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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1997
by Swami Krishnananda

35. The Hindu Religion

(Darshan given on July 1st, 1997.)

A visitor: According to you, what is the greatest weakness of the Hindu religion?

Swamiji: The greatest weakness of the Hindu religion is that nobody can understand what it is. That is the greatest weakness. You ask any Hindu, “How do you know that you are Hindu?” Let him answer the question. He will fail in the exam.

Hinduism has no weakness. The weaknesses is in the mind of the person who is trying to understand it. Hinduism is so comprehensive, and it extends from the atom to the stars. Every concept, every faith, every religious viewpoint, every aspiration, every gesture, every state of mind, every level of reality – all these are comprehended in that vast compass of religious consciousness which today goes by the name Hinduism.

The word 'Hindu' is not known to Hindus. It is a foreign word. It has come from Persia and Greece. India does not know that it is India. It is a later development. When the Persians came, they crossed the Indus River, which was called Sindhu. Persians cannot pronounce the letter S, so they pronounce Sindhu as Hindu, and whoever is beyond the Hindhu River are Hindus. Then the Greeks came with Alexander the Great, and they crossed the Indus. The H became I, Ind. So Hindu became Ind afterwards, and now it is a country called India.

Neither the word India, Ind nor Hindu have any connection with the religion and philosophy of this country. It has no name. It is a universal sweep. It is a way of conducting oneself according to the law of the universe, that's all; and it is up to anyone to find out what is the law of the universe. Atom, molecule, object, stars, galaxies, space, time – all these are degrees of the manifestation of the law of nature, and every degree of the manifestation of the law of nature should be respected. You have to pay dues to it.

Hinduism is a religion which absorbs, but does not repel. Hinduism is only an ideal. But human weakness does not permit this kind of appreciation. No human being really can think of anything which is not finite. It is a respect that you pay to every viewpoint, every degree of reality, and every kind of relation that obtains between oneself and the universe.

If it is too difficult to understand, we go by the lesser definitions of the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavadgita, etc. People who do not want to go too much beyond the limit of human capability, they confine Hinduism to the Bhagavadgita. Whatever the Gita says, it is okay; that's all. Some say it is the Vedas, some say the Upanishads. Usually, normally, the popular mass considers the gospel of the Gita as the gospel of Hinduism. But the Gita is not very simple. It is also very multifaceted. It requires a guide to understand it.

Anyway, if you are a lover of God and you aspire for God, and that is the main aim of your life, you can be sure that you have understood religion. A person who does not love God, who does not consider the attainment of God as the final aim of life, will not know what religion is.

As I mentioned earlier, as the soul demands its needs, what you call spirituality arises. The soul's demand is not philosophy; it is not religion. It is crying for the very source from where it has come. Your soul cannot be satisfied with anything – any learning, any possession, any amount of property, any amount of status and wealth. Nothing can satisfy you. No one can be satisfied with possession of the whole earth because what can satisfy oneself is the deepest recesses of one's own heart. That is the spirit which is the voice of God. Religion is super-philosophical. When God starts speaking through you, you are speaking religion. Let God speak through you.

Another visitor: How to transcend the mind?

Swamiji: By meditating on God.

Visitor: But then when meditating on God, it is also in the mind.

Swamiji: No, it is not in the mind. Meditation is practised by the soul. It is not by the mind. There are two kinds of mind: the higher mind and the lower mind. What you are thinking of is the lower mind, which thinks of objects of the world. The higher mind is pure reason, which is a spark of light. There is a difference between the electric bulb and the electricity. Electricity is the radiance; the bulb is the outer form of it. When the electricity passes through a bulb, you may say it is like a mind shining, but by itself it is not an electric bulb. It is by itself an intelligence. It is a universal power of intelligence which animates the mind and makes the mind wrongly believe that it is thinking. It is like electricity passing through a copper wire. The wire is the mind; electricity is the reason, the higher mind. When you see electricity charging a copper wire, you may say the wire itself is electricity. You cannot touch the wire. But the wire is not electricity. Electricity is different from the wire, but for all practical purposes it looks the wire itself is electricity. So is the difference between consciousness and mind.

So you have to put forth great effort to disentangle pure consciousness from contaminated and mental activity, which works through the sense objects. When you meditate, you don't work through the lower mind, but you work through the higher reason, which is pure intelligence. Actually, your higher intelligence is the real ambassador of God. There is something in you which says you are more than what you are, but the mind says you are just this body only. The mind says: I am coming from England, I am the son of so-and-so, I have got this occupation, I am a businessman, I am a man, I am a woman. This is told by the lower mind. But the higher reason, which is also working in you, says that you are a finite individual, and therefore there is something beyond the finite. The consciousness of your finitude indicates there is something more than the finite. This is the work of the higher mind, to which I gave the name 'ambassador of God'. But the lower mind says you are a son of so-and-so, you are a human being, you are a man, you are a woman, you want this and that.

So you have to use the higher reason in meditation and lift your finite consciousness to that implication which is involved in the very consciousness of finitude. You must convince yourself: “I cannot be finite because the consciousness of the finite implies that there is an infinite.” You cannot know that you are a finite being unless you simultaneously accept that you are also infinite, so transfer your mind from this lower conclusion that you are finite: “I am involved in a consciousness of finitude wrongly by listening to the voice of the lower mind. The implication is that I am a non-finite existence.” Non-finite means infinite. Raise your mind to that concept. Feel your presence everywhere.

The idea of finitude suggests the existence of the infinite. It is a logical conclusion. Now catch hold of that suggestion like a rope by which you can climb up. With great effort climb up from the finite to the infinite suggestion, and deeply meditate, and you will find that you will be elevated automatically, and you will receive sustenance from the higher power. It requires great practice.