So long as we are looking at this world from our old levels of ego and ego-centric ideas of the physical, mental and intellectual personal/ties alone, we shall fail to see the world co-operating with us. If only we can lift up to new amplitude of consciousness in ourselves, then alone we become mightier and stronger. When we are mightier and stronger the present problems of the world will no more be problems to us.
The Early religion.
Religion has been with mankind from the very beginning. When man was all alone there might not have been any religion. But the moment man started living as a commu¬nity, as a tribe, as a group, from those days onwards we find that “a religion” was pursued by man. No doubt the religion was developing. As man developed, the religion also seems to have developed from time imme¬morial. And when we watch on the procession of progress of mankind, we also can observe that in those societies, or communities, religion has also been evol¬ving. So a time has come when we can say almost with confidence that the texture and quality and depth of religion indicated the development of the community, its civilization and its culture. Thus the crude men in the early historical periods, when they lived in utter igno¬rance, their religion was mainly a fear-complex arising out of sheer fear of nature. In order to pacify nature, man had to surrender and offer his offerings to the Lord. During this early stage Religion was so crude because men were also crude.
As man evolved more and more intellectually he started understanding more and more the nature and the play of life around him. He started to recognize that in spite of the abominable ugliness of the world around, there is an under-current of beauty and melody and a serene composure joyously gurgling. The more he recognized the harmony in the society the more his religion evolved; and thus, there is a blending between the progress of mankind as well as the progress of religion.
The religion and philosophy must serve mankind.
Those religions that remained without any movement that could not extend themselves, that had not the elasti¬city to accomplish, to accommodate, the new demands and urges in the community, those religions were smash¬ed and mankind progressively moved forward. The march of man cannot be stopped by anything. Philo¬sophy and religion must come to serve mankind and not mankind forced to serve philosophy and religion. Thus, if there be a religion of Truth and a philosophy explaining the Truth, that philosophy must also be a living philosophy ever growing with the development of the community. The growth of the community cannot be stopped. The new extension of the community will absorb the very laws and overgrow these laws. So, a vital, dynamic philosophy must have the elasticity—not so elastic that any foolish idea in the community can be allowed to find its way into scriptures. A philosophy or religion must be elastic enough to embrace the new urges in the community or society and that philosophy is alive which can thus embrace its new urges from within.
The great religions of old such as the Egyptian religion or the Greek religion or even the Roman religion, could not stand this onslaught of the new impulses from within, and therefore they were all stampeded by the march of man. Those religions have become now mere museum specimens or archeological discoveries.
The great Banyan tree.
Our religion, the Hindu Religion, in this country has got various branches. The Jains, the Buddhists, the Sikhs etc., these are the various branches of the one mighty tree called the Hinduism. These branches have got, no doubt, adventitious roots themselves just as a Vatavriksha or banyan tree. The banyan tree has got so many branches. In order to support each branch new roots have emanated and these adventitious roots strike the earth and there afterwards serve the mother plant with its own absorption of food. At the same time the branch is well supported by its independent roots. But if the branches were to be cut off, no doubt it is true that the branch can grow on independently but the branch is not healthy enough as the mother plant standing by itself. Similarly the other religions are the various aspects of this one religion—the various branches of one mighty tree based upon the Upanishads, or the Hindu Scriptures.
Unlike other religions, in Hinduism the great philosophy of the Upanishads, need not be extended by a vote or by democratic method because the philosophy itself is declaring the fundamental Reality, which is the bulwark on which we are standing and functioning at this moment in the society. Unlike other religions, in Hinduism the great philosophy of the Upanishads, need not be extended by a vote or by democratic method because the philosophy itself is declaring the fundamental Reality, which is the bulwark on which we are standing and functioning at this moment in the society.
The Amendments and emphasis.
Whatever is the extension that you might conceive of and feel within yourself, all those things are already embraced in the thought process of these great scriptures. The Hindu Religion has stood the test of time without amendments from time to time. In fact, to an extent we can say, these amendments and emphasis which came have become different religions. The Sidhartha had to become Gautama Buddha to show a certain emphasis of a value as non-violence which was seemingly lost sight of by the society. Therefore he insisted upon it and Buddhism came into existence, which is nothing but the ideas that were already in Hinduism. But the society at that time needed this emphasis for the right guidance and thus Buddha came into the forefront and emphasized one aspect of our culture which we seem to have forgotten for the time being. In all other religions we find that it is nothing but an over-emphasis of one or the other aspect which the society in its clamorous forward movement seems to have overlooked and forgotten and had become habi¬tuated not to recognize these values. To re-establish those values such mighty masters came and emphasized those ideas.
Lord Krishna—the great revolutionary.
Every day we have to meet the various challenges in society and while we are meeting the challenges in the society, the society is ever growing; therefore, the pattern of challenges is changing from time to time. That religion is alive only which can serve man actually in his every-day life, serve him in his office, or his commer¬cial centers, in his workshop, in his factory or on the road-side, or in his home—wherever he is functioning, the ideas must extend themselves to help him in his inner tranquility and happiness.
The Mahabharata culture or civilization came to this country and it came into such a chaos of too much of materialism. A time came when the old society in the country was in the throes of a great civil war. In the wake of the great civil war, the great student of Vedas started feeling “how am I to kill my own relatives and neighbors. How am I to fight this great battle of love with political war or civil war? This war is a great crime indeed, and what is my duty at this moment.” Thus an individual started thinking. There we find when the great revolutionary of that time, Lord Krishna, comes and advises what exactly is his duty and how those duties are also implied in the various Upanishads. This exten¬sion is only an application of the .spirit of dedicated activity in the world outside. How we can act on in the spirit of Yajna is being indicated in the Geeta which is an extension of the Upanishads demanded by the neces¬sity of the society at that time.
