Freedom From Reaction : Aims of Religion

Posted: 02.05.2009

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Religion aims at reforming the present, bringing about a transformation in everyday living. A very strange thing has come to pass. In the so-called religious families, men and women practise religion, visit religious places, pray and worship, but also they quarrel among themselves. Whatever evils are found in the irreligious, are also very much present in the so-called 'religious'; they are in no way different. They seem to practise meditation, work for salvation, but at the same time, they are very much involved in petty jealousies and wrangles. If heaven and salvation were so easy to attain, no one need transform himself!

It is vast subject. Non-violence is a peerless light, at present beclouded; a radiant flame almost deadened with ashes; its brilliance quite vanished.

The man who has had a direct experience of non-violence, is filled with unlimited energy. In him is awakened the capacity to die, which constitutes in itself the greatest power a man can know. The ultimate power wielded by the rulers of the world is the power to kill; they can do no more. And the man who has awakened in himself the capacity to die can face all the world powers with equanimity; he become insuperable. Nothing can frighten or suppress him; he becomes invincible.

The development of such power is possible only through non-violence. India once witnessed this power, appreciated it fully. But during the Middle Ages, a change occurred.

The historians perhaps indulged in gross misrepresentation and a feeling grew up that non-violence had weakened the nation. That such a feeling should grow is most surprising, for where there is non-violence, there can be no fear. And vice-versa. Fear and non-violence that gives a thousand men ready to die, a hundred thousand - strong army cannot destroy them. The army indulges in killing when the enemy confronting it is actuated by the same motive. If the persons in front display an altogether different mien, if there countenances show no violence within, no aggressive design whatsoever, the biggest army is rendered inactive; its posture of violence, too, undergoes a transformation. But we have made non-violence appear to be utterly worthless. The frightful prospect facing us today is that of psychological violence.

In the context of Preksha Meditation, I should like to dwell at length on psychological violence alone, because the observance of non-violence forms the practical aspect of Preksha Meditation, which aims at doing away with violent impulses and ruthlessness, and to awaken compassion. Our hard-heartedness has created innumerable problems. All the corruption, evils and lack of authenticity originate from insensitivity. If a man were really humane, there would be no ground for evils to flourish.

Shrimad Rai Chandra was like a teacher to Gandhiji, He was a great spiritual practitioner. He dealt in jewellery. After a merchant and entered into some bargain with him, the prices shot up and the merchant stood to lose around Rs. 50,000/-, In those days, about 70 years ago, it was a tremendous sum. The merchant was quite flustered. Shrimad Rai Chandra came to know of it and called at him. He found the merchant greatly upset. Shrimad said, "What's the matter?" The merchant said, "Sir, have no fear on my account. I'll pay what lowe you even to the penny." Shrimad sais, "Don't you worry about paying. Let me know your actual position. How are you getting along?" But the merchant was preoccupied with his debt to Rai Chandra. He sais, "Sir, I'm fully sensible of my obligations. I'll pay as early as I can. You don't kindly insist on an immediate payment." Shrimad replied, "I have not said a word about payment. It is you who are reiterating it tiresomely. Are you reading from a prepared statement?" But the merchane was grossly preoccupied with the matter and the said again, "I've got the promisssory note ready with me. Here it is. I'll pay as early as I can." Shrimad took the promissory not and said, "What do you take me for? A harpy, a blood-sucker?" and while saying so, he tore up the promissory note. The merchant stood still with wonder.

Compassion from the heart, from the deepest layers of the mind—that is the first characteristic of a truly religious man. If there is no compassion, if hard-heartedness continues, a person cannot be said to be religious—indeed, to call a truthless person religious would be a mockery of truth.

The practice of Preksha Meditation is an effort to awaken compassion. It is an endeavour to make the heart pure and innocent. The aim is to transform our consciousness so that we can establish an intimate relationship with one and all.

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