By Dr. Samuel Inbaraja
Swami Vivekananda on the message and mission of Jesus Christ
“He had no other occupation in life , no other thought except that one, that he was a Spirit. He was a disembodied , unfettered, unbound spirit. And not only so, but he with his marvelous vision, had found that every man and woman, whether Jew and Gentile, whether rich or poor, whether saint or sinner, was the embodiment of the same spirit as himself. Therefore, he one work of his whole life showed was to call upon them to realize their own spiritual nature. Give up he says, these superstitious dreams that you are low and that you are trampled upon and tyrannized over as if you were slaves , for within you is something that never can be tyrannized over , never be trampled upon , never be troubled and never be killed. You are all Sons of God , immortal spirit. ‘Know’ , he declared , ‘the Kingdom of God is within you’. ‘I and my father are one’……………………………he wants to get rid of the whole world as it is a, give it a push and drive it forward and onwards until the whole world has reached to the effluent light of God, until everyone has realized his spiritual nature, until death is vanished and misery banished.”
Let me at the outset inform you that swamiji did something he should not have done. It is a big mistake and error to say that “but he with his marvellous vision, had found that every man and woman, whether Jew and Gentile , whether rich or poor , whether saint or sinner , was the embodiment of the same spirit as himself.” Swamiji by saying so has read advaitha, monism and vedanta into Jesus .What I mean is he has made Jesus say what Jesus did not say or mean. This is not the biblical Jesus, this Jesus is a product of Vivekananda’s mind and imagination.
If so then what did Jesus say that makes me make these conclusions:
- John 8:23 He said to them, “You are from below, I am from above. You are of this world, but I am not of this world.
- John 8:24 That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”
- Jesus says very clearly , he is from above , they are from below. He continues that they will die in their sins if they do not believe in him as their messiah.He does not say heand his hearers are in the same spiritual state or have the same spirit.He commands faith in him , which means , he is of different spiritual state which is higher than theirs.
- John 8:33 They replied to him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves to anybody. So how can you say, ‘You will be set free’?”
- John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly I tell you that everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
- John 8:35 The slave does not remain in the household forever, but the son does remain forever.
- John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!”
Jesus in the passage which continues and which is quoted above gives his diagnosis of humans. He says very clearly that 1.They are , “slaves of sin”. 2. They should become his disciples and be set free from their sinfulness .
This clearly shows Jesus’ teaching that he is the savior who will save them and us and Vivekananda from our sins. But Swami Vivekananda has missed his chance.
John 5:24 “Truly, truly I tell you, the one who hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.
Here Jesus very clearly teaches that anyone who believes in him as the messiah will not come under the judgement of God , will have eternal life.
So Jesus did not teach that the people have the same nature as himself. He very clearly and repeatedly taught that they are sinners and he is their and our only savior which is the exact opposite of what swamiji suggested.
“Therefore , the one work of his whole life showed was to call upon them to realize their own spiritual nature.” –S.Vivekananda
This is not what Jesus called people to do . The eyewitnesses very clearly record what Jesus called people to
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is near! Repent, and keep believing in the gospel!” mark 1:15
Jesus never called people to realize their spiritual nature. Jesus always called them to repentance and faith. This goes in line with the biblical teaching that people are sinners. So Jesus never did what Swamiji claims he did .
Swamiji quotes bible verses to substantiate his teachings .
He quotes , “Know the kingdom of God is within you” and “I and the father are one”
It is very tragic that someone of the stature of swamiji has got it all wrong . But what is more tragic is more people will also get it wrong through him. Swamiji rips these two lines out of context from the bible to make Jesus look like an advaitin, preaching what Vivekanada and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa would preach i.e Vedanta.
Jesus said , “I and the father are one” but he never said , “You and the father are one”. Jesus never compared people with the father or himself. Here again Swamiji goes grossly wrong on an important theme.
The kingdom of God is within you means that God wants to make his rule, as a king in the hearts of the believers. This happens not by self realization as Swamiji suggested but by submission to God through obedience to his commands.
Swamiji’s depiction of Jesus is pathetically incomplete, grossly wrong and highly misleading. He should not put his philosophy into the mouth of Jesus . It is in no way correct or compatible. So Swamiji through these teachings has mislead millions away from the real Christ of history, who is the biblical Jesus, our only God and Savior.