Jnana Yoga (Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda Vol II)
* The Necessity of Religion
The force which manifests as religion has been the strongest binding power among humans. While tracing the
beginnings of religion, we find two main theories: 'spirit theory' and 'evolution of idea of Infinite'. The spirit theory says that
ancestor-worship is the beginning of religion; many ancient societies practiced this in some form and in China it flourished most.
As to the second theory, nature-worship is the source of religion and especially the Aryan literature is full of it. These two
theories can be generalized into one as 'the struggle to transcend the limitations of the senses'.
(In Vedantic parlance, the above two attempts can be called as 'tvam padartha shodhan' and 'tat padarth shodhan'!)
First glimpse of this struggle to transcend senses come from dreams. All religions claim that certain men
could transcend the ordinary modes of mind and reach higher planes. They also put forward the Ideal Unit Abstraction in form of a
Being or Person or Law or Essence; and it is not in the senses. Thus renunciation is the very basis of ethics. 'Perfect
self-annihilation is the ideal of ethics.' Without super-conscious perception there can not be any ethics; merely on utilitarian
ground man can be moral but he won't be a moral-giant like Buddha or Christ.
Struggle to realize the infinite is the grandest and most glorious struggle for man. And it being the
highest pleasure possible, religion is absolutely necessary. Religions have to give up narrowness and transcend tribal, national
boundaries; have to become universal by giving up petty fights.
* The Real Nature of Man
Sooner or later, a human mind asks the question about sense-life: 'is this real?'; fact of death and
pursuit of happiness compel him/her to ask this question. Two answers are given: (1) that of nihilist, who says that nothing can be
known and past, present and future has to be denied, and (2) of one who tries to find real in unreal, permanent in evanescent.
Every religion proclaims, crudely or clearly, that current state of human being is a degradation of
his/her pure and original state. Story of deluge depicted in many religions also points to this fact (in Hinduism, the story of Manu;
we are all 'man' because we are progeny of Manu!). If evolutionists can't accept this idea, then the logic for them is the idea of
cyclic nature of things; something can't come out of nothing and involution presupposes evolution.
Most religions say that soul/force/mind manufactures body; those who says that reverse is true, that body
produces thoughts/force etc., can't logically prove this. On the other hand it can be proved that force produces matter; 'solidity,
hardness, or any other state of matter can be proved to be the result of motion'. The nature of this force was initially thought as
'bright/subtle body' which works up the gross body, but later it was understood that, Soul or Atman, behind even the bright body, is
the real nature.
Initially everybody's Atman was thought to be separate from each other. But then it was realised that
time, space, causation (i.e. name and form) is in mind and if Atman is without these then it must be infinite. That is the real
nature, individuality of human being - infinity. Perfection is not to be attained, it is already there; evolution belongs to nature
and with that manifestation of Spirit increases.
All ethics and morality is because there is one Self behind all beings; it is also the only real source
of happiness. And the utility of it is that it will make human being less selfish and consequently the society will be harmonious. As
to practicality of this, society must follow Truth and change itself so that Truth can be practiced; Truth does not change to suit
itself to any society. '… you are souls, pure, infinite, and perfect.' (Story of lion raised by sheep)
* Maya and Illusion
'Maya' term used in old Vedic literature does denote illusion or magic but the term's full development
came later (Shvetashvatara Upanishad); some philosophers and even Buddhists added their meaning to it. With Buddhists it assumed
the meaning of Idealism and even now the word evokes the meaning. But in Vedanta (and in Shakara's exposition), Maya 'is neither
Idealism nor Realism, nor is it a theory. It is a simple statement of facts - what we are and what we see around us.'
Vedic seers were correct in their principles but as to details they were bit off-mark. They made some
of the bold generalization about life and world, which modern science can not theorise even now! Mind, which is under time, space,
and causation can not solve the laws of these. Life is a mixture of existence and non-existence; it is a contradiction. 'There is
neither how nor why in fact; we only know that it is and that we cannot help it.'