The culture of a country.
The culture of a country has always been serving as a hand-maiden to man to meet his own challenges in the society. It is only for the last 200 years religion did not apply itself in our life and therefore here we are an ugly caricature of a community which has got the name of spiritual culture but we find in our actual life we have not got any flavor of religion. We have started feeling that mere physical religion, physical activity, and material production will bring about prosperity in the country. In spite of all our activities there is nothing but disastrous sorrows and pains, and penury everywhere, only because the man or the inner man is not tuned up at all.
Modern man demands a religion.
The old type of religion with ritualisms, the temple, the church, and the mosque seem to be losing its hold on mankind. The religion that suited the man of last centuries is no more suiting him in the present context of things. He is demanding a religion that would equip him to face his vast and fantastic problems.
The cleavage of personality.
Science has brought progress and wealth in the society, science has shrunk the world into a smaller one, science has made you conquer space and time. You are the chil¬dren of the Scientific Age. When you are physically the children of an evolved age—the age of science, mentally and intellectually certain readjustments are necessary. Without which if you try to live in the world, it will be too dangerous indeed. This pang or the cleavage of per¬sonality is because physically in the world outside we are the children of science but mentally and intellectually we are still living the material ideology of each one wanting his own security only, and not extending himself to come to claim and live as a citizen of the world. To that extent there is this pang, this discordant note thrown into the melodious song of progress.
The felt need of the present generation – the religion of Vedanta
In order to be a real citizen of modern world the people must develop or grow into a new stature, altogether a new consciousness or awareness. Politics might give us a political awareness. Economics cannot help us because economics can give us only some more wealth and conveniences in the society. Science can give us a little more. Perhaps it may give us a chance to go and habitat in the moon and Mars but even when we go and live in Mars it is self-evident that we carry our own problems there also. What else can there be? So that the scientist, the politician and the economist them¬selves cannot help us in this particular way or particular aspect of the growth of man.
True Religion perhaps can help Mankind.
When we say that modern youth and the modern college student has no faith at all, we are only insulting him, misnaming him because the fact is not that he has no religion but the religion that is available at this moment is not capable of catering to his demands or his problems at all. His problem is much deeper. His is not a problem of security because he is born in the age where he knows life is nothing—it may go off at any time. So he has not placed any great value on life. All that he wants is only to live dynamically. The threatening condi¬tion of a danger, and a feeling of a total annihilation of the world—it is under that cloud the poor younger boy has grown up and as he grows up he finds no consola¬tion, no strength in himself to face this great challenge of this new age. At that time the old religion comes with ringing the bell or throwing of the flowers and offering of sweets. He thinks “why should I offer to these silent Gods.” He has no more any understanding of it because it is not bringing him anything. The poor boy is demanding a new religion which would give him the new fire and enthusiasm, make him greater than what he has created for himself—out of his own intellect.
The religion of Vedanta can alone satisfy the modern man. We can teach him that in him alone is the Master of the mighty, the centre-most Reality. That Reality can¬not be; that divine God cannot be somewhere yonder there because it is from that Reality the whole universe has emerged out. From a cause when the effects emerge the cause must necessarily be inherent and con¬current in the effects. The great Omnipotent Omniscient Reality in ourselves is the Atman—the Self—the Pure Spirit. The spirit in me functioning through the matter vestures is the expression of the individual that I am bringing out into the society, and it is my intellectual eminence with which in the modern scientific age we are able to extend our knowledge so much, for all is the ex¬pression of the Truth, or the Infinite functioning through our own well developed intellect. Man should discover in himself the essential knowledge that “I am nothing but the Spirit and as the Spirit I am the universal entity and not an individualized person identifying with and limited by my body or my mind or my intellect,” This capacity to de-condition himself and experience his nature of pure divinity, if he is given, then alone he can ever be converted to religion. All the rest is only a political or economic programme. The conversions that are going on, the ringing of the bell, the chanting that are going on are all at best, to the modern man only an external expression, an external symbol which does not go deep into him, it does not touch him. But in case the modern man can be explained in terms of his own modern science, the nuclear science of the outer world and the modern well-developed or developing science of psycho¬logy, if he is taught that the psychological and emotional entity in him is the expression of something deeper, something vaster, and something higher than all—supra mental, beyond the mind there is a mighty source in each one of us ; to realize which and to experi¬ence that dimension in ourselves, that path would be the modern religion fit for the modern man. All barriers should be removed. There should be oneness in our life and in our endeavor. And this oneness in our life and endeavor can be only apprehended and appreciated and can contribute to it, only when we rise into a new dignity in ourselves. So long as we are looking at this world from our old levels of ego and ego-centric idea of the physical, mental and intellectual personality alone, we shall fail to see the world co-operating with us, If only we can lift up to a new amplitude of consciousness in ourselves, than alone we can become mightier and stronger. When we are mightier and stronger the problems of the world are no more a problem to us.
Bharat—the fountain source of culture and true religion.
The secret or the source or remedy lies with us only, and it is here, in our country. It has been dead for some centuries now because of lack of correct usage. But our religion is even now living.
See the words of the Pope:
“So much of religious and spiritual fervor I have never seen in any part of the world and it seems that every¬body in India is a spiritual child”—this is not a mere exaggeration. It is a fact which would have been felt by any mystic who practices in himself spirituality. Had the Pope felt that there is no religion in this country, it would have been only an explanation of a lack of spirituality in himself.
India has always been the Guru of the world. The time has come. Our generation has been called upon now to lead and guide -the world not in killing, not in destroying, not in warfare but in learning and understanding how to face the problems of the outer world. For that the study of the scriptures is absolutely necessary and we must also learn to practice it in our everyday life.