THE HINDOO OPTIMISTIC
(Ray and Wanda Ellis, “Swami Vivekananda in Washington D.C., The Vedanta Kesari, 1991, pp. 369-70.)
[Washington Times, November 2, 1894]
Vive Kananda Compares Religions and Talks of
(The untranscribed lecture advertised as “Karma and Reincarnation”, delivered at the People’s Church, Sunday, October 28, 1894.)
Optimism is the feature of the belief of the Aryas or Hindoos as distinguished from Western religions, according to the Brahman monk, Vive Kananda, who spoke to a fair-sized audience at Metzerott Hall last night. His subject was reincarnation. Much of his lecture was devoted to comparison of Hindoo with Christian doctrine.
To illustrate the tenet of reincarnation he compared the human body to a river. Each drop of water passes on and is replaced by another. The entire body of water, he observed, changes wholly in a few moments, but we call it the same river. In the same way the particles of the body are constantly replaced by others and no two days do we have the same body, yet we preserve our identity.
The spirit remains so, the Hindoos believe, that the person may have a different and more sudden and violent change in death and yet pass on in its existence to some other place in the universe, to some other planet or star, and then take on a body of flesh again or of some other kind.
He said there ought to be no talk of sin. The mistakes of the past ought to be used only for guidance in the future, never to be moaned over. When the lesson is learned from them they should be forgotten.
“Strike a light,” he said, “sit not in darkness and sorrow. Do always better and be happy.” . . .