Good and bad, happiness and misery etc. pairs of opposites will remain so long as the dream of world
and life continues. 'Vedantic position is neither pessimism nor optimism'. Infinite tries to express through finite, but finds that
it is impossible and retreats back; this retreating back is renunciation and basis of religion. The knowledge of Vedanta and Maya
makes us less fanatic and then we can work better, with patience.
The agnostic position of taking life as it appears to senses and abandoning any attempt to reach Ideal
(as they say that the attempt is futile), is tremendous illogical error. It ignores the huge part of life like feelings, thoughts,
aspiration, struggle to reach ideal etc. 'This Maya is everywhere. It is terrible. Yet we have to work through it ... the way is
not with Maya, but against it.' Vedanta points out the way to freedom out of Maya by knowing Him who is within and everywhere.
* Maya and The Evolution of The Conception of God
We should not judge others from our standpoint, from our ideals; ancient concepts of gods should be
judged from their standpoint and not from modern standpoints. We acknowledge the evolution of the worshipper but not of the
worshipped! In primitive human, the ethical sense was not much developed, he/she acted on impulse. With the growth of ethical sense,
two forces were felt by human: one propelling outward through senses and other checking this tendency. Religion, spirituality begins
with the "do not".
Little love, duty, social organisation started growing within human beings and thus their gods also
displayed limited love, duty etc. Then some people started believing that they are the descendants of their gods or even of Sun
or Mood (Suryavamshi, Chandravamshi etc.). In time, with development of reason in humans, their God increased in
ethical significance and power. But with this increase, the doubt and difficulty of God also increased. Why is their evil and
misery in the domain of all-merciful and all-powerful God? If we go with the struggle of the world, we remain brutes and if we
try to express our higher ideals, then we find that it is not possible.
Our existence is a fact and yet not a fact; kind of a dream, play of light and darkness - Maya. 'Vedanta
was (and is) the boldest system of religion.' In India religious freedom was marvellous but social one was pathetic; in West reverse
was the case. 'Freedom is the first condition of growth.' For perfect growth of human being and society, religion - understood in
the fullest sense of the word - must come into society. In the light of Vedanta we see all is manifestation of religion. To remove
social evils, it is not correct way to denounce it like a fanatic (this is easy and we find many taking this course) but rather
we should try to remove the cause of the evil. Saints in every society understood this. Saints forbearing social evils sometimes
appears as their cowardice but that is not the case; the infinite power of love in their heart works silently, slowly, patiently
and surely to remove the causes of evil.
Such were the writers of Upanishads and they knew that the prevailing ideas of God were anachronistic
with highest developed ethical ideas; but unlike atheists they did not wish to cut away the old and build in empty air but rather
they tried to find what is real in the old ideas. The result was Vedanta - from old deities to monotheistic God to Impersonal
Absolute; oneness throughout the universe. One in many.
* Maya and Freedom
Senses drag human soul out; for ages we are told that pleasure and happiness in senses is impossible
but we do not learn and this is Maya. So with intellectual knowledge, scientific quest, fame, fortune etc. (Story of Narada getting
taste of Maya). 'It is a most difficult and intricate state of things to understand.'
Two ways have been proposed : (1) [Maya] is true but forget it and enjoy a while; this approach has
good motive power and hope in it but the danger is that in long run it is given up in despair; this is so called practical wisdom
and is bound to fail always. It makes us hypocrites. (2) [Maya] is true but there is something beyond Maya, God/Self; taking our
stand on Reality we can get out and attain freedom; this is the path of religion.
All religions, from lowest type to highest, teach this idea [everything and everybody is advancing
towards Freedom] and duty of Vedanta is to harmonise & make common ground for them all. In spite of Maya/Nature binding us all the
time, the inner voice of freedom too continuously beckons us. We are ethical when we follow that voice; the struggles of life and
societies is nothing but attempts to rush towards the voice of freedom. With the new attitude of understanding, the nature/world
is no longer ghastly Maya but a movement towards freedom.
