|Of late, we are witnessing a new stream of thinkers advocating the evolution to a universal religion on which the entire human kind may repose its faith. The simple reason for this advocacy is their realization that existence of different religions has become a cause for concern rather than instrumental in forging unity, brotherhood and mutual trust.
This realization is growing with each passing day. This has led to a clamor for a religious system which is universally acceptable. However, the truth is diametrically different. The fault lies not with any religion but in our own understanding of it and the way it is interpreted and taught. Lack of knowledge of its quintessence has reduced religion to a hackneyed concept and it has become responsible for all factionalism, sectarianism and parochialism. It is a formalistic approach to religion which is causing problematic situations. Too much attention is paid to forms, dogmas and rituals while ignoring its metaphysical content.
|Lack of knowledge of its quintessence has reduced religion to a hackneyed concept and it has become responsible for all factionalism, sectarianism and parochialism. It is a formalistic approach to religion which is causing problematic situations. Too much attention is paid to forms, dogmas and rituals while ignoring its metaphysical content.
As God is one, religion is also one. What is many are different sects and faiths shut in the narrow confines of color, countenance and physical boundaries. Alas! Such frivolous distinctions do not constitute the essence of religion. Its essence is a sovereign secret, requiring unraveling by a realized soul.
Religion is synonymous with knowing and realizing God within the human body. The origin of word 'dharma' (a Hindi word for religion) is root 'dhri' of Sanskrit which implies 'to imbibe'. It is not the imbibing of outward manners but imbuing God within so as to become truly religious. Likewise, the English word 'religion' is derived from the Latin word "religare". 'Re' means again and 'ligare' means to link or to bind. Together, they mean that which binds again. We have been separated from the one Lord, who is the origin of all beings, and the practice of religion involves reuniting ourselves to Him.
It is on merger with the Universal Consciousness that the vicious cycle of births and deaths will cease. Thus, to attain the origin is the ultimate aim of human life. This makes realization of God within this human body an essential duty enjoined upon human beings by God Himself. It is in this primary divine duty that religion comes into play. This makes it a plain fact that religion can neither be a dogma nor a doctrine. It necessarily has to be realization of God. As realization of God is a supra-mental experience of divinity already in man, the word religion can have no connotation other than a metaphysical one.
One can imbue something only on seeing and knowing. We all can imbue God only upon seeing Him in His elemental and metaphysical form. This is no loud statement. It is authentic, provided one obtains the shelter of a perfect sage who can make one see and realize God in a practical way.
Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita said, 'O Arjuna, leave aside all the religions. Take refuge in Me alone; I shall absolve you of all sins; worry not." Arjuna, the disciple, was asked by God in human embodiment to shed all the presumptions, outer ceremonials and sacrificial rites which he considered as religion. Taking His refuge implies taking the shelter of religion. If read in conjunction with other verses of Bhagavad Gita, we would know that Lord pointed Arjuna to the divine light of pure consciousness that permeates the entire universe. Religion is thus, knowing that power which fills the being of all and is present in all as divine light.
Albert Einstein once said, "It is religion that gives me strength to remain true to purpose despite repeated and countless failures". Religion is truly the life force which unites all beings with their origin - the Almighty Lord. It is the quagmire of rites and rituals which keep us ignorant of its true content. A whole lot of problems arise from this approach to religion. All incarnations attacked dead formalism, and in return we gave them severest punishments. However, today, we worship them. God descends on earth in human garb to put metaphysical content of religion back on center-stage.
Sri Ashutosh Ji Maharaj, a perfect spiritual master of our times and widely known to impart transcendental knowledge of the Divine without distinction of the religion to which one belongs, says that "Religion is a metaphysical experience and is not to be found in the concrete physical world of books and places of worship like temples, churches, mosques, etc. It is a question of fact, not of talk or doctrines. The quintessence of religion lies in actual perception and realization of Self under tutelage of a perfect master of the time. This realization consists in attaining divine knowledge. One would definitely come across the eulogies of this knowledge in Holy Scriptures, but it can be unfolded and bestowed upon the seeker of truth only by a wise seer". In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells His disciple, Arjuna, that the knowledge of the Absolute is a sovereign science and a supreme secret which can only be unraveled and bestowed upon the seeker by an illumined soul.
Since, we are ignorant of the true essence of our own religion, we find fault with others. Once we know the quintessence of our own religion, we will shun fault finding and looking upon others with disdain. All our misconceived notions will wither away. We sum up by quoting Sri Ashutosh Ji who has undertaken a grand mission of arousing peace consciousness through the dissemination of divine knowledge. He says, "It is on manifestation of our inherent divinity that all doubts, artificial barriers are cut asunder".
It is in our own interest and interest of the world that we willingly make ourselves available to a sage capable of making us experience the same soul running through all of existence. Upon supra-mental experience of the divinity, we develop a global vision which impels us to witness the same divine chord running through all. Thereupon, divine endowments flow out spontaneously.