RELIGIOUS FANATICISM — PART 13
Know that there is One and only One God.
ITS CURE: STOP RELIGIOUS CONVERSIONS
Spiritual Being, know that He is One. Why are you
wandering around? O Siblings of Destiny, don't
wander around; One God is permeating
and pervading all that exists (sggs 535).
As a matter of fact, one fanatic cannot cure the other fanatic. Religion is seeing One God in all as a living truth, and, more importantly, to live a true Spiritual Life emphasizing and manifesting this truth through the selfless Universal Love of all that exists.
However, in reality it's the reverse that happens. Instead of developing Spiritual Beings, instead of teaching people self-integration, instead of urging and letting people to tread their own traditional path by sticking to only to the truth, instead of removing human error from religions, instead of recognizing the presence of One Spirit everywhere and in everything as the living truth, instead of reaching out to people to help them in their genuine Spiritual Unfoldment, instead of pursuing people toward non-dual Cosmic Truth, religions are enveloped in competition with each other for converting or proselytizing others into their respective religion by force, unfair inducement, hook or crook — not for Spiritual cause, but for ulterior motives. As a result, the world is wicked.
On the name of serving God, or in the disguise of social service, some religions for centuries have been engaged in converting followers of other religions by all possible means and methods into their respective religion. Some (notably Christianity and Islam) consider proselytization or religious conversions to be an essential part of their religion. They claim their respective prophet to be the only Man of Light, and their respective religious text to be the only Word of God. Such claims of being exclusive and having monopoly of "Truth" begets nothing but ruthless fanaticism and divisions (mainly two distinct divisions: themselves versus nonbelievers called heathen or Kafir), which drive their followers to believe that the conversion of others (i.e. "nonbelievers") to their respective religion by all possible means and methods is their religious duty (or an order from their God), and a passport to heaven!
- ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋਰੀ ਕੀਏ ਜੁਲਮੁ ਹੈ ਕਹਤਾ ਨਾਉ ਹਲਾਲੁ ॥: Kabeer joree keeeae julam hai kahataa naau halaal: Kabeer, to use force is tyranny, even if you call it legal (sggs 1374).
- ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋਰੁ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਜੁਲਮੁ ਹੈ ਲੇਇ ਜਬਾਬੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥: Kabeer jor keeaa so julam hai le-i jabaab khudaai: Kabeer, it is tyranny to use force; the Lord will call you to account (sggs 1375).
- ਵਿਚਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਸੇਵਾ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਏੇ ॥: Vich houmai saevaa thaae na paaeae: One who serves in egotism is not accepted or approved (sggs 1071).
- ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤ ਬਧੇ ਅਹੰਮੇਵ ॥: Karam karat badhae ahanmaev: Ritual practices bind people in egotism (sggs 324).
- ਮਾਣਸ ਸੇਵਾ ਖਰੀ ਦੁਹੇਲੀ ॥ ਸਾਧ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਹੇਲੀ ॥: Maanas saevaa kharee dhuhaelee. Saadh kee saevaa sadaa suhaelee: Serving mortals (in selfishness) brings pain. Service to the Saadh (the Self or God) brings lasting Peace and Bliss (sggs 1182).
This is but corruption of ignorance and selfishness — lust and greed ("Kanik Kaamini"). If the aim of all religions is to serve the mankind and One God in selfless love and truth, then where is the need for one to get himself converted to another religion, or pursue and force others for conversion?
But, unfortunately, the custodians of religions have reduced their respective religion to a mere mundane business: more followers, greater the revenue! Also, because of this lust and greed, occultation in religions is on the rampant - everyone wants a piece of the pie! Clearly, an ignorant or untrained mind cannot understand the religion.