The idea of freedom applied specially to religion, makes us understand its evolution and development
of concept of Mayadhish (controller of Maya - a being who is not under Maya but is in control of it and is free; He/She
always attracts us all). At this stage of monotheistic ideas, Vedanta proper beings, but Vedanta proceeds further. The Mayadhish
becomes the principle which is inner soul as well as the body, outer world as well as Mayadhish. '... until you find ... that
freedom was your own nature, and this Maya never bound you. Nature never has power over you.' When this is realized, the hopeless,
horrible dream of Maya becomes our beautiful playground.
* The Absolute And Manifestation
Adjacent diagram (used by Swami Vivekananda during his talk in London) shows how the Absolute
appear as manifestation; it is through time, space, causation that we perceive Absolute as manifestation. Schopenhauer
makes the mistake of making 'Will' the Absolute but Will is something within phenomenon and hence can't be the original
substance/Absolute. Law of causation is because our tendency, in mind, to see association in precedence and succession
of events. The 'causation' or 'law' thinking, seems integral to humanity; this may be due to the belief that
'nothing is independent' or that there is always a 'precession and succession' to everything.
To ask 'why Absolute become manifestation?' is contradiction in itself as it assumes Absolute under
the 'causation law' and a 'dependent something'! That which is Absolute is free from dependence and causation; to know the answer
to that question would amount to bringing Absolute to the level of mind which is under time and space.
Thus we see Absolute can't be 'known', from this we may infer that God is something unknown and
unknowable but Advaita says God is more than knowable, more than known. He is the eternal Witness of all knowledge. 'in and through
Him we breathe, in and through Him we exist. … He is our real Self.'
'Time is entirely dependent on our state of mind.' So with space and causation. Time and space can not
be thought of in abstract terms; they are always relative to two events or two objects; and idea of causation is inseparable from
time and space. This is similar to name and form of a wave on ocean surface. We all and whole nature is like waves of a ocean and
as soon as an individual gives up name and form, he/she is free; our 'whole struggle is to get rid of this clinging on to time,
space, and causation, which are always obstacles in our ways.' By attuning subject to the Absolute, nature can be conquered.
Advaita twice saved India from materialism: in the form of Buddha and later in the form of Shankaracharya.
It can save Western world in present time and it can be the future religion of all, as it can make poetry and philosophy, science
and religion, meet. It is also non-destructive; it does not disturb lower modes of worship but raises them higher and higher.
Dualists, by their constitution, are exclusive and narrow minded; but Advaita has no quarrel with them. Vedanta says God is
infinite Existence, infinite Knowledge, and infinite Bliss; 'it is possible to have the intellect of a Shankara with the heart of
a Buddha. I hope we shall all struggle to attain to that blessed combination.'
* God in Everything
'There is evil in the world, give up the world; that is the great teaching, and the only teaching no doubt.'
All religions proclaim this in some way or other and also all proclaim an unchanging entity behind the world but they differ in the
explanation of that entity. Giving up of desires (i.e. life itself!) is the solution, but this suicidal solution does not appeal us.
We need 'combination of head and heart'; Vedanta offers solution in the form of 'deification of the world', working selflessly
without selfish desires; seeing God in everything.
This has been proclaimed by many religions from centuries but when it comes to practically implementing
this teaching, we soon find it difficult. Perseverance is the key, it is not a one day job; we must have the ideal, many grope in the
darkness of life without any ideal. Failures and mistakes are beauties of life, never mind them, let the ideal fill you completely.
Misery is due to idea of separation and Vedanta says that this separation is not real; Unity, God - Infinite, Eternal Existence-Consciousness-Bliss
- is at the heart of all things.
Kathopanishad introduction; human conception of Personal-God - based on external, limited sense-perceptions -
fails far too short as an explanation for existence of universe. To find a common ground or common material for all spheres of existences,
we have to give up search outside (in limited sense-perceived phenomenon) and turn within where there is a centre (at the innermost
depth of human soul) which is the common ground/material. Ancient sages discovered this centre.
