Nowadays, there are many wars, crimes, and cultural backwardness that is linked to religion. For the same reason, people are inclined to reject religion.
Imagine an eye suffering from a cataract. What would the solution be, to remove the eye or the cataract? Similarly when the fundamentals of a state or a country are being harassed by orthodox misunderstandings, it is the veil of illusion that must be cut by the sword of transcendental knowledge than rejecting the fundamentals.
chittvainaṁ saṁśayaṁ yogam
“Therefore the doubts which have arisen in your heart out of ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge. Armed with yoga, O Bhārata, stand and ﬁght.” (BG 4.42)
The dictionary defines religion as something related to faith or belief. According to this definition someone may be a Christian today and may take to Islam or Hindu tomorrow for some personal motive. Hence, change in religion.
But Absolute Truth means that which never changes throughout the existence. So the above relative definition of religion based on faith is incorrect.
The Vedas state the lost original meaning of religion (sanatana dharma) as the eternal occupation or the inseparable quality. Just as the religion of fire is ‘heat’ and ‘light’ (being inseparable), that of water is liquidity, similarly the religion of the living entity is to serve for no one can sit idle. To make thoughts nil means to think “I must concentrate on nil”. Therefore serve one must as an activity.
A person serves either one’s own senses or the senses of the community, government or their pets but yet is dissatisfied with the reciprocation. But when one understands ones original identity as the eternal spirit soul, the real service is performed by serving the Supreme Eternal and tastes unending satisfaction.In fact the term Religion comes from the Latin word Re-legio(as in ligament) or to Re-link (the soul with the Supreme).
Therefore, in order to understand ones true religion it is important to realize ones original identity and its eternal nature first free from false body identification, in relation to Supreme God.
Question however remains for the mass in general, isn’t God (and hence scriptures) made by man?
The answer is a resounding No! Lord Krishna confirmed this 5000 years ago to Arjuna:
imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha manur ikṣvākave ’bravīt
“The Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvān, and Vivasvān instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikṣvāku.” (BG 4.1)
The Srimad Bhagvatam also confirms this fact – dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat–praṇītam (SB 6/3/19) “The path of religion is directly enunciated by the Supreme Lord.”
It however is also true that when the infallible knowledge is interpreted by the fallible man, it becomes fallible. And therefore comes the necessity of passing the knowledge in a disciplic chain of succession. Just as we receive the information of our ancestors, the calculations and inventions of great scientists unadulterated, so has to this knowledge be passed carefully. But due to the influence of iron age the line of disciplic succession was seemingly broken.
imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
sa kāleneha mahatā
yogo naṣṭaḥ paran-tapa
“This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.” (BG 4.2)”
However Lord Krishna further states:
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion – at that time I descend Myself.” (BG 4.7)
The purport of this verse is that Lord sends His representatives during such downfalls or personally descends as in the case of Bhagavad Gita. Lord Jesus, the son of Christ is an example of a powerful representative who preached The Absolute Science in the garb of Christianity and spread it within days. Fortunately, however, the knowledge still descends unbroken through 4 bonafide disciplic lines:
- Brahma Sampradaya
- Sri Sampradaya
- Kumara Sampradaya
- Rudra Sampradaya
Just as to learn Maths one approaches a Math professor, similarly to learn of the Absolute one must approach the above bonafide lines of succession. Therefore, under the guidance of a bonafide spiritual master one must learn this absolute knowledge with effective inquiries for blind faith is clearly rejected in the scriptures.
Ultimately religion of mankind is to love God by understanding ones original identity as the eternal spirit soul. This will be further be discussed later.