Discrimination Between Religion, Sect

Published: 07.06.2007
Updated: 15.02.2008

How much blood has been shed in the name of religion? How many countries were devastated? However, all this has happened not because of religion, but because of sectarianism.

Lord Mahavira laid down a religious doctrine. He gave a collective form to sadhana. Yet, he discriminated between religion and sect.

The sect may prove helpful in the attainment of religion. Accordingly, he emphasised the importance of belonging to an Order, but he never confused religion with sect. He said: Those philosophic people who say, “Come and join our sect, or there can be no salvation for you,” have certainly gone astray.

Equally confused and mistaken are those who speak ill of their sects. To worship religion, one must rise above the sect and turn wholly towards truth. The sect can only serve as a means, a basis for the reciprocally of living, for mutual cooperation. It can be a source of inspiration to the individual, but does not, in itself, constitute religion.
A new difficulty has arisen today. People have come to identify sect with religion. They say, religion has been the cause of many wars. How much blood has been shed in the name of religion? How many countries were devastated? However, all this has happened not because of religion, but because of sectarianism.

Religion and sect have become so mixed, that the atrocities committed in the name of sect or community are blamed upon religion, giving it a bad name. If one really attains religion, there is no more quarrel or malice or any kind of aversion. When a man is free from attachment and aversion, there is little possibility of any dispute arising. Quarrels arise on sectarian grounds, not because of religion. Wrapped in the cloak of sect or community, poor religion is not heard today and the language of religion has become unintelligible. This is a real problem.

According to philology, words grow obsolete or come to acquire new connotations. From one point-of-view, the word, ‘religion’ today has come to signify sect or community. Thus its meaning has somewhat changed. That is why we felt the need of a new word for our purposes. We were looking for a word, which would be expressive of the fundamental values of religion, a word signifying the evolution in life of religion, spirituality and morality.

These words - ‘religion’, ‘spirituality’ and ‘morality’ have become controversial.

Sources

Deccan Herarld, 5.6.2007, - by the efforts of Mr. Lalit Garg.

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