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The religion of the twentieth century

Works of Swami Abhedananda 
How to be a Yogi ... 
Nine Lectures Pt. I 
Great Saviors of the World 
Divine Heritage of Man 
Self Knowledge 
India & Her People (Half cloth) 
Do (Paper) 
Lectures and Addresses of 
Swami Abhedananda (in India) 
Spiritual Unfoldment 
Philosophy of Work 
Human Affection & Divine Love (Cloth) 
Do ( Paper ) 
Rs. As. P. 
To be had of 
40, Beadon Street. Calcutta. 
Swami Abhedananda 
Religion of The Twentieth 
Author of "Self Knowledge" ; "India and Her People* 
"Divine Heritage of Man" ; "How to be a 
Yogi" ; "Re- incarnation" ; etc. etc. etc. 
Ramakrishna Vedanta Society 
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Published by 
Brahmacbari Santa Ctaitanya 
40 Beadon Street, 
Copyright by 
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The Religion of the Twentieth 
Twentieth Century may be called the age 
of science and reason. In this age everything 
that is based upon scientific truths or upon ra- 
tional foundation appeals to our minds and 
we accept it as truth. Science to-day, rules 
over our thoughts and reason and our present 
tendency is to make all physical and mental 
activities harmonize with the laws explained 
by modern science. Our general tendency is 
to apply the truths of science in the acts of our 
daily lives. In cooking, eating, drinking, dress- 
ing, walking and in all avocations of life we 
try to observe the laws of nature as discovered 
by the scientists of to-day. We are now ready 
to reject everything which is not approved by 
the scientific thinkers of the world. Every day, 
science is forcing us to remodel our old ideas, 
to change our habit, to rebuild our dwelling 
houses, and to reform our societies. 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
Scientific investigations have opened before 
our eyes the doors of the unknown realms of 
the universe. With the help of the torch-light 
of modern science we are now able to see the 
vastness and grandeur of the phenomenal uni- 
verse and the most exquisite beauty and perfec- 
tion, in every minute detail of the objects of 
nature from the smallest to the largest. Science 
has revealed to us the prof oundest depths of 
nature and has taken the seekers after truth, 
step by step, along the path of evolution into 
the realm of the finer forces that operate upon 
the invisible particles of matter known as atoms 
and molecules. Scientific researches have not 
only explained the constituent elements which 
produce the phenomenal objects, but have 
lately revealed to us that those which were 
so long known as atoms are not in reality in- 
divisible units. There are particles fiuer than 
atoms. Each atom can be sub-divided into 
a thousand corpuscles or electrons which make 
up its body and form. Each of these electrons 
Religion of The Twentieth Centuey 
may be called an etherial centre of force similar 
to negative electricity. Governed by the Law 
of Attraction and Repulsion these electrons pro- 
duce atoms, molecules and elements of nature. 
To-day, the light of new knowledge has 
dawned upon the horizon of our minds and 
with its help we can see things which were 
unknown to the thinkers of the past centuries. 
Science has also demonstrated that the various 
forces of nature, like electricity, heat, light, 
motion, gravitation are nothing but so many 
expressions, so many manifestations of one 
eternal Cosmic Energy. 
Modern science has disproved, as we all 
know, the Theory of a Special Creation in a 
definite period of time, but, on the contrary, 
it has shown that this world has come to its 
present state through a gradual process of 
evolution which must have lasted for millions 
and millions of years. By this Theory of 
Evolution, modern science has given a death- 
blow to the Biblical Cosmogony which depend- 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
ed upon the Theory of a Special Creation. 
The astronomical discoveries of the present 
century have shown the most wonderful things 
of the visible universe. Modern astronomy 
teaches us that the distance to the sun from 
this earth is only ninety-three millions of miles. 
Most of the planets are over one hundred 
millions of miles away from us and the dia- 
meter of the solar system is only six-thousand 
millions of miles , and to cross this space, light 
travelling at the rate of one hundred and 
eighty -six thousand miles per second, would 
take only nine minutes to reach us. The near- 
est star beyond our solar system is so distant 
that the light emanating from that star, takes 
three and one-half years to reach our earth. 
Some of these stars are so remote that the light 
which we see from them to-day, probably left 
them long before Jesus was born, before the 
Egyptian pyramid was built, nay, long before 
the earth was created, according, to the Theory 
of Genesis. Perhaps when that light reaches 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
our planet, the star from which it emanated 
centuries ago, has become extinct in the mean- 
time. Think of the immensity of space and 
vastness of the universe and conceive of the 
time when these luminaries first appeared in 
the heavens and compare your conception with 
the stories of creation which you have learnt 
from your childhood. 
The Geological researches of this century 
have shown that the first appearance of man on 
earth was not six thousand years ago, as the 
Christian Bible teaches, but in the Tertiary 
period which goes way back beyond 50, 000 or 
100,000 years from to-day. 
Comparative Anatomy and Physiology have 
proved that human organism was not the result 
of a Special Creation as described in Genesis, 
but that it was closely related to the organism 
of the lower animals. It was the result of the 
gradual process of evolution from a lower 
form to a higher one. Furthermore, it has been 
scientifically demonstrated that the life-prin- 
Religion op The Twentieth Century 
ciple manifests itself not only through animal 
forms but also through vegetables and even 
through inorganic metals. We have learnt to-day 
that the plants have eyes and other senses, that 
they have something like a nervous system, 
pulsation, heartbeat and the power to feel pain 
etc. Those who have read Sir J. C. Bose's 
famous book entitled "Response in the Living 
and Non-living" will remember that ordinary 
metal like iron or tin manifests life-force and 
responds to an electric shock in the same man- 
ner as a living tissue or a muscle of a living 
animal. This discovery has revolutionised our 
conception of life and nonlife. Moreover, it 
has emphasized that old truth mentioned in 
the Vedas that life-force or Prana is one and 
universal, although its manifestations are 
Biology has disproved the old Theory that 
God breathed life into the nostrils of the first 
man before he became a living animal, as if 
the lower animals had no breath of life at all ; 
Religion of The Twentieth Centuky 
on the contrary, it has proved that the 
minutest protoplasm or bioplasm or amoeba 
possesses life ; nay, the whole universe is 
filled with the eternal life-principle or vital 
energy, that there is no such thing as dead 
matter, and that the life of a man is not the 
result of some supernatural intervention, but 
that it is as natural as the life of plants and 
of lower animals. 
Comparative Psychology has taught us that 
the lower animals have not been created for 
man's food but that they have sensation, feeling 
reasoning, memory and many other mental 
faculties like those of ours ; that they are as 
valuable in the economy of nature as we are. 
We have learnt that mind is as much subject 
to evolution and growth as the gross physical 
body. The scientific investigations into the 
constitution of the mind have proved very 
recently that the mental functions are the re- 
sults of the vibrations of the finest etherial 
particles ; and that thought-force is most inti- 
Religion op The Twentieth Century 
mately correlated to the physical forces. As 
physical science has proved that the life-principle 
is one and universal and has also explained by 
the Theory of Evolution, persistence of energy 
and correlation of forces, that all the various 
forces of nature are but the expressions of one 
eternal energy, so mental science has proved 
the same unity in variety on the mental plane. 
Thought-transference and telepathy have 
proved that the individual minds are united to 
one another, that they are like so many eddies 
in the eternal current of the Cosmic Mind. 
Every thought which we think, touches and 
influences the minds of other persons whether 
they are near to us or far away ; the distance 
on the physical plane does not affect our 
mental conditions. 
As on the physical plane wireless-telegraphy 
has brought us above space relations, and has 
revealed to us how powerful is the atmos- 
pheric electric current, so thought-transference 
and telepathy have brought us above space 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
relations, and it has also shown that the 
atmospheric thought current is infinitely more 
powerful than the thought current that is 
manifested through individual centres, just as 
wireless telegraphy has shown that the atmos- 
pheric electric current is much more powerful 
than electricity produced by artificial means. 
Now, we know that if we can harmonize our 
mental conditions or the vibrations of our own 
minds, by tuning them in harmony with the 
vibrations of the cosmic mind, then, we can 
make ourselves the store-house of infinite 
powers and infinite possibilities. 
