Observation

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SWAMI VIVEKANANDA explains the scientific basis of Yoga and the importance of observation in the process.


All our knowledge is based upon experience. What we call inferential knowledge, in which we go from the less to the more general, or from the general to the particular, has experience as its basis. In what are called the exact sciences, people easily find the truth, because it appeals to the particular experiences of every human being. The scientist does not tell you to believe in anything, but he has certain results which come from his own experiences, and reasoning on them when he asks us to believe in his conclusions, he appeals to some universal experience of humanity.

In every exact science there is a basis which is common to all humanity, so that we can at once see the truth or the fallacy of the conclusions drawn therefrom. Now, the question is: Has religion any such basis or not? I shall have to answer the question both in the affirmative and in the negative. Religion, as it is generally taught all over the world, is said to be based upon faith and belief, and, in most cases, consists only of different sets of theories, and that is the reason why we find all religions quarrelling with one another. These theories, again, are based upon belief. One man says there is a great Being sitting above the clouds and governing the whole universe, and he asks me to believe that solely on the authority of his assertion. In the same way, I may have my own ideas, which I am asking others to believe, and if they ask a reason, I cannot give them any.


We first observe facts,
then generalise, and
then draw conclusions
or principles.



Read the complete article in Issue 14

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From Raja Yoga by VIVEKANANDA


About Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

Vivekananda was a spiritual giant of the 19th century whose guru was the saint Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He introduced the Indian philosophy of Yoga to the western world and raised interfaith awareness. He is probably best known for his inspiring speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893, which began, “Sisters and brothers of America”.

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