I hope you all having a wonderful week , and I have been looking forward to sharing today’s topic with you all after having some interesting research in the past week.
Needless to say, there are many religions in the world today and their adherents have the believe that whatever religious body they ascribe themselves to, has the power to save them. In other to fully get the real scope of what a religion is supposed to offer let us first of all understand certain basic principles. In gaudiya Vaisnavasim, the word Dharma has been translated to mean religion due to a lack of accurate word for word translation, however the word itself means : that which is the intrinsic nature of the living entity. One may inquire, so what is this nature ? The nature of the living entity can only be understood if and only if the living entity understands his real identity, then he can ask questions about his real nature. The living entity is an infinitesimal part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and thus he is qualitatively one but quantitatively different from the Supreme Lord, just like a spark and and a big fire.
When the living entity, understands that he is not this temporary material body, the he can ask further questions ; in the Srimad Bhagavatam, a sacred text which is part of the vedas, containing about 18,000 verses, it is stated athato brahma jijnasa,« human life is meant for inquire » . Without veering off course too much, the nature of the living entity is to render service to the Supreme Lord in different capacities. Thus the goal of any religion should be to enlighten its adepts about how to revive this relationship of service to the Supreme Lord. This process of rendering service to the supreme Lord is known as dharma, or nitya dhama, our eternal duty. The word eternal is stressed here because one’s duty of service to the Lord doesn’t change, it is forever constant. One might change from one religion to another, today he is christian, tomorrow Muslim, and so on, however service t the Lord which is our eternal occupational duty doesn’t change.
Having established these principles, lets take a brief look at religion today. In recent times, religion has been seen as a national idea, a place for social gathering, a place to show off our honour and reputation, a place to converge in times of distress, a place that we can get our egos pumped, a place to ask for material sense enjoyment, a place to cause harm and pain to others etc. The list goes on however I guess by now he reader already has an idea about what I am trying to pass across. How many religious organizations today make it a point of duty to preach to its members, at every time they congregate, that human life is meant to serve the Supreme Lord ? How many Religions today teach about the nature of the soul ? How many religions today teach about the temporal nature of the material world and our bodies ? The focal point is either about material prosperity or enjoyment of worldly pleasures in the world after, call it paradise or heaven. At this point one might ask, are you trying to say every religion is wrong and the only right one is yours ? Absolutely NOT, it is not in our philosophy to propagate such ideas. It is mentioned in the Bhagavad gita, that as one surrenders to the Lord, he is rewarded in the same proportion. Thus we as gaudiya vaisnavas do not claim monopoly on God like most religious groups do. It will be limiting to the Supreme Person to say that there is only one path that leads to Him, and every other part is doomed. This is because the Lord reveals himself to people according to time, place and circumstances, and thus these revelations affect the practices of the people. A realized individual learns to see the different manifestations of the Lord in every religion while been faithful to his.
There are two kinds of people in this material world, those who are favorable to the Supreme and those who aren’t. Amongst those whose are favorable, on those who search out the Absolute are said to be fortunate. Those who are averse to the Supreme Lord are described as having demoniac or envious natures. They are envious of the position of the Supreme Lord and find it difficult to surrender to him.
In this light it is worthy of note that if we want to advance as spiritual practitioners we need to seek out a religious body that has the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord via service as its primary objective, and not material prosperity or just show bottle philosophy.
I’ll let you all ponder on these brief words and please do leave your comments below. If this post inspires or teaches you, please do share with others.