The result of the psychological studies with 
the help of powerful microscopes, has broad- 
ened our views of life and mind to such an 
extent that now we are able to say positively 
that wherever there is the expression of life, 
there is also the manifestation of certain 
functions of what we call mind. All the 
discoveries of the higher laws and finer forces 
of nature, and all the inventions of scientific 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
instruments of the present century have testi- 
fied the fact that human intelligence and will 
power are but the expressions of the All-know- 
ing Intelligence and Almighty Will-power of 
the Divine Being. 
Again, the scientific Monism of this century 
has given an irreparable blow to the old 
dualistic theory that mind and matter were two 
separate entities and that one was the cause 
of the other. Now we know that matter and 
mind are but the objective and subjective 
manifestations of one substance or Reality 
which is called by modern science the Unknown 
and the Unknowable. Herbert Spencer says : 
''Matter, motion and force are not the reality 
but the symbols of Reality." He also says in 
his Psychology : ''The same reality is manifes- 
ted objectively and subjectively." It expresses 
in the objective world as matter ; in the subjec- 
tive world as mind ; in the objective world as 
gravitation, electricity, heat and motion ; in 
the subjective world as intellect, understanding 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
emotion, will etc. The Reality is one but the 
manifestations are diversified. Thus, the 
ultimate conclusion of the Monistic science is 
unity in variety. Through the help of this 
monistic science we can now say positively 
that the material and efficient causes of the 
universe are in one substance or Being, which 
is the common source of all mental and physical 
The students of modern science can no longer 
believe in a Creator who dwells outside the 
nature, who commands from His heavenly 
abode and creates the universe out of nothing. 
Modern science has discarded the old absurd 
idea that something could be created out of 
nothing. It has also given sufficient evidence 
by which it can be proved that like matter, the 
germ of life is uncreatable and indestructible 
and that this germ of life is subject to the Law 
of Causation. It possesses infinite potentialities 
and unlimited possibilities. Parents do not 
create these germs of life or the individual 
Religion op The Twentieth Century 
souls as we call them, but they become the 
principal channels through which the germs 
of life manufacture gross physical bodies and 
manifest those powers which are already 
latent in them. This truth of science has 
destroyed the foundation of the old belief that 
the germs of life or individual souls were 
created fresh at the time of the birth of a child 
by an extra-cosmic Being. Moreover, by 
proving the indestructibility of the germ of 
life and of the life-force, the problem of birth 
and death has been brought at the door of the 
truth of pre-existence and of continuity of 
existence after death. 
To-day we know that we can never die, or 
can never be destroyed or absolutely annihila- 
ted : but that there will be other manifes- 
tations so long as the germs of life will con- 
tinue to exist. This leads us to the theory of 
rebirth or re-incarnation. 
The theory of re-incarnation, again, makes 
the germs of life or individual souls act as free 
Religion op The Twentieth Century 
agents, reaping the results of their own thoughts 
and deeds, being subject to the law of cause 
and sequence. They mould their own future, 
-create their own destiny and being subject to 
evolution, they rise from lower to higher stages 
and progress onward to the ultimate goal. 
They are indestructible ; and they continue to 
exist whether on this plane or on some other. 
This has helped us to realize the truth of the 
greatest philosophers of India, that the Souls 
are immortal and eternal by their birthright. 
They mean by 'Soul' the same thing which 
modern science means by the germ of life. 
Thus, by studying various branches of 
science we learn that unity in variety is the 
plan of nature, that there is one ultimate sub- 
stance which is the material and efficient cause 
of the universe, that the germs of life are 
uncreated and indestructible and that they are 
free agents. 
Now these are the most salient points on 
which science has been at war with the dualis- 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
tic religions of the world. In ancient times 
religion performed the function of science in 
trying to explain the phenomena and their 
causes. But now, the discoveries of modern 
science have shown the errors and mistakes 
which were committed by orthodox theologians 
and religious teachers of the various sects of 
the world. Consequently, they have been 
left far behind by the advanced scientific 
thinkers of the present age. 
