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Conflict In Us (Self)

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Sep 5, 2011
Conflict in us

S RADHAKRISHNAN | Sep 5, 2011, 01.35PM IST

The very term guru means the person who removes the darkness of your mind: Andhakara nirodhakah guruh.

Anyone who is able to enlighten you, who can remove the darkness of your mind, is entitled to the name 'Guru'. They are not confined to this religion or that faith. That catholicity, the universality of spirit was actually portrayed by Guru Nanak in his writings. You find there the teachings of the Vedic rishis, of the Muslim Sufis, and of so many other saints of our country. It is not a scripture which is limited to this particular tradition or that. We must respect all spiritual traditions. Whichever tradition enables us to go higher, to raise ourselves to the level of spirit, that must be accorded due reverence.

Spiritual traditions
So to respect spiritual traditions is one of the great lessons which he taught. He taught also that those people who withdraw from the agony of the world into their own cells, or go about meditating there, are not the true servants of God. The way of sanctity lies through the sphere of action. Activity, through social service and humanitarian progress, will enable us to assert that we are truly religious people.

Ask why, when we have been practising religion for thousands of years, we are still in this imperfect condition? What is it that prevents us from realising God's truth on earth? We think we are religious so long as we perform a set of mechanical rites.

Skimming the surface
We go to temples, mosques, or gurdwaras; we chant hymns; but all these lie on the surface of our minds. They do not enter the depths of our being. They do not transform our nature. An authentically religious man is not one who merely performs rites or utters hymns or preaches dogmas and goes about saying, 'I am religious.' He is not a truly religious man.

A truly religious man must bring about an inward transformation of his being and must rid himself of any kind of greed, anger, hatred and must look upon the whole world as his kindred. We preach this, we proclaim that, but when practical problems arise, we sink into our own inertia.

However much we may try, it takes a lot of time. It is a matter of intense self-discipline, not merely intense contemplation, but intense self-searching. We have to scrutinise our hearts and ask ourselves every moment of our lives whether what we are doing is in accordance with our own basic nature.

There is a perpetual conflict in our nature. Our hearts are in conflict; they aspire high, but they act quite differently. That is why, in spite of centuries of religion, we are still far away from the way of brotherhood on earth. This religion has been formal, mechanical, standardised and not a religion which has searched the depths of our own being and brought about a conversion of our nature.

Theory and practice
It does not matter what religion we profess. All religions insist on the same kind of intense self-discipline. We are lacking in that. The moral crisis of the world today is the direct result of this divorce between our theory and practice. It is not necessary to say we are all religious. We talk of religion but commit murder uttering the name of God; we commit theft uttering the name of God.

What is the sort of religion which we practise? That is the question which we have to answer ourselves. That is why all the great religions ask us to practise austerities, asceticism. All that may not be necessary. What is necessary is self-search, and never this spirit of condescension that we are religious, other people are not. That is not going to help us to get over our present difficulties. It is not religion that is at fault, but we the followers of religion are at fault. We do not practise it.

Let everyone ask himself, whether he is a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian, if in his daily life he is practising what he proclaims. There is this discord between what we profess and our actual practices which are materialist.

So far as our theory is concerned, we affirm that there is God, but when it comes to practice, we behave as if there is no God. And so long as this divorce is there, the present moral crisis will also be there. The only way to overcome that crisis is to examine yourself, ask yourself whether you are drawing nearer to the ideals you profess or departing from them. The Spirit of Religion.



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Re: Conflict in Us

I like the very last sentence. That is the way to a moral accounting of one's day. The feeling of being alienated from one's basic sense of self comes through so clearly. How far away did I stray? That is the question for me.
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