Religion and Human Nature by Keith Ward

By Keith Ward

What do the nice international religions say concerning the soul and its final future? This publication, the 3rd in Keith Ward's magisterial tetralogy on comparative faith, provides the ideals of six significant traditions approximately human nature, tips to immortality, and the top of the area. It bargains an enormous philosophical research of ideals in reincarnation and the resurrection of the physique. eventually it constructs a Christian interpretation, within the gentle of clinical wisdom and a world non secular worldview.

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This 'something other' may be wholly dependent for its existence on Brahman, and it may be characterized as maya, and as not independently real. There is no ultimate duality of independent causal principles. But there is real duality of that ignorance and suffering which is to be overcome, and that knowledge and bliss which can be progressively actualized in the cosmos. When Vivekananda speaks of 'the deification of the world' through human action, he admits to the world its own level of reality, and gives the world a positive role to play in the progressive self-realization of Brahman, through human action.

10Gita 18. 46. 11Gita18. 61. 2011 23:24:27] next page > page_43 < previous page page_43 next page > Page 43 those individual souls which desire enjoyment for themselvesa very small minority of the total number of soulsso that they become conditioned and subject to karma. Material existence as such is a form of bondage, and liberation is to be sought from it. It can be analysed according to the twenty-four categories of Sankhya philosophy. These include the elements, the senses and their objects, mind (manas), the intelligence (buddhi), and the sense of self (ahamkara).

This, I suggest, is the most natural interpretation of Vivekananda's teaching, which is complicated, but not elucidated, by his espousal of Advaita, and by a reliance on a sort of meditative experience that is insufficient to be a firm doctrinal basis for a strict doctrine of non-dualism. In any case, the ultimate experience of non-duality is so far beyond the expectations of most humans that it plays little part in the spiritual lives of devotees. For them, it is enough to aim at some experience of union with a divine reality which is so close that one cannot psychologically distinguish human soul from divine reality.

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