One of the books that I’m currently reading is entitled The Yoga of Knowledge, Jnana Yoga, by Swami Vivekananda. From what I’ve discovered about Swami Vivekananda, he was an Indian monk who was a disciple of Ramakrishna and played an instrumental role in bringing the teachings of Vedanta and Yoga to the West. Here, I offer you the quote which inspired this article:
“Only the man [woman] who has actually perceived God and soul has religion.”
What was the great Swami Vivekananda attempting to communicate? Was he stating that only a few special Beings were worthy of knowing God? Not at all. The heart of the message that he was sharing is analogous to persons who state that they are swimmers…without ever having dipped their feet in the water. The point is that intellectual understanding of a subject is never the same as knowing. We can study a thousand books about religion; we can visit various ashrams, temples, synagogues, and cathedrals until we are turquoise in the face; but until a Being gets “wet” with the personal–direct–knowing of “The Water” it would be ludicrous to state that he or she is truly a swimmer. Ramesh S. Balsekar, who was a remarkable author and teacher of nonduality, stated the same principle this way:
“No amount of description can replace the taste of a mango.”
The word “religion” stems from the Latin verb religare, which means to “re-bind.” Its meaning is similar (if not identical) to that of “yoga,” which means to yoke. To be known fully, that yoking or religion to the Source of our Being must be experienced directly. It is not something that can be handed to us through intellectual studies or a lifetime spent attending church. I’m not passing judgment on any of these activities (which definitely have benefits in their own right); I’m only stating that neither is the same as direct experience.
This is why the great sages and saints realized that in most–if not all–cases, silence spoke the loudest. So what’s “the way?” To the best of my understanding, we must go within to discover The Treasure that’s lying there waiting to be discovered. It cannot be named; for to name It is to attempt to place a conceptual definition upon That which is Infinite, therefore limitless. What is that unchanging part of You that knows all experience? You descended from That; so logically it follows that the heart of you must be Thatness. This is reflected in the following passage from John 10:30: “I and the Father are one.”
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2021 – R. Arthur Russell
P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏
3 thoughts on “To Swim As God”
I truly respect the teachings of Swami Vivekananda and must say this is written so beautifully.
Hello Simrang! Thank you for your kind words about my article. I truly respect Swami Vivekananda’s teachings; and I also love the teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Sri Ramana Maharshi, and Shri Siddharamashwar Maharaj (to name a few). Wishing you a wonderful day!
Art thanks for continuing to share your knowledge and wisdom with us. This article is so beautifully written. Thank you.