LONDON, 1896

    Sooner or later, man sees existence marked by constant change, and ending in death. Inevitably, he is led to the question whether all this transient experience can be real, or whether there is an unchanging reality beyond. Most religions of the world generally agree that beyond death there is an existence that is real. They also think man's present state is a degenerate state, man having fallen from what at one time was a state of perfection.

    Science repudiates the idea of man having degenerated, and instead postulates a process of continuous advance, called evolution. The ancient Indian view however, was that existence was a cyclic process, of evolution and involution in cycles. The seed evolves into a tree and the tree involves into the seed, So too with man, and indeed with every form of existence. Science does not contradict this view.

    Clearly it must be something eternal, infinite and all-knowing that directs this grand cycle of evolution and involution. You may call it force, thought or soul and it is this which assembles matter to form our bodies, or the sun or the stars. Different philosophies agree that space and time are constructs of the mind, and so too must be causation, which is but a time-bound succession of related events. The Vedantic view is that the Ultimate Reality is not only eternal, omnipresent and omnipotent, but has to be a single entity, which it calls the Brahman. It follows that this one Reality must lie behind the apparent man comprised of a body limited by time and space, and must indeed lie behind every form of transient existence as well..

    "No perfection is going to be attained. You are already free and perfect.... Why does a man look for a God ? Why does man, in every nation, in every state of society, want a perfect ideal somewhere, either in man, in God, or elsewhere ? Because that idea is within you.....After long searches here and there, in temples and in churches, in earths and in heavens, at last you come back, completing the circle from where you started, to your own soul and find that He for whom you have been seeking all over the world, for whom you have been weeping and praying in churches and temples, on whom you were looking as the mystery of all mysteries, shrouded in the clouds, is the nearest of the near, is your own Self, the reality of your life, body and soul. That is your own nature. Assert it, manifest it ....... ”

    "What is the utility, the result, of this knowledge ? In these days we have to measure everything by utility -- by how many pounds, shillings and pence it represents. What right has a person to ask that truth be judged by the standard of utility or money ? ....... Utility is not the test of truth. Nevertheless there is the highest utility in this. Happiness, we see, is what everyone is seeking for, but the majority seek it in things that are evanescent and not real .....Happiness is found only in the Spirit. Therefore the highest utilty for mankind is th find this happiness in the Spirit...... "

    "Is it practical ? - is another question. Can it be practised in modern society ? Truth does not pay homage to any society. Society has to pay homage to truth or die..... What good is it to talk of the strength of your muscles, of the superiority of your Western institutions, if you cannot make Truth square with your society, if you cannot build up a society into which the highest truth will fit ? What is the good of this boastful talk of
your grandeur and greatness if you stand up and say 'This courage is not practical'. Is nothing practical but pound, shillings and pence ? If so, why boast of your society ? That society is the greatest, where the highest truths become practical. ........ Let us be brave. Know the Truth and practise the Truth. The goal may be distant, but awake, arise, and stop not till the goal is reached.,,,,,,,,,"