The result of this fight between science and 
religion which finally began in the last century 
has not ended yet. All the existing great 
religions have been shaken to their very 
foundations. Various attempts have been made 
to harmonize religion with science but all such 
attempts have ended in complete failure. Now, 
science has become stronger in power than the 
existing religions. Sectarian religions are 
struggling hard to keep up with the progress of 
science and are obliged to reject those theories 
and beliefs which were based upon tradition 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
and not upon scientific truths. 
Not very long ago, the Dean ofWestminister 
Abbey, London, said in the course of an 
address : "That much which was accepted 
literally by our forefathers could not be ac- 
cepted literally by us to-day. The first chapter 
of Genesis no longer means to us that the 
world was made in six days. The second 
chapter of Genesis no longer means to us that 
God moulded clay into a human figure and 
breathed upon it or that, He took a rib from 
Adam and made Eve. These and many other 
stories like that of the talking serpent and the 
talking ass, we do not take now as historical 
facts, but as imagery which clothed certain 
spiritual lessons." 
Most deplorable is the mental condition of 
those who still cling to the belief that the 
scriptural texts are the revealed words of God 
and that they are infallible. The eyes of the 
masses are now opened to scientific truths and 
the world now demands absolute harmony 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
between religion and science. 
Thus, when the scientific minds of Europe 
and America took their stand against super- 
natural revelation and showed its errors by 
impartial criticism the ready-witted defenders 
of the traditional religion tried their best to 
avoid the conflict between religion and science 
and to support the theological dogmas either 
by taking shelter under history and calling 
their religion historical, or by making it stand 
on faith alone, because faith according to them 
is above all criticism. 
But the archeological researches and the 
higher cirticisms of the old and new Testa- 
ments have enlightened the minds of the 
present generation by explaining the origin, 
authorship and the dates of the composition 
of each of the canonized books of the Christian 
Scriptures. If we study the various religious 
scriptures of the world, we shall find that one 
religion is just as good as any other, and that 
one set of scriptural writings which claims to 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
be a direct revelation of God, has just as much 
argument for such a claim as the others have. 
If we accept one Scripture as the revealed 
Word of God, we shall have to accept all the 
Scriptures of the world. We cannot reject any. 
If, for instance, we accept the Christian Bible 
as the revealed Word of God, we shall have to 
accept the Vedas, the Koran, the Zend-Avesta, 
because the reason and arguments given in 
each case are exactly the same. Furthermore, 
comparative study of the various religions of 
the world has taught us a great lesson that no 
religion whether great or small ever had a 
supernatural origin, but that every religion, on 
the contrary, is the natural result of the 
attempts of the human mind to grasp the truths 
and to explain the mysteries of the pheno- 
menal universe. 
The comparative mythology has shown that 
mythical elements exist in the Christian 
Scriptures just as much as among the non- 
Christian Bibles of the world. Some myths 
2 17 
Religion op The Twentieth Century 
were but personifications of natural forces or 
events, some were the developments of 
metaphors, some were the survivals of early 
superstition ; while others were the exagger- 
ated accounts or descriptions of some real 
events in the life of some great spiritual leader 
or holy personage who was * diefied by the 
Prof, Bacon of Yale University says : "The 
earliest narratives of Genesis are already pro- 
phetic in character, because they turn to the 
mass of mere folk-tale and legend current in 
the eighth or ninth Century before Christ". 
Regarding Abraham, for instance, the learn- 
ed Professor says : "The figure of Abraham 
appears purely and simply as the type of pre- 
historic Israel brought from the far off East by 
Yahveh to inherit the land of Cannan". He 
also says : "The Abraham of the New Testa- 
ment would not be the historic figure, if there 
were one ; it would be but the ideal heir of 
Yahveh. The true Abraham is the ideal and 
Religion op The Twentieth Century 
this Abraham lived only in the minds of Pro- 
phets and Seers". The story of the Deluge 
and Noah's Ark has been proved to be absurd 
and meaningless by Huxley and other scientists. 
