Know that there is One and only One God.
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!
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. It 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
— T. Singh
Updated on Friday, May 4, 2012 10:23 PM (PST)
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