Read Kathopanishad story narrated by Swami Vivekananda. In every nation, the old becomes holy; 'Every rite which you now consider
holy was simply an old custom, and the Vedic sacrifices were of this nature.' Desires obstruct our vision of Truth. Religion is a fact to be experienced
and not argument. 'The question as to whether this world exists or not has not yet been decided, and the debate between the idealists
and the realists is endless.' Idea of realisation is a great one and we should hold on to it. Religion is realisation and not mere
Heaven idea is relative and depends on one who desires it, generally it means life with happiness minus
unhappiness - which is impossible. It is an idea based on sense-perceptions. Vedanta says there is Absolute Joy and all external joys
are a bit manifestations of that Absolute Joy, but 'to understand that we have to go through the negation, and then the positive side
will begin.' We have to give up ignorance, falsehood in order to see Truth and then the world will be deified and will be revealed in
Kathopanishad imagery of body as chariot. If a man/woman finds happiness in higher, religious pursuits
and not in sense-pleasure, others who disagree with him/her, should not judge him/her from their perspective. The miseries of earth
will always remain the same, it is like chronic rheumatism! This can be seen practically as well as theoretically. Perfection is
infinity - our real nature - it can never be manifested fully through finite; realisation of this fact is renunciation. Morality
and charity follows it. Let us try to live our life in Him.
* Unity in Diversity
Vedic seers first tried to search Reality outside but soon realised the futility of it; they also realised
that heaven and other spheres of existence must be bound by laws of time and space as the earth sphere is, so there can't be any immortality
in time and space (name and form).
Duality is never cut and dried separation, it is always manifestation of same substance; heat and cold,
pleasure and pain, life and death are not separate things. The theory that in course of evolution all evil will be eliminated and
good alone will remain is absurd and is not an observed fact. Vedanta does not deny evil, but it is not hopeless, agnostic; it finds
remedy and places everything on adamantine foundations; it finds the transcendent Unity on which all duality is based. Know your true
nature to be infinite and then you can see whole world as a tiny drop in your real nature.
'Do not run after the manifold; go towards the One.' He, who finds this Ancient One, gets real peace and
none else. All heavens can be seen in the soul of man; pure mind is the means. (Kathopanishad shlokas).
Those who say Vedanta and other Eastern schools of thought are not practical are ignorant fools. He who
finds all that life offers only in sense-plane, has no understanding of the mystery of life itself. In long run all must reach the
* The Freedom of The Soul
In older Upanishads we can trace the development of an idea; in recent ones, the ideas are in collection
form, devoid of ritualistic portion details. Vedas are probably the least tampered with scriptures in the world and hence one can
study the ancient development of ideas in them. In West, the development of political ideas saw gradual evolution of democratic values,
similarly in India, the gradual development of metaphysical ideas lead to, initially, One Personal God, and later to, Impersonal Infinity
immanent in whole universe; and investigation of human personality lead to impersonal principle. Next came the gradual convergence
of these two lines in Upanishads - "Thou art That". (Chhandogya Upanishad).
Next came the philosophers; they had the framework in Upanishads but they had to fill in the details; the
question - how One became many needed to be answered and the finest answer produced in India is that of theory of Maya. Impersonal
becomes personal only 'apparently' and not really! Not all philosophers agreed with this; crude dualists tried to stifle the very
question and propagated the idea of predestination of everything as 'inevitable will of God'. Then there were others who didn't accept
the idea of Maya but said that the whole creation was body of God and God was Soul of all souls and nature; individual souls contract
or expand depending upon evil or good deeds.
Whatever may be the religions, philosophies, mythologies, allegories in any country, one idea is common
everywhere and that is: divinity of human nature; differences are in the relationship of this divinity with God. We have to call out
the divine nature in us and others. Highest as well as lowest knowledge or pleasure is but manifestation of One Sat-Chit-Ananda.
