Sunday, September 21, 2008


In the end all religions point to the same light. In between the light and us, sometimes there are too many rules.

- Paulo Coelho
How true!!!

Swami Vivekananda has said that ‘every religion comprises of three parts – mythology, rituals, and philosophy’. Religions vary in their mythology and rituals but very nearly propagate the same philosophy in different words, i.e. they all point towards the same light. I believe the problems of this world are due to the differing mythology and rituals that we imbibe from imperfect humans and then practice them considering them to be the end in themselves. These rituals and mythology are only meant to strengthen the desire to know, and also to create doubts, so that we can develop clarity and faith, with the final aim of understanding the philosophy. To reach there, we need to listen to the mythology, question it – find answers; perform rituals – to strengthen our resolve and will power to finally use these attributes to get to understand reality, and in doing so reach the destination of ‘the same light’.

Every thing that we do in life follows the same pattern. Take our education. Why do we study? Who enjoyed studies? Remember how your parents gave you stories of why education was very important. Why start with the alphabet? Is the aim of education the teaching of the alphabet? Why do we go through the ritual of going to school at a set time everyday? Rituals and mythology have a role to play but what must be remembered is that these are but a means to an end. Education is much larger than learning the alphabet. Similarly religion is beyond rituals and mythology. Please do not mistake the means for the end – which is ‘the same light’.

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother

- Khalil Gibran


trek people said...

hi joshi sir,
the column is really nice and makes a good reading. i have been reading ur blogs from long and has views in agreement for most of the times.
for this blog on ritual i completly agree with what u have expressed the :The rituals have more to the meaning than what it actually appears for ,The only point of diversion which my thoughts and beliefs take from this part is the timing of the era when the activites took the form of rituals. maybe the human day to day needs justified the rituals for that time but the time we are in right now many of those rituals dont fit for many of the activites. so i suggest that there is need of little cleansing and bring them in better justified manner so that we can make those rituals fit back in our day to day use.
Eagerly waiting for your views on the same.

J P Joshi said...

Trek People, I believe it is entirely upto the individual to follow or let go of the rituals or change them, as long he can still proceed towards the final goal. Bowing your head is a ritual, shaving your head at Tirupati is a ritual...all it denotes is that you are surrendering your ego infront of the Almighty....the Almighty also is your own no lesser mortal has seen God.

Sitting on the study table is a helps you focus your mind to study when you sit could study anywhere though, if you are determined. Remember the Pavlovian experiment ( I hope I have the name right) with the dog and his food connected with the bell?

I personally donot believe in any rituals but to each his own - that is the beauty - we all come into this world differently endowed.....past karmas maybe??? Rituals are just the means to an end, that is the important part as per my understanding.

D said...

I think the problem is that we believe in rituals more than we believe in God.

J P Joshi said...

d: I agree with you, but also believe that this is also probably 'by design'???!!!