Monday, November 14, 2011

Beware the man of one book

While I believe that religious literature and holy texts contain great wisdom, at the same time I think people need to be careful not to allow a holy book itself to become their god. The advice to not stop at scripture can even be found within the scriptures themselves. Below are two examples I know of:
"To a God-realized person scripture is as useless as a river in a flooded area. Scripture is only an aid to God-realization, not needed after one has realized God." (Bhagavad Gita 2.46)

"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (John 5:39-40)
I like the analogy of using a map to get to a destination. Studying the map and following its guidance is extremely helpful in getting from Point-A to Point-B. However, once one has reached that destination, there's little reason to continue sitting there staring at the map when one could instead be availing themselves of all that the destination has to offer.