Indian Monk Says to Rise Above Thought and Reason (Swami Vivekananda)

The really difficult part to understand is that this state, the Absolute, which has been called the highest, is not, as some fear, that of the zoophite, or of the stone. That would be a dangerous thing to think. According to these thinkers there are only two states of existence, one of the stone, and the other of thought. What right have they to limit existence to these two? Is there not something infinitely superior to thought?

The vibrations of light, when they are very low, we do not see; when they become a little more intense they become light to us; when they become still more intense we do not see them; it is dark to us. Is the darkness in the end the same as in the beginning? Certainly not; it is the difference of the two poles. Is the thoughtlessness of the stone the same as the thoughtlessness of God? Certainly not. God does not think; He does not reason; why should He? Is anything unknown to Him, that He should reason? The stone cannot reason; God does not. Such is the difference. These philosophers think it is awful if we go beyond thought; they find nothing beyond thought.

There are much higher states of existence beyond reasoning. It is really beyond the intellect that the first stage of religious life is to be found. When you step beyond thought and intellect and all reasoning, then you have made the first step towards God; and that is the beginning of life. This that is commonly called life is but an embryo state.

The next question will be, what proof is there that this state beyond thought and reasoning is the highest state? In the first place, all the great men of the world, greater than those that only talk, men who moved the world, men who never thought of any selfish ends whatever, have declared that this is but a little stage on the way, that the Infinite is beyond.

In the second place, they not only say so, but lay it open to everyone, they leave their methods, and all can follow in their steps.

In the third place, there is no other way left. There is no other explanation. Taking for granted that there is no higher state, why are we going through this circle all the time; what reason can explain the world?

The sensible will be the limit to our knowledge if we cannot go farther, if we must not ask for anything more. This is what is called agnosticism. But what reason is there to believe in the testimony of the senses? I would call that man a true agnostic who would stand still in the street and die. If reason is all in all it leaves us no place to stand on this side of nihilism. If a man is agnostic of everything but money, fame and name, he is only a fraud.

Kant has proved beyond all doubt that we cannot penetrate beyond the tremendous dead wall called reason. But that is the very first idea upon which all Indian thought takes its stand, and dares to seek, and succeeds in finding something higher than reason, where alone the explanation of the present state is to be found. This is the value of the study of something that will take us beyond the world. “Thou art our Father, and wilt take us to the other shore of this ocean of ignorance;” that is the science of religion; nothing else can be.

~ Excerpt from preface to Swami Vivekananda’s commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. See book on Amazon India: PATANJALI YOGA SUTRAS ; International:  The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Read also: “And Now, Yoga” ~ Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras: Introduction

 

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