A parallel for the story of Noah, is to be found 
in the mythological story of Deulcilion among 
the ancient Greeks ; such stories existed among 
the ancient Hindus, the Chinese and other 
The accounts of immaculate conception and 
of the virgin birth are to be found in connec- 
tion with the lives of all the great Saviours of 
the world, most of whom lived long before 
Christ was born. The healing miracles of 
iEsculapius (Esclepius), the ancient Greek 
physician, suggested those of the New Testa- 
ment. Thus, we see that the scientific research- 
es of the 19th Century have removed the 
historical prop of the traditional religions. 
Those who believe that Christian religion 
stands on faith alone, abuse the true meaning 
of the word "Faith" and mistake the sheerest 
Eeligion of The Twentieth Century 
credulity for it. According to most of them 
"Faith" is another word for that which the old 
Father Tertullian meant by "Belief", that is, 
Credo quia impossible est I believe, because 
it is impossible. But scientific minds do not 
care to entertain this kind of belief or blind 
faith ; they are not ready to give such an un- 
certain foundation to the religion of the 20th 
The Harmony of Religion and Science 
The Twentieth Century needs a religion 
which will be in perfect harmony with all the 
truths discovered by modern science, which 
must be based upon the principle of unity 
in variety, and which should regard the mate- 
rial and efficient cause of the universe as one 
and the same. 
The Twentieth Century needs a religion 
which will advocate freedom of thought, free- 
dom of speech and at the same time, which 
will be in perfect harmony with the conclu- 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
sions of modern scientific researches ; a religion 
which will harmonize with the monistic 
philosophy, and every step of which shall be 
founded u,pon the solid rock of truth, unassail- 
able by the critics whether of higher or of 
lower order. As the spirit and ideal of modern 
science have been absolute freedom of thought 
and independence of the authority of books or 
personalities and as its sole object has been the 
discovery of truth and the worship of nothing 
but Truth, so shall be the spirit, ideal and 
object of that religion which will be fitted for 
the present century, which shall stand on the 
adamantine rock of truths, already discovered 
by modern science. That true religion will 
reign supreme over the minds of all the seekers 
after Truth, who live in the present century. 
In that religion of science there will be no 
scheme of salvation ; no dogma of heaven or 
hell ; no fear of eternal punishment. 
The spiritualistic movement and the resear- 
ches of the Psychical Societies have already 
Religion op The Twentieth Century 
given a death-blow to the dogma of hell-fire 
and of eternal punishment. This is not a 
small gain achieved by the Western people of 
the present century. The system of religion 
which is needed for the Twentieth Century, 
must not be limited by sacerdotal institution, 
must not acknowledge the divine right of the 
priesthood, and must not be governed by the 
authority of Scripture, of any book or persona- 
lity, nor should it insist upon practising the 
ceremonies and rituals which form merely the 
non-essential parts of religion and which are 
not absolutely necessary for the salvation of the 
souls from eternal damnation. 
The Twentieth Century needs a religion 
which will not support any doctrine or dogma 
which cannot be sustained by scientific reason- 
ing. The Twentieth Century needs a religion 
which will be free from all superstitious ideas, 
doctrines and dogmas that give countenance 
to the creation of the human being out of 
Religion op The Twentieth Century 
The Twentieth Century religion needs a 
conception of God who is personal, impersonal, 
and beyond both, and whose supreme aspect 
will harmonize with the absolute Reality of 
the universe called by different names, such 
as the Substantia of Spinoza, Noumenon of 
Herbert Spencer, the Good of Plato, the Over- 
soul of Emerson, Ding an Sick or Transcen- 
dental-Thing-in-itself of Kant etc., who is 
transcendent as well as immanent and resident 
in nature, and who is the Soul of our soul, and 
the Life of our life. He should not be con- 
fined by any particular name. 
When we give a name and personality to 
the Divine Being, we project our own ideas 
and make God limited by our conception of 
His personality. Why should God be limited 
by our name or our conception of His persona- 
lity ? We must realize Him as the infinite 
Being, beyond all limitations of our concep- 
tions, of our ideas ; and the Divine Being 
should also harmonize with the highest ideals 
Eeligion of The Twentieth Century 
of the greatest philosophers of the world. In 
that way, we shall find an absolute harmony 
between religion and science. 
