Q: Is there an increasing clash among religions across the world?
Has religion become a divisive force?
A: I don’t think there is an increasing amount of clash compared to what there was in previous centuries.
Just look back and see the Crusades and other similar wars — we don’t have that kind of thing.
Yes, there is some amount of clash and we should eliminate that, but, in many ways, it’s decreasing not increasing.
You need to get the right perspective about this.
There is something called as religion. There is something called as spiritual process.
The fundamental difference is just this: Religion means you ascribe to a certain set of beliefs. You are referred to as a believer.
Spiritual process means you have realised that you do not know, so you are referred to as a seeker. When you do not know and are seeking, you do not clash with anybody.
When you believe you know, that is when you clash with everybody.
The fight in the world is not between good and evil as they project it. The fight in the world is always between one man’s belief versus another man’s belief.
India is a land of spiritual seekers. You will listen with respect to what the Vedas, the Gita, the Upanishads have to say, but you don’t take their word. You have to find for yourself. Till then, it’s not true for you.
This is not allowed in any other culture. This is the only culture that gives you the freedom to deny God and to create God.
We have 33 million gods and goddesses because this is the only culture that has realised that God is of our making.
Everywhere else, people believe God made them.
Above all, the highest value in our life is liberation, not God.
You can believe in God and belong to a Hindu way of life.
You can disbelieve in God and still belong to it because it is a geographical and cultural identity. It never was a religious identity.
We had 33 million Gods and Goddesses when our population was 33 million. Since then, because of Western influences, we are feeling a little ashamed of having so many Gods and we are trying to reduce them.
We should have 1.2 billion Gods and Goddesses. Who will we fight with then?
If you have your god and I have my god, what’s the problem?
If 10 people gather behind one God, then there is a fight, isn’t it? This is the freedom given to you.
If you like this rose, you can make it your god. You can worship it. Nobody will say anything. If you like a stone in your garden, you can worship it.
Nobody thinks it’s weird because there is not a single atom in the existence where the hand of the creator is absent.
Unfortunately, certain things have happened historically and we’ve gotten into a certain mould. If we want to move ahead as a nation, it’s time we sort out and understand that these differences are only in our imagination.
In reality, the people whom you hate, what they exhale you inhale and what you exhale, they inhale. There’s really no problem.
Full Interview is available here.