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The relation between religion and spirituality || Acharya Prashant (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
5 min
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Questioner (Q): My sister believes in Christianity and she has also changed her religion. Now, she says that I am on the wrong path. What is the right path and how religion and spirituality are connected?

Acharya Prashant (AP): When the subtle becomes gross, rather the subtle is turned into gross, then all these religious prejudices are born. So when someone says, “Jesus”, one has to first ask, "Who is Jesus?" What do you mean by Jesus? The son of Mary? Who is Jesus?

When somebody says, "I have found my path", the question to be asked is, "Whose path?" From the gross, inquiry must move to the subtle. And that is also the relation between religion and spirituality. The Truth is subtler than the subtlest. Spirituality is subtle. Religion is gross.

We get attracted to names, forms, conventions. Jesus is not the name or form of Jesus. Who is Jesus? And if you look at the Bible closely, then there is enough in the Bible to clearly see and demonstrate that those who are ardent evangelists are the ones who, probably, missed Jesus the most.

There are two kinds of missionary zeal. One is, when you have really dissolved, really found, and then what you have found disseminates itself from your being. Or rather non-being. This is love. You are like the Sun. You must radiate. This first form of zeal is love.

And then the second form of zeal is when you have not found and you know that you have not found and because you have not found you are insecure. And to cover up your insecurity, you want to gather numbers around you. Because insecurity requires a crowd. Insecurity requires that there must be more like you. Insecurity has a need to prove itself.

So to convince yourself, that you are not as, in a much-debauched state as you really are, you turn outwards. This is evangelism. You are trying to convert the other because you are yourself not converted.

And there is a great difference between love and evangelism. In love too, you bring something precious to the other. But in love, you bring something precious to the other for the sake of the other. In evangelism, you bring something to the other, for your own sake. Because you fully well know that you are insecure. Because you know, that you are stuck somewhere and are lonely. “I am the only one, who follows a particular religion in this family. So won’t it be great if I have some support? Won’t it be great if my numbers multiply?”

The question to be asked is—“Do you have the real thing?” And I am not saying that one has to follow only one path to get the real thing, or for that matter, one has to follow any particular path to get the real thing. So it’s not a question of paths, it’s a question of whether you have it. If you have it, then your approach, then your relationship with the entire world, including the family, would be very different. And if you don’t have it, then you are just acting as my enemy by trying to convert me to your side. It’s not then about Christianity or Hinduism, or theism versus atheism. It’s simply a question of whether one has it. Do you have it? And if you have it, then please tell me what does Jesus mean to you? Who are you?

When you say you have found your path, whose path? This question of identity will befuddle and anger many zealous evangelists.

When they say they have found God, the only question you have to ask is— “Who has found what?” And this will irritate them so much.

When Jesus says, “I am the life, the light, and the way.” What does Jesus mean by—‘I’. Does Jesus mean the body of Jesus? And what does Jesus mean by ‘I’? In fact, the best way, to tame a Christian is to read the Bible. The best way to show a Hindu that he is ignorant is to read the Gita.

Chances are, the Christian would be the one who has no relationship with Christ whatsoever. The Hindu would be the one who has no relationship with Krishna. So when they say come to Jesus, say, “Yes, I will come to Jesus directly through the Bible.” And go the Bible, and meet Jesus. And I assure you Jesus is tremendously beautiful. But when you really be with Jesus, then the Christians won’t like you. Because they don’t want you to be with the Christ, they want you to be a Christian.

And there is a tremendous difference between being with the Christ and being a Christian.

So how to deal with your sister? Go to Jesus, he will tell you.

Your sister wants you to take you to Jesus. I too am encouraging that. Kindly do go to Jesus but go, directly. Go to the Bible.

Yours truly too has spoken a lot on Jesus. Why don’t you share one of those videos with her? Support is available—Fire!

Q: Even Christ was not a Christian.

AP: Jesus is beautiful. Krishna is beautiful. Go to them.

Q: Are they not the same?

AP: In form and name, obviously not. In essence, obviously yes.

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