Friday, September 18, 2009

Beyond Religion And Caste Pride

2 September 1953

“All religions have each the same story to tell. The occasion for its birth is the coming of a great Teacher of the world. He comes and reveals and is the incarnation of a Divine Truth. But men seize upon it, trade upon it, make an almost political organisation out of it. The religion is equipped by them with a government and policy and laws, with its creeds and dogmas, its rules and regulations, its rites and ceremonies all binding upon its adherents, all absolute and inviolable. Like the State, it too administers rewards to the loyal and assigns punishments for those that revolt or go astray, for the heretic and the renegade.

“The first and principal article of these established and formal religions runs always, ‘Mine is the supreme, the only truth, all others are in falsehood or inferior’

“This attitude is natural to the religious mind; but it is just that which makes religion stand in the way of the spiritual life. The articles and dogmas of a religion are mind-made things and, if you cling to them and shut yourself up in a code of life made out for you, you do not know and cannot know the truth of the spirit that lies beyond all codes and dogmas, wide and large and free. When you stop at a religious creed and tie yourself in it, taking it for the only truth in the world, you stop the advance and widening of your inner soul.”

Questions and Answers 1929 (9 June)
If someone follows a religion and has a good capacity, can he go farther and reach identification with the Divine?
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It is impossible.
Religion is always a limitation for the spirit.
If a man has a spiritual life independently of his mental formations and the set limits in which he lives, then this spiritual life makes him, so to say, cross the religious principles and enter something higher. But his consecration must come from within and not be formal. If it comes exclusively from the form, then the limitation is so great that he cannot go farther.
There are people who have necessarily to come out of their religion if they do not want to be halted in their progress. But those who have practically no mental activity, who do not ask themselves any questions, who have only an intense devotion in their heart and an urge to give themselves to something that is infinitely greater, for these it does not matter whether they have a religion or not. It is all the same. But if one is attached to forms, one can never go any farther.
It is difficult to go so far unless the mind is free and dwells in the light. It is one of the fairly indispensable conditions (although not absolutely indispensable). However, there are people who have no mental power and accept any dogma whatever without discussion; they feel that nothing can prevent them from having this inner urge which will put them in contact with the Divine. But generally they do not have a mental life: it is very much restricted.

Do castes have any importance in the spiritual life?

Castes? What has that got to do with spiritual life? Absolutely nothing. It is merely a social organisation, that is all.

It is said that the Brahmins are more advanced for serving the Divine?

They say many things.
Spiritual life does not depend upon these considerations,
Page = 247
not at all. Certain social virtues depend upon them and solely because there exist in some environments special traditions of education and that some traditions are better than others. But that is all

As for the question of not mixing blood, it is a subject for discussion. Because, for example, if you take the various kinds of dogs (excuse me, I do not mean to make an unfair comparison), still, the dog belonging to its kind of breed, when great care is taken to keep the type pure, to prevent any mixture, becomes more and more stupid, whilst the street-dog, product of mixed breed and sometimes a horror from the physical point of view it is hideous, made of one kind crossed with another – is generally much superior from the point of view - of intelligence. So even in these cases one cannot say Marriages in small communities, made within the caste, where no mixture is allowed, end usually in a gradual, progressive decline of intelligence in the group. It is not a selection, rather the contrary. New admixtures are always necessary to bring forth new types capable of manifesting progress From the social point of view, this is quite justifiable, and it is very convenient and simple: it gives frames allowing precisely an easier organisation but that is all the worth it has.
But I believe it is the same for the caste as for the country. Each caste is convinced that it alone holds the maximum progress possible! And when you hear people speaking, even those who are outcastes are full of contempt for the others and believe themselves superior.

One who holds a particular faith, or who has found out some truth, is disposed to think that he alone has found the Truth, whole and entire. This is human nature. A mixture of falsehood seems necessary for human beings to stand on their legs and move on their way. If the vision of the Truth were suddenly given to them they would be crushed under the weight.”

Questions and Answers 1929 (9 June)"

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