Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Think beyond Religion and Rituals to enter into Spirituality and to know the Reality - Sahaj Marg

All the humans are religious. Whether they know about it or not, they belong to a religion by birth. A few may become atheists on their way of life due to some circumstances around them. That means they lost belief in the existence of God. So in one way, religion can be defined as belief in God and the activities that are connected with the worship of the deity.

But there are some religions which have got no concern about the existence of God, for example Buddhism, Charvakam etc. So it can be said that atheists may not believe in any faiths concerning the religion. Therefore religion means a cause, principle or a system of beliefs held with faith and strong feelings. In general, people believe that this is a method that establishes mutual trust between the Divine and the Human. In other words, it can be believed that this is the method of establishing a link between man and God.

Every religion has been started by a great personality viz., Buddha, Jesus, Prophet Mohammad, etc. In other words every religion is started in the name of a great personality. Hindus claim that Hinduism is not a religion, but it is a way of life, let it be, because again in Hinduism, there were so many Gurus, some really genuine and mostly the mediocre ones who made a mess of the real spirituality. These mediocre gurus have created their self-centered style of religious rules who have certainly misguided the people and created more or less the same problematic situations like those that were created in the other religions.
The purpose of invention of a religion is to bring the people to a righteous way to make them live in harmony, with piousness and with good character for which the founder has formulated certain rules and regulations. These rules and regulations differ from one another because religions are formulated by the great personalities (founders of the religions) based on the circumstances in which they lived i.e., place and time.

A suitable formality at one place may not be suitable for the other place and in the same way a rule made at a fixed time may not be suitable for the changed time.

By observation it is clearly known that the religious formalities are right at a particular time and place where they were born. No doubt, most of these religions in their influential areas have been effective for a very long time. But now the far away places of the world have become nearer. The distance between the people has become short by the development of conveyance and communication skills and thereby all the popular religions have also covered the entire world. So unlike in the olden days, the new religions began to influence the lands dominated by the native religions. Now because of the differences in the religious formalities, a kind of clash started in between all of these religions. People simply forgot the purpose for which the rules were formulated in their religions and started struggling with the other religions on the differences which were contradicting their beliefs or practices.

The strong and solidified beliefs having no touch with reasonability have brought wars between the groups and even between the nations. Crusades of the yesteryears and Jihadi terrorism of today are the best examples for it. While there were the religious fights between different societies and countries in the West and the middle East (Muslims, Jews and Christians), there was a lot of infighting within India in the same Hinduism, though not a religion.

Now the so called religion, the method of linking man with man and man with God, has now become a cause of bloodshed. Thus the purpose is totally defeated. Once upon a time the religion was a good medicine and it acted like nectar to cure the disease of ‘imbalance’ in humans. Now the same medicine (Religion) has become an expired one and turned into poison to kill the humans.

Mahatma Ramachandraji of Shahajanpur (founder of Sri Rama Chandra Mission) has remarked,
All the religions have become outdated and the people are just clapping hands in the name of religion and doing nothing. The real spirit is lost and only formalities remain in its place. Rituals and outward formalities are being observed with great austerity leaving the essence of it outside. Outward forms and rituals are only things that remain open to view, which are followed with extreme orthodoxy and tenacity without even the least touch of reality. Our faith in reality has thus diminished to the point of extinction. It is rather twisted into forms and rituals alone. Gradually it degenerates into bigotry of prejudice which has unfortunately become the permanent feature of the present day religion. Our blind faith in formalities keeps us in the dark regarding the reality and unconsciously we develop within us a feeling of hatred against those who believe in other forms and rituals.”

People are very proud of their religion but most of them know very little about it. Moreover they are very strong in following the outdated outward formalities. There is a tale to explain it. The tale goes like this:

A staunch believer in Veeravaishnava (one who believes that Lord Vishnu is the highest) has been passing through a forest. In the middle of the forest a tiger chases him. He got frightened on seeing it and ran in the forest and found a temple of Lord Shiva. He can escape from danger by entering into that temple and by shutting the doors. But he does not want to go into the temple because it is a Shiva temple i.e., a temple of people having opposite beliefs of his sect. Instead of safeguarding his life, he preferred to become a prey to the tiger. Such was his strong belief in his sect. Is this right? No, certainly not. A man with minimum common sense will never say that it is right.

So one should know the real purpose of the religion and feel better to follow it for the benefit of himself and to the whole humanity. Having faith in his own religion is good but having hatred on other religions is definitely bad. Keeping this in mind one should lead a secular life. That is the real Secularism. While practicing the religion if the people think that Religion is for the Soul and not for the Society, there won’t be any problems.

As discussed earlier religion is based on the thoughts of great personalities. But one should know that it is the first step to go up to the expectations of the great personalities to reach the final destination of human life (union with God, the Realization). One has to cross the limits of religion to enter into the field of spirituality where the differences are simply dissolved. The Masters (Great personalities) want to see us in a better position. Their expectations are to bring us to an evolved condition, so that we too can become the Masters in our lives but not the slaves of wishes, outward superstitions and fanaticism.

Hence crossing the limits of religion is a must for everyone, to know about the Reality.

Courtesy:  Sri P. Subbarayudu (Preceptor) and Sri B.E. Sampath Kumar (Abhyasi) of Sri Rama Chandra Maharaj Seva Trust, Kadapa.
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