Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why there are many religions today?

Religion as one
God is one and hence laws emanating from God are also one. These laws are called in Sanskrit “dharma” or loosely translated to “religion” in English.  I say loosely because it is not an accurate translation. Dharma can be described as the “constitutional and non-changing nature of a thing or living being” whereas religion means to simply profess one’s “faith”. This definition of religion is a far-cry from the description of dharma.

Therefore from the perspective of dharma as described above the concept of God is not a monopoly of one religion or one group of people (in other words it is not sectarian). Today, religion is sectarian (will discuss below). But if one is interested to understand the universal truths of life which is harmonious with nature (thus verifiable truth), one can follow this path of dharma which is natural and non-changing (sanatana).

This sanatana dharma is succinctly explained by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita was spoken some 5000 years ago and one can find elements of spiritual knowledge from Gita in other major religions of the world. So the Gita is a universal book of wisdom that teaches how a living being can live in harmony with nature and be happy in his or her local environment.

Religion as many
“One size does not fit all”. This is an axiomatic truth. The reason “one size does not fit all” is because not all are of the same size, shape, form, thought, color, quality or behavior. Human beings, who can comprehend God, come in varying forms, shapes and attitudes. To expect all of the myriad humans to adhere to the highest standard of God consciousness is not practical and is not acceptable. Therefore, based on one’s psycho-physiological states of existence, the “one” religion is packaged differently to the varying degree of human beings. This packaging has happened at certain points in the annals of human history by great seers of truth. People like Jesus Christ, Buddha, Muhammed etc spoke how much ever the local audience at that time could accept a Supreme God. It does not mean they spoke everything. They spoke universal thoughts of penance, charity and devotion to God but packaged to fit the local needs of the audience.

How can we say with confidence that these seers of truth did not present everything? – If we make a comparative study of philosophical ideas of all religions of the world and create a structure based on it, we will find a clear hierarchy of philosophical thought which ranges from complete to incomplete.  Just as different grade students study physics at different levels of understanding, similarly different religions teach different levels of spiritual knowledge per the psycho-physiological states of human beings. This is not sectarian.

Religion as materialism
My first topic “religion as one” is purely spiritual. My second topic “religion as many” is material and spiritual. My final topic “religion as materialism” is purely material.

Today majority of believers of God (regardless of their professed faith) have one thing in common – to practice religion for satisfying their material motivations (which also leads to corrupt religious leaders). In other words, religion is used as a tool to satisfy one’s materialistic ambitions. This sense of material identity has different names such as Christian, muslim, hindu, catholic, jew, Buddhist, Methodist etc. While we need the material support system to live peacefully in this life, that is not the end all be all and religion should not be used for that purpose. This is the religion we see and experience every day and this is why there are many religions or faiths.

To put it in a nutshell– because human beings use religion and God for satisfying their selfish material motivations (attitude of consumerism), we have many faiths and many religions. Unless we have a desire to rise above this attitude of consumerism (materialism), we will not find the true dharma which is inherent within all beings, which is universal and transcendent.

Hare Krishna


Anonymous said...

