Saturday, November 20, 2010


From the book - The complete works of Swami Vivekananda - Vol. 2

Every religion has three parts. Philosophy, Mythology and Ritual.

Although all religions say the same truth, since they are cater to people of different regions, beliefs, lifestyles and tastes, they have to be delivered in different  fashions. Mythology and Rituals are the vehicles by which philosophy of the religion is delivered to the masses.

Swami Vivekananda provides a fantastic example. Take example of rice. Indians consume it with variety of curries and they use their fingers in a very artistic form to delicately mix a small portion of rice with different curries and enjoy each morsel thoroughly. After a couple of morsels, they take a bit of relish or some condiment to change taste as an alien beat is inserted in the music. It's an elaborate ritual.

When you provide the same bowl of rice to Asians, they prepare it differently for consumption. They will probably throw in vegetables and meat and stir fry it. Then they will use chopsticks to eat it. Their condiments are different.

Now give the same rice to westerners. They will use spoon and fork to eat the rice. They will consume it in variety of ways too.

So, Swami Vivekananda says, in this way, different people consume the same rice in different ways using different utensils and condiments. They all consumed the same rice and it is going to nourish them. Same thing with religion, they all teach the same thing. But, their philosophy, mythology and rituals are different the way fingers are different than chopsticks and chopsticks are different than forks.


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