Religions: philosophy, mythology, ritual

“In every religion there are three parts: philosophy, mythology, and ritual. Philosophy is the essence of every religion; mythology explains and illustrates it by means of the more or less legendary lives of great people, stories and fables. Ritual gives to philosophy a still more concrete form, so that every one may grasp it. Ritual is, in fact, concretized philosophy.

Ritual is necessary in every religion, because most of us cannot understand abstract spiritual things until we grow much spiritually. It is easy for us to think that we can understand anything; but when it comes to practical experience, we find that abstract ideas are often very hard to comprehend. So symbols are of great help, and we cannot dispense with the symbolical method of putting things before us.”

~ Swami Vivekananda

Karma Yoga. New York, 1896. Complete Works, 1. 72.


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