Religion in Practice

Religion in Practice
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By Swami Prabhavananda, 350 Pages, Paperback.

Question: "How would you define mysticism?"

Answer: "Mysticism is the essence of religion. It is the conviction that God can be seen; that he can be directly known and realized; and that to have this realization is the only purpose of life."

This is Swami Prabhavananda's answer to a question put by one of his students. It gives you a fair sample of the "tone of voice" which he uses in these lectures; a tone which is direct and simple but never oversimplified. He never talks down to his hearers—as some preachers are apt to, because their way of urging us to improve ourselves is to remind us that we are miserable sinners. Prabhavananda isn't in the least naive about sin. He is well aware that most of us are blocking our own enlightenment by idiotically repeated acts of desire, vanity, violence and untruth; but, as a Vedantist, he urges us to improve ourselves by looking up rather than down, toward the inspiring belief that our nature, despite all its apparent blemishes, is essentially of God.