THE “NEW” RELIGION?
In another essay, I mentioned that popular religion was a failure. There has to be some justification for such a statement. If popular religion is a failure, and most people all over the world feel the need for religion, then what do we do? We need to “create” a religion that makes us feel, understand and know our unity with God. After all, the very word “re-ligion” means to re-unite. We need to re-unite ourselves with God. But it is not really a re-uniting, but a realization of our already existent unity with God. Popular religions as practiced, do not help us to realize this unity with God. Yet, this ought to be the main function of religions. If religions could achieve this one core attribute, then religions would have achieved its goal. Here is what Swami Vivekananda said, “Religion is the manifestation of Divinity in man.” And Alan Watts said, “The work of the church ends when the knowledge of God begins.”
Let us see if we can develop some understanding of this unity. We must, however, realize that we are using our finite and limited knowledge to try to understand the Infinite Being that is Omniscient or All Knowledge. Let us start by thinking of matter, which is all material things, whether it is a gas, a liquid or a solid. Our bodies are made up of all three. Let us also consider energy that consists of heat, light, sound, magnetism and electricity. Can you think of any form of energy existing without matter? How can heat exist if there is no matter. How can electricity or magnetism exist? Similarly, we know that matter cannot exist without energy. Energy is in the wood that we burn to produce fire and heat. Light can come only from material things. Electricity can exist only if there are material things through which it can exist. Sound can exist only if there are material things to make it exist. So matter and energy must always exist together.
Now let us consider time and space. Can you think of matter existing if there were no space? We think of space existing in three dimensions, but nearly always between objects that consist of matter. Also within matter, there are atoms that consist of nuclei and electrons that are full of space between them. Thus matter and space must exist together. Can you think of any time existing without space? If events could not take place in space then, how could time exist? This is why scientists think of space-time as a continuum. So far then, we see a connection between time, space, matter and energy. Now, all of these appear to us to be different, because we have certain perceptions of them as being different. What is it that perceives them as being different?
We now come to the consideration of consciousness. With our limited consciousness we perceive certain differences in all of them. But what made them different and still co-existing from the very “beginning of time”. Or we can ask, how did they come into existence in the first place? There had to be a Conscious Principle that had to “motivate” the very existence of all of these. Now we know from our experience, that consciousness, as we know it, cannot exist without the energy in our body, or the matter, or the space or time. How did they all come about?
Can you imagine all of these coming from nothing? Of course, nothing can come from nothing. So there had to be “something”. But what? This is where the mystery of God comes in. And this is where our human ability to understand God stops. But we cannot deny the fact that there is existence of all of the things mentioned. And we can see that none can exist without the other. So they all had to exist from the very “beginning” if there were a beginning. Now, our scriptures and saints have said that God exists. Perhaps God is only another name for the combination of all of the things that exist. That includes us, and all the material things we see around us, including every type of matter, energy, space, and time. And all of these exist in us, and outside of us, at the same time. All matter consists of protons, neutrons and electrons. These sub atomic particles are of the same nature in every type of matter. Thus gold, iron, water, air, sun, moon, and humans – all things- have the same basic building blocks. How much more united can we get? So what exists? Is it not only God? Is it not God manifesting as you? Or as the tree? Or as the animal? Or as fire? Or as air, water and earth? Is it not only God manifesting as the sun, moon, stars, galaxies and everything else? No popular religion helps us to understand and realize this unity of “All Existence.” And it is the realization of this great unity that gives us enlightenment and inner peace and bliss. It is this realization that gives us our eternity. It is this realization that makes us understand our brotherhood in God. It is because popular religions do not give us this realization, that it is proper to say that popular religion is a failure. We need the “New Religion.” Satguru Kabir, emphasizing the same principle said, “jab mein tha, tab hari nahin, ab hari hai mein nahin (when I was aware of myself, then I felt separate from God; now I am aware that God is, and I dissolved into Him.”
Dr. Jagessar Das