We want to lead mankind to the place where there is neither the Vedas, nor the Bible, nor the Koran; yet this has to be done by harmonizing the Vedas, the Bible and the Koran. Mankind ought to be taught that religions are but the varied expressions of THE RELIGION, which is Oneness, so that each may choose that path that suits him best.
For a religion to be effective, enthusiasm is necessary. At the same time we must try to avoid the danger of multiplying creeds. We avoid that by being a non-sectarian sect, having all the advantages of a sect and the broadness of a universal religion.
We reject none, neither theist, nor pantheist, monist, polytheist, agnostic, nor atheist; the only condition of being a disciple is modelling a character at once the broadest and the most intense. Nor do we insist upon particular codes of morality as to conduct or character or eating and drinking, except so far as it injures others.We leave everybody free to know, select and follow whatever suits and helps him.
Whatever retards the onward progress or helps the downward fall is vice; whatever helps in coming up and becoming harmonised is virtue.
We believe that every being is divine, is God. Every soul is a sun covered over with clouds of ignorance, the difference between soul and soul is owing to the difference in density of these layers of clouds. We believe that this is the conscious or unconscious basis of all religions and that this is the explanation of the whole history of human progress either in the material, intellectual or spiritual plane–the same Spirit is manifesting through different planes.
We believe that this is the very essence of the Vedas.
We believe that it is the duty of every soul to treat, think of and behave to other souls as such, i.e. as Gods and not hate or despise or vilify or try to injure them by any manner or means. This is the duty not only of the Sannyasin, but of all men and women. The soul has neither sex, nor caste, nor imperfection.
Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man.
Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.
Therefore the only duty of the teacher in both cases is to remove all obstructions from the way. Hands off! As I always say and everything will be right. That is, our duty is to clear the way. The Lord does the rest.
Jnana is all right; but there is the danger of its becoming dry intellectualism. Love is great and noble; but it may die away in meaningless sentimentalism. A harmony of all these is the thing required. Ramakrishna was such a harmony. Such beings are few and far between; but keeping him and his teachings as the ideal, we can move on. And if amongst us, each one may not individually attain to that perfection, still we may get it collectively by counteracting, equipoising, adjusting and fulfilling one another. This would be harmony by a number of persons and a decided advance on all other forms and creeds.
God, though everywhere, can be known to us in and through human character. No character was ever so perfect as Ramakrishna’s and that should be the centre round which we ought to rally, at the same time allowing everybody to regard him in his own light, either as God, saviour, teacher, model or great man, just as he pleases. We preach neither social equality nor inequality, but that every being has the same rights and insist upon freedom of thought and action in every way.