Religion

Wikipedia: A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that aim to explain the meaning of life, the origin of life, or the Universe.

“Indian religion has always felt that since the minds, the temperaments and the intellectual affinities of men are unlimited in their variety, a perfect liberty of thought and of worship must be allowed to the individual in his approach to the Infinite.” – Sri Aurobindo.

Have I spoken this day of aught else? Is not religion all deeds and all reflection? – Kahlil Gibran. Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself – George Carlin.

Dear Theist, I hope someday you’ll understand my love for God. It’s no different than my love for Life, and all that is in it. My religion is no different from yours – it’s just that I can understand yours, but you can’t mine. And because you can’t understand it, you don’t think its the same as yours. And since your so sure your’s is correct, you think mine is wrong. Sweetheart, its all the same – religion just means love of life! – Shasa, 2005

We can either approach this new world understanding by clearing away the encrustations of religion, or ignoring it altogether and coming up with new paradigms – Spirituality instead of Religion, and a Cosmic Divine instead of a God. Whatever we call it, man has discovered Liberty, Equality and Freedom and no-one has forgotten the universal message of Love, borne by Krishna, Buddha, Christ and Mohammed. We all have a value system that is becoming more and more accepting and tolerant of one another. – Reconciling Quality, Shasa, Aug 2015

What with the fast-pacedness and our inability to have wholistic, meaningful lives, we’ve allowed ourselves to be influenced by forces we should have heeded not. Let’s unblock ourselves, focus on connecting with the primal forces, the healing energies, the cosmic love. Let’s all agree to leave the bodies of our Churches, Temples and Mosques, when necessary, but to cling more tightly to the spirit of that universal message. – Islam Not Atheism, Shasa, Oct 2013

And this guy has had enough. and he yells at us to stop. But they’ve got him lock stock and barrel. For now he becomes the devil, come to play tricks on us and cheat us of our place in Heaven. at least so they make us believe. – Religious Appeal, Shasa, Feb 2005

At the core of our website is a belief in the universality that exists in all religions. As they passed through the dark ages, these all became encrusted with untruths and have been diluted by unscrupulous people with ulterior motives. As we become one world and continue living in a new Age of Illumination, it falls upon us to remove the crud and learn to live in peace and harmony. Or, to put it in the words of Aurobindo:

THE WORLD abounds with scriptures sacred and profane, with revelations and half-revelations, with religions and philosophies, sects and schools and systems. To these the many minds of a half-ripe knowledge or no knowledge at all attach themselves with exclusiveness and passion and will have it that this or the other book is alone the eternal Word of God and all others are either impostures or at best imperfectly inspired, that this or that philosophy is the last word of the reasoning intellect and other systems are either errors or saved only by such partial truth in them as links them to the one true philosophical cult.

The major surviving religions are (in order of appearance): Hinduism (Vedic Belief or Sanatana Dharma, read as knowledge), Paganism ?, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity (read as love) and Islam (read as peace).

There are also smaller religions like Sikhism and Jainism which are thought of more as offshoots of Hinduism. Please read this article which throws some light on the caste system in Hinduism.

Our writing is aimed at expounding the core beliefs and helping others understand it from an integration perspective, as Swami Vivekananda puts it: upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: “Help and not fight,” “Assimilation and not Destruction,” “Harmony and Peace and not Dissension.”

We leave you with some quotes (all prefixed by * are from wikiquote).

* Religion is a great force — the only real motive force in the world; but what you fellows don’t understand is that you must get at a man through his own religion and not through yours. – George Bernard Shaw
* All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. – Albert Einstein
* have you considered any of the other major religions? They’re all pretty much the same.
* Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
* So many gods, so many creeds — So many paths that wind and wind While just the art of being kind Is all the sad world needs.
* Such religion as there can be in modern life, every individual will have to salvage from the churches for himself.
* Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.
* Religion, in its purity, is not so much a pursuit as a temper; or rather it is a temper, leading to the pursuit of all that is high and holy. Its foundation is faith; its action, works; its temper, holiness; its aim, obedience to God in improvement of self, and benevolence to men.
* All noblest things are religious,— not temples and martyrdoms only, but the best books, pictures, poetry, statues, and music.
* Human things must be known to be loved; but Divine things must be loved to be known. – Blaise Pascal

Dear Atheist / Agnost

* You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being. – Albert Einstein

The mark of your ignorance is your belief in tragedy and injustice
‘What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.’ – Richard Bach

God uses atheism as a stone to break the encrustations of religion – paraphrasing Aurobindo. Atheism is a non-prophet organization – George Carlin.

