EACH SOUL, IS POTENTIALLY DIVINE.
THE GOAL IS TO MANIFEST THIS DIVINITY WITHIN, BY CONTROLLING NATURE. EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL.
DO THIS EITHER BY WORK, OR WORSHIP, OR PSYCHIC CONTROL, OR PHILOSOPHY, BY ONE, OR MORE, OR ALL OF THESE AND BE FREE.
THIS IS THE WHOLE OF RELIGION. DOCTRINES, OR DOGMAS, OR RITUALS, OR BOOKS, OR TEMPLES, OR FORMS, ARE BUT SECONDARY DETAILS.
Swami Vivekananda - Frontispiece, Raja Yoga, 1897
I've never understood the role of those members of a religion who apparently profess to know more about the creative force than you or I. If, as all the masters in the past have said, the answer lies inside you, then I don't need interpreters for that, I certainly don't need those rituals, special clothes, special appearances, or anything else that religions offer. As one Master said: "Religion is what happens when the master dies". Suddenly, everyone is an expert!
Swami Vivekananda represented India and Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions (1893). This was the first World's Parliament of Religions and it was held from 11 to 27 September 1893. Delegates from all over the world joined this Parliament. Amongst other thinks, the following excerpt from "Raja Yoga" - a discourse given by the Swami - I find very clear:
In the first place I will ask you to analyse all the various religions of the world. You will find that these are divided into two. classes, those with a book, and those without a book. Those with a book are the strongest,
and have the largest number of followers. Those with out books have mostly died out, and the few new ones have very small followings. Yet, in all of them we find one consensus of opinion, that the truths they teach
are the results of the experiences of particular persons.
The Christian asks you to believe in his religion, to believe in Christ, and to believe in Him as the incarnation of God, to believe in a God, in a soul, and in a better state of that soul. If I ask him for reasons he says, "No, it is my belief". But if you go to the fountain head of Christianity you will find that it is based upon experience. Christ said He saw God; the disciples said they felt God ; and so forth. Similarly, in Buddhism, it is Buddha s experience He experienced certain truths, saw them, came in contact with them, and preached them to the world. So with the Hindus in their book the writers, who are called Rishis, or sages, declare they have experienced certain truths, and these they preach. Thus it is clear that all the religions of the world have been built upon that one universal and Adamantine foundation of all our knowledge direct experience. The teachers all saw God ; they all saw their own souls, they saw their eternity, they saw their future, and what they saw they preached. Only there is this difference, that in most of these religions, especially in modern times, a peculiar claim is put before us, and that claim is that these experiences are impossible at the present day; they were only possible with a few men, who were the first founders of the religions that subsequently bore their names. At the present time these experiences have become obsolete, and therefore we have now to take religion on belief. This I entirely deny. If there has been one case of experience in this world in any particular branch of knowledge it absolutely follows that this experience has been possible millions of times before, and will be repeated eternally. Uniformity is the rigorous law of nature; what once happened can happen always.
The absurdity of religious organisation should be clear to every human being on the planet: look at what they have done and continue to do. There have been more deaths caused by religious organisations than anything I can think of. What all these organisations demonstrate, is their own lack of belief in a creative force. How can anyone say they believe in a creator and then go and destroy parts of that creation because they see things differently? It makes no sense on any level.
How can they abuse the position they claim for themselves within society and then abuse the members of that society? How can one person who is ignorant of themselves have the temerity to judge others they don't know at all? It truly is the blind leading the blind.
The worst combination - and I don't have to give examples, they are visible everywhere - is when religion and politics get together. That creates a very nasty child! Here are two groups, both of whom claim to represent power on behalf of the people, but on closer inspection, what is done is to make use of that power to get the ignorant to follow them. Ignorance is so dangerous and the worst kind of ignorance, is wilful ignorance,, when people refuse to see what' is happening in their name and they continue to allow it to happen. That is truly disgusting and so, much of the world's population is truly disgusting in terms of their ignorance and refusal to take personal responsibility for their actions and lack of action when there should be action.