What is Religion?
Nothing in this world is static. Everything is changing, every moment. So are we. I am not the same person as I was ten years ago or ten days ago or yesterday. Like seasons or fashions things change while resembling similar but never exactly remain same. Similarly our language is also changing. Within the same language the meaning of the words change. What was the meaning of ‘sexy’ in 1912, is not the same meaning in 2012. What was the meaning of ‘stink’ in 1812, is not the same as in 2012.
Similarly the meaning of the words like religion & Karma etc. have also undergone a change.
Religion, Organized Religion, spirituality, Superconsciousness, Karma and myths!
What is Religion?
Religion is something more than mere scruples or ethics. There is one core principle of ethics: ‘Do no such thing to others as we do not want others to do to us.’ All known scruples, morals and ethics are derivatives of this principle. Ethics governs our dealings with others. But religion is something more than that. It governs how we live, think, act or even die.
Religion has three more components: Self conduct, Rituals & Belief, with, without or on vague reasons. Continue reading
Smartness trumped by foolishness.
Once upon a time a nomadic priest came to a river bank to take morning bath in the river. He was alone. There was nobody around. He had to return the call of nature. He had a pot of copper which was his total “assets”. Hence he wanted to hide it some where. He feared that in his absence some thief may steal it. So he found a solution. On river bank sand was spread all over the area. He made a pit in the sand by his hand and after placing the copper pots in the pit, he covered it with sand. Now to identify the place he made a Shiva Lingam (a Religious Image; See below) over it. Now to make it more authentic, he also placed some flowers and leaves over it so that it may appear that some one has recently worshiped it. Of he went to attend the call of nature. Upon his return to that place, he was in a shock.Now there were so many similar ‘Shiva lingam‘ statute carved on sand. People presumed that on that particular date, it was a ritual to make that image on the sand and perform the ritual of prayer/worship. Hence the people without much thought and consideration followed the presumed ritual. Now the priest could not find his own Shiva lingam under which he had buried his valuable copper pot and had to lose it. Finding himself in this situation he expressed his anguish in these words in a couplet:
In this world people follow each other in passing;
Who cares for right or wrong;
Actions are performed in automatic motion;
Sand ate my copper-ware due to shiva-lingam.
(The story and couplet translated to English from Hindi/Sanskrit Source: Nishant’s Blog)
Shiva Lingam im Hindu-Tempel/AAI Wien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is a sequel to my earlier post on Automatons. How we are lost in our thoughts and are acting mechanically. This story is also reflective of the fact that we plan things from a very limited perspective and future is always uncertain. Fatalists can blame the priest in above story, for his loss as natural because he had misused the religion to cling to his assets. But that is not the point. Point is how our mind travels, in limited two dimensions and we create problems for ouselves and others.
Introduction to Gurdjieff:
Gurdjieff newer disowned the religion. He always proclaimed that he was Christian, though he never visited any church nor followed any religious ritual or pursuit. Why? Because he knew that religion has trappings of politics and unless he did not anchor on to something, people will make his strange talk into new religion.
Gurdjieff asserted that people cannot perceive reality in their current state because they do not possess consciousness but rather live in a state of a hypnotic “waking sleep”. All his life he was trying to ‘wake-up’ people.
Click here to read more about Gurdjieff and his teachings called fourth way.
George Ivanovich Gudjieff was a mystic of Armenian descent. His mysticism is such that it took me six years to find him on wiki as spelling of his name and pronunciation itself is a mystery. Those who chauffeur him around have become his successors.
I really wonder if he had influenced the OSHO as well as J. Krishnamurti.
In his Institute of Evolution of Man, the following were the Rules of conduct:
inscribed in a special script above the walls of the Study House at the Prieuré
1. Like what “it” does not like.
2. The highest that a man can attain is to be able to do.
3. The worse the conditions of life the more productive the work, always provided you remember the work.
4. Remember yourself always and everywhere.
5. Remember you come here having already understood the necessity of struggling with yourself—only with yourself. Therefore thank everyone who gives you the opportunity.