There are primarily 3 causes for Atheism viz

  • Too much religion
  • Disbelief that a God can allow so much evil (see Theodicy)
  • Requiring proof (science) to explain a God

Sets you thinking

* All Faith is false, all Faith is true: Truth is the shattered mirror strewn In myriad bits; while each believes his little bit the whole to own.
* The true office of religion is to bring out the whole nature of man in harmonious activity
* Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for it; die for it; anything but — live for it.
* In the matter of religion, people eagerly fasten their eyes on the difference between their own creed and yours; whilst the charm of the study is in finding the agreements and identities in all the religions of humanity.
* I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. – Galileo
* The irreligious are more religious than they themselves know, and the religious are less so than they think.
* The problem is not religious extremism, because extremism is not a problem if your core beliefs are truly non-violent.
* History has the relation to truth that theology has to religion — i.e., none to speak of.
* Religious ideas, supposedly private matters between man and god, are in practice always political ideas.
* If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.
* I am a believer in liberty. That is my religion — to give to every other human being every right that I claim for myself.
* Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. – Thomas Jefferson
* People have fought in vain about the names and lives of their saviors, and have named their religions after the name of their savior, instead of uniting with each other in the truth that is taught.
* Imagine there’s no countries, It isnt hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for, No religion too,
Imagine all the people living life in peace… You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one,
I hope some day you’ll join us, And the world will be as one. – John Lennon, Imagine
* How many evils has religion caused!
* I never really hated a one true God, but the God of the people I hated.
* The cosmos is a gigantic fly-wheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him a ride.
* I acknowledge that history is full of religious wars: but we must distinguish; it is not the multiplicity of religions which has produced wars; it is the intolerant spirit animating that which believed itself in the ascendant.
* A circle can have only one centre but it can have numerous radii. The centre can be compared to God and the radii to religions. So, no one sect, no one religion or book can make an absolute claim of It. He who works for It gets It.
* Matters of religion should never be matters of controversy. We neither argue with a lover about his taste, nor condemn him, if we are just, for knowing so human a passion.
* We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
* All religions, with their gods, demigods, prophets, messiahs and saints, are the product of the fancy and credulity of men who have not yet reached the full development and complete possession of their intellectual powers.
* You humans, most of you, subscribe to this policy of an eye for an eye, a life for a life, which is known throughout the universe for its… stupidity. Even your Buddha and your Christ had quite a different vision; but nobody’s paid much attention to them, not even the Buddhists or the Christians. (Prot in KPax)

Plainly in Praise

* There was never law, or sect, or opinion did so much magnify goodness, as the Christian religion doth.
* By religion I do not mean outward things, but inward states, I mean perfected manhood. I mean the quickening of the soul by the beatific influence of the divine Spirit in truth, and love, and sympathy, and confidence, and trust.
* The spirit of true religion breathes gentleness and affability; it gives a native, unaffected ease to the behavior. It is social, kind, cheerful; far removed from the cloudy and illiberal superstition which clouds the brow, sharpens the temper, and dejects the spirit.
* At the center of religion is love. I love you and I forgive you. I am like you and you are like me. I love all people. I love the world. I love creating. Everything in our life should be based on love.
* One religion is as true as another.
* It is only religion, the great bond of love and duty to God, that makes any existence valuable or even tolerable. Without this, to live were only to graze.… Without this, the beauties of the world are but splendid gewgaws, the stars of heaven glittering orbs of ice, and, what is yet far worse and colder, the trials of existence profitless and unadulterated miseries.
* What but the mighty mastership of religion has ever led a people up through civil wars and revolutions into a regenerated order and liberty? What has planted colonies for a great history but religion? The most august and beautiful structures of the world have been temples of religion; crystallizations, we may say, of worship. The noblest charities, the best fruits of learning, the richest discoveries, the best institutions of law and justice, every greatest thing the world has seen, represents more or less directly the fruitfulness and creativeness of religious talents.
* Religion is such a belief of the Good Book as maintains a living influence on the heart.
* O Heavenly Father! convert my religion from a name to a principle. Bring all my thoughts and movements into an habitual reference to Thee.
* Religion is faith in an Infinite Creator, who delights in and enjoins that Rectitude which conscience commands us to seek, This conviction gives a Divine Sanction to duty.
* There must be a god, because I don’t know how things work.
* Religion, in its most general view, is such a Sense of God in the soul, and such a conviction of our obligations to Him, and of our dependence upon Him, as shall engage us to make it our great care to conduct ourselves in a manner which we have reason to believe will be pleasing to Him.
* While religion prescribes brotherly love in the relations among the individuals and groups, the actual spectacle more resembles a battlefield than an orchestra.
* I said before, the most beautiful and most profound religious emotion that we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. And this mysticality is the power of all true science. If there is any such concept as a God, it is a subtle spirit, not an image of a man that so many have fixed in their minds. In essence, my religion consists of a humble admiration for this illimitable superior spirit that reveals itself in the slight details that we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. – Albert Einstein
* Sacrifice is the first element of religion, and resolves itself in theological language into the love of God.
* I am a lover of truth, a worshipper of freedom, a celebrant at the altar of language and purity and tolerance. That is my religion.
* For the men that history enshrines on her immortal pages, the men whose memories are embalmed in the hearts of their fellows for all ages, were men who placed unfaltering trust in the loftiest convictions of the soul, and consecrated life and death to their realization.
* It is the very nature and essence of religion to raise men, peoples, and nations, above the common level of life, to break through its ordinary bounds, and express itself in a thousand ways, in poetry, painting, music, sculpture, and in every other form of ideal expression. The splendid monuments of the genius and greatness of by-gone ages are the monuments inspired by their religion.
* It may be that today gold has become the exclusive ruler of life, but the time will come when man will again bow down before a higher god. – Hitler
* I belong to the Great Church which holds the world within its starlit aisles; that claims the great and good of every race and clime; that finds with joy the grain of gold in every creed, and floods with light and love the germs of good in every soul.
* A religiously developed person makes a practice of referring everything to God, of permeating and saturating every finite relation with the thought of God, and thereby consecrating and ennobling it.
* The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. – Abe Lincoln
* One’s religious attitude is to be found at that point where he has a conviction that there are values in human existence worth living and dying for.
* The ground of all religion, that which makes it possible, is the relation in which the human soul stands to God.
* The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching.
* Religion is the tie that connects man with his Creator, and holds him to His throne.

