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Saturday, September 1, 2012

More reflections on Religion

Dear Asha, Ajay, Ravi and Ariana:

I hope you remember what I said about organized religions (February 8,2011). Here are more thoughts.

In an article I read in The Times of India (January 2, 2010), Janke Santoke makes several important observations on religion. He says: “religiosity is not a matter of what your body does but what your mind sees”. “It is not about symbols and rituals, but about recreating the beginner’s mind”. This is an important point because when we were children looking at this world and the universe with fresh and innocent eyes, our sense was one of mystery. That feeling of mystery is probably the most original sense of spirituality. (Boethius)

Unfortunately most of the writings in and on religion use words with different meanings and use them as if concepts become facts by repeated use of  these words. (read Straight and crooked thinking by Robert H.Thouless) They use circular reasoning. They tell you what you can do and cannot do; what you should believe and what you should not.  All of them talk about universal moral values but forget to mention that those values should be applied to all forms of life and to all human beings without conditions and exclusions.

As Ambrose Bierce pointed out in his book on The Devil’s Dictionary, religion has become somewhat like “a daughter of Hope and Fear explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknown”.

Finally, there are very few spiritual teachers who can introduce you to the concepts and let you think. “It is the eternal problem of the teacher: how to extricate you from words and introduce you to the essence”.  Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, J.Krishnamurty and Thich Nath Hanh take the uninitiated to the essence.

Love,   Thatha