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Neovedanta of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda

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Are Indians Religious?
[In View of Recent Communal Clashes]

No more! If we take into consideration the true meaning of "Religion" as expounded in Upanishads on which Hindu religion is based. In fact the human suffering, as we see in today's world, springs from erroneous belief and practice of "religion". True Religion is realization of our potential Divine nature; it is a state of altered consciousness where one sees the world in totally different perspective; and from evolutionary point of view, from a higher stage of evolution. The selfishness that our genes carry and transmit, both at individual and collective level, must be overcome by altruism and generosity, compassion and care for other human as well as lower beings. This is true religion. And in fact this state comes not from outside, but from within. Listening to the wise words of a prophet, reasoning on those words, and then attempting to change our inner world according to the reasoned out principles is the beginning of practice of religion.

From this point of view, the world is facing the gravest crisis of growth and progress. Science has done its job, of providing material comfort; it now remains for us to become spiritually illumined. In this aspect, unfortunately, India is also coming to the same level of other nations, while in fact she could have, and still can, provide the basis for real Religion. At the nascent level spirituality still forms the core of Hindu psyche, his mind still wants to withdraw itself into the deep and peaceful state of God Realization, but the impact of materialism and globalization has been too rapid for an average Indian to keep his religious sense intact. The Indian is confused about the true goal in life; on one hand, he is offered lucrative life style, a la America style, and on the other the temples, the "yogic" exercises, and the religious rituals force him to think over again about physical enjoyment alone. This dilemma manifests in misconceived ideas about religion; he wants something from both the worlds: of sense pleasures and of Atman Jnana. He wants to show that he is religious, but cannot find its true expression for want of proper guidance and availability of precepts.

Moreover, other religions lack the final force to lift the human mind to the level of realization of highest Truth than most of us cannot conceive easily; I mean, other religions do not easily accept the unitary principle of Brahman, unity in diversity and spiritual solidarity of the universe. This lack of higher quest worldwide distracts Indians from their age-old beliefs and faith in Advaita. They also start thinking and believing, like others, in terms of dualistic aspect and the correctness of a religion based on such half-truths only. The tolerance and acceptance of other religions (as different paths to realize spiritual truths and higher evolution of human being) is forgotten in this atmosphere of confusion and superficiality.

Religious fanaticism and fundamentalism are the manifestations of such confusion and lack of understanding of true religion. But it must be remembered that atheisms and/or nihilistic tendencies do not express the true aspirations of the masses; it would be erroneous to believe that if religion has failed the world, scientific reason automatically becomes correct. Today India is facing a crisis of spirituality; and as I understand it, this does not augur well for other nations as well; for, if India loses spiritual moorings in Advaita Vedanta 'Truth would vanish from the globe', and every nation would be a loser in long run. Therefore, it is desirable that all of us put every effort to revive the true religious tradition of spiritual uplift of human race. If we fail today, posterity would never pardon us; it is imperative for the leaders of every religion, and politicians as their protectors and mentors, to revive non-dual tradition in their respective religions.

Rituals and idol worship in Indian religious tradition are not bad, are not be despised off, for, every religion is based on certain form; what is important is to be scientific in outlook in respect of religion as well. It is necessary to see higher truths in or own religion and spread them broadcast, to preach them and follow the same in our own lives. Then the religion, which forms the main springboard for the human race to progress, would flourish in its new life and expression. Values like compassion and care for others, like altruism and generosity, like tolerance and acceptance of all religions spring not from rituals but the basic knowledge contained in each religion as realized and experienced by the prophets and founding saints of each religion. Politicians and scholars must see through the flimsy veil of lower religion that most people today are sticking to, and change their definition of religion on the lines described above. Then only they can claim the right credit to have revived the religious spirit for the welfare of the nation and the world.
c s shah
Contributions From Sonam Shyam:
Is Astrology Necessary? |  Humanity: True Religion |  Psychic Powers

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