THE BASIS OF ALL RELIGIONS
IN OUR TEACHING, WE GO BEYOND ALL DOGMATIC BELIEFS
If someone asks me, “Are you a Christian?” I would say, “Yes.” If someone asks me, “Are you a Muslim?” I would say, “Yes.” If someone asks me, “Are you a Buddhist? Hindu?” I would say “Yes” all along. We can say yes that I am a Christian, I am a Buddhist, I am a Hindu because we do not get tied up in the dogmas of religion. It has to be remembered that all dogmas in religion were inserted afterwards for the organisation of religion. A certain kind of organisation was required to make religion go on for ages and ages. Therefore one gets tied down to various types of rituals and multiple varieties of beliefs within specific confines. But behind it all, if we study Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism and examine the essence of these religions, then we come face to face with what truth really is. You get the bare facts without the trimmings. In our teachings, we go beyond all dogmatic beliefs because there is nothing in the world that has caused more harm than religion, and nothing in the world has done more good than religion.
In the name of religion, thousands and thousands of people have been massacred, as you know. Some religions rose with the power of the sword. Take the example of the crusaders; rivers of blood flowed. Following dogmatic theology, one develops a fanaticism that my religion is correct, and your religion is wrong, and the other would repeat the same. All the conflicts begin between various beliefs, while the true purpose of theology, the true meaning of religion, is to resolve disputes, not create conflicts. That is how the definition of religion has been defeated over thousands of years. This has happened in every religion, even 5000 years ago. If you study Hinduism, there have been conflicts and fights and fights and fights. The Shaivites (worshippers of Shiva) would say this, and the Vaishnavites (worshippers of Vishnu) would say that conflicts are forever created.
THE BASIS OF ALL RELIGIONS
True religion is found when one transcends the dogmatism of religion, then the essence of the Bible is known, then the essence of the Gita is known, and then the essence of the Quran is known as well as others. Our purpose and what we teach here is to go down to the fundamental nature of religion, and the basic essence of religion is so simple, there is only one word that covers every religion and the meaning of all religions, and that word is love.
Show me one religion that denies love. All of them say God is love, and love is God. To make the abstract quality of God a practical living reality, we must practice love. Love thy neighbour as thyself. That quality can be consciously created and enhanced through meditational and spiritual practices. Through meditational and spiritual practices, a greater integration occurs within us, and we are more able to give and portray love as a living reality. In other words, we do not believe in God anymore, but we live God, day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. That is the purpose of all religions.
Religion promises you a realised God, excellent; where will I meet him? Where am I going to meet that God? Some place called heaven, am I going to go there to meet him there? I want to meet him here and now, for heaven and hell are here and now. When one develops this quality of love, consciously, all the positive virtues that constitute or should constitute religion are associated with that. If you can love, you become more compassionate; you become kinder; you become self-sacrificing; you become giving. With that love, when you start thinking lovingly, your thoughts become positive, and positivity attracts positivity; negativity attracts negativity. By following this one simple principle which is the basis of all religion, we automatically and very spontaneously gather to ourselves all the virtues that are required to live a religious life, and to live a religious life is to live the living God, for He is here and now.
I LECTURE TO GIVE A CONSCIOUS RECOGNITION OF WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT
This is the basis of our teachings; it does not conflict with any religion. You have heard me say this many times before, if you are a Christian, become a better Christian, and understand the essence of Christianity. If you are a Hindu, become a better Hindu, and understand the meaning of Hinduism. That which I teach is the essence underlying all these religions. I am a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Hindu, yet I am above it all because we try to grasp religion.
I do not discourage anyone from having any religion, for the greatest disfavour one could do to another is to break his faith. Perhaps today, his faith is a little faith; maybe it is entangled in dogmatism, but be sure that once that seed is there, it will grow where he will go beyond all the dogmatism. We teach to live a practical living god and not deny the beliefs of others. We encourage them, and at the same time, by encouraging their religions, we also point out the essence of it, and you do not need to make a big detour or send the man in the opposite direction. He is walking on this road, and we teach the person to develop greater awareness. This greater awareness is developed through our meditational and spiritual practices so that the target is in view. Still, at the same time, everything else connected around the target, the entire environment, is also perceived, which is called an altered state of consciousness. An altered state of consciousness means that you are more aware. At first, it was in a narrow channel, but now the same mind, the same consciousness, takes a greater panoramic view of what life and the universe are all about. And when we have that, when we develop a broader perspective, the recognition of all religions automatically dawns on us; we are all religions. We are flowers of all faiths because we deny none.