The religious conversions take place for the simple reason: on account of ignorance, we do not recognize all human race as one. Hence, we do not see the same One God dwelling in others. So deluded, we practice selfishness - the source of all evil and suffering in the world. The selfishness is nothing but a perverted son of the spiritually blind false ego-sense. Under the spell of this ignoble or demon mind-quality, one is concerned excessively or exclusively with himself, seeking or concentrating on one's own selfish ideas and agenda. I-t is the selfish, misguided man who does not give anything, but tries to misappropriate everything from the world for himself and becomes slave of worldly objects in the process; creating hell for himself and for others to suffer and struggle.- Because, in utter selfishness, the majority of us serve only our material desires and fears; causing tremendous religious, political and social corruption in the world.
- ਚੇਰੀ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਨਹੀ ਦੀਸ ॥: Chaeree kee saevaa kurehi thaakur nahee deesai: Man serves Maya (illusion), and does not see his Lord (sggs 229).
- ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਛੂਟਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਛੂਟਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਸੇਵ ॥: Kahu Kabeer shhoottanu nehee mann bouraa rae shhoottanu hari kee saev: Says Kabeer, you will not be saved like this, O crazy mind; only by serving God will you find release (sggs 336).
- ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਲੋਭਾਣੇ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਵਿਡਾਣੀ ॥: Anmrit shoddbikhiaa lobhaane sevaa karahi vidaanee: Discarding the Nectar (Divine Name), they selfishly grab the poison (worldliness); thus serve the poison (sggs 31).
- ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਨ ਸੇਵਹਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਲਾਗੇ ਡੂਬਿ ਮੂਏ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀ ॥: Satgur na sevahi maya laage doob mooeae ahankaaree: Those who do not serve the True Guru, and who are attached to Maya, are drowned; they die in their own egotism (sggs 911).
- ਪਲਚਿ ਪਲਚਿ ਸਗਲੀ ਮੁਈ ਝੂਠੈ ਧੰਧੈ ਮੋਹੁ ॥: Palachi palachi sagalee muee jhoothai dhandhai mohu: Entangled and enmeshed in the love of false occupations, the whole world is perishing (sggs 133).
- ਦੂਜਾ ਸੇਵਨਿ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸੇ ਪਚਿ ਪਚਿ ਮੁਏ ਅਜਾਣ ॥: doojaa saevan Naanakaa sae pachi pachi mueae ajaan: Those ignorant ones who serve duality, O Nanak, rot, waste away and die (sggs 315).
- ਮਤਿ ਥੋੜੀ ਸੇਵ ਗਵਾਈਐ ॥: Mati thorhee saev gavaaeeai: Through small-mindedness, we forfeit the merits of service (sggs 468).
Religious conversions are basically restricted to the deprived, discriminated against and destitute tribals and lower segments or lower castes. Hence, religious conversion is exploitation, brainwashing or manipulation of oppressed and simpletons; thus very harmful to the converts and the rest of the human family. The following are reasons for it. By changing religion - either be under fear, force, selfishness, unfair inducement or fraud - converts eventually find themselves in emotional and intellectual difficulties, disorientation and disruptions in their family life, split-personality, and change in their loyalty and value system; causing stress and anguish. As a result of these difficulties, the mind of converts are more likely to be fanatic and restless; causing more harm to their own Spiritual experience and more trouble to the global-mankind. Hence, deep down, religious conversions are irreligious act - an another human error introduced in the organized religions by those who do not understand the religion in the first place, and who have made the prophets and dogmas the object of worship, and real teachings of the great Masters (truthful or righteous living, selfless love or compassion, etc.) the object of scorn, self-aggrandizement, lip worship and empty rituals. Baabaa Nanak says:
- ਆਦਿ ਪੁਰਖ ਕਉ ਅਲਹੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੇਖਾਂ ਆਈ ਵਾਰੀ ॥ ਦੇਵਲ ਦੇਵਤਿਆ ਕਰੁ ਲਾਗਾ ਐਸੀ ਕੀਰਤਿ ਚਾਲੀ ॥੫॥ ਕੂਜਾ ਬਾਂਗ ਨਿਵਾਜ ਮੁਸਲਾ ਨੀਲ ਰੂਪ ਬਨਵਾਰੀ ॥ ਘਰਿ ਘਰਿ ਮੀਆ ਸਭਨਾਂ ਜੀਆਂ ਬੋਲੀ ਅਵਰ ਤੁਮਾਰੀ ॥੬॥: Aadi purakh kau allahu kaheeai sekhaan aaee vaaree ...: (During Hindu rule what was called) The Primal Being is now called Allah (in the Muslim rule). The Shekh's are now incharge. The Hindu temples of the gods are now subject to taxes; this is what it has come to. The Muslim devotional pots, calls to prayer, and prayer mats are everywhere (as prayer mats themselves have become the main object of devotion!); now the worshippers of God appear in blue robes. Now in each and every home, everyone uses Muslim greetings; thus people's speech has changed ||6|| (sggs 1191).