HK Prabhu,
I am partial agree with you for your explanation about many religion. However, I have still many open questions related to same topic as below if you can explain that will be great:
1) Dharma means rule of GOD - how it can be different depending up on the race of people, their geographical location, caste, culture and tradition etc. You said all human being are not same size, shape, form, thought, color, quality or behavior etc but you are looking the bodily qualities of human. On the other hand I would argue we all having these same qualities - we all are spirit, we are all human, we are all having 5 senses, we all are having same internal body organs, we all are having same color of blood in our body and so on and the most important we all are fragmental part of Supreme energy. So if we all are same in these many qualities then how can "Dharam" which is GOD rule can be different for different human being? Isn't GOD being biased with different human being? to allow some particular religion to do something and stopping other religion not to that thing e.g. Meat eating, marrying multiple women, killing the animals etc.
2) I am sure GOD is one only and he is Krishna only then why the different incarnation of same personality had preached different philosophy? Gautam Budha who has been accepted as incarnation of Lord Krishna rejected the Veda, Purana and all holy books? why can't he preach the same thing with clear understanding to people so that people won't get divided on the name of religion? Why can't Jesus and Mohanmad preach the same message what Krisha prached in BG? If Dharma is the highest rule and its GOD words then Jesus and Mohanmad should get spiritual power to explain the same truth and people in general has to accept the same, using their miracle they can make people understand that Krishan is only GOD, Jesus allowed people in general to eat meat, even in one episode when people were staving for food, he asked one fisher man to get Fish from river and he distributed to all of them. This is duality?
3) Its has been said BG that God is well wisher to everyone but I see what he has done to divide people on the name of religion, you know we feel separated today coz everyone has their own definition of religion and want to promote their religion, Islma is preaching islam way of living, christanity is preaching their way of life, and we hindu peraches Krisha consciouness everywhere, see how people divided. Why can't Krsna created a uniformed law and rule of drama for everyone. This dividation of religion only responsible for today kind of attack which happens all over the world where 100 innocent people get died coz some sectarian people in ISlam think they their believe of their word of GOD is the best and final word and for they they are even ready to kill people. There wouldn't be big surprise tomorrow after many year later that someone from us will stand ask all hindu also to start killing other human being on the name of religion as Krsna order to Arjuna to kill their kins similarly some Guru in future once crisis aries will stand separtley and will ask all Vainava to kill other human being.

ananda said...

Thank you for your comment. Below is my response.

What you have said is correct. We are spirit souls (not body) and we are fragmental portions of God. For a common man, i tried to write the blog in such a way they can understand so I talked about shape, size etc. Having said that, Krishna says “karanam guna sangasya sad asad janma yonishu” which means the jiva takes different bodies of different sizes and shapes based on the association of the atma with the three gunas (tamo, rajo, and satva). So while we are spirit souls in the pure sense, we still are influenced by the three gunas which lead us to take different types of bodies. Therefore Mahaprabhu’s philosophy is achintya beda abeda tattva “simultaneous one and different”. We are spiritual beings but at the same time caught up in the material bodies. Therefore, dharma has to be at the spiritual level satisfying the soul and at the material level as well satisfying the body. Otherwise, only few spiritual people will take to dharma and the rest who are material will not and that will chaos and will make God partial. Since God is impartial and we need world harmony, He has to look out for everyone.

At the same time, since the jivas are His fragmental parts, we have free will to choose between material and spiritual. So for the jivas within the three gunas (material), dharma will seem different depending on the mode of nature. If the jiva is associating with tamo guna, there is dharma in the tamo guna, similarly if the jiva is associating with rajo guna, there is dharma at rajo guna, and dharma at satva guna. Krishna consciousness is dharma beyond the three modes (dharma projita kaitavatra parama nirmatsaranam). So using our free will, we can elevate from tamo guna to rajo guna to satva guna and finally to Visuda satvam. This elevation will happen by following dharma within that guna and gradually elevate. Of course, Mahaprabhu gave a fast track that by simply chanting Hare Krishna, one can attain Visuda satvam. That is His mercy.

So it is not Krishna who is saying ok to kill and eat or creating religious division or different incarnations speaking different things etc, it is simply Krishna’s mercy as the loving father to facilitate man’s desire of playing with and enjoying the three gunas. As long as we are within the three gunas, there will be division and duality.

Division and duality is not a bad thing. Just like if you go to an office, you will find division of labor or in an university you will division of departments or grocery store you will find division of food. Division and duality is natural and is needed. But the problem is “exploitation”, “abuse” and “killing” in the name of division and duality is the problem. Exploitation, abuse and killing is done by human beings and not God. God has given rules to follow. We ignore the rules, create man-made religions in the name of God, exploit and abuse. Therefore there is a difference between pure spiritual dharma (visuda satvam), spiritual+material dharma (dharma within the three gunas) and purely material cheating dharma (based on exploitation and abuse in the name of God following no rules).

Today, most of the followers of religion are completely materialistic so there is degradation of dharma. That is not Krishna's fault, it is our fault. Hence today there is man-made religion (in the name of God which is fake religion) and real religion by God and both co-exist in the same place. We need to cultivate intelligence to know the difference between fake from real.

Hare Krishna.