Complete works of Swami Abhedananda

by Swami Prajnanananda | 1967 | 318,120 words

Swami Abhedananda was one of the direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa and a spiritual brother of Swami Vivekananda. He deals with the subject of spiritual unfoldment purely from the yogic standpoint. These discourses represent a study of the Social, Religious, Cultural, Educational and Political aspects of India. Swami Abhedananda says t...

Thoughts on Sankhya Buddhism and Vedanta is a new unpublished book, and the chapters of this book were delivered in lecture forms before the talented audiences in America. In the first chapter, the learned Swami has given an introduction of philosophies of India. In the second chapter, he has efficiently dealt with the Sankhya philosophy of Kapila. The Swami has said that Kapila was the father of the doctrine of evolution, because he was first among the Indian philosophers, who gave the logical arguments for the support of the doctrine of evolution. The Swami has explained here in a lucid way the general principles of the Sankhya, as expounded by Kapila.

In the third chapter, the Swami has compared the personalities of both Buddha and Kapila, before explaining the general tenets of philosophy of Buddhism and Sankhya. In the chapter four, the Swami has described about the Buddhist Councils, along with the central thoughts of Buddhism. Immediately after the parinirvana of Goutama [Gautama] Buddha in 543 B.C., five hundred Arhats gathered at Rajagriha at the request of venerable Mahakasyapa and Ananda, the most favourite disciple of Buddha and repeated the stories and parables of the Suttapitaka, and this was the First Buddhist Council. Then one hundred years after the parinirvana of the Lord, the Second Buddhist Council was held at Vaisali. The Third Council was held during the reign of the Emperor Asoka in Pataliputra in about 242 B.C., when the sayings or teachings of the three Pitakas were settled and written, and the Fourth Council was held during the reign of the Emperor Kaniska who lived in the 4th century after the parinirvana of Buddha. Swami Abhedananda has mentioned in brief the historical happenings of the four Councils, and has given the philosophical thoughts, contained in the four main schools, practically evolved after the Fourth Council.

In the chapter five, the Swami has elucidated the main seculative thoughts of Buddhism and Vedanta in a comparative way and has shown also the differences of them, when necessary. In the sixth chapter, the Swami explained about the ethics of Hinduism and Buddhism. He has said that Buddhism is a child of Hinduism, as Buddhism is contained of the fundamental principles of ethical ideas of Hinduism. The grandest of the ethical law, that is taught by the Vedas, is the law of universal love, and this universal love and compassion towards the living beings of the universe were also preached by Buddha. So Hinduism and Buddhism are the liberal and universal systems of religion or religious faiths which have adopted the elements of ethics for observing the strict moral values and spiritual ideals in human life.

In the seventh chapter, Swami Abhedananda has dealt with the problem of international ethics. This lecture was delivered in the thirty-first Annual Convention of the Free Religious Association of America, held on Friday, May 27 th, 1898 in the Steinert Hall, Boston, before a large gathering. In this lecture, the Swami has proved that unity in variety is the best principle of ethics, as this principle is based on spiritual laws of the world. The moment we realize that we are one in spirit with the Father in Heaven, we become kind to all, we love all living creatures, and attain to freedom and peace, which are the end and aim of all religions and of all nations. In the eighth chapter, the Swami has described about the spread of Buddhism in the countries like China, Japan and Korea, and has given historical records of the temples and monasteries of China. He has also mentioned about the religious sects of the Chinese country. In the ninth chapter, the Swami has elaborately dealt with Shintoism in Japan. The Swami has said that there are three religions in Japan, and they are Shintoism, native to their own soil, Confucianism, introduced from China, and Buddhism, which came from Korea in 552 A.D. Shintoism was. of Chinese origin, and was adopted in Japan about the middle of the 7th century A.D. In the tenth chapter, the Swami has dealt with the history and mystery of Lamaism in Tibet. There is also Bon religion in Tibet, and it was introduced before the spread of Buddhism in Tibet. Now the word ‘Lama’ is a Tibetan term, meaning the “Superior One”, and the religion of the Lamas are known as Lamaism. The Swami says that the Lamas do not call their special form of Buddhism by the name of ‘Lamaism’, but they say, ‘The Religion’, or ‘Buddha’s Religion’, and there is no Tibetan counterpart for the English term of Lamaism. The Lamaism or the Religion of the Lamas may be divided into three main heads, primitive, mediaeval and modem. In fact, Lamaism evolved from the Mahayana Buddhism, and afterwards took some new shapes with special creeds and rituals.

The Appendices are also added with the illustrious lectures, “Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Poem ‘Brahm” and “True Nature of the Atman” The first appendix was written and delivered in New York on April 4, 1921, by Swami Abhedananda, in commemoration of the famous poem ‘Brahm’ (Brahman), by Emerson.

Swami Prajnanananda

FAQ (frequently asked questions):

Which keywords occur in this article of Volume 2?

The most relevant definitions are: Buddhism, Buddha, Sankhya, Hinduism, Kapila, Lama; since these occur the most in “preface” of volume 2. There are a total of 26 unique keywords found in this section mentioned 63 times.

Can I buy a print edition of this article as contained in Volume 2?

Yes! The print edition of the Complete works of Swami Abhedananda contains the English discourse “Preface” of Volume 2 and can be bought on the main page. The author is Swami Prajnanananda and the latest edition is from 1994.

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