Hinduism

quote: Sri_Aurobindo

* Indian religion has always felt that since the minds, the temperaments and the intellectual affinities of men are unlimited in their variety, a perfect liberty of thought and of worship must be allowed to the individual in his approach to the Infinite.
* Evolution is not finished; reason is not the last word nor the reasoning animal the supreme figure of Nature. As man emerged out of the animal, so out of man the superman emerges.
* Hinduism, which is the most skeptical and the most believing of all, the most skeptical because it has questioned and experimented the most, the most believing because it has the deepest experience and the most varied and positive spiritual knowledge, that wider Hinduism which is not a dogma or combination of dogmas but a law of life, which is not a social framework but the spirit of a past and [future]] social evolution, which rejects nothing but insists on testing and experiencing everything and when tested and experienced, turning in to the soul’s uses, in this Hinduism, we find the basis of future world religion.
* The Hindu religion appears … as a cathedral temple, half in ruins, noble in the mass, often fantastic in detail but always fantastic with a significance — crumbling or badly outworn in places, but a cathedral temple in which service is still done to the Unseen and its real presence can be felt by those who enter with the right spirit.
* Spirituality is the master key of the Indian mind. It is this dominant inclination of India which gives character to all the expressions of her culture. In fact, they have grown out of her inborn spiritual tendency of which her religion is a natural out flowering. The Indian mind has always realized that the Supreme is the Infinite and perceived that to the soul in Nature the Infinite must always present itself in an infinite variety of aspects.
* There are four great events in history, the siege of Troy, the life and crucifixion of Christ, the exile of Krishna in Brindaban and the colloquy on the field of Kurukshetra. The siege of Troy created Hellas, the exile in Brindaban created devotional religion, (for before there was only meditation and worship), Christ from his cross humanized Europe, the colloquy at Kurukshetra will yet liberate humanity.
* We speak often of the Hindu religion, of the Sanatan Dharma, but few of us really know what that religion is. Other religions are preponderatingly religions of faith and profession, but the Sanatan Dharma is life itself; it is a thing that has not so much to be believed as lived. This is the Dharma that for the salvation of humanity was cherished in the seclusion of this peninsula from of old. It is to give this religion that India is rising. She does not rise as other countries do, for self or when she is strong, to trample on the weak. She is rising to shed the eternal light entrusted to her over the world. India has always existed for humanity and not for herself and it is for humanity and not for herself that she must be great.
* If a religion is not universal, it cannot be eternal. A narrow religion, a sectarian religion, an exclusive religion can live only for a limited time and a limited purpose. This is the one religion that can triumph over materialism by including and anticipating the discoveries of science and the speculations of philosophy. It is the one religion which impresses on mankind the closeness of God to us and embraces in its compass all the possible means by which man can approach God. It is the one religion which insists every moment on the truth which all religions acknowledge that He is in all men and all things and that in Him we move and have our being.

