Swami Vivekananda on The Purpose of Religion

Religion does not consist in doctrines or dogmas. It is not what you read, nor what dogmas you believe that is of importance, but what you realise. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’, yea, in this life. And that is salvation. There are those who teach that this can be gained by the mumbling of words. But no great master ever taught that external forms were necessary for salvation. The power of attaining it is within ourselves. We live and move in God. Creeds and sects have their parts to play, but they are for children, they last but temporarily. Books never make religions, but religions make books. No book ever created God, but God inspired all the great books. And no book ever created a soul. We must never forget that. The end of all religions is the realizing of God in the soul. That is the one universal religion. If there is one universal truth in all religions, I place it here-in realizing God. Ideals and methods may differ, but that is the central point. There may be a thousand different radii, but they all converge to the one centre, and that is the realisation of God: something behind this world of sense, this world of eating and drinking and talking nonsense, this world of false shadows and selfishness. There is that beyond all books, beyond all creeds, beyond the vanities of this world, and it is the realisation of God within yourself.

Many may believe in all the churches in the world, he may carry in his head all the sacred books ever written, he may baptize himself in all the rivers of the earth, still. If he has no perception of God, I would class him with the rankest atheist. And a man may have never entered a church or a mosque, nor performed any ceremony, but if he feels God within himself and thereby lifted above the vanities of the world, that man is a holy man, a saint, call him what you will. It is good to be born in a church, but it is bad to remain a child. Churches, ceremonies, and symbols are good for children, but when the child is grown, he must burst the church or himself. We must not remain children for ever. It is like trying to fit one coat to all sizes and growths. Though all religions are essentially the same, they must have the varieties of form produced by dissimilar circumstances among different nations. We must each have our own individual religion, individual so far as the externals of it go.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda


About drmcpanda

Dr. Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S.,M.D. Date of Birth:29.02.1948 Retd. (29.02.2008) Chief District Medical Officer Bargarh Orissa India
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10 Responses to Swami Vivekananda on The Purpose of Religion

  1. The article ‘Swami Vivekananda on The Purpose of Religion’ is an excerpt from ‘The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’ published in Vol. 120, No. 1 of Prabuddha Bharata or Awakened India a monthly journal of the Ramakrishna Order started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896.

  2. Swami’s philosophy has always been too complicated for me. I could never focus on, or understand the intricacies of, what he conveyed. He is too difficult a subject for a science student of my minuscule caliber. For me, God is very simple, “What I think is good, is God for me.” Volumes are written on the subject and it is a full time job to teach religion. I am too small a person to comment on his speech.

  3. Kamalakar Pandit says:

    The founders of different religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity and Islam were spiritual people who, out of their love for humanity, shared their experiences with all and established certain religious rituals so that even those who were not spiritually evolved could benefit. Religion organizes people in a particular way designed by its creators for a specific purpose and need in mind at the time of its onset. The practices keep on changing over the time keeping the changes in the society.

  4. Respected Sir,

    The topic Swami Vivekananda on The Purpose of Religion is so perplexing to me that I may not correctly or conceptually be able to comment, but I would try my level best that what is to me. Actually there was no religion among human beings at the time of their inception and they knew only how to surrender themselves by accomplishing righteous actions only, those are pure and true persons. But in course of time when they came contact with same and other species of creations they were fading away from their own nature because of in-dependency of mind that was puzzled by ego. At that time human had lost his identity of divine nature and became demonic, means to destroy only which is against God`s ethics.As human beings are last and highest noble creation but became chaotic, God had no option to descend Himself as superman called AVATAR to redeem them. Hence the principle of redemption is called religion, so to say a type of torch-light to show path in darkness in way to God. This is called salvation.As time has no end many Avatars came for salvation of men. Hence there are many religions but God is one and eternal.That was made clear by Swami Vivekananda.

    With regards thanking you,
    Your Divine Brother
    Dr.Binod Bihari Naik
    Bargarh, Odisha

  5. Prakash Padhan says:

    Respected Sir,

    This is a relevant topic in world now. US President remarks about religious intolerance in India. Religion means ‘Dharm’ in hindi. But according to Bhagvat Gita meaning of Dharm is different from religion. So called uncivilized people of prehistoric era were better than us because there was equity and was no religion at that time.

  6. Sir,

    ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’. A nice article which enlightened us about the ‘Swami Vivekananda on The Purpose of Religion’ though it is complicated to understand the thought of Swamijee. He was really the ambassador of Indian religion who enlightened the whole world about the real Indian Culture. Sir a nice collection by you which aware those people who start war on religion.I agree with you sir that -Though all religions are essentially the same, they must have the varieties of form produced by dissimilar circumstances among different nations. We must each have our own individual religion, individual so far as the externals of it go.

    Kedarnath Sahu
    Science Teacher
    Sohela Dist-Bargarh,Odisha

  7. Umesh Panda says:

    “But if there is ever to be a universal religion, it must be one which will hold no location in place or time; which will be infinite, like the God it will preach; whose Sun shines upon the followers of Krishna or Christ, saints or sinners, alike; which will not be the Brahman or Buddhist, Christian or Mohammedan, but the sum total of all these, and still have infinite space for development; which in its Catholicity will embrace in its infinite arms and find a place for every human being […] It will be a religion which will have no place for persecution or intolerance in its polity, which will recognize a divinity in every man or woman, and whose whole scope, whose whole force, will be centered in aiding humanity to realize its divine nature.” -Swami Vivekananda

  8. Madhusudan Mahunta says:

    Dear Sir,

    A nice article which is collected and posted by you regarding the philosophy of Swami Vivekananda on Religion which is the Universal Truth. All will adopt and accept the thought of Vivekananda’s Philosophy on Religion.Your valuable collection is very useful to Human Being.

    Thanking You
    Madhusudan Mahunta
    C.H.C.Sohela Dist.Bargarh Odisha

  9. Santhosh says:

    Dear Uncle,

    Every one has their own perspective of religion. In my view all the religions are one and the same-belonging to “Human Religion” as explained by Shirdi Sai Baba.

    Thanks again for the article uncle 🙂
    Santhosh KV

  10. Purnima Panda says:

    Pranam kaka,

    No one form of religion will do for all. Each is a pearl on a string. We must be particular above all else to find individuality in each. No man is born to any religion ; he has a religion in his own soul. Any system which seeks to destroy individuality is in the long run disastrous. Each life has a current running through it , and this current will eventually take it to God. The end and aim of all religions is to realize God. The greatest of all training is to worship God alone. If each man chooses his own ideal and stuck to it, all religious controversy would vanish.

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