'Freedom, immortality, blessedness, all depend upon the soul being beyond the law of causation, beyond this
Maya.' Buddhist position - no permanent soul, only vibrating particles creating illusion of permanent soul; Vedantic position - permanent
soul alone exists and in the rapid succession of thoughts, illusion of matter appears. Arguments on both side are similar, only the 'permanent spirit'
side is little stronger 'for nobody has ever seen what matter is'! Also the 'spirit theory' explains the universe.
Vedanta says the bondage is illusion and 'Freedom' is who we really are. This gives strength, which is
most needed because weakness brings in all evils; hence teaching dualistic ideas was a mistake, instead monistic truth should be
proclaimed to all. Even if we can't immediately realize the Truth, that is no reason to plunge into superstitions, delusion, and
weakness; monism alone gives us strength at every step. 'I am the Pure and Blessed One.'
* The Cosmos (The Macrocosm)
Humans, since time immemorial have wondered about the external world and have tried search for its source.
Ancient Indians said that in the beginning there was "neither aught not naught"; how did they know? By observing the cyclic nature of
everything in universe; subtle or cause becomes gross or effect and then goes back to subtle or cause - this is the uniform law in
universe. Cosmic cycle is Kalpa and destruction only means going back to original causal state; Sage Kapila, father of all
philosophy, had proved this. Effect is nothing but cause in another form and hence universe can not come from 'nothing'.
Modern theory of evolution is fine but it is incomplete without taking into account involution; if evolutionists
can accept this fact, they will be greatest supporters of religion! Intelligence, seen manifested at human stage of evolution and even
perfected in perfect human (Christ, Buddha, Jnani), must be present in 'involved form' at the beginning of the series at protoplasm
The cosmic intelligence is called God by theologians; if you are frightened by the word God, you are not
fit to be philosophers! Better to use the word 'God' than any other new word, as 'God' is associated with all the hopes, aspirations,
best values, and happiness of humanity as also with majestic and powerful ideas; though it may have been corrupted at the hands of
ignorant folks, still, instead of taking up any new word, we should free this ancient word of superstitions accumulated, and use it
in its true spirit. God is both material and efficient cause of the universe.
* The Cosmos (The Microcosm)
With higher state of civilisation, human being turns from external search to internal search. Is there
anything permanent in this evanescent human life? Does all end with death? These are eternal questions. The question was answered
thousands of years ago and the answer has to be restated, reillustrated, put into simple words so that each human being grasps it.
Sense world -> external instruments of sense in body -> internal sense centres -> mind -> intellect -> human soul.
Intelligence, luminosity is in human soul and not in gross world, gross body, or subtle body (mind). Knowledge, Existence, Bliss are
not qualities of soul, they are the essence. Time is in soul; when soul reflects its power on mind and mind thinks then time arises.
Reincarnation idea is 'most essential for the moral well-being of the human race'. The memory-objection against reincarnation is very
weak and can easily be countered; we do not recall many memories in life, this does not prove that we did not exist then. In the last
life one gets the memory of all past lives and then alone one gets perfect detachment; one understands then that all of it and the
world was a dream.
All our 'knowledge' comes from arranging sense-perceptions into earlier recognized memory patters. 'When,
not finding the cognates of an impression, we become dissatisfied, this state of mind is called "ignorance"'. It is clear then that
no child is born with empty slate, he/she has a fund of impressions which enables him/her to acquire knowledge. This is positive
argument in favour of reincarnation. 'Instinct is degeneration of voluntary actions; ... ... degeneration of will.' Applying the
law of involution-evolution (seen in previous lecture of 'Macrocosm') 'we see that instinct is involved reason.'
Last argument against above, is of assigning the transmission of past impressions through heredity, and
not soul. Partly this is true, as far as gross body is concerned, but what about mental impressions; to say that mental impressions
are recorded in matter (in bioplasmic cell) is absurd and against observed facts. It is soul which carries all impressions and
manufactures suitable body for manifesting the impressions; it seeks those parents which can furnish the suitable gorss body.
