Religion and politics: What shall we learn from Europe
October 18, 2012
What does religion and spirituality has to offer to an individual? Peace, harmony, truth or mere emptiness? If this question had been asked to any old Zen teacher they would have said nothing, and may have walked away., I am fully aware that some people do count me as a person of spiritual insight and no wonder some would laugh at me reading my words, but I dare to say that I wont be a critic just from outside but from within.
I was plunged in a deep discourse with myself when I was on a walk with some friends in a forest near by St Briuec in Bretagne,France. It was a very lovely afternoon with the sun shining gold on our top, this was very unusual as the temperature was quite warm and people living in this cold region were already complaining about it, but for me it was fantastic as I can wear my light clothes without any shield to resist cold.
We had walked down to a Church of 15th century, and my host pointed out to me the history of this place as a small village made out of various disciplines of jobs and social classes but now the Church was empty, I was diving deep in the beauty of this 15th century old Church. The church was empty and looked on the verge of collapse some day. Now this church was not being used, as very few people want to do anything with Christianity and religion these days - my host told me, he also said that people had put up enough with these dogmas and now they want to choose their own destiny other than the Church as model. He said jokingly that last time when he had visited here, he had seen some pigs inside the Church kept by a farmer nearby, he also mentioned that people do come here and take whatever they find from the Church building as no one respects it as a divine place.
I was thinking what had gone wrong? Why individuals are battling with religion of Christianity? Is there something wrong with religion? Or were preachers not justifiable in delivering the message of Jesus?
We had gone home and started discussing about the reasons Christianity had gone wrong in the common perception, my host politely pointed out to me that scriptures were written in Latin and the masses were not able to understand these writings, whereby making the class of Priest display their wrath to give any meaning to the scriptures. It was not until early 20th century when Vaticans were permitted to hold the mass in regional or locally spoken language but by then it was too late. Christianity had gone a long walk, miles away from the real pursuit of individuals to holding political discourses all over and meddling with political bosses to reach some favours, then it was, and in only 70 years the churches of Europe were empty. The people who visit the church are stamped as backward and mentally unequipped to face challenges.
My host also reminded me that Christianity and church had gone too close to political establishment. At this point I argued with my host that for spirituality everyone is similar and spiritual people cannot just choose to whom they give the notion and idea of divine grace, everyone is entitled to have it for Gods sake. My host then said that it was not only about granting the grace of divine but meddling up with politics and power, he told me that churches have begun to play power games with hands-on politicians or people in power and that was a mistake.
I was thinking about India and that nothing different is going on there, still scriptures are written and read in Sanskrit and due to that a majority of people do not understand it and there are a very few people who are striving to get the message of scriptures out in common language, I forgot to mention that recently when I was speaking about Shiva-Sutra, there were hardly any genuine translation available in the market of this ages old great scripture, and so I vowed that I will get it translated in regional languages so it does not get lost and misinterpreted. For me it’s very important to convey messages in languages that people understand or it won’t reach out to people. A society changes and so does the language or medium of communication, but the importance must be laid on to get the messages out in the language of common man which are coded in various scriptures.
I can also see Politicians and religious Gurus coming closer to each other or to say that people backing religion are getting hands-on with politics in India. I know that politicians always need good advice but apart from advice and suggestions if people from spirituality directly start to cuddle power and politics, it would do a big harm. Spiritual people do not have to sit silent and let the society burn but at the same time they have to understand that what their real work is! If they do not have clarity then they shall not be called spiritual; Recently a yoga guru had taken a campaign against corruption but then government of India had gone behind him to outreach all his favour and demolish him, in doing so they have also demolished the notion of Spirituality, it seems that in India too, we are not doing anything different then the history of Europe, let’s see how long it takes before the temples of India to get empty and people to go against religion and religious gurus.