The question of what is the true spiritual path to follow was asked of me years ago. When I voiced my opinion, I did not get any arguments but for many, they had never heard anything like it.
It is normally taken by people that religion means a type of faith, but this is not how I saw the real meaning of religion. There is a Sanskrit word ‘sanatan-dharma’, which is different from the English word ‘religion’ in that it might put into perspective what religion really is.
Generally, we think of ‘religion’ in connection with a particular sect, but ‘sanatan-dharma’ refers to the eternal function of the eternal living being in relationship with God, aka the Supreme Lord.
Religion conveys the idea of faith and that faith may change. One could have a faith in a particular process, but the person may change that faith and adopt another. Sanatan-dharma refers to that activity which cannot be changed. Just like liquidity cannot be taken from water and heat be taken from fire, the eternal function of the eternal living entity cannot be taken away from the living entity.
What this means is that the eternal quality of the eternal living entity cannot be taken away from the living entity. So, what part of the living being does not change? It has already been validated that the cells of the material body change every seven years. That being said, it points to the fact that while the material body changes every seven years, the eternal soul within the body does not change and that is the true identity.
So, if a person changes their faith from Christian to Jewish or Moslem, these are just added labels to the temporary body, which has a beginning and an end. So, what was there before you started calling yourself a Christian, a Jew, a Moslem, a Hindu, or a Buddhist? The eternal spirit soul! You cannot take this quality away from yourself any more than you take liquidity from water, or heat from fire.
The second characteristic of the living being is that the living being is rendering service and feeling love or affection. It’s obvious that lower animals serve human beings as servants serve this master. There is no exception in the society of living beings to the activity of service.
The politician presents actions to the public to convince them of his service to them. The voters then give the politician their votes thinking that he/she will render valuable service to society. The shop-keeper serves the customer, the worker serves the capitalist, the capitalist serves the family, and the family serves the state. What this means is that no living being is exempt from rendering service to other living beings. This means that the rendering of service is the eternal religion of the living entity.
So, if you eternal by nature and your eternal function is to love and serve someone, then obviously your activities should be in connection with the Supreme Eternal Living Being, beyond the bodily conception of life.
If you can stop being a Christian, Jew, Moslem. Hindu or Buddhist, then that is not actually religion because it is not eternal.
Actually, the different faiths are ultimately meant to wake a person up to his actual, eternal, religious condition. In other words, whatever process one is following, if it doesn’t have the effect of bringing a person to the platform of understanding his eternal identity as spirit soul and his eternal relationship with the Supreme Soul, that has no meaning. Instead of helping a person come to the platform of actual religion – love for God – the person begins to identify his particular faith as religion itself and becoming a member of a ‘team’, and all of this ‘team’ fighting is the greatest enemy of mankind.
The Christian considers the other ‘team members’ to be his enemy and vice versa. This has all to do with bodily identification and never seeing the person for who he really is. Why do the blacks and whites fight? Because they only see with their material eyes and not with their spiritual eyes. All they see is a black body and a white body and not that within those bodies are the children of God. And, despite all talk of religion, the vast majority are actually following the faith of materialism and identification with the material body, regardless of what they may call themselves.
Like in Webster’s Dictionary, Krishna is described as ‘a Hindu God’. God is God. God means Number One. Krishna means The All-Attractive One. There can only be only one Number One. Allah –All- Compassionate; Jehovah – All-Powerful; Eloi – True- Friend; Abbah – Heavenly-Father. So, while you may call God by one name or different names doesn’t mean there is another God. And, that misunderstanding equates to endless fighting.
So, the first point of religion is that you must understand that you are not the body, but the eternal spirit soul within the body. Once you understand this, you will immediately realize that you are not white or black, American or Russian, Christian or Jewish, or any external designation.
The second point is that your position is dominated so you are not the Supreme Spirit, but part and parcel of the Supreme.
This brings you to the third point, your natural function, which is engaging in His loving service. At the end of the Bhagavad-gita-as-it-is, Krishna states:
“Give up all varieties of religion or faith and just love Me.”
The real meaning of religion is somehow trying to develop your love for God and solidifying an eternal relationship with Him!
The human form is the only form that has a choice. You can be in the world and OF the world riding the sense gratification roller coaster and experiencing endless ups and downs or you can be in the world but NOT of the world focusing on developing a relationship with your Heavenly Father and engaging in activities that are pleasing to Him.
Doing that puts you on the path toward eventually being in the spiritual world and not dealing with the endless ups, downs and frustrations of the material world. And it all begins by chanting and meditating on his Holy Names.
Gopala Govinda Rama Madana-Mohana
Gopala – the Supreme Protector, the Shepherd, the Friend of the cows.
Govinda – He who gives pleasure to the cows, the senses and the holy people. The Shepherd and Protector.
Rama – He who gives transcendental pleasure to those who lovingly serve Him.
Madana-Mohana – He who is so attractive that He attracts Cupid.
Haribol! (Praise and chant His Holy Name)