blind faith

“Devotion toward another person, no matter how saintly, is not sufficient to liberate anyone; there can be no liberation or salvation without direct experience of reality. Therefore, truth has primacy, not the one who speaks it. All respect is due to whoever teaches the truth, but the best way to show that respect is by working to realize the truth of oneself.”
-William Hart in The Art of Live: Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenke

We were in Shreenathji about a week and a half ago. I have really mixed feelings about the trip, because it pokes a place in my beliefs that I have really strong feelings towards, and that is religion. I’ll explain the reason I was drawn to this specific passage in this book in a bit. But first, let me talk about my outlook on religion.

I regard myself as a pretty religious person. I read the Geeta, I say my prayers, I celebrate the holy festivals, what have you. But, I have made it a point in my life to really understand the true meaning behind everything I do. Sure, I don’t have all the answers, but I make the effort to ask people and trace the reasoning back to something. My parents have been awesome for putting up with me as well when it comes to this from the get go.

So, back to Shreenathji. It was definitely a experience I’m not sure I have the will power to go through again. It’s basically the city where Shreenathji (God) took human form. There’s this huge temple where He actually lives. That’s kind of a rundown. But, He has millions of followers, my family being one of them. Really we went to take my mom’s mom and my dad’s parents. It’s considered a holy city, and since they’re all pretty old now, my parents kind of wanted to give them this last chance to come and offer their prayers. And this is how I felt: the city was completely packed with people, it wasn’t the cleanest city I’ve been to in India, and I was able to actually see the idol for about 3.2 minutes TOTAL. You get shoved in and out in a matter of seconds.

And this is where my problem lies with the state of religion today. Please keep in mind that this is a strictly personal opinion, and I am not sharing sentiments on behalf of people. Anyways, I feel like we’ve really lost the essence of what religion is supposed to be. It’s supposed to be guidance along a personal journey to merge with God. It should offer you peace and comfort that you’re not alone in the world. It should encourage you to seek a divine life and try to instill Godly qualities within you. It’s not something that if you pay a certain amount of money you have a direct ticket to heaven. It’s not something that if you merely go to church, temple, or some sort of place of worship once a week you’re considered a “religious person”. It takes effort. It takes dedication. It takes love and compassion. We’ve become so quick to find the easy way out, that we’ve forgotten that there is a path that we must walk to achieve our goal. Can I really say that I live a religious life? We have faith in the middleman, but not in the Ultimate.

The beginning of my senior year of college, I had a realization where I began to ask myself, am I living a life that God would be proud of? Am I worthy enough to be called His daughter? The answers: no and yes. I am worthy enough to be called His daughter, because I am His creation. But looking back, I’ve done a lot of dumb and stupid things that would really embarrass Him. Keeping this in mind, I tried to fix the gaps in my life, so that I can live, to the best of my ability, something that He would be proud of.

To me, going to a temple where I can’t even sit in front of God and spend time with Him isn’t devotion. I will say, that you have to have a LOT of faith to endure Shreenathji, and I sincerely commend those men and women who go with loving hearts. Me, that’s not my way to show my gratitude. That’s the beauty of religion. It provides a path, guidance. But it doesn’t –or to me, it shouldn’t—have strict rules to follow, because my relationship with the Supreme is completely different than my own parents.

“Devotion toward another person, no matter how saintly, is not sufficient to liberate anyone; there can be no liberation or salvation without direct experience of reality. Therefore, truth has primacy, not the one who speaks it. All respect is due to whoever teaches the truth, but the best way to show that respect is by working to realize the truth of oneself.”
I wish I could tell you how many different people at different times have tried to explain this idea to me. The path is about the effort. You have to do to achieve. And finally, it clicks. The best way to show that respect is by working to realize the truth of oneself. 

Countdown to America: 12 days

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s