As this awareness develops in man, many things happen to him; firstly, the quality of love that is awakened in the heart, in the core of one’s personality, joins hands with the limited mind. Because of its narrow scope, the mind has not got the awareness to recognise that quality within called love. You can call it the heaven that is within; call it by any name, and it remains the same. With the expansion of awareness, simultaneously, the heart expands, and when the two join hand in hand, awareness, in other words, a conscious recognition of what life is all about, takes place. That is why I lecture to give conscious recognition.
DIVINITY IS A NEUTRAL FORCE
Spiritual practices give clarity and strength to the mind to develop that consciousness more and bring it to a greater awareness. When that power of love flows through one, it enhances the understanding, and awareness enhances love. I will only hate a person if I see him from a narrow channel. Still, suppose my awareness is wide enough, and I know every aspect of the person. In that case, I will not only see the bad, but I will also see the good and when I start seeing that, then hatred in my heart ceases because interest is always more powerful, more scintillating, more luminous than that which is supposed to be wrong. If my awareness is expanded enough, I will see goodness even in that badness. I will be able to see that this person has done this particular action; now, what was the motivation? Many vile deeds have been done because of limited love. There is a great connection, for as we know, love and hatred have a thin dividing line, and it is the same energy used. It is like the electricity I always talk about, take it to the fridge, and you have a cold; take it to the heater or the stove, and you have heat, but it is the same energy of electricity. Divinity is that neutral force, that neutral power that man can use because he has free will. God does not punish or reward. The man punishes himself; man rewards himself because he has free will, and punishment or reward comes from how he uses that free will.
WE WANT A LIVING GOD
That is why Christ said, “Forgive thy enemy.” It is a lovely statement, “Forgive thy enemy,” but how? If I do not have the awareness to see the totality of man, then how can I forgive the enemy? I will only see the badness in the enemy and not the goodness. A man is my enemy; I will analyse why this man hates me. Why is he, my enemy? I must have done something wrong, but most people blamed each other. He has done wrong, but perhaps I have created the atmosphere. Maybe I have created a negative vibration emanating from me, for man emanates all the time whatever is in his heart and mind; have I not created that to bring about the reaction in the opposite person? When the awareness develops, I will take that man’s action to be not an action engendered by him but a response created by me, and I have no right to hate. That is why, as the awareness expands and recognises these factors, the same love produced in me will create that emanation and transform that man so that he will love me and not hate me.
You see how practical it is; that is the practical living God we want to know, that we want to live with night and day or that lives in us all the time. There is not a moment of separation during sleep, waking or dreaming; it is always there. We cannot realise that it is always there because of our state of consciousness, our state of awareness. Spiritual practices and meditation develop that awareness within us, and with the integration created within us, we can see the integration in man.
EVERY MISDEED AGAINST ME IS FOR MY BENEFIT
Is the man the doer, or is he just an instrument? If the man is just an instrument of action, what right have I to hate that man? He is not the doer. I know that my karma has brought about that very act of that man. I need that action by that man to create greater awareness in me; it can take me into deep self-analysis and a deep understanding of myself, and when I do that, I learn to accept the action of everyone. So I cannot hate; I can only love, for every misdeed against me is for my benefit, always for my use.
That is the attitude everyone has to develop, which is the essence of all religions. We understand these things when we go beyond dogmatism. So, our teachings do not differ at all, we call it an extension of what presently exists, and when we call it an extension, we develop humility in us. We do not say we are teaching something new; we are enquiring deeper and deeper and at more profound levels of religions that exist today, and we are grateful to those theologies for allowing us to delve deeper into those philosophies, into those theologies and at the same time to delve deeper within ourselves.
We are thankful for these theologies, for without them, what will man be capable of thinking? Will he be capable of thinking these thoughts given to us in these theologies? They have made us believe that the difference between man and animal is only one man can think, and because he can think, he has free will.
When we think and use free will according to the laws of nature so spontaneously created within us by our meditational practices, all our actions become spontaneously loving. With all the virtues associated with this deep love that is created within ourselves, we know what religion is all about. They say it takes a bit of time; Rome was not built in a day.