The Twentieth Century needs a religion 
which will harmonize with the ultimate 
conclusions of all the great philosophers 
of all countries and will be based upon 
the moral and the spiritual laws which 
govern our lives. That religion will not only 
accept all the truths discovered by the various 
branches of science but will have room for 
other discoveries which will be made in future. 
As the aim and ideal of modern science have 
always been toward the support of truth and 
the independence of blind faith or tradition, 
so that religion which will be fitted for the 
Twentieth Century must have the same aim, 
the same ideal and the same object to perform. 
Now, the question arises, is it possible to find 
a religion which will be in absolute harmony 
with science and with the great philosophies 
of the world. The answer is in the affirmative. 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
True religion and science are always in perfect 
harmony. There never has been any quarrel 
or fight between true religion and science 
both of which are universal in their scope and 
are one in their ideal. 
Prof. Huxley said : "True science will 
continue to fulfil one of her most beneficient 
functions, that of relieving men from the 
burden of false science which is imposed upon 
them in the name of religion." 
Herbert Spencer had this in his mind when 
he said : "The most abstract truth contained 
in religion and the most abstract truth contain- 
ed in science must be one in which the two 
coalesce. To reach that point of view from 
which the seeming discordance of religion and 
science disappears and the two merge into one, 
must cause a revolution of thought fruitful 
and beneficial in consequences and must surely 
be worth an effort". 
Time has come when we must make an 
effort to see the harmony that exists between 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
true Science and true Religion. We must 
examine minutely and impartially all the 
existing religions of the world and see which 
of them is based upon the principle of Unity 
in variety and which of them accepts the 
grand scientific truth of one substance as the 
material and efficient cause of the universe. 
If we examine carefully Christianity, 
Judaism, Mohammedanism, Zoroastrianism 
and all other special religions, we find 
that they are not based upon that principle of 
Unity in variety, because they teach two 
Creators, the Creator of good and the Creator 
of evil. They are dualistic. The Creator of 
good is fighting against the Creator of evil. 
The Creator of evil is fighting against the 
Creator of good, so they do not teach the 
doctrine of Unity in variety but duality of 
existence. Buddhism does not teach Unity 
in Variety. 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
Vedanta, The Universal Religion 
There is only one religion which has been 
teaching the same truth of Unity in variety 
from pre-historic times, for nearly five 
thousand years. This religion is now given 
to the world. In the Upanishads we find : 
"As one 'fire' coming into this world manifests 
itself through various forms, so the one 
Eternal, Absolute Being manifests itself in the 
various phenomena of the world." "As one 
*air\ passing through different holes of a flute 
produces various notes of music, so the one 
Eternal Substance manifests itself in the 
various phenomena of the universe." "From 
that one Substance has emanated Prana t 
the life-force of the plant, life-principle in all, 
mind and all the sense-power, also that which 
is space, that which is gaseous, heat, liquid, 
and that which is solid." This idea cannot 
be found in any other Scripture of the world. 
This universal religion is nameless and 
formless. It is in absolute harmony with 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
science. Vedanta teaches that one Substance or 
Reality is the material and efficient cause of the 
universe. It also describes the evolution of 
the phenomenal world, and rejects the theory 
of a special creation. The process of cosmic 
evolution as described in Vedanta is this : 
From that one Substance came ether, from 
ether that which is gaseous, from the gaseous 
state heat, from that state liquid, then that 
which is solid ; and later came gradually the 
vegetables, the lower animals, and from the 
lower animals, up to the highest, man. Thus, 
it explains that the phenomenal universe with 
all the varieties of names, forms and forces 
has evolved out of one eternal Cosmic Energy 
called in Sanskrit Prakriti which is the mother 
of all manifestations. It is One and universal. 