Religious conversion begets nothing but religion-bashing, ruthless bigotry, fanaticism, selfishness, differences, divisions, animosity, intolerable hatred, conflicts, discord, disharmony, disloyalty, communalism, insecurity, prejudices, lack of trust, wars, bloodshed, killing of innocent people, tragedy, terror, and so on. The person who changes his religion as well those who become instrument in his conversion do so only for lust and greed, in ignorance. Let's there be no illusion about it. If someone is sincere in his pursuit of the Absolute Truth, he could do so by simply following his own traditional path in love and truth. All you need to do is struggle with your own deluded mind or illusion created by the ego. A mind out of control (shallow, restless, etc.) cannot understand religion. Because religion is not merely what you do with your organs of action; it is a positive attitude that you develop in your consciousness. If one's attitude is chaotic, his religion will be chaotic too.
- ਧਾਵਤੁ ਰਾਖੈ ਇਕਤੁ ਘਰਿ ਆਣੈ ॥: Dhaavat raakhai ikat ghari aanai: Restrain your wandering mind, and brings it back to its own home within the Self (sggs 88).
- ਵਿਣੁ ਮਨੈ ਜਿ ਹੋਰੀ ਨਾਲਿ ਲੁਝਣਾ ਜਾਸੀ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖੀ ਮਨਹਠਿ ਹਾਰਿਆ ਕੂੜੁ ਕੁਸਤੁ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: Vin mannai ji horee naali lujhnaa jaasee janam gavaayi. Manmukhee mannhathi haariyaa koorh kusat kamaayi: Those who struggle with something other than their own mind, will depart having wasted their lives. The material beings (Manmukhs), through stubborn-mindedness and the practice of falsehood, lose the game of life (sggs 87).
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਲਇਆ ਸਵਾਰਿ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਤਜੈ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੩॥: Gurmukhi ihu manu laiaa savaari. Haumai vichahu tajai vikaar ||3||: One who becomes the Gurmukh, purifies his mind (eradicates his Vikaars, passions, etc.). (By becoming the Gurmukh, he) removes Haumai or egotism from within (sggs 665).
- ਘਰੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਭੁ ਵਥੁ ਹੈ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਕਿਛੁ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਪਾਈਐ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕਪਟ ਖੁਲਾਹੀ ॥: Gharai andar sabh vath hai baahar kishu naahee. Gur parasaadee paaeeai antar kapat khulaahee: Everything is within the home of your own Self; there is nothing beyond it. By Divine Grace, it is obtained, and the doors of the inner heart are opened wide (sggs 425).
- "It is the religious conversion that is the root cause of religious terrorism, mother of all terrorism." (Bill Clinton, former U.S. President).
Some people change their external religion because they feel their own external religion is ineffective or inadequate. Well, they are in for a big surprise! Because of emphasis on nonessentials, all religions have become ineffective to some degree. They all have lost the sight of the tree for the wood! As a result, religions have been misguiding humanity for centuries. Thus, for too long religions have committed the greatest sins in the name of religion and God. In other words, religions have taught mankind to be irreligious in the name of religion and God. How strange!
