WEDNESDAY, July 10, 1895.
There are sixty-five million Mohammedans in India, some of them Sufis.1 Sufis identify man with God, and through them this idea came into Europe. They say, “I am that Truth”; but they have an esoteric as well as an exoteric doctrine, although Mohammed himself did not hold it.
“Hashshashin“2 has become our word “assassin”, because an old sect of Mohammedanism killed nonbelievers as a part of its creed.
A pitcher of water has to be present in the Mohammedan worship as a symbol of God filling the universe.
The Hindus believe that there will be ten Divine Incarnations. Nine have been and the tenth is still to come.
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Shankara sometimes resorts to sophistry in order to prove that the ideas in the books go to uphold his philosophy. Buddha was more brave and sincere than any teacher. He said: “Believe no book; the Vedas are all humbug. If they agree with me, so much the better for the books. I am the greatest book; sacrifice and prayer are useless.” Buddha was the first human being to give to the world a complete system of morality. He was good for good’s sake, he loved for love’s sake.
Shankara says: God is to be reasoned on, because the Vedas say so. Reason helps inspiration; books and realised reason — or individualized perception — both are proofs of God. The Vedas are, according to him, a sort of incarnation of universal knowledge. The proof of God is that He brought forth the Vedas, and the proof of the Vedas is that such wonderful books could only have been given out by Brahman. They are the mine of all knowledge, and they have come out of Him as a man breathes out air; therefore we know that He is infinite in power and knowledge. He may or may not have created the world, that is a trifle; to have produced the Vedas is more important! The world has come to know God through the Vedas; no other way there is.
And so universal is this belief, held by Shankara, in the all-inclusiveness of the Vedas that there is even a Hindu proverb that if a man loses his cow, he goes to look for her in the Vedas!
Shankara further affirms that obedience to ceremonial is not knowledge. Knowledge of God is independent of moral duties, or sacrifice or ceremonial, or what we think or do not think, just as the stump is not affected when one man takes it for a ghost and another sees it as it is.
Vedanta is necessary because neither reasoning nor books can show us God. He is only to be realised by superconscious perception, and Vedanta teaches how to attain that. You must get beyond personal God (Ishvara) and reach the Absolute Brahman. God is the perception of every being: He is all there is to he perceived. That which says “I” is Brahman, but although we, day and night, perceive Him; we do not know that we are perceiving Him. As soon as we become aware of this truth, all misery goes; so we must get knowledge of the truth. Reach unity; no more duality will come. But knowledge does not come by sacrifice, but by seeking, worshipping, knowing the Atman.
Brahmavidyâ is the highest knowledge, knowing the Brahman; lower knowledge is science. This is the teaching of the Mundakopanishad or the Upanishad for Sannyâsins. There are two sorts of knowledge — principal and secondary. The unessential is that part of the Vedas dealing with worship and ceremonial, also all secular knowledge. The essential is that by which we reach the Absolute. It (the Absolute) creates all from Its own nature; there is nothing to cause, nothing outside. It is all energy, It is all there is. He who makes all sacrifices to himself, the Atman, he alone knows Brahman. Fools think outside worship the highest; fools think works can give us God. Only those who go through the Sushumnâ (the “path” of the Yogis) reach the Atman. They must go to a Guru to learn. Each part has the same nature as the whole; all springs from the Atman. Meditation is the arrow, the whole soul going out to God is the bow, which speeds the arrow to its mark, the Atman. As finite, we can never express the Infinite, but we are the Infinite. Knowing this we argue with no one.
Divine wisdom is to be got by devotion, meditation, and chastity. “Truth alone triumphs, and not untruth. Through truth alone the way is spread to Brahman” — where alone love and truth are.
- ^The influence of Hinduism upon Mohammedanism in India gave rise to the sect known as Sufis.
- ^The name of a military and religious order existing in Syria in the 11th century and notorious for the number of secret murders committed by its members in obedience to the will of their chief. The literal meaning of the word is “Hashish-eater” and was applied to the order because of their habitual use of this special drug to fortify the murderers for their task.