February 2012

Religion is to become not a mere practice, but a faithful and constant atmosphere around our head and heart. – Chinmaya

All practices in religion are only with one purpose – to seek our identity with the Divine which is our true nature.

Following are some of the examples of the way the majority of us practice religion:

1) Out of fear.

Grandmother: “Do you say your prayers every night?”

Grandson: “Oh, yes!”

“And every morning?”

“No. I am not scared in the day-time!”

It is said, “As long as there are tests, there will be prayers in schools!”

2) Fulfilment of desires.

A pious old lady after the war: “God was very kind to us. We prayed and prayed, so all the bombs fell on the other side of the town.”

What we usually pray to God is, not that His will be done, but that He approves ours!

3) Mechanical and faithless prayers.

Pilot to the passengers in the mid-flight: “I regret to inform you that we are in terrible trouble. Only God can save us now.”

A passenger turned to a priest to ask what the pilot had said. The priest said, “He says there is no hope!”

God listens to the prayer of heart without words than the one with words without heart.

4) Religious fanaticism.

A recent study shows that the cause of maximum deaths in the history of mankind is not any natural calamity or some incurable epidemic disease, but religion!

This is a strange paradox. All religions preach peace, harmony, tolerance, brotherhood, compassion etc., but ironically, the very same religions have become the cause of all major bloodsheds. No wonder why the educational institutions have kept all religions at a distance in the recent past!

The tragedy is, “Most people, alas, have enough religion to hate but not enough to love!”

In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi tells how in his student days in South Africa he became deeply interested in the Bible, especially the Sermon of the Mount.

One day he went to attend the Mass. He was stopped at the entrance and gently told that if he desired to attend the Mass he was welcome to do so in a church reserved for blacks.

He left and never returned!

Man will wrangle for religion, write for it, fight for it, die for it; anything… but LIVE it!!

All great saints of all religions were embodiments of love and compassion, humility and forgiveness. It is the immature followers who mess up with their teachings.

As the saying goes, “When Buddha dies, the schools are born.”

Pujya Gurudev puts it well, “It is the shastris who are wrong, not the shastras!”

An inspector was visiting a local school. He asked the headmaster, “When in your time schedule do you teach religion?”

The headmaster replied, “We teach it all day long. We teach it in history, by humanity. We teach it in mathematics, by accuracy and perfection. We teach it in geography and astronomy, by reverence for Mother Nature. We teach it on playgrounds, by fair play. We teach it during exams, through honesty and truthfulness. We teach it in language, by learning to say what we mean. We teach it by being kind to animals, by being grateful to our teachers and elders, and by being loving and helpful to all beings…”

May our religion make us better human beings. In the words of Pujya Gurudev, may it help us to replace the beast in us with the best in us.

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Posted in: Chintana

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