This month, he is specifying it by saying that religion is the ‘realization of Spirit as Spirit’, and not the realization of Spirit as matter. Why would anyone attempt to realize Spirit as matter? Is it even possible? Ah, but it is! This is a recurrent theme in Swamiji’s lectures – this tendency in man to idealize the real. We saw last month Swamiji saying: ‘There are two tendencies in human nature: one to harmonize the ideal with the life, and the other to elevate the life to the ideal. It is a great thing to understand this, for the former tendency is the temptation of our lives’.2
So, now the idea is clear: We all have the powerful tendency in us to realize the Spirit as matter. We shall overcome this tendency. Then what? Swamiji explains:
‘Religion is a growth. Each one must experience it himself. The Christians believe that Jesus Christ died to save man. With the Christians, it is belief in a doctrine, and this belief constitutes their salvation. With the Hindus, doctrine has nothing whatever to do with salvation. Each one may believe in whatever doctrine he likes; or in no doctrine. What difference does it make to you whether Jesus Christ lived at a certain time or not?
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