The fundamental tenets in all of the world religions are essentially the same - they all seem to be selfless love or selfless service-oriented (Nishakaam Sevaa). Apparently, they all were motivated by a Higher desire to serve Higher Being and all that exists out there. The essence of all religions guide people to their true or eternal identity and thus prepare them to understand the Absolute Truth. Once that is done, people will find the Truth (or God) themselves. In this sense, all religions are tools for the realization of the One Universal Reality. Hence, all religions have the potential to serve humanity and develop true Spiritual Beings with good and compassionate hearts. None of them can claim to be the only "source", only "truth", "final word", or the only "way". Because God being Infinite cannot be boxed in finite names and forms! Therefore, instead of dividing people, all religions must fulfill their true mission of uniting people in selfless love and truth.
The purpose of religion is to transform a negative person into a good and positive person. But since all religions are in "error", instead they have been creating more negative people in the world - materialists or non-spiritual beings who practice reactionary spirituality. The results are in front of us! Therefore, all religions need to mend their ways. They must recognize follies and sins of the past, and thereby correct their ways accordingly.
At once, religions must stop religious conversions. We should not only respect all human beings, we must also respect those who are following other religions. Because what anybody's religion is his personal affair. The scriptures and the Masters remind us that the aim of human life is to become True Beings, and selflessly serve and love others. Otherwise religion or wisdom has no meaning. Therefore, instead of wasting this rare human birth practicing relativist consciousness and preaching falsehood, let us try changing ourselves within by becoming true Spiritual Beings. Spirituality cannot be made to order, or it cannot be passed on to next person by anybody else. It is something so personal you have to experience it yourself, within. Spirituality is to know one's True Nature as Pure Consciousness or Awareness. Thus, spirituality is Divine or Holy.
- ਵਿਚਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸੇਵ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥ ਤਾ ਦਰਗਹਿ ਬੈਸਣੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਾਹ ਲੁਡਾਈਐੈ ॥: Vichi duneeaa sev kamaaeeai.Taa dargahi baisan paaeeai: In the midst of this world, do selfless service (Sevaa), and you will attain the experience of Divine Realm. Then, says Nanak, you will become free from all worries (sggs 26).
- ਗੁਰਮੁਖੇ ਸਚੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਾਰੀ ਬਿਨਸੇ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਭੈ ਝੂਠਾ ਰਾਮ ॥: Gurmukhe sach karnee saaree binse bhram bhai jhoothaa raam: As Spiritual being (Gurmukh), my lifestyle is excellent and true; my false hopes and doubts are dispelled (sggs 781).
- ਲੋਭ ਮੋਹ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਮਤਾ ਫੁਨਿ ਅਉ ਬਿਖਿਅਨ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ॥ ਹਰਖ ਸੋਗ ਪਰਸੈ ਜਿਹ ਨਾਹਨਿ ਸੋ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਹੈ ਦੇਵਾ ॥: Lobh moh Maya mamataa fun ayu bikhian kee saevaa. Harakh sog parasai jih naahan so moorati hai daevaa: Greed, emotional attachment to Maya, possessiveness, the service of evil, pleasure and pain - those who are not touched by these, are the very embodiment of the Divine God (sggs 220).
- ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਤੁਮ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਹੁ ਦੂਜੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਹੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ਜੀ ॥: Har kee thum saevaa karahu doojee saevaa karahu n koi jee: Serve the Lord; one should not serve duality (sggs 490).
It is clear there is nothing to be gained by giving up either voluntarily or pursuing others by force, allurement or fraudulent means to give up being a Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, and so on. Religious conversion is not needed for Spiritual salvation because every religion, if understood properly, is perfectly adequate for it. Therefore, instead of converting into other organized religion, help the global-mankind by correcting the "error" of your own religion, otherwise religion will never become what it's meant to be. When one converts to other religion because of frustration, discrimination, hatred, etc., he is giving up on struggle to correct weakness, "error" or wrongs of his own religion. Furthermore, he contributes to the "error" of the religion he is converted to.
