18 December 2013

Swami Vivekananda's Quotes On The Absolute

sky, sun, cloud
Changes in the universe are not in the Absolute;
they are in nature
—Swami Vivekananda
Image source: Wikimedia Commons 
In this article you'll find Swami Vivekananda's quotes on the Absolute.
  • Changes in the universe are not in the Absolute; they are in nature.[Source]
  • If the Absolute becomes limited by the mind, It is no more Absolute; It has become finite.[Source]
  • If you can get absolutely still for just one moment, you have reached the goal.[Source]
  • Ishvara is the highest manifestation of the Absolute Reality, or in other words, the highest possible reading of the Absolute by the human mind. Creation is eternal, and so also is Ishvara.[Source]
  • Knowledge of the Absolute depends upon no book, nor upon anything; it is absolute in itself. No amount of study will give this knowledge; is not theory, it is realization. Cleanse the dust from the mirror, purify your own mind, and in a flash you know that you are Brahman.[Source]
  • Om is the greatest, meaning the Absolute.[Source]
  • Only when creation stops can we find the Absolute. The Absolute is in the soul, not in creation. So by stopping creation, we come to know the Absolute.[Source]
  • Philosophy insists that there is a joy which is absolute, which never changes.[Source]
  • The Absolute and the Infinite can become this universe only by limitation.[Source]
  • The Absolute cannot be divided.[Source]
  • The Absolute can never be thought of.[Source]
  • The Absolute cannot be worshipped, so we must worship a manifestation.[Source]
  • The Absolute does not change, or re-evolve.[Source] 
  • The Absolute God of the universe, the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe, is impersonal principle.[Source]
  • The Absolute is the material of both God and man.[Source]
  • The sea calm is the Absolute; the same sea in waves is Divine Mother.[Source]
  • The sum total of all the cells in an organism is one person; so each soul is like one cell and the sum of them is God, and beyond that is the Absolute.[Source]
  • Until we realise ourselves as the Absolute, we cannot attain to deliverance.[Source]
  • When you talk and think of the Absolute, you have to do it in the relative; so all these logical arguments apply.[Source]
  • You and I and everything in the universe are that Absolute, not parts, but the whole. You are the whole of that Absolute, and so are all others, because the idea of part cannot come into it.[Source]

How has the Infinite, the Absolute, become the finite?

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
From Jnana Yoga[Source]
The one question that is most difficult to grasp in understanding the Advaita philosophy, and the one question that will be asked again and again and that will always remain is: How has the Infinite, the Absolute, become the finite? I will now take up this question, and, in order to illustrate it, I will use a figure.
Here is the Absolute (a), and this is the universe (b). The Absolute has become the universe.By this is not only meant the material world, but the mental world, the spiritual world — heavens and earths, and in fact, everything that exists. Mind is the name of a change, and body the name of another change, and so on, and all these changes compose our universe. This Absolute (a) has become the universe (b) by coming through time, space, and causation (c). This is the central idea of Advaita. Time, space, and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen, and when It is seen on the lower side, It appears as the universe. Now we at once gather from this that in the Absolute there is neither time, space, nor causation. The idea of time cannot be there, seeing that there is no mind, no thought. The idea of space cannot be there, seeing that there is no external change. What you call motion and causation cannot exist where there is only One. We have to understand this, and impress it on our minds, that what we call causation begins after, if we may be permitted to say so, the degeneration of the Absolute into the phenomenal, and not before; that our will, our desire and all these things always come after that. I think Schopenhauer's philosophy makes a mistake in its interpretation of Vedanta, for it seeks to make the will everything. Schopenhauer makes the will stand in the place of the Absolute. But the absolute cannot be presented as will, for will is something changeable and phenomenal, and over the line, drawn above time, space, and causation, there is no change, no motion; it is only below the line that external motion and internal motion, called thought begin. There can be no will on the other side, and will therefore, cannot be the cause of this universe. Coming nearer, we see in our own bodies that will is not the cause of every movement. I move this chair; my will is the cause of this movement, and this will becomes manifested as muscular motion at the other end. But the same power that moves the chair is moving the heart, the lungs, and so on, but not through will. Given that the power is the same, it only becomes will when it rises to the plane of consciousness, and to call it will before it has risen to this plane is a misnomer. This makes a good deal of confusion in Schopenhauer's philosophy.

The whole universe is the evolution of one absolute

From a lecture delivered in London—[Source]
We have seen so far that, according to the Advaita theory, all we see around us, and the whole universe in fact, is the evolution of that one Absolute. This is called, in Sanskrit, Brahman. The Absolute has become changed into the whole of nature. But here comes a difficulty. How is it possible for the Absolute to change? What made the Absolute to change? By its very definition, the Absolute is unchangeable. Change of the unchangeable would be a contradiction. The same difficulty applies to those who believe in a Personal God. For instance, how did this creation arise? It could not have arisen out of nothing; that would be a contradiction — something coming out of nothing can never be. The effect is the cause in another form. Out of the seed, the big tree grows; the tree is the seed, plus air and water taken in. And if there were any method of testing the amount of the air, and water taken to make the body of the tree, we should find that it is exactly the same as the effect, the tree. Modern science has proved beyond doubt that it is so, that the cause is the effect in another form. The adjustment of the parts of the cause changes and becomes the effect. So, we have to avoid this difficulty of having a universe without a cause, and we are bound to admit that God has become the universe.

See also

  1. Swami Vivekananda on Soham

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