Monday, May 28, 2007

Spiritual Symbolism in the Number 7 Seven

The Seventh Chakra, the Thousand-Petal Lotus, is located at the crown of the head. It symbolizes spiritual states of consciousness and connection to spiritual or universal energies.


Seven candles are lit in the kinara during the African-American celebration of Kwanzaa, which is a seven-day holiday.

British/Celtic (Druid):

Seven Chieftain Trees sacred to the Druids were Oak, Hazel, Apple, Holly, Yew, Ash and Pine. Penalty for removal: one cow.

Seven Common Trees were also protected and carried a penalty for removal: Alder, Willow, Birch, Elm, Aspen, "Idhadh," and Mountain Ash.

Seven each of shrub and bramble trees were protected, too.

(All these trees and shrubs were protected by Brehon Law of Ireland.)


Buddha walked 7 steps at his birth.


The number of churches of Asia to which the "Book of Revelation" is addressed.

The number of the Seven Virtues: Chastity, Moderation, Liberality, Charity, Meekness, Zeal, and Humility, corresponding to the seven deadly sins.

The number of sacraments in the Roman Catholic faith, and most reformed traditions.


The Stellar Sovereigns of the Five Planets and Seven Stars are seven Daoist deities. The Five Planets are the Year Star (Jupiter)1, the Sparkling Deluder (Mars)2, the Grand White Star (Venus)3, the Chronographic Star (Mercury)4, and the Quelling Star (Saturn)5. Together with the sun and moon, they are called the Seven Stars. Daoism worships the Seven Stars as spirits and calls them Stellar Sovereigns.

Also important to Daoists is the seven stars of the Big Dipper. "In the process of conducting Daoist Magical Skills, the ritual master often recites incantations with his mouth, making Finger Gestures with his hands, and Pacing the Big Dipper with his feet. Making Finger Gestures and Pacing the Big Dipper are two kinds of major physical movements of the ritual master as he conducts Magical Skills." Taoist Culture & Information Center


The number of palms in an Egyptian Sacred Cubit.


the Ancient Greeks considered seven to be a potent number due to the chanting of the seven vowels of their alphabet as magical sounds. There are several spells and incantations revealed in The Greek Magical Papyri In Translation: Including the Demotic Spells edited by Hans Dieter Betz that include the chanting of A, E, E with a line on top, I, O, U (written Y), and O in various orders for various reasons. (Alpha, Epsilon, Eta, Iota, Omicron, Upsilon, and Omega.) It is possible that chanting the vowels in a particular pattern or order caused a shift in consciousness much like the chanting of "Om." In one spell which seeks the attention of the god, the vowels and sounds each also corresponded to a direction; the priest was to chant or sing each sound while pointing his palms into the directions of east, west, north, south, up (sky/heaven), down (earth), and the final vowel was sung while holding one's hands over one's heart for Center.


Hindu mythology defines fourteen worlds (not to be confused with planets) - seven higher worlds (heavens) and seven lower ones (hells). [There is still one Earth ~M~]

Lord Brahma, out of his thought, creates seven sages, or Sapta Rishis, to help him in his act of creation. Sapta Rishis (sapta means seven and rishis means sages in Sanskrit). They are Bhrigu, Angira, Atri, Gautama, Kashyapa, Vashishta, and Agastya. The other meaning of Saptarishis is constellation of Great Bear (Ursa Major).


Jain Dharma takes the seven Nayas as the basis of its philosophy; and so it comprehends all the Nayas. (Naya means a way of comprehending an object).

1. Naigama Naya (Popular standpoint)

2. Sangraha Naya (Synthetic Standpoint)

3. Vyavahara Naya (Empirical standpoint)

4. Rijusutra Naya (Straight-thread stand point)

5. Sabdanaya (Verbal Standpoint)

6. Samabhirudha Naya (Conventional standpoint

7. Evambhuta Naya (Actualistic standpoint)

To further understand these Nayas, please visit


God rested on and sanctified the seventh day (Shabbat).

The weekly Torah portion is divided into seven aliyahs, and seven men or boys over the age of 13 are called up for the reading of these aliyahs during Shabbat morning services.

The menorah is a seven branched candelabrum lit by olive oil in the Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem.


The number of ranks in Mithraism.

Corax (raven)

Nymphus (bridegroom)

Miles (soldier)

Leo (lion)

Perses (Persian)

Heliodromus (sun-courier)

Pater (father)

The titles of the first four ranks suggest the possibility that advancement through the ranks was based on introspection and spiritual growth.


The number of ayat in surat al-Fatiha.

The number of heavens in Islamic tradition.

The number of Earths in Islamic tradition.

Native American: Cherokee

The Seven Ceremonies by Rob Wood (no relation to Yours Truly)

Seven is represented in the seven directions: north, south, east, west, above, below, and "here in the center" (Lewis & Kneberg, p. 175), the place of the sacred fire.

Seven also represented the seven ancient ceremonies that formed the yearly Cherokee religious cycle. Six of the ceremonies took place every year, the seventh was celebrated every seventh year:

First New Moon of Spring Ceremony

Green Corn Ceremony

Ripe Corn Ceremony

Great New Moon Ceremony

"Atohuna" the reconciliation or "Friends Made" ceremony

Bounding Bush Ceremony

Every seventh year the Uku Dance replaced the Great New Moon ceremony


Seven Gods of Fortune:

Ebisu, god of fishers or merchants, often depicted carrying a cod or sea bass.

Daikokuten (Daikoku), god of wealth, commerce and trade. Ebisu and Daikoku are often paired and represented as carvings or masks on the walls of small retail shops.

Bishamonten, god of warriors.

Benzaiten (Benten-sama), goddess of knowledge, art and beauty,especially Music.

Fukurokuju, god of happiness, wealth and longevity.

Hotei, the fat and happy god of abundance and good health.

Jurōjin (Gama), god of longevity.


Most curious is perhaps the story of Inanna's descent to the underworld. In Sumer the Underworld was not necessarily a place like a 'hell' but it was not a heaven. When humans and heroes died that is where they headed. However based on their behavior they could be afforded better treatment or positions in the underworld.

She abandoned all her offices of power and took her 7 divine powers.

She dressed for the occasion by wearing a turban, a wig, a lapis lazuli necklace, beads upon her breast, the 'pala dress' (the ladyship garment), mascara, pectoral, a golden ring on her hand, and she held a lapis lazuli measuring rod.

She passed through a total of 7 gates each removing a piece of clothing or jewelry she had been wearing at the start of her journey. In Sumerian mythology some forms of burials included burying the deceased with gifts for the gatekeepers and judges of the Underworld to win their favor. Items could also be used as an amulet or protective device so stripping Inanna of each item would leave her more vulnerable to any type of attack.


The earth is referred to have seventh regions (Yasna 32:3) or seven quarters (Yasna 57:23).

Seven is the number of the creations and of the Amahraspands who guard them.

The keeping of the seven annual feasts (the six seasonal feasts of five Gahânbârs and the Nowruz) is a regular, solemn, and obligatory act of devotion. The seventh, Nowruz, has "many and varied rites containing the number seven" (Boyce, Stronghold, p. 50)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tolerance is Social and Political, too!

Tolerance poster courtesy of Living Values Education
(To better read the poster, click on it to open in a full window.)

Here are a few quotes from think

"Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." Robert Green Ingersoll quotes (American Statesman and Orator, noted for his broad range of culture and his defense of atheism. 1833-1899)

"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others." Peace Pilgrim quotes (American Teacher and Spiritual leader and Peace Prophet, 1908-1981)

"You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist." Friedrich Nietzsche quotes (German classical Scholar, Philosopher and Critic of culture, 1844-1900.)

"The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority." Ralph W. Sockman quotes

"In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher." Dalai Lama quotes (Head of the Dge-lugs-pa order of Tibetan Buddhists, 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, b.1935)

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Aristotle quotes (Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scientist and Physician, 384 BC-322 BC)

"Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others." John Fitzgerald Kennedy quotes (American 35th US President (1961-63), 1917-1963)

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there." Jalal ad-Din Rumi quotes (Persian Poet and Mystic, 1207-1273)

"If a profound gulf separates my neighbor's belief from mine, there is always the golden bridge of tolerance" Anon.

"Tolerance implies a gratuitous assumption of the inferiority of other faiths to one's own" Mahatma Gandhi quotes (Indian Philosopher, internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest, 1869-1948)

"We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race." Kofi Annan quotes (Ghanaian diplomat, seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.)

"Tolerance can lead to learning something." Jakob Dylan quotes (Rock Star; band Wallflowers?)

Finally, here is a quote from The Living Pulpit

"The first thing we must do is abandon the notion of [America as] a melting pot where people have to give up most of what makes them who they are in order to become what someone else wants them to be. That flies in the face of tolerance." Marvin A. McMickle is Associate Professor of Homiletics at Ashland Seminary in Ashland, Ohio

Monday, May 14, 2007

Incense burning

Many spiritual traditions include the ritual burning of incense, but their reasons are many and varied. Below are excerpts from various internet sources outlining the beliefs from many cultures. When you see ~M~, that indicates a comment written by me.

Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans

In the ceremonies of [pre-Christian religion] incense had an important part. Its use is mentioned by Ovid and Virgil as a feature of the rites of Roman worship, being probably adopted from the Eastern nations with whom the Romans had come into contact. Among these, especially the Assyrians and Egyptians, it has been known almost from the dawn of history. The carvings of the tombs and temples of Egypt represent kings offering homage to the gods by burning incense in censers much like those used in our Catholic churches at the present day.

The religion of ancient Egypt used incense frequently during temple worship, and when the idol would be moved in procession. In pagan Rome, incense was also used at funerals.

[The use of incense by ancient Mediterranean peoples appears to have been an offering, a purification rite, or both. ~M~]

Baha'i, Buddhist, Gnostic, Hindu

Excerpts from "Wisps of Worship" By Saurabh Bhattacharya

Fragrance has been a dominant factor in Hindu religious rituals since Vedic times. "The essential philosophy of havan (fire ceremony)," says Brahmaprakash, a teacher in Srimad Dayanand Ved Vidyalaya, a gurukul in Delhi, India, "is that man can absorb anything in minuscule form. Havan purifies the atmosphere by releasing fragrant properties of samidha—wood—and samagri—powder of fragrant wood, mixed with aromatic medicinal herbs and ghee. Incense sticks and dhoop are corrupt versions of the havan fire."

The term dhoop, according to Brahmaprakash, originates from the dhoop tree, found in eastern India—whose chips give out a rich fragrance when burnt. But the popular dhoop—black-colored putty—is essentially a mixture of ghee, herbs and wood chips. It is, in effect, a miniature form of havan.

The relation between incense and havan fire is qualified by Ameeta Mehra of the Gnostic Center, India, thus: "Incense purifies the atmosphere like havan fire. But it works through the power of fragrance which is not so much the mainstay of Vedic ritual as the domain of flowers that have deep spiritual connotations in Hindu philosophy." Incense brands are often named after flowers.

"Incense sticks," says Mehra, "are made by extracting the perfume of sacred wood and flowers. Their aim is to make the atmosphere congenial for spiritual contemplation."

"When I light an incense stick and offer it to God," states Mehra. "I symbolize my aspiration to burn with that fire and fragrance. I am, in effect, offering my Self to the Divine."

Incense is considered an excellent ally to meditation. The archetypal image of a meditating sadhu has a bunch of incense sticks burning near him. As Michael Talbot writes in his book Your Past Lives: "Perhaps one of the most ancient techniques for creating a meditative atmosphere is the burning of incense... For many, a gentle and pleasant fragrance is as lulling a 'backdrop' to meditation as soft music."

Explains Brahmaprakash: "Because fragrance purifies the physical environment, the individual feels that, as part of the environment, he is also being purified. Psychologically, he reads a basic physical purification as a spiritual one. In the process, the person transfers himself into another world where meditation is easier."

However, Dr A.K. Merchant, a Baha'i, feels that burning incense has stronger spiritual undertones. "Humans love aroma," he says. "You burn the incense you like before the deity. By doing so, you express the urge to share your likes with your god. At the same time, you contribute a little bit of your individuality to a place of worship."

None of the extant religions give as much emphasis to the use of incense as Tibetan Buddhism where it has transcended mere ritualistic fumigation and gained a respectable medicinal status. "Tibetan Buddhism considers spirits as ethereal neighbors who are there for your benefit," says Dr T. Dolkar Khangkar, a Delhi-based Tibetan medicine practitioner in India. "Hence, incense sticks are the means to keep a good relation with them."

Incense was unknown in early Buddhism, which was opposed to external ritual. But, in time, its use became more general. To quote from the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics:

"It is used in the initiation of a monk; it is offered to the good spirits and lamas in the daily cult of the monasteries; it is used in exorcisms, in baptisms, and other ceremonies; it is burned in censers before the lamas at the performance of religious dramas, or in shrines."

Christian and Jewish

The mystical meaning of incense is not difficult to comprehend. By its burning it symbolizes the zeal with which the faithful should be animated; by its sweet fragrance, the odor of Christian virtue; by its rising smoke, the ascent of prayer before the throne of the Almighty. As St. John tells us in the Apocalypse, or Book of Revelations: "The smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended before God from the hand of the Angel."

[Also, incense creates a cloud. A cloud is a symbol for God the Father. For example at the Transfiguration, Matt. 17:5, a cloud appears and from it comes the Voice of God. In Acts 1:8 Jesus enters a cloud. Also in Exodus, the people are lead by a pillar of cloud, Exod. 13:22; and in Exodus 40:34 the cloud settled on the meeting tent and the glory of the Lord filled it. Thus the cloud of incense should remind us of God whose presence is revealed by a cloud.]

Exod. 30:7-8. "Aaron shall offer fragrant incense on it; every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall offer it, and when Aaron sets up the lamps in the evening, he shall offer it, a regular incense offering before the LORD throughout your generations."

Exod. 30:34 -37. "The LORD said to Moses: Take sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense (an equal part of each), and make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy; and you shall beat some of it into powder, and put part of it before the covenant in the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you; it shall be for you most holy. When you make incense according to this composition, you shall not make it for yourselves; it shall be regarded by you as holy to the LORD."

Daoist, Shinto

"... burning incense in Asia is comparable to a Catholic lighting a vigil candle in the West. It is always a prayer or offering to the divine."

[However, in some places, burning incense also represents purification. ~M~]


For example, there is the use of light to signify consciousness, the characteristic of the soul, and Enlightenment; a fruit symbolises the ultimate fruit of Moksha itself; burning incense signifies the burning away of Karma.


Incense According to Quran and Sunnah

Keeping the Mosques Clean and Scenting Them

Fiqh-us-Sunnah 5.132

Aishah said, "Perfume the Ka'bah, because this is a part of purifying it." Ibn Az-Zubair used to perfume the entire interior of the Ka'bah. He used to burn one pound of incense in the Ka'bah daily, but on Friday, he burnt two pounds of incense.

Fiqh-us-Sunnah 2.71

'Aishah reports that the Prophet ordered that mosques be built in residential areas and that they be cleaned and perfumed. This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Hibban with a good chain. Abu Dawud's wording is: "He ordered us to build the mosques in the residential areas, to build them well, and to purify them. 'Abdullah would burn incense when 'Umar would sit on the pulpit."

Anas reports that the Prophet said: "The rewards of my ummah were placed before me, even for removing a speck of dust from the mosque." This is related by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Khuzaimah who calls it sahih.

Native American

Many, but not all, Native American Tribes use Smudge (which is from a Middle English word meaning "smokey") instead of traditional incense sticks, cones, or powders. No doubt you have seen batches of braided grasses, often Sweetgrass or Sage. Smudge is what the batches of braided grasses are called, and it also means "to spread or "bathe" with smoke." In Native American spiritual traditions, smudging was done for personal and ceremonial purification, and to make dwellings sweet-smelling. ~M~


Although many Pagan traditions associtate specific botanical materials with certain magical attributes, those definitions vary widely from one tradition to another. Generally speaking, Neopagans and Wiccans use incense for two basic purposes in modern rituals. First, incense is believed to create a magical atmosphere that is appropriate for the invocation (or inviting) of deities and spirits often present around the Pagan altar. Second, burning the incense is believed to release the large amount of energy stored within natural incense so that it can be used for magical purposes.


What are the objects of Zoroastrian rituals and ceremonies?

The first object of Zoroastrian rituals and ceremonies is to purify atmosphere with fire burning with incense, the second is to secure blessings of divine spirits, and the third is to express gratitude to Ahura Mazda for the seasonal bounties bestowed upon mankind.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Art of Tolerance

From a temple display in Thailand: L. to R.: White Tara, Buddhist Bodhisattva of Compassion; Guan Shi Yin, Daoist Bodhisattva of Compassion; Jesus Christ; Virgin Mary

The Art of Tolerance
excerpts from an essay by Wilfred A. Peterson

Tolerance is warm. It reaches out the hand of friendship in spite of all differences.

Tolerance is understanding.

Tolerance is deep. It creates a foundation of faith in humanity underneath disagreements, thus preventing prejudice and resentment. It may reject the argument, but it always respects the man....

Tolerance refuses to hate....

Tolerance is sympathetic. It looks through mental barriers into the human heart....

Tolerance does not look down on others, it looks up to them....

Tolerance towers above differences. It is bigger than race, color, creed, or politics.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Visual Evidence of the Power of Prayer, Gratitude and Appreciation

The article below is reprinted from the pages of Dr. Joseph Mercola at

Every spiritual tradition includes some form of prayer, and this is a marvelous testimony to the power of prayer.

Considering that the various cells in your body are comprised of between 65% and 90% water, you can easily see how hurtful thoughts and emotions can be harmful to your mind and body, and how your prayers can be healing.



Dr. Masaru Emoto, a visionary researcher from Japan received certification from the Open International University as a Doctor of Alternative Medicine. Subsequently he was introduced to the concept of micro cluster water in the US and Magnetic Resonance Analysis technology. The quest thus began to discover the mystery of water.

Continuing in this stream of awareness, Dr Emoto began to study the impact of altering water by various factors of vibration and consciousness. He studied water that had been altered by music - healing music, classical music, heavy metal music - and so forth.

And the crystalline pictures reveal how water responds to these influences ... into complex arrangements of crystalline beauty. This begins to reveal that water is alive - it is conscious and responds to applied force by a rearrangement of its inner crystalline properties.

Inspired by these revelations, he decided to study the impact of human consciousness on water and its crystalline order.

Through repeatable experiments Dr. Emoto demonstrated that human thoughts and emotions can alter the molecular structure of water. Now, for the first time, there is physical evidence that the power of our thoughts can change the world within and around us.

He found that water that had been consciously altered by the simple imprinting of a word of intent upon the water would change. Water that was imprinted by love, gratitude, and appreciation, responded by the development of complex beauty, and water that was mistreated by negative intentions became disordered and lost its magnificent patterning. In fact, it often took on grotesque forms of resonance.

He experimented first with water from a pure source in Japan. The picture revealed a beautiful crystalline form. (Photo 1) He then did the same thing with water from a nearby polluted river. The result was a muddy, smeared pattern with very little structure. (Photo 2) He then asked a priest from a temple to offer a prayer to the polluted water sample and repeated the experiment out of curiosity. To his surprise, another beautiful crystalline structure appeared. (Photo 3)

This experiment was repeated many times over with the same result. The researcher then exposed water samples to different types of music. Classical music always reflected beautiful patterns, (photo 4) whereas heavy metal or rock and roll created distorted, formless, smudged images, (photo 5) as if these types of music had destroyed the delicate equilibrium of the molecules.

He continued experimenting, this time by writing words on pieces of paper and taping them to a clear glass container to see if anything happened.

He tried using positive words like "Love" and "Thank you" (photo 6) and every time noticed a beautiful and delicate crystalline pattern. He tried "You Make Me Sick. I Will Kill You" (photo 7) and each time observed distorted, frightening, muddied patterns. He even experimented with names like "Gandhi" "Mother Teresa" (photo 8) and "Hitler" (photo 9) and the same kind of results occurred.

After much experimentation, Dr. Emoto discovered that the most powerful combination of thoughts in terms of capacity to transform was that of "Love and Gratitude." (Photo 10)

What makes this discovery so amazing is that we live on a planet covered by more water than landmass, and that the human body is largely composed of water. So if we have the power to change the structure of the medium we are made of by simply producing positive though patterns, we can restore not only our own health but that of everyone around us, and even the planet itself, with our every thought.

Think about what giving thanks and praying before a meal can do to your health. I used to believe that it was a good way to stop the mental business of the day and put myself into a more receptive space. Now I know that even the food I am about to eat will also be transformed.

Article compiled from 3 Web sites:

CoCreach Resources

The Spirit of Maat


If you would like to see more, Dr Emoto's ground-breaking work was featured in the movie
What the Bleep!? - Down the Rabbit Hole (Three-Disc Special Edition)

He also has several marvelous books available. One of the best and most popular is The Hidden Messages in Water

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

What is not religion?

Photo of a Diwali Puja taken during a Hindu prayer ceremony on the eve of Diwali by Deepak Gupta

The following is an excerpt from chapter four of the book Think on These Things by Jiddu Krishanmurti who, at the time, was speaking to a group of school children in India. They asked some tough, penetrating questions, and Krishnamurti gave them some simple yet profound and enlightened answers.


Questioner: Is not the worship of God true religion?

Krishnamurti: First of all, let us find out what is not religion. Isn't that the right approach? If we can understand what is not religion, then perhaps we shall begin to perceive something else. It is like cleaning a dirty window - one begins to see through it very clearly. So let us see if we can understand and sweep out of our minds that which is not religion; don't let us say, "I will think about it" and just play around with words. Perhaps you can do it, but most of the older people are already caught; they are comfortably established in that which is not religion and they do not want to be disturbed.

So, what is not religion? Have you ever thought about it? You have been told over and over again what religion is supposed to be - belief in God and a dozen other things - but nobody has asked you to find out what is not religion; and now you and I are going to find out for ourselves.

In listening to me, or to anyone else, do not merely accept what is said, but listen to discern the truth of the matter. If once you perceive for yourself what is not religion, then throughout your life no priest or book can deceive you, no sense of fear will create an illusion which you may believe and follow. To find out what is not religion you have to begin on the everyday level, and then you can climb. To go far you must begin near, and the nearest step is the most important one. So what is not religion? Are ceremonies religion? Doing puja over and over again - is that religion?

True education is to learn how to think, not what to think. If you know how to think, if you really have that capacity, then you are a free human being - free of dogmas, superstitions ceremonies - and therefore you can find out what religion is.

Ceremonies are obviously not religion, because in performing ceremonies you are merely repeating a formula which has been handed down to you. You may find a certain pleasure in performing ceremonies, just as others do in smoking or drinking; but is that religion? In performing ceremonies you are doing something about which you know nothing. Your father and your grandfather do it, therefore you do it, and if you don't they will scold you. That is not religion, is it?

And what is in a temple? A graven image fashioned by a human being according to his own imagination. The image may be a symbol, but it is still only an image, it is not the real thing. A symbol, a word, is not the thing it represents. The word 'door' is not the door, is it? The word is not the thing. We go to the temple to worship - what? An image which is supposed to be a symbol; but the symbol is not the real thing. So why go to it?

These are facts; I am not condemning; and, since they are facts, why bother about who goes to the temple, whether it be the touchable or the untouchable, the brahman or the non-brahman? Who cares? You see, the older people have made the symbol into a religion for which they are willing to quarrel, fight, slaughter; but God is not there. God is never in a symbol. So the worship of a symbol or of an image is not religion.

And is belief religion? This is more complex. We began near, and now we are going a little bit farther.

Is belief religion? The Christians believe in one way, the Hindus in another, the Moslems in another, the Buddhists in still another, and they all consider themselves very religious people; they all have their temples, gods, symbols, beliefs. And is that religion? Is it religion when you believe in God, in Rama, Sita, Ishwara, and all that kind of thing? How do you get such a belief? You believe because your father and your grandfather believe; or having read what some teacher like Shankara or Buddha is supposed to have said, you believe it and say it is true. Most of you just believe what the Gita says, therefore you don't examine it clearly and simply as you would any other book; you don't try to find out what is true.

We have seen that ceremonies are not religion that going to a temple is not religion, and that belief is not religion. Belief divides people. The Christians have beliefs and so are divided both from those of other beliefs and among themselves; the Hindus are everlastingly full of enmity because they believe themselves to be brahmans or non-brahmans, this or that. So belief brings enmity, division, destruction, and that is obviously not religion.

Then what is religion? If you have wiped the window clean - which means that you have actually stopped performing ceremonies, given up all beliefs, ceased to follow any leader or guru - then your mind, like the window, is clean, polished, and you can see out of it very clearly. When the mind is swept clean of image of ritual, of belief, of symbol, of all words, mantrams and repetitions, and of all fear, then what you see will be the real, the timeless, the everlasting, which may be called God; but this requires enormous insight, understanding, patience, and it is only for those who really inquire into what is religion and pursue it day after day to the end. Only such people will know what is true religion. The rest are merely mouthing words, and all their ornaments and bodily decorations, their pujas and ringing of bells - all that is just superstition without any significance. It is only when the mind is in revolt against all so-called religion that it finds the real.


About the Author

J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986) was a renowned spiritual teacher whose lectures and writings have inspired thousands. His works include On Mind and Thought, On Nature and the Environment, On Relationship, On Living and Dying, On Love and Lonliness, On Fear, and On Freedom.

(Think On These Things is an excellent first-read for people interested in Krishnamurti's inspirational insights. I own and have read many of his thought-provoking books. ~Michelle~)

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