MAN HAS TO LEARN TO LOVE HIMSELF
Man has to learn to live with himself first. That means that man has to learn to love himself. When I say man has to learn to love himself, it does not mean he has to become self-cantered because that is not love. Man learns to love himself when he starts recognising that within him resides that Divinity, and with the expansion of his awareness, he realises that the Divinity existing within him is the same Divinity living in the other. When one reaches a deep level through meditational practices and comes to the essence of all existence, he will find that all is but one. That is why theologies say there is but one God. All existence is but one, and when we realise the godhood in man, everything flows with us, to us, for us all the time, all the time; it is all there for the taking.
Because we have not lost our selfishness, everything is not there for the taking. Selfishness is based upon our ego. The ego is a putting together of thoughts that has created a pattern. That is why we say this one’s ego is such and that one’s ego is such and the other one’s ego is such. As this ego, through meditational practices, is more and more refined, he becomes less and less selfish; he does not think of himself only. All the conflict in the world, all the strife, turmoil, and trouble, are only for the preservation of the ego. Man is trying to preserve something that is nothing but a concoction of thought he has created.
Putting all these various thoughts together and creating this cloth naturally takes on some dirt, dust, and sand. The combination of these multiple thoughts of all these diverse elements creates one conflict after the other. Through meditational and spiritual practices, we are washing this cloth, and as it becomes clean, the conflicts become less. So, we are clearing that away, and when that is cleared away, then we know what God is, then we know that Is-ness, for here with the clear mind, with the expanded awareness, we see that cleanliness everywhere. We realise that underlying that man’s actions that seem so vile to me is a clean sheet, the clean screen in the cinema that is projected upon with all these pictures.
HE IS ALWAYS THERE IN ALL ACTIONS
When you go to the cinema, you watch the pictures and the film, forgetting that the screen is white behind the photographs. We recognise the value of that screen, for if the screen was not there, there could be no projection. We do not deny the projection nor the film on the screen; we accept it and enjoy it, but at the same time, we are always consciously aware that there is a white screen there.
Daily living a godly life, the living God means developing the awareness that He is always there in all actions. The screen is neutral; it does nothing; it is just there. So, we do realise that we do nothing at all. The screen does nothing; it is the play on the screen, the play of the projector. The film remains in the projector; you have forgotten the film in the projector, and you are involved only in the projection. Put on the lights; the projector could be running, yet there is nothing seen on the screen, and the projection disappears. You see how fleeting this is, how temporary the projection display of life is, and yet one does not deny the existence of the projection. Why should it not be enjoyed? Yet, we know that the screen, pure white, is there all the time, all the time, and the projector as the instrument does its work, for it would be useless without having the object of projection. Here the subject is the projector, the subject’s mind is the film that plays the trick on that screen, and the screen is Divinity itself. Do you see the analogy of how these various factors work? The subject with his mind, the projector, the mind conjuring up things on the screen because of its conditioning of what is on the celluloid that has been created by himself by his mind and covering up that beautiful screen.
All these have to be; all these have to be. Let the subject be there, let the object be there and let the interchange between the subject and the object be there too, and that interchange is the projection. Realisation means knowing the value of the projection. That is realisation. Not to deny, eradicate it, let it play, let it play, but to stand apart and know that it is a play. That is what is meant by that lovely phrase, “To be in the world and yet not of the world,” and that is how joyousness increases in man. Joyousness increases in man because he is not attached to the projection; the emphasis is not on the projection, the focus is on the object on which the projection is displayed, that is the secret of life, that is the secret of joy in life. When we experience this joy, when all these becomes one, the subject and the object, the knower and the known and the knowledge becomes one. For He is all, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent. It is all there here and now.
THE FOUNDATION OF TRUTH IS FOREVER STRONG
To repeat, there is no difference between our teachings and the teachings of these various theologies. We try to fathom the basis upon which these edifiers of theology were built, and builders can make mistakes; builders can use more sand in the cement. The edifiers could be weak, but that foundation, the basis, the foundation of truth, is forever strong. So, man with his free will builds a weak building; as he experiences all these various forces of conflict, he will also know that he has made a mistake, there is going to be a crack in the wall, and he makes all his effort to fix the crack, but the foundation has to be strong. That is the foundation on which all actual life is based, not the projected life, not the life projected by our minds thinking this is life. That is not life, the pattern created by your thought, and that is how we learn to live true to ourselves; all theologies teach that. When man learns to know himself, then he gets away from all the tricks the mind plays, he enjoys them, it becomes fun, it becomes joyous, then he says, “Oh mind, how wonderful you are, play more, I am watching, I am enjoying it.”
That is what our teachings are all about.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang SA 1979 – 87