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What is religion ?

Dharma, or Religion, means to uphold the Truth at any cost, including sacrificing our lives, which we hold so precious.  To uphold the Truth means to practice the Truth under all circumstances and at all times without any exceptions. This has been shown by all of God's true messengers, through their lives more than their words, since time immemorial. Since Truth is God, we can conclude that our love for God is proportionate to our love for Truth. 

Dharma is also defined as "our duty" or "our nature." The dharma of the Sun is to constantly give light, energy, or life unconditionally. So is the dharma of the river, ocean or a tree and wind to give according to their contents.

So the real question is: What is the religion or dharma of a man? What is man's real nature?

Man's nature is Love or Truth, and therefore, he is expected to Love unconditionally all beings at all times and to practice Truth at all times. God is Love and He resides in each one of us, so when we are searching for love, we must look within us rather than outside.

We may now better understand religion, rather what is not religion.

There's a big difference between religion and spirituality, or true religion. Most religions as preached and practiced today create confusion in the minds of rational and honest people. Religions today are usually organized and serve their own interest at the expense of others. It appears to be limited to monuments, books, lectures, philosophies, temples, mosques, churches, synagogues, cults, denominations, etc. These are misdirected and in contradiction with their original purpose.

Religions have become a vast business in most cases -- each more interested in its own narrow cocoon, safeguarding and propagating its own beliefs, traditions, rituals and superstitions, and continuously nurturing ignorance and blind faith.

There is a price to pay for ignorance whether in worldly affairs or with a religion. It's your responsibility to separate the real from the phony. A "real" learning of the Gita will not fail you. Real Spirituality is universal. It is never in danger. It is constant and can be compared to the sun, air, gravity or an ocean. They remain relatively stable over time, places and circumstances. Only those who don't practice what their true religion teaches are in danger, including their leaders. The knowledge of Spirituality cannot be learned with the intellect but has to be felt from within.

This is a difficult and demanding task and it needs the guidance of a capable teacher. It needs to be conferred only on an individual basis just as Krishna preached to Arjuna through the Gita. Unfortunately, in today's world these teachers are extremely rare and True Knowledge cannot be realized where masses are present.

Gitaji teaches us our true religion and the way to happiness, joy and peace. Our true security lies in being obedient to the Truth, in loving God unconditionally and in acting at every moment according to our duty at that particular time by forgetting the past and not worrying about the future, because neither one is with us presently. The lives of true saints -- Buddha, Mahavir, Gandhi, Jesus, Ramakrishna, etc. -- teach us to universally accept Truth, love and spirituality. This is contradictory to traditional, ritualistic religion.

The presentation of this subject is not complete by any means and merely provides an opportunity for all of us to get involved in learning and practicing universal religion as taught by Gitaji and all other major religions.

--Swami Radhanandaji


Last Updated ( Monday, 16 April 2007 )
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A sons obeisance to his parents is undoubtedly a form of prayer. What homage, then, must we pay to Him who is the Eternal Father of us all? Prayer may not be interpreted here in a narrow sense. M.K. Gandhi

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