Religion as a system of living is dead.
What remains is only ritual, some archaic pictorial descriptions and a strained existence with a society that wants answers now.
Promises of nubile maidens, an unstrained existence, of honey and wine amidst Mediterranean climes, harps and precious little actual work to do don’t hold water anymore.
Instead of religion being the equalizer and opener of minds and doors, now it is money that plays religion’s role.
Money is the disinfectant for all notional ideas, the grand flattener of various mental terrains. Religion, social structures, moral values, caste & creed and every damned ism vanishes with money.
Religion is nothing but a few spiritual best practices that helped the individual connect with their higher goal . A set of best practices that have worked for a few and been codified into systems.
Let us not get into what the goal itself is. Each race and time seems to have its own definition of it.
The point to note is who checks if these steps work now. Whether the ism and systems hold validity, who would stand up and question its efficacy?
Does the crossing of the fingers to symbolize a cross work? Does the gesture of bowing the head to a temple passing by gain the attention of the god? Or the call to the faithful, does it rouse the spirit? Do these gestures done over a life time, accumulate in some way, and open a path to the rare heights?
The religion and the ritual has lost its efficacy. We need to step back and re-invent the methods and means of our aspirations.
Whether it is in the bunch of universal values we adopt. Or in the rigorous monitoring of our motives. Or even the curtailing of our appetites. The time has come to better understand the residual effect of our thoughts and actions, or as some would say to be aware of the Karmic impact of our actions.
In a sense we have to return to first principles, to begin anew. To discover the forms that are relevant to the current age and time.
And in doing so build the next version of religion. A personal religion. Intensely private. Of infinite variations.
What would such a religion look like? It would allow me to be born with the Vedic chant, sit at the foot of the Cross-bearer and learn of fortitude, cavort with the Dark-Hued one besides the banks of Yamuna, bow in utter obeisance to the fierce protection of the All-Mighty Mother, smile a little at the humor of a Rishi and allow me to join my brothers at their fasting.
I shall not be confined to a single strain of joy. Delight in its infinite variations shall come unto me.
I shall not be circumscribed by a single taxonomy. All methods shall be mine but none shall call me their own.
Within me Zeus and Indra shall discuss the finer aspects of their bolts. Adam and Manu shall wonder together what it means to be the first beings to aspire. The triune of the Bible and the triune of the Veda and Purana shall discover their shared identity.
With the middle man and the chatter of a mindless crowd gone, my paltry breast shall be big enough to hold the universe of truths.
The individual ‘I’ shall discover its oneness with all that is. And the many shall cease to baffle me.
This I shall learn to be the true religion.
Long live religion!