Vedanta teaches that God is personal, imper- 
sonal and beyond both. Individual souls, 
according to this religion, are not created out 
of nothing, but are eternal ; they are eternal 
germs of life, subject to the Law of cause and 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
sequence. They are indestructible, immortal ; 
and these germs of life are free agents, manifes- 
ting powers which are latent in them. It 
teaches that mind and matter are the sub- 
jective and objective manifestation of that One 
Is it not a remarkable fact that these ancient 
Seekers of truth discovered that which is the 
spirit of this age, that is, Unity in variety and 
the one Substance which is the material and 
the efficient cause of the universe ? These are 
the grandest truths, but when modern science 
has proved these truths and confirmed the old 
truths, the scientific truth is doubly true, be- 
cause we find that different thinkers, starting 
from different standpoints, arrived at the same 
conclusion. The great Seers of ancient India 
arrived at that conclusion from their subjec- 
tive conception and vision of the truth, and 
reached that highest goal ; while modern 
science starting from the r objective world has 
reached the same goal. These two when com- 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
bined will produce the most wonderful har- 
mony between true science and true religion. 
Modern science is just beginning to grasp 
the truth that the Cause lies in the Effect, 
that cause and effect are like the unmanifested 
and manifested states of the same thing. But 
this truth has been taught in India from very 
ancient times. 
Science is trying to discover the eternal 
truth of the universe ; and religion is trying 
to worship that eternal Truth, but that 
worship of the eternal Truth must depend upon 
its discovery. If we do not know the eternal 
Truth, how can we worship it ? We must put 
every thing aside which is not in harmony 
with the highest conclusions of modern science. 
So, this religion which is such a universal 
religion, and which as I have already said is 
nameless, is the one which embraces all the 
religions of the world. No other religion can 
be so universal because other religions are 
more or less built around the personality of 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
their Founders, Christanity is built around 
the personality of Christ ; Buddhism around 
Buddha ; Mohammedanism around Mohammed, 
Christian Science around Mrs. Eddy. Any 
religion that is built around the personality 
of its Founder cannot be universal, be- 
cause that personality may not be accepted 
by all. This religion, however we find is 
not built upon the personality of one being, 
but upon the Spiritual Laws which govern our 
soul-life. It has existed for five thousand years 
and it will continue to be the religion of the 
world in future ; this is the religion of Vedanta. 
It deals with principles and leaves all the 
details to be worked out by science. It admits 
a personal God who is to be worshipped 
through devotion and through love. It teaches 
that God is one Substance, and we are but 
parts ; as Christ said : "I and my Father are 
one," so the absolute monistic Vedanta teaches 'I 
am He* , that we are all absolutely one 
with the Supreme Spirit, that our individual 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
souls are nothing but so many expressions of 
the one universal cosmic Being, who is the 
Lord of the universe. The Creator is nothing 
but the first manifestation of the Absolute 
Being, therefore, He is called the first-born 
Lord. Modern science has one idea which 
was given in Vedanta centuries before Christ. 
In modern science we study that Evolution is 
followed by Involution and that evolution lasts 
for a certain period of time, which is called a 
cycle, while the cycle of evolution is followed 
by the cycle of involution, and this chain of 
the cycles of evolution and involution and then 
again evolution and involution is eternal. So, 
there is the beginning of the cycle of evolution, 
but there is no beginning of matter, no begin- 
ning of force, no beginning of the substance of 
the universe. 
Just as there may be a beginning of the physi- 
cal form, but there is no beginning of the es- 
sence that lives and enforces the physical forms 
of the individual soul. Each individual soul is 
Religion op The Twentieth Century 
subject to the Law of Cause and Sequence, 
which is called in Vedanta, the Law of Karma, 
Law of Karma 
By studying this Law of Cause and Se- 
quence, and of action and reaction, we find that 
we get to the scientific explanation of the 
cause regarding the sin, misery, sickness and 
suffering of the world. Vedanta does not 
teach that the Creator of evil is one personality 
and the Creator of good is another. Vedanta 
teaches, that so long as there is good, there 
will be evil ; one cannot exist without the 
other, so if we take the one we will have to 
take the other. Reject both, and see that the 
Soul is neither good nor evil. Evil is only 
ignorance ; whatever we do without proper 
knowledge is a mistake, and each mistake is a 
great teacher in the long run. Therefore, each 
sinful act has its value ; it teaches the soul the 
law that governs that act. In that way all 
sinful acts are the great mistakes which we 
are bound to commit, because we have come to 
Religion op The Twentieth Century 
this world, and are making experiments all the 
time to find out exactly what we want. Being 
born in ignorance we are bound to make 
mistakes. Why should we blame the Creator for 
our mistakes ? Therefore, Vedanta teaches 
that there is no Creator of good, no Creator of 
evil, but the Law of Karma ( Cause and 
Sequence ) will explain all the inequalities 
and diversities that exist in the world, and 
God is not regarded as the Giver of rewards 
or the Bestower of punishments. God never 
punishes the wicked, nor rewards the virtuous, 
but that which we call punishment is the 
reaction of our own mistakes, which must 
come back to the soul from which the action 
started. That which we call reward is also 
the reaction of our own good acts. So, why 
should we blame God ? God is the Ocean 
of love, the Ocean of intelligence and justice. 
Modern science says that the source of the 
universe is unknown and unknowable. Vedanta 
also teaches that it is Unknown and Unknow- 
Religion op The Twentieth Century 
able by the mind, but can be realised by the 
Spirit, because it is nearer than our mind, 
nearer than our heart ; because it is the Soul 
of our soul, and the essence of our being is 
that Substance. It can be realized by entering 
into a higher state of super-consciousness. 
Thus, it harmonizes with the monistic science 
of modern times. But Vedanta teaches that, that 
one Substance is not insentient, but it is the 
source of intelligence and all knowledge; other 
, wise, if we did not admit this, then the question 
will rise where did our knowledge come from ? 
Can intelligence come from something which 
does not possess intelligence ? It would be 
as absurd as something coming out of nothing. 
Therefore, Vedanta is more logical and more 
scientific than the materialistic Monism of 
science. Vedanta gives a scientific basis to 
religion, because it explains religion through 
science, in other words through the accepted 
rules of inductive and deductive logic and 
it accepts within its limits the supremacy of 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
reason. Any system which admits these two 
points is absolutely scientific. But if we apply 
the rules of logic to the existing religions of 
the world, at every step we shall find that they 
cannot stand reasoning ; consequently, they 
fall to pieces. None but the universal religion 
of Vedanta can stand the test of logic and 
science. The conflict between science and 
religion ends in the universal religion of 
Vedanta. Herbert Spencer wrote just before 
his death with reference to Vedanta that "he 
was gratified to find a philosophy akin to his 
own thought in India. " 
Again, Vedanta gives the fundamental 
principles of, and the rational foundation to 
ethics ; for true ethics must be based upon 
scientific principles, otherwise it has no value. 
The greatest ethical law, which teaches 
"Love thy neighbour as thyself," does not give 
any reason why we should love our neighbour 
as ourselves. Christ preached the same, but 
he did not give the reason. The reason we 
Religion of The Twentieth Century 
find in Vedanta which teaches the same truth. 
We shall love our neighbours not because they 
have done some good to us, but because we 
are one with our neighbour in spirit, "Tat twam 
a8i" ; because we are all children of the same 
Infinite Being. Love means expression of 
oneness. That spiritual oneness should be the 
foundation of ethics, and then we shall never 
do anything to hurt anybody, nor anything to 
enrich ourselves at the expense of others. 
The truth of Vedanta, which is absolutely 
scientific, should be preached before the world 
and then we shall find not only peace and 
harmony among the different sectarian religions 
of the world but also we shall find harmony 
between true religion and true science, and 
that harmony is needed in the Twentieth 
Century. Max Muliar said : "Vedanta is the 
most sublime of all philosophies, and the most 
comforting of all religions. It has room for 
every religion ; nay, it embraces them all". 
Works of Swami Abhedananda 
Doctrine of Karma 
What is Vedanta 
Christian Science & Vedanta 
Does the Soul Exist after Death ? 
Philosophy of Good & Evil 
Religion of the Hindus 
Cosmic Evolution and Its Purpose 
Scientific Basis of Religion 
Why a Hindu accepts Christ and rejects 
Woman's place in Hindu Religion 
Swami Vivekananda and his work 
... o 
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