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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How to realize the true nature of religion?

Dharma or religion is of two types (1) material and (2) spiritual . Normally, when people talk about religion or god, it is the material version. That sort of religion is primarily practiced for selfish reasons. Men have unlimited desires so the reasons to practice religion selfishly is also unlimited. By and large these desires are to promote one's own family, social, economic and political status. In short, material opulence and selfish desires impel one to practice some sort of religion. However, we see in today's day and age, even that sort of religious adherence is declining because people find alternate avenues to satisfy their passions. As a result, all places of worship today is either closed or functioning as a cultural relic.

Srila Prabhupada very astutely captures this idea in his book Teachings of Lord Chaitanya.

Thus driven by sense gratificatory consciousness, men perform religious rituals and pious activities with the aim of acquiring some material gain. But if such material gain is obtainable in another way, this so-called religion is neglected. This can be seen in modern human civilization. Since the economic desires of the people appear to be fulfilled in another way, no one is interested in religion now. The churches, mosques and temples are practically vacant, for people are more interested in factories, shops and cinemas than in the religious places erected by their forefathers. This definitely proves that religious rituals are generally performed for the sake of economic development, which is needed for sense gratification. And when one is baffled in his attempt to attain sense gratification, he takes to the cause of salvation in order to become one with the supreme whole. All these activities arise with the same aim in view – sense gratification. - Ch 23 Teachings of Lord Chaitanya

Unless we address our material desires for this world in a sober and balanced manner, it would be very difficult to have any meaningful realization of the true nature of religion or dharma.

Hare Krishna

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