Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Important Disclaimer

 As I come across Krishna-related material on the internet it has become clearer to me that I need to post this little Disclaimer on my site so as to clearly establish where I am -- and where I am not -- in my particular relationship with God.

I am in no way affiliated with any Hindu, Hare-Krishna, or any other religious organizations. I learned as a Christian to be free from religious ritual; that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross freed mankind from all that. I still believe that to be the case in my post-Christian walk. Paul expressed his concern for the Galatians who were slipping back into their old religious routines that were done away with:

"Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you." (Galatians 4:8-10)

"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!'? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." (Colossians 2:16-23)

And you know God was heading in that general direction when he told Arjuna the following in the Bhagavad Gita:
"The resolute determination of Self-realization is not formed in the minds of those who are attached to pleasure and power, and whose judgment is obscured by ritualistic activities. (2.44) Become free from pairs of opposites, be ever balanced and unconcerned with the thought of acquisition and preservation. Rise above the three modes of Material Nature (goodness, passion and ignorance) and be Self-conscious, O Arjuna. (2.45) 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." (2.46)

"I personally take care of both spiritual and material welfare of those ever-steadfast devotees who always remember and adore Me with single-minded contemplation. (9.22) O Arjuna, even those devotees who worship the deities with faith, they also really worship Me. (9.23) Whosoever offers Me a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water with devotion; I accept and eat the offering of devotion by the pure-hearted. (9.26) O Arjuna, whatever you do, eat, give, or sacrifice, do it as an offering to Me." (9.27) A dedicated heart full of devotion is needed to obtain God's grace, not rituals.

"O Arjuna, neither by study of scriptures, nor by austerity, nor by charity, nor by ritual, can I be seen in the form as you have seen Me. (11.53) However, through single minded devotion I can be seen in this form, can be known in essence, and also can be reached. (11.54) One who does his worldly duty for Me, to whom I am the supreme goal, who is my devotee, free from attachment and without enmity towards living beings, realizes Me." (11.55)

"Transcendental knowledge of the scriptures is better than mere ritualistic practice; meditation is better than scriptural knowledge; renunciation of selfish attachment to the fruit of work is better than meditation; peace immediately follows renunciation of selfish motives." (12.12)
While Jesus hadn't yet arrived on the scene to do away with religious laws when God (as Krishna) expressed the above to Arjuna, it would seem that He was all about steering folks in that general direction: To relate with Him rather than just ritualize around Him.

So it would seem that once someone gets involved in a religious institution of whatever persuasion, sooner or later that organization's rules, regulations, and requirements are going to start creeping into their relationship with God. If it gets tacky enough, that organization may even earn the title of "Cult". Sometimes I wonder if man-made religion was founded by folks with severe OCD: everything has to be done a Certain Way in order to please the Deity of the Day. I'm sorry, but no sirree! Spirituality cannot be institutionalized, in my view. It's a very personal, one-on-one thing. Power-hungry priests, gurus, priestesses and pastors need to remember that God doesn't need help reaching each and every individual soul. He made them, He knows where they are, and He'll bring them Home again, and I can almost guarantee that the process doesn't require fifty push-ups in front of a statue of Saint Whatshisname each morning at 4am. We can be beacons of light without charring people to a crisp burdening them with nonessentials.