Reincarnation in higher and lower bodies continues till soul realises its real nature and becomes free. Reincarnation is the one
theory which does not put blame for our weaknesses on others, or God, or world, or fate or anything else; it asks us to be responsible
for ourselves. God's mercy is on all alike, it is we who can accept it or refuse it. '... you are the creator of your own destiny.'
'All human knowledge proceeds out of experience.' Our reason is 'generalised experience' and knowledge
is but 'harmonised experience'. Every evolution presupposes involution. Protoplasm gradually manifests in perfect man because 'perfect man'
is involved in protoplasm; it is manifestation and not 'growth'. Effect is cause in another form; even physical forms are infinitely
repeated like a dice rolled infinitely. So as to forms, it is perfectly possible to read past and future of them but as to the souls
riding those forms, it is not.
We are all parts of cosmic intelligence (God) which got involved in the manifestation and we all must
complete the circle and go back to It. Soul (God/Self) is neither matter nor thought but manufacturer of thought and body; body and
mind, by themselves are not intelligent, it is the Self behind them that is intelligent and real Ruler, Creator, Manipulator. Self
is beyond life and death as it is not a compound and it is beyond law or causation. '... you are infinite, ever-present ... ever-free.'
"That thou art".
* The Atman
From ancient times, India always had freedom of thought, of religion, of sect and even now many new philosophies
and sects continues to come up; 'the religious activity of that nation is simply inexhaustible'. Of the sects in India, two groups can
be made: orthodox (those who believe that Vedas are eternal revelations of truth) and heterodox (those who reject authority of Veda; Buddhism and Jainism);
of the orthodox, Samkhya and Naiyayikas philosophies failed to form sects but later Mimamsakas (Vedantists) cover almost all of India,
though within themselves they are not unanimous.
The points on which the various sects within Vedantists agree are: God, Vedas, and Cyclic nature of universe;
as to main variations within them, there are three: dualists, qualified non-dualists, and Non-dualists (Advaitists).
Dualists say God is eternally separate from nature and souls, though God, souls and nature all are eternal.
Vast majority of humanity is necessarily dualist as they can think only in concrete sense-perceived way and not in subtle, abstract way.
Indian dualists never developed the idea of devil to explain evil in world, nor do they blame God for it; it is human beings with their
thoughts and actions produce evil. Also each soul will attain Liberation i.e. freedom from birth and death in various higher and lower bodies;
dualists believe there is special place beyond the universe where liberated soul remains eternally with God, though separate from Him.
Dualists also are vegetarians, as all life belongs to God and 'killing' is evil action. God should be prayed only for Liberation and
not for material things.
Qualified non-dualists say that God is both material and efficient cause of the universe; God is the Soul
and 'nature and souls' are His body. Changes in body do not affect soul, so all the changes in nature and 'journeys of souls' do not
affect God. Souls contract after evil acts and expand after good acts; they have multitude of qualities except omniscience, omnipotence,
and omnipresence; when they become perfect they live with God forever. At the end of cosmic cycle His body contract and becomes finer
and at the start of the cycle it expands and manifests again.
Advaitism is the most subtle and profound thought; even most thoughtful humans find it difficult to understand!
It says that there is one infinite Existence which appears as God, nature, and souls but always remains unchanged. All manifestations
including all spheres of existence and all souls are vain imaginations in One infinite Existence, Atman - the Self of human being.
"I Am That"! Advaita is the last word of Vedas. 'It begins with dualism, goes through a qualified monism and ends in perfect monism.'
* The Atman: Its Bondage And Freedom
According to Advaita, we all are Brahman plus Maya - Atman working the body with help of internal organ (mind).
Atman not being a compound, is formless & immortal and hence beyond time, space, causation. Samskaras - the sum total of all
mental impressions - in mind, survives the death of body and it takes new form; this whirl-force of prana with samskaras
also finally dissolves and Atman remains in its full infinite glory. As long as mind remains Atman is in bondage and with mind's dissolution,
Atman becomes free. (Examples of whirl of wind and ball being hit by mallets).
