Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

Be Clear

Hari Om 

Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.

KINDLE LIFE. We continue exploring points raised by HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda-ji in the publication of this name. Remember, you can purchase, (very economically!), the book from  Chinmaya Mission Publications or if you prefer, the Amazon Link. Thus you can read Gurudev's words directly and bring your own voice to the discussion.

The sixteenth chapter asks WHAT IS RELIGION? (Again, this is being given virtually as it is in the book. As you see, Gurudev was not one to mince his words!)

"True religion possesses two important limbs; namely, its philosophy and its ritualistic injunctions. Mere ritualism, bereft of philosophy, is only superstition, while bare philosophy without ritualistic practices is tantamount to madness.  Both the aspects must go hand in hand. Philosophy reinforces the external practices and gives them a purpose and a goal for realisation.  Together, they bring out the meaning, significance and purpose of religion.  Philosophy is the theoretical aspect of religion which, with scientific and rational analysis, elucidates the why and the wherefore of life and the universe and contains a coherent system of thought for interpreting the reality.  The ritualistic injunctions deal with the practical application of religion and lay down the spiritual aspects to be followed for reaching the ultimate goal in life.

Religion, therefore, is a happy and intelligent blending of philosophy and ritualism. If the two aspects are not synchronized properly, there can be no religion. Unfortunately, however, man commits the blunder of projecting only one of these two aspects and calls it religion, then attributes 'his' decadence and failure to religion as such.  True religion, in fact, knows no failure.  Ritualism here does not mean mere physical performance of ceremonies but also embraces all modes of practical religion applicable to the mental and intellectual levels of our personality. It therefore includes rites, ceremonies and duties practiced externally, devotion (bhakti) cultivated by the mind and subtle discrimination and meditation undertaken by the intellect. When man endeavours to translate the high Philosophy, values and virtues of life to practical living, he encounters several difficulties, which have caused religion to sink into oblivion.  These values are opposed to and come in conflict with man's extrovert nature. This constitutes one of the main obstacles.

An unintelligent and abrupt denial of sensual pleasures and a blind following of spiritual values results in suppression in an individual and this suppression after a period of time leads him to bitterness, frustration and cynicism in life. If, however, one chooses the other alternative and continues indulgence in sensual pleasure, the senses being so strong and overpowering, pull him down into the abyss of carnality and animalism and any attempt, thereafter, to live a spiritual life will be next to impossible.

The religious masters arrived at a solution of the problem by prescribing an intelligent formula by which man could sublimate to a higher spiritual living.  They held that physical indulgence might be well-regulated but not denied to the extent of causing suppression and frustration.  There must be a basic and initial self-control based on an intelligent appreciation of the Philosophy underlying it.  To the extent an individual regulates his indulgence, to that extent he must acquire the intellectual education of the higher values of life and consequent understanding of the futility of such indulgence.  Conversely, to the extent he apprehends and digests the higher and nobler idea governing life, he can afford to live in self-restraint. Thus, by a mutual intelligent adjustment of study and application, man can sublimate and reach the peak of perfection and bliss.

It therefore becomes imperative for us to carefully regulate the doses of Philosophical study and ritualistic practice.  Mere performance of rituals without understanding their meaning and significance is superstitious living which, when prolonged, distorts our personality.  On the other hand, learning the entire Philosophy and keeping the knowledge to ourselves is to be like a donkey carrying gold on its back!  Hence, let us take the valuable advice of our Rsis and try to be religious in the true sense of the term."

1 comment:

  1. Wonderfully inspiring post ~ namaste,

    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol


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