Tag Archives: Swami Vivekenanda

Contradictory Points of View

Swami Vivekenanda had great insight into differing points of view:

“We know there may be almost contradictory points of view of a thing, but they all point to the same thing.  Suppose a man is journeying towards the sun and as he advances he takes a photograph of the sun at every stage.  We see that no two are alike; and yet who will deny that all these are photographs of the same sun, from different standpoints?

In the same way, we are all looking at truth from different standpoints, which vary according to our birth, education, surroundings, and so on.  We are viewing truth, getting as much of it as our circumstances will permit, coloring it with our own feelings, understanding it with our own intellects, and grasping it with our own minds.  We can know only as much of truth as is related to us, as much of it as we are able to receive.  This makes the difference between man and man and sometimes even occasions contradictory ideas.  Yet we all belong to the same great truth.”

 – from a lecture at the Universalist Church, Pasadena, California, January 28, 1900

Swami Vivekenanda on Universal Truth

This quote from Swami Vivekenanda seems very fresh today, over 100 years after he stated it. It’s a good example of how the opposition aspect works constructively in astrology:

Any attempt to bring all humanity to one method of thinking in spiritual things has been a failure and always will be a failure. You cannot make all conform to the same ideas. If you and I were to think exactly the same thoughts, there would be no thoughts for us to think. We know that two or more forces must come into collision in order to produce motion. It is the clash of thought, the differentiation of thought, that awakens thought. Whirls and eddies occur only in a rushing, living stream. There are no whirlpools in stagnant, dead water.

Every religion has a soul behind it, and that soul may differ from the soul of another religion; but are they contradictory? Do they contradict or supplement each other?

I took up this question when I was quite a boy, and have been studying it all my life. I believe that they are not contradictory; they are supplementary. Each religion takes up one part of the great universal truth and spreads its whole force in embodying and typifying that part of the great truth. It is therefore addition, not exclusion. System after system arises, each one embodying a great ideal; ideals must be added to ideals. And this is how humanity marches on.

– from a lecture at the Universalist Church, Pasadena, California, January 28, 1900