Our past, present, and future lives are like an infinite chain without beginning and without end; the
chain has alternated black and while links (bad and good actions). We have thrown around us a network of our actions which we now
find crushing us and we are unable to break it! The Atman never comes or goes, is never born nor dies; 'motion of nature' in Its
front makes It think that It is in bondage but when It comes to know Its omnipresent nature then freedom comes. Atman in apparent
bondage is called Jiva and Its apparent motion in higher and lower bodies is 'law of reincarnation'; travelling from birth
to death to rebirth, is called Samsara. (Example of dice thrown endlessly and Ferris Wheel).
* The Real and The Apparent Man
So long as human being thinks, he/she wants to know future, here and hereafter. Hindu mind (Vedanta) seeks
universal, unity and is not interested in particulars. All that is perceived by senses is manifestation of Akasha; Prana
- the inherent power within Akasha (matter) - acts on Akasha and manufactures forms out of it; Prana (energy)
is the universal power which is manifested in the form of all 'power' in the world and even as thought. Cycle of projection of universe,
it's functioning, and resolution back into Akasha, propelled by Prana, continues eternally.
Yet the above analysis is partial, Akasha and Prana both can be resolved back into still higher
entity - mind(Mahat/universally existing thought power). External sense pulsations->sense instruments in body->internal sense
organs->mind->Buddhi (intellect)->human soul(motionless screen). Just as behind human system there is soul, similarly behind cosmic
Mahat there is Soul called God. At cosmic level, God evolves as Mahat and as Akasha and Prana; on individual
level, soul evolves as mind and mind as body.
Dualists say the soul moves out of gross body at death, taking along all samskaras in subtle body;
further movement of the soul through various spheres and bodies depend on the samskaras. Finally the soul gets human body on
Earth - the Karma-bhumi - where good and bad karmas can be performed and perfection can be attained.
Buddhists deny this soul theory of dualists; they say the changing sea of body and mind is enough, no need
to assume soul. The apparent illusive continuity and unity seen in body & mind is due to rapid motion of particles of matter and thought.
The highest step of thought, non-dualism, provides solution to the above two theories of dualism and Buddhism.
It says that dualists are right in saying that there is unchanging soul but wrong in saying that it is separate from body and mind.
Also the Buddhists are right in saying that everything is a mass of changing particles & thoughts, but wrong in denying soul. That
which is Soul, Itself appears as thoughts or as matter; rope appearing as snake; sea and waves; Sun reflected upon millions of water drops.
Atman is One and Unchanging but appears as many and changeable due to Maya/ignorance/'name & forms'/'time, space, causation'.
But Maya has no existence apart from Atman/Brahman just as wave is not separate from sea and when subsided, remains as sea. 'Omnipresent
is the Self of man.' Advaitist say that all the different spheres of existence, all the different bodies, and even this earth sphere are
mere mythologies and human being, never was and can't ever be, a body; one finds on realisation that one is 'more infinite than the infinite
time, more omnipresent than the omnipresent either'.
'"Is it possible to realise this?" It is.' Two wheels (one of pure soul and other of hallucination of body-mind)
are joined by pole (Karma); if by an axe (Self-Knowledge) the pole is cut, the wheel of soul will stop (realising the its infinite, unchanging
real nature) but the other wheel will continue for some time due to past momentum (life, prarabdha seen in 'Living-Free' by others).
Swamiji's experience of water-in-desert mirage.
Daily we feel we are free but deeper thinking will reveal that it is not so, we are like machines; the
apparent freedom we feel is the real freedom of soul shining through the matter veils. 'Free will is a misnomer'. Though good and evil
are both manifestations of Self, unless we get over evil and cultivate good, we can't even dream of Self-Knowledge. No use mere talking,
philosophising or theorising, know the Truth and practice It. Self-Realised souls are of greatest help to world, not in materialistic
sense but spiritually; even if people realise a fraction of this Truth, all the indecent quarrels, hurries and jealousies of the world
would vanish. Time has come to broadcast these thoughts to all.
( Readers can go through the book fully by downloading the Vol II of Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda