An ancient Buddhist proverb suggests that “when the student is ready the teacher will appear.” And so it is.
When studying comparative religions in seminary, I initially felt that Hinduism didn’t particularly resonate with me. While I was familiar and comfortable with at least the some of the philosophical tenets of Judaism, Christianity and Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam were foreign and relatively foreign to me.
My faculty adviser knew these things. Much to my surprise, his ordination gift to me was his own copy of Swami Vivekananda’s Lessons in Classical Yoga. The very next day, I participated in my first Hindu blessing ceremony.
I’m now exploring Hinduism again. Much like Buddhism, many of the culturally relative signs, symbols and rituals of Hindu beliefs really don’t speak to me (at least yet) but I’m open to the adventure. Another reminder that my “all paths” approach to meaning and ministry is the right approach for me.
Here’s a small sample of what’s been floating through my meditation these past days. All the quotes are from Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), who represents one path within Hinduism called Vedanta philosophy. As always, I’m trying to keep it simple.
“You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.”
“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you,
None can make you spiritual.
There is no other teach but your own soul.”
“There is only one existence.”
“All the power is within you;
You can do anything and everything.
Believe in that.
Don’t believe that you are weak.
Stand up and express the divinity within you.”
“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary.
Thoughts live; they travel far.”
“Take risks in your life.
If you win, you can lead. If you loose, you can guide.”
“You are Divine.”
“All the power in the universe are already ours.
It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.”
“The unity of all existence is already within each of us.”
“All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind,
because oneness is the secret of everything.”
“Never say, “O Lord, I am a miserable sinner.” Who will help you? You are the help of the universe. What in this universe can help you? What can prevail over you? You are the God of the universe; where can you seek for help? Never help came from anywhere but from yourself. In your ignorance, every prayer that you made and that was answered, you thought was answered by some Being, but you answered the prayer yourself unknowingly. The help came from yourself, and you fondly imagined that someone was sending help to you. There is no help for you outside of yourself; you are the creator of the universe. Like the silkworm, you have built a cocoon around yourself. Who will save you? Burst your own cocoon and come out as a beautiful butterfly, as the free soul. Then alone you will see Truth.”
“You are the creator of your destiny.”