RECORDED BY MISS S. E. WALDO
SUNDAY, July 14, 1895.
Philosophy in India means that through which we see God, the rationale of religion; so no Hindu could ever ask for a link between religion and philosophy.
Concrete, generalised, abstract are the three stages in the process of philosophy. The highest abstraction in which all things agree is the One. In religion we have first, symbols and forms; next, mythologies; and last, philosophy. The first two are for the time being; philosophy is the underlying basis of all, and the others are only stepping stones in the struggle to reach the Ultimate.
In Western religion the idea is that without the New Testament and Christ there could be no religion. A similar belief exists in Judaism with regard to Moses and the Prophets, because these religions are dependent upon mythology only. Real religion, the highest, rises above mythology; it can never rest upon that. Modern science has really made the foundations of religion strong. That the whole universe is one, is scientifically demonstrable. What the metaphysicians call “being”, the physicist calls “matter”, but there is no real fight between the two, for both are one. Though an atom is invisible, unthinkable, yet in it are the whole power and potency of the universe. That is exactly what the Vedantist says of Atman. All sects are really saying the same thing in different words.
Vedanta and modern science both posit a self-evolving Cause. In Itself are all the causes. Take for example the potter shaping a pot. The potter is the primal cause, the clay the material cause, and the wheel the instrumental cause; but the Atman is all three. Atman is cause and manifestation too. The Vedantist says the universe is not real, it is only apparent. Nature is God seen through nescience. The Pantheists say, God has become nature or this world; the Advaitists affirm that God is appearing as this world, but He is not this world.
We can only know experience as a mental process, a fact in the mind as well as a mark in the brain. We cannot push the brain back or forward, but we can the mind; it can stretch over all time — past, present, and future; and so facts in the mind are eternally preserved. All facts are already generalised in mind, which is omnipresent.1
Kant’s great achievement was the discovery that “time, space, and causation are modes of thought,” but Vedanta taught this ages ago and called it “Maya.” Schopenhauer stands on reason only and rationalises the Vedas. . . . Shankara maintained the orthodoxy of the Vedas.
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“Treeness” or the idea of “tree”, found out among trees is knowledge, and the highest knowledge is One. . . .
Personal God is the last generalization of the universe, only hazy, not clear-cut and philosophic. . . .
Unity is self-evolving, out of which everything comes.
Physical science is to find out facts, metaphysics is the thread to bind the flowers into a bouquet. Every abstraction is metaphysical; even putting manure at the root of a tree involves a process of abstraction. . . .
Religion includes the concrete, the more generalized and the ultimate unity. Do not stick to particularisations. Get to the principle, to the One. . . .
Devils are machines of darkness, angels are machines of light; but both are machines. Man alone is alive. Break the machine, strike the balance2 and then man can become free. This is the only world where man can work out his salvation.
“Whom the Self chooses” is true. Election is true, but put it within. As an external and fatalistic doctrine, it is horrible.