6. Here we can only direct and create conditions, but not help.
7. Know that this house can be useful only to those who have recognized their nothingness and who believe in the possibility of changing.
8. If you already know it is bad and do it, you commit a sin difficult to redress.
9. The chief means of happiness in this life is the ability to consider externally always, internally never.
10. Do not love art with your feelings.
11. A true sign of a good man is if he loves his father and mother.
12. Judge others by yourself and you will rarely be mistaken.
13. Only help him who is not an idler.
14. Respect every religion.
15. I love him who loves work.
16. We can only strive to be able to be Christians.
17. Don’t judge a man by the tales of others.
18. Consider what people think of you—not what they say.
19. Take the understanding of the East and the knowledge of the West—and then seek.
20. Only he who can take care of what belongs to others may have his own.
21. Only conscious suffering has any sense. 22. It is better to be temporarily an egoist than never to be just.
23. Practice love first on animals, they are more sensitive.
24. By teaching others you will learn yourself.
25. Remember that here work is not for work’s sake but is only a means.
26. Only he can be just who is able to put himself in the position of others.
27. If you have not by nature a critical mind your staying here is useless.
28. He who has freed himself of the disease of “tomorrow” has a chance to attain what he came here for.
29. Blessed is he who has a soul, blessed is he who has none, but woe and grief to him who has it in embryo.
30. Rest comes not from the quantity but from the quality of sleep.
31. Sleep little without regret.
32. The energy spent on active inner work is then and there transformed into a fresh supply, but that spent on passive work is lost for ever.
33. One of the best means for arousing the wish to work on yourself is to realize that you may die at any moment. But first you must learn how to keep it in mind.
34. Conscious love evokes the same in response. Emotional love evokes the opposite. Physical love depends on type and polarity.
35. Conscious faith is freedom. Emotional faith is slavery. Mechanical faith is foolishness.
36. Hope, when bold, is strength. Hope, with doubt, is cowardice. Hope, with fear, is weakness.
37. Man is given a definite number of experiences—economizing them, he prolongs his life.
38. Here there are neither Russians nor English, Jews nor Christians, but only those who pursue one aim—to be able to be.
Links to download his writing or about him:
Episodes with Gurdjieff :– http://www.scribd.com/doc/36926552
Last hour of life – Gurdjieff:– http://www.scribd.com/doc/36926519
Life is real when I am:– http://www.scribd.com/doc/36926518
One easy principle for popularity is to imitate the popular. Gurdjieff was against personality cult. He hid himself behind so many curtains that nobody may know who he was. Here this book seeks to tell us who he was.
Am I for or against Gurdjieff? Both, of course, as one is for and against God, for and against oneself, for and against one’s life. Hagiography is a different thing. It matters not who is shocked. If everything was clear there would have been only one explanation, one moral code, one faith, for the last hundred thousand years. Or, more exactly, there would be no faith. Read Ouspensky and say whether you are for or against him. To my mind, those who swallow the Gurdjievian cosmogony whole, and those who reject it out of hand, are equally wrong and, above all, equally superficial. Those who study Gurdjieff, alive or dead, without either fear or respect, are equally naïve. From such a man one takes and rejects, one is both wary and receptive. One struggles with him. To struggle with Gurdjieff (and not against him) is to understand him, to know him, and, in the end, to love him.
As for putting him on a pedestal, especially after his death, that is the most sinister trick that well-meaning Gurdjieffians could possibly play on him. That is to show true disrespect. (Gurdjieff – A reading guide | 3rd Edition — 2004 | Edited by J. Walter Driscoll.)
Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson (Photo credit: johnno_oz)
As far as I understand, he never wanted to be immortal. He intentionally did not leave behind any legacy except his thoughts and two books. Those who claim this legacy must show that they can claim it. Her true pupil said she was not concerned as to who Gurdjieff was so long he was her Teacher. May god help these authors.
© Sandeep Bhalla
Religion and Spirituality