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Updated: July 11, 2013 16:30 IST

What the Swami told The Hindu in 1897

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Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda

In February 1897, a correspondent from The Hindu interviewed Swami Vivekananda during his visit to Madurai. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

What is the true meaning of the statement that the Vedas are beginning-less and eternal? Does it refer to the Vedic utterances or the statements contained in the Vedas? If it refers to the truth involved in such statements, are not the sciences such as Logic , Chemistry, Geometry etc. are equally beginning-less and eternal, for they contain an everlasting truth?

There was a time when the Vedas themselves were considered eternal in the sense in which the divine truths contained therein were changeless and permanent and only revealed to man.

At a subsequent time, it appeared that the utterance of the Vedic hymns with the knowledge of its meaning was important, and it was held that the hymns themselves must have had a divine origin. At a still later period the meaning of the hymns showed that many of them could not be of divine origin, because they inculcated upon mankind performance of various unholy acts such as torturing animals and we can also find many ridiculous stories in the Vedas.

The correct meaning of the statement “The Vedas are beginning-less and eternal” is that the law or truth revealed by them to man is permanent and changeless. Logic, Geometry, Chemistry, etc, reveal also a law or truth which is permanent and changeless and in that sense they are also beginning-less and eternal. But no truth or law is absent from the Vedas and I ask any one of you to point out to me any truth which is not treated of in them

What is the notion of Mukti according to the Advaita philosophy, or in other words, is it a conscious state? Is there any difference between Mukti of the Advaitism and the Buddhistic Nirvana?

There is a consciousness in Mukti which we call super consciousness. It differs from your present consciousness. It is illogical to say that there is no consciousness in Mukti. The consciousness is of three sorts — the dull, mediocre, and intense — as is the case of light. When vibration is intense, the brilliancy is so very powerful as to dazzle the sight itself and in effect is as ineffectual as the dullest of lights. The Buddhistic Nirvana must have the same degree of consciousness whatever the Buddhists may say. Our definition of Mukti is affirmative in its Nature, while the Buddhists Nirvana has a negative definition.

(Reproduced from ‘The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda- Volume 5)

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Excellent response from one of the greatest philosophers! Thanks for "The Hindu" for publishing this historic art piece. Every time i read these spiritual articles backed with historical facts i truly find it inspirational. However, Science in itself could be compared to Vedas as Vedas also discusses about Science of its time. Such knowledge perceived in ancient times as seen by humans in middle ages sounded eternal. Science today has answered many questions that holy books failed. In fact, Sun as considered by Vedas as a planet has been re-defined by contemporary science as a star. There is nothing harm in it as with the technology available in ancient time they were extremely great to get to planet level. Even in Science Newton's and Einstein's theories were also challenged and disproved. That doesnt mean they are not greats because they came closer to the fact first!

from:  Nathan
Posted on: Jul 12, 2013 at 10:43 IST

The Hindu has a great tradition and is absolutely a neutral paper. It
adheres to ethics of journalism. The language style is superb. I am an
avid reader of this paper for the past 50 years.

from:  Jamaludheen
Posted on: Jul 11, 2013 at 20:37 IST

Vedas were created by human logical sense according to that time of
human evolution..Their sense of future also with their sense prevailing
at that time.The logical sense keep evolving with the time so some
statements are true and some are not.
Say for example many things told by Gandhiji do not hold good today.

from:  Ashok
Posted on: Jul 11, 2013 at 19:55 IST
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