Religion is Spirituality not materiality; religion is love not intolerance; religion is realization of Oneness not differences; religion is giving not taking wrongly or misappropriately; religion is cooperation not exploitation; religion is selflessness not selfishness; religion is wisdom not stupidity; religion is Divine Life not demoniac activity; religion is harmony not discord and conflict; religion is truth not falsehood and crookedness; religion is correctness not error; religion is Pure Consciousness not evil tendencies; religion is purity of the mind not impurities; religion is desirelessness not worldliness; religion is eternal identity not body-consciousness; religion is Divine Nature not animal instincts; religion is light not darkness of ignorance; religion is freedom not bondage to sense-slavery; religion is living truthfully or righteously not corruption; religion is enlightenment not mental-blindness; religion is equality not inequality; and so on.
Thus, the essence of man's external religion is his inner transformation. One can realize this inner change without abandoning the falsehood of his external religion, faith, mode of worship, method of meditation or philosophy. Therefore, all forms of religious conversion should be unlearnt.
As a matter of fact, there is only one Religion of Truth (True Religion or Dharma), which nobody can change! Because It's the Essence of man's very Being. But, due to the rise of the ego-illusion, this Divine Essence remains dormant within and waits to be awakened by the Jeeva (individual being). You see, by changing your outer religion all you are doing is changing the name and form. That's all! But, according to all the true Masters and the true scriptures, this consciousness of "names" and "forms" — or time, space and movement — is the man's real trouble to begin with! Thus, there is nothing anew to be gained by changing one's external religion. One must change within, and awaken his True Religion (Dharma) lying dormant deep within his bosom. Nobody can do it for anybody. One has to do it oneself. All man-made religions are the expression of this one Religion of Truth (Dharma) . Thus, the key is proper understanding.
- ਏਕੋ ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜੈ ਸਚੁ ਕੋਈ ...: Eko Dharam drirhai sabh koee...: There is only one Religion of Dharma or Truth; let everyone grasp this truth ....Humble being imbued with the sublime Essence of God is certified and approved (sggs 1188).
- ਕਲ ਮੈ ਏਕੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਨਿਧਿ ਜਾਹਿ ਜਪੈ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਅਉਰ ਧਰਮ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਸਮ ਨਾਹਨਿ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਬੇਦੁ ਬਤਾਵੈ ॥: Kal mai eaek naam kirapaa nidhi jaahi japai gati paavai. Aour dharama taa kai samm naahan ih bidhi bedu bataavai: In this Dark Age of Kal Yuga, God's Name is the treasure of mercy; chanting it, one obtains salvation. No other religion is comparable to this; so speak the Vedas (sggs 632).
- ਜਿਸੁ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਪਤਿਤ ਪੁਨੀਤ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਅੰਤ ਕਾਲਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਨ ਰੋਇ ॥ ਸਗਲ ਧਰਮ ਮਹਿ ਊਤਮ ਧਰਮ ॥ ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤੂਤਿ ਕੈ ਊਪਰਿ ਕਰਮ ॥: Jis simrat patit puneet hoee ...: Meditating on God, even fallen sinners are sanctified; in the end, they will not weep and wail over and over again. Among all religions, this is the ultimate religion. Among all rituals and codes of conduct, this is above all (sggs 1182).
- ਤਜਿ ਸਭਿ ਭਰਮ ਭਜਿਓ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਟਲ ਇਹੁ ਧਰਮ ॥: Taji Sabhi bharam bhajio paarbrahm. Kahu Nanak attal ih dharama: Renounce all your doubts, and vibrate upon the Supreme Lord. Says Nanak, this Dharma is eternal (sggs 196).
— T. Singh