5-See God and God-Men in Vedanta’ in this volume not matter, that God is eternal, not temporal; all of them teach concentration of mind and at-onement with God. He found that what has been taught in Vedanta has really been taught by all religions; wherever people have found any truth, they have found the same truth. And so by his own experience he proved that there is a harmony among all religions that exist.
Further, he found that in these warring times, when ideas are clashing with ideas, religions fighting religions, people fighting people, Vedanta can stand for the basis of universal harmony. In Vedanta there already exists a philosophical and religious system which does not say to others, Oh, you are wrong; you must be converted. He said, Look here, we have always known that all these paths and beliefs are true. Why are you fighting us? And why should we fight you?’ So his chief disciple, Swami Vivekananda, came to the West and spread broadcast the fact that if you study Vedanta you will find the essential explanation of all religions, both in theory and in practice.
Swami Vivekananda taught what Sri Ramakrishna had proved by his own life. And because they were both men of profound spirituality, this teaching is not merely an expression of thought conceived by a clear intellect. I am sorry to say that whatever power ideas may have, they are not powerful enough in themselves to bring about changes in human life. People do not always understand that; they think if an idea is good it will have influence. As I said earlier, ideas may influence our intellect, but as we all know, our life is often very different from our intellect. To change our life so that it will accept what our intellect understands requires another kind of power, and that is spiritual power. Unless words and ideas have this power behind them, they will not be able to influence human minds. Unless ideas come from people who have actually realized them, made them real in their own lives, they haven’t much value in the life of mankind. That is why prophets, in the sense I have been using the word, are necessary.
I am very glad that we have a prophet for these modern times a prophet who says every path is good, every path that the human soul is walking is good; there is a basic unity in everything. In spite of all errors and mistakes, all souls are going towards God, towards that highest goal. Furthermore, the basic principles of Vedanta need to be reiterated at this time, reiterated again and again, because these are the things we need to remember now. If you study the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, you will find that a flood of light will illuminate all the dark patches of our existence and make what is so complex simple and what is so dark clear.