Saturday, August 25, 2012

One World, One Religion?

The term 'world religion' is neither new  nor original, but it is one that has inspired quite a few souls that have gone through the torture of dealing with the rigidity of one set of beliefs that condemns another! And I'm inspired to write about what I have learnt in my life so far, as far as religions go. Growing up in India and my travels have led to a close interaction with almost all religions that exist in the world and we were taught early in life that all religions are but different paths leading to the same goal. That there exists one Supreme Power in this world that does not judge people by the path they have taken to reach their goal, but places importance on the fact that 'they have reached their destination'!

In Dr. Brian Weiss' book 'Many Masters, Many Lives' I came across another set of thoughts that has stayed with me since. In the book the characters went through several sessions where they learnt about their past lives and partners, but the one thing that caught my attention was the mention of there being 'Masters' aka great souls, who have, according to my interpretation, achieved Moksh or Nirvana. I liken these great souls to the religious leaders that the world has seen - people who inspired millions of others by their own exemplary lives.

I also believe that one can't attain self-actualization by merely following a Guru as mentioned in 'Siddhartha' by the acclaimed German writer Herman Hesse. One has to carve one's own path, go through agony and pain and opposition, be it from the outside world or an internal conflict.

So, to come back to the point, I believe that the great souls that once lived on this earth and left their indelible prints on the sands of time and in their followers' hearts, are the Masters, they all constitute the Supreme Power that all religions lead to. They all pointed towards the path to attain the highest spiritual level, but a lot of rituals and traditions were added on later by their subsequent followers, often leading away from the original path. Fanaticism comes under this category... Following one laid path rigidly, not caring if you hurt another human being in the process - either emotionally or physically - is not the path that the Masters indicated. The basic virtues of
  • helping others as much as you can, 
  • not causing hurt to any living being knowingly (and if you do, then the next tenet takes care of it! :) )
  • accepting your faults and working to rectifying them, 
  • forgiving and moving on,
  • avoiding rigidity or fanaticism of any kind,
  • respecting every human being and accepting that each of us has the potential to impart knowledge,
  • accepting that you are not a 'know-it-all' and being open to expanding your horizons,
  • keeping your promises, and
  • supporting just causes to the best of your ability...
are some of the tenets of my set of beliefs... I might not always be successful in adhering to them, but they guide me and inspire me to better myself.

I've also learnt through experience that the only person you can change is yourself, so I do not look to convince people to believe what I believe in. I sincerely hope that they will find their own 'right' way and not follow others blindly...

A simpler way would be to simply accept the beautiful tenets from each religion and create a 'World Religion' in the truest sense of the word! :) ... And yes, this must be one of the most difficult 'simple' things in the world!!! ;)

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