quote: Hinduism

* Hinduism is not just a faith. It is the union of reason and intuition that can not be defined but is only to be experienced. Evil and error are not ultimate. There is no Hell, for that means there is a place where God is not, and there are sins which exceed his love.
* I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true.
* Hindu polytheism isn’t really polytheism but monotheism in disguise.
* I think I have understood Hinduism correctly when I say that it is eternal, all-embracing and flexible enough to suit all situations. – Mahatma Gandhi
* Hinduism is a relentless pursuit of Truth. “Truth is God” and if today it has become moribund, inactive, irresponsive to growth, it is because we are fatigued; and as soon as the fatigue is over, Hinduism will burst upon the world with a brilliance perhaps unknown before.
* Hinduism is a living organism liable to growth and decay subject to the laws of Nature. One and indivisible at the root, it has grown into a vast tree with innumerable branches. The changes in the season affect it. It has its autumn and its summer, its winter and its spring. It is, and is not, based on scriptures. It does not derive its authority from one book. Non violence has found the highest expression and application in Hinduism.
* Land of religions, cradle of human race, birthplace of human speech, grandmother of legend, great grandmother of tradition. The land that all men desire to see and having seen once even by a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of the rest of the globe combined. – Mark Twain
* It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in human history , the only way of salvation is the ancient Hindu way. Here we have the attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together in to a single family.
* Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries.
* The Indian^1 way of life provides the vision of the natural, real way of life. We veil ourselves with unnatural masks. On the face of India are the tender expressions which carry the mark of the Creators hand. – GB Shaw
* The apparent multiplication of gods is bewildering at the first glance, but you soon discover that they are the same GOD. There is always one uttermost God who defies personification. This makes Hinduism the most tolerant religion in the world, because its one transcendent God includes all possible gods. In fact Hinduism is so elastic and so subtle that the most profound Methodist, and crudest idolater, are equally at home with it. – GB Shaw
* Compared to Islam and Christianity, Hinduism’s doctrines are extraordinarily fluid, and multiform. India deals in images and metaphors. Restless, subtle and argumentative as Hindu thought is, it is less prone than European theology to the vice of distorting transcendental ideas by too stringent definition. It adumbrates the indescribable by metaphors and figures. It is not afraid of inconsistencies which may illustrate different aspects of the infinite, but it rarely tries to cramp the divine within the limits of a logical phrase.
* Hinduism is not a religion; it is just a way of life that thousands of Rishis have written about. It is such a democratic religion where everybody has the freedom to think, write or say whatever they want. We have no opposition for any other philosophy coming into us. We have no opposition for the Bible to be part of our own study. Nobody here will say, ‘If you read the Bible, you will go to hell’. It is an inclusive way of looking at life, and that is what we need in the world today. We have no objection taking food from every part of the world, listening to music from every part of the world. So we need to globalize wisdom too. – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
* After a study of some forty years and more of the great religions of the world, I find none so perfect , none so scientific, none so philosophical and none so spiritual that the great religion known by the name of Hinduism. Make no mistake, without Hinduism, India has no future. Hinduism is the soil in to which India’s roots are stuck and torn out of that she will inevitably wither as a tree torn out from its place. And if Hindus do not maintain Hinduism who shall save it? If India’s own children do not cling to her faith who shall guard it. India alone can save India and India and Hinduism are one. – Annie Besant
* To speak of Hindu fundamentalism, is a contradiction in terms, it does not exist. Hinduism is not this kind of religion. You know, there are no laws in Hinduism.
* The Hindu mind represents humanity’s oldest and most continuous stream of conscious intelligence on the planet. Hindu sages, seers, saints, yogis and jnanis have maintained an unbroken current of awareness linking humanity with the Divine since the dawn of history, and as carried over from earlier cycles^2 of civilization in previous humanities unknown to our present spiritually limited culture.
* It is no secret that we in the West live in a time of spiritual crisis. Western civilization has been guided by Christianity. Now it appears that this period is drawing to a close. Both religious institutions and social structures are in disarray. ^3
* In the family of religions, Hinduism is the wise old all-knowing mother^3. Its sacred books, the Vedas, claim, ‘Truth is one, but sages call it by different names.’ If only Islam, and all the rest of the monotheistic ‘book’ religions, had learned that lesson, all the horror of history’s religious wars could have been avoided. Which other religion has its God say, as Krishna does in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘All paths lead to me.’
* It is, indeed, a remarkable circumstance that when Western civilization discovers Relativity it applies it to the manufacture of atom-bombs, whereas this Oriental civilization applies it to the development of new states of consciousness.
* I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-Gita. It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us. – Emerson

^1 At this point, we wish to point out that Hinduism is a term coined by the English. There was only the Sanatana Dharma or Eternal Law. Hinduism has countless seers and prophets each adding to the overall splendour. It was the least centralised religion and therefore the most subject to corruptions and encrustations as we (all) passed through the dark ages.
^2 Going back to the ages
^3 Have no fear, believe in the effulgence of the mother