Vivekananda speaks about Christ
It is easier to have faith in the personal God than in the impersonal. God dons the earthly cloak. He bodies forth the creation of His own time, and casts a far-flung glance into the yet unborn to bring it into existence. He reveals Himself to each individual according to his power of receptivity.
To the beginner, Christ would immediately speak of the personal God: “Pray to your Father in Heaven.” To the one a little more advanced, he would say, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” But to the one who was fully advanced and his dear disciple, he would proclaim: “I and my Father are One.” We find the same truth echoed in Sri Ramakrishna’s words. He disclosed to his beloved Naren (Vivekananda), “He who is Rama, He who is Krishna, dwells at once in this body as Ramakrishna.”
It is a sad fact that often the disciples of various paths misinterpret the teachings of their Masters to the extent of claiming theirs as the only Master. In doing so, they bring their teachers down to the level of ordinary men. An aspirant, they claim, in spite of high achievements, counts for nothing unless and until he is prepared to give all credit to their master. What blind ignorance! If the master were an ear-witness of his disciple’s utterance, he would burn with shame. On this Vivekananda says:
‘Very well, brother, follow the ideal and advance in your own way. I do not care whether you give me the credit for the teaching or not... I only teach truth, and truth is nobody’s property, nobody’s patent truth. Truth is God Himself. Go forward.’ But what the disciples say nowadays is, ‘No matter whether you practise the teachings or not, do you give credit to the Man? If you credit the Master, you will be saved; if not there is no salvation for you.’"
An interesting event took place when Vivekananda was staying at Thousand Island Park. It was a dark and rainy night. A few ladies from Detroit had travelled hundreds of miles to find him there. Having met him, one of them humbly spoke out, “We have come to you just as we would go to Jesus if he were still on the earth and ask him to teach us.”
Vivekananda, deeply moved and overwhelmed with humility, replied, “If only I possessed the power of Christ to set you free now!”
Christ unveiled the truth, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” A heroic echo is heard in Vivekananda: “It is already yours… It is yours by right.” We are drawn to the famous lines of the Gita: “He who seeth Me everywhere and seeth everything in Me, of him will I never lose hold, nor shall he ever lose hold of Me.” Almost parallel to this are the divine words of Christ: “He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
The Nazarene was a product of the East, although the people of the West have managed to forget this bare truth. “An Oriental of Orientals,” said Vivekananda of the son of Mary. It is quite natural that in the Bible we come across many images, symbols, natural scenes and simple ways of living common to the oriental countries. But what is more important, the oriental view is that this material life falls short of true satisfaction. So when Christ says, “Not this life, but something higher,” Vivekananda cannot help remarking, “Like a true son of the Orient, he is practical in that.”
Vivekananda meant that our earthly achievements, however grandiose, are in no way enough to quench the ever-pinching thirst of human souls to attain to higher life.
Christ’s body is Christianity. Christianity embodies humility. Vivekananda’s humility the entire world treasures. He once said: