There has always been an ongoing debate between the theists and the atheists, and the scientists and the spiritualists for and against the concept of destiny, karma and free will. And there has never been any conclusive argument that all could accept. We are always left with our own conclusion or confusion. I am also not concluding anything here, because sometimes the conclusion is more dangerous than confusion. The conclusion can make people dogmatic and fanatic, and the confusion can make people continue the journey of exploration. That’s the way of Tao. Says Lao Tzu, “Everybody is clearheaded, only I am muddled.” Lao Tzu and muddled?
“Everybody knows what is what, only I don’t know. Everybody is wise, only I am ignorant.” A courageous mystic like Lao Tzu can say such words because he is a spiritual person and not a religious person.
There are billions of religious people all over the earth who believe in their particular religions, and they love and cling to their beliefs. They are never confused about the purity and power of their beliefs. They think that their beliefs will take them to heaven where God (of their own imagination) will welcome them and embrace them. And they think about the other people who do not believe in their religion and God, and they want to convert them to their religion of belief, otherwise, the others don’t have any right to exist on earth.
Last year in the World Economic Forum, it was a headline: Religious violence is on the rise. What can faith-based communities do about it? Violence inspired by religious intolerance is easier described than defined. It spans intimidation, harassment and internment to terrorism and outright warfare. Usually, it arises when the core beliefs that define a group’s identity are fundamentally challenged. It is ratcheted up by “in-group” communities against other “out-group” communities, often with the help of fundamentalist religious leaders. Some researchers such as Justin Lane refer to the sense of threat among insiders as “xenophobic social anxiety”, which — when combined with political and cultural exclusion and social and economic inequality — can escalate into extreme physical violence.
We have been witnessing such violence, mainly in the name of religions, in our self-declared religious country. And this makes me really confused and muddled. Millions of people have become stuck in the muck of their religions, and they are busy pulling more people in the muck. I call that person spiritual who stays out of all this. Such a person does not belong to any religion, as the mystic J. Krishnamurti says: “When the house is on fire, do you argue the colour of the skin of the man who brings the water?”
The enlightened mystic Osho concludes: Truth is a search, not a faith. It is an inquiry, not a belief. It is a question, a quest. To avoid this search, you easily become gullible, you easily become victims of anybody who is ready to exploit you.
Swami Chaitanya Keerti, editor of Osho World, is the author of Mindfulness: The Master Key...