senses to let us

of our existence.

anything without our

sense

know

Sense cannot consciously

knowing

first

that we exist in the very act of sensing.

Does

inference, the thought-process, tell us

that we exist?

Assuredly not.

thought must

of

terials

sions, which, as
tell

we have

be

For the masense-impres-

just found, cannot

us of our existence, as that feeling

is al-

ready pre-supposed in them. Nor can the process of

thought give us the consciousness of

existence, for the latter is already implied in

When, by comparing

the former.

with the outer world,


infer that

we

of existence

is

we endeavor

exist therein,

ourselves

to think or

the consciousness

already present in the very act

of thinking and inferring.

Then,

if

sense or

how do we know that we exist?


by Intuition that we can know this.
This knowing is one form of Intuition. It is
beyond sense and thought they are made
possible by it.
thought

fails,

It is only

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


It is
is

very

difficult

103

to define Intuition, for

it

Every one of
we not know what the

too near to every one of us.

us feels

Do

it.

consciousness

knows

It

it.

Every one
too familiar to admit of

of
is

existence

is?

Ask one how he knows he exists.


remain dumb. He knows it, but he

definition.

He

will

cannot define
his

it.

explanation

inwardly

feels.

He may

try to explain, but

does not reveal

what he

Intuition of every

form has

this peculiar character.

The

fourth method, explained in the last

chapter, bases itself


tice of it leads

we are about it,

on

The pracThe more earnest

Intuition.

us inward.

the wider and surer will be our

tion that

God. It is through Intuihumanity reaches Divinity, that the

sensuous

is

vision of Reality

brought into connection with the

super-sensuous, and that the latter


express itself in

The

is felt

to

and through the sensuous.

influence of senses vanishes, intruding

thoughts disappear, Bliss-God

is realized,

the

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

104

consciousness of "all in

dawns upon

One and One in all"


is what all

This Intuition

us.

great savants and prophets of the world had

and

still

The

have.

third

method (Meditation-Method), as
when it is

explained in the last chapter,

earnestly practised, carries us also into the

region of Intuition.

But

it is

a bit round-

about, and ordinarily takes a longer time to

produce in us the successive states of the


Intuitional or Realization process.

Thus

it is

realized in all

that

by

Intuition that

His

God can be

We have

aspects.

no sense

The

can reveal knowledge of Him.

senses give knowledge of only His manifestations.

us to

No

thought or inference can enable

know Him

as

He

truly

is.

For thought

cannot go beyond what the senses give.

It

can

only arrange and interpret the impressions of


the senses.

When

the

senses

are

thought, as depending upon them,

unable to bring us to God.

So

it is

unable,
is

also

to Intui-


THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION
we shall have to turn
God in His Blissful and

105

tion that

for the knowl-

edge of

other aspects.

Religion

is

truly

an

act

of

Intuition;

the former degrades into the observ-

without

it

ance of

lifeless

conventions and

It is

rites.

from the point of view of Intuition that every


fact of the world finds

The

criterion of

world
see

is

how

also Intuition.

far

meaning

in its totality.

development in the Spiritual

Men of the world will

you are punctual,

regular,

and de-

voted in the matter of observing the codes and

canons of worldly-wise morality and Religion,

but the seer of truth

will

mark how

far

you

have progressed in the path of realization


Intuition.

But there are many bars


point of view
are
ity,

to this Religious

to the realization of truth.

some of them

Disease,

These

Mental Incapac-

Doubt, Indolence, Worldly-mindedness,

False Notion, Missing the Point and Instability.

These are either inherent or engendered and

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION

106

aggravated through association with others.


Besides the above there

may

be

many

other

inherent tendencies (Samskaras) which turn

out to be the causes of these.

We

seem to

have no control over our Samskaras, but our


strong-minded

effort

It can

wonders.

destroy them.

(Purushakara) can work

change them, nay,

When

can

it

they are changed for

the better they help rather than retard us.


is

through

effort, as facilitated

by

It

association

with the good, that new tendencies (Samskaras)

can be formed and the bad ones changed.


Until we associate with those
felt,

and

not fully

know what

versality

and

is

is

The

it

necessity

Everybody
truth.

who have

realized Religion in their lives


is,

and

in what

seen,

we can
its

uni-

lie.

in the world is a seeker after

spirit of inquiry is in all.

dulled and the willingness to

But

know the

it

truth

dampened, because distractions are many,

tendencies are or grow to be perverse, and

monsters of the world are also numerous.

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION


But

still

we

are men, not animals.

never too late to

you

will find,

mend

or seek.

"Knock, and

unto you."

OM

it

shall

107

It is

Search and

be opened

TEACHING BY CORRESPONDENCE
Lessons by Mail

may

be Taken in the

Following Courses
"Yogoda"

or Tissue-Will System of Physical Perfection.

Highest Technique of Concentration.

Books by Swami Yogananda


The

Science of Religion.

culture, concentration,

from this book.

true psychological account of inner

and

Know

religion.

Cloth bound, $1.50.

about your ideal

Paper, $0.75.

Exquisite poems of deepest significance, in

Songs of the Soul.

charming English, including "Vision of Visions," from Bhagavad


Gita, a lyrical rendition and spiritual interpretation of Chapter
XI. Boards, full orange cloth. Price, $1.50.
Psychological Chart.
chart of

human

A Complete
Helps to analyze one's own states.

(Especially for Children.)

nature.

Highly recommended by Harvard and Calcutta University


professors.

Price, $0.50.

"Yogoda", or Tissue-Will System

of Physical Perfection.

Paper, price, 15 cents.

ScientificTHealing Affirmations (newly printed).


Essence of right prayer and method of receiving Divine help
through scientific affirmations. Price, 50 cents.

For above Lessons or Books apply to

SAT SANGA AND YOGODA HEADQUARTERS


MT. WASHINGTON, SAN RAFAEL AND ELYRIA STS.
LOS ANGELES

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY


Los Angeles

This

book^DUE

on the

StfR

last

date stamped below.

3 2009

URL

1520I&

SEP
APR 1 4

20011

41584

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