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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1996
by Swami Krishnananda

35. Religion is a Threefold Relationship

(Darshan given on May 21st, 1996.)

A visitor: Why is it that sometimes people develop psychological problems after they begin the practice of yoga?

Swamiji: You mean to say, when they go back home, they become different people?

Visitor: Not at all. Sometimes it is problematic because their psychological condition is very unstable. They lose their balance sometimes.

Swamiji: I don't understand what you are saying. When they go back home, their balance is disturbed? Why should their balance be disturbed?

Visitor: Not everyone.

Swamiji: Even if it is one person, why does it happen?

Visitor: He went to Rajneesh Ashram.

Swamiji: Let him go to any place. Why did his balance get disturbed?

Visitor: It was disturbed because he didn't want to speak with his family. He has broken off the contact, and this was a problem for the family.

Swamiji: You mean to say that if a person becomes religious in the true sense of the term, he will not talk to the family afterwards?

Visitor: Not in this way.

Swamiji: Why does it happen? Does it mean that religion breaks family relations?

Visitor: No, not at all.

Swamiji: The instance that you have cited shows that it happens.

Visitor: It can happen, and I don't know what is the difference between the serious Guru or the unserious Guru. I think there is a lot of difference.

Swamiji: No, there are no serious and unserious Gurus. He doesn't understand what religion is. You may go to twenty institutions, and yet you may be bankrupt in the knowledge of religion. You may go to any institution, but you will never get a correct idea of what religion is. That is why there is imbalance in the psyche, and it creates a repercussion in human social relations, also. Now, what is your definition of religion?

Visitor: It is to believe in transcendence, to believe in God, and to have some rituals to show this.

Swamiji: You have uttered the word 'transcendent', which in religion means God is transcendent. You imply, thereby, that He has no connection with that which is not transcendent.

Visitor: Of course, He must have it.

Swamiji: Then immediately that person will cut off connection from the family, because it is not transcendent. So you mean to say, religion adversely affects family relations. Your definition is not correct. It is not like that. You mean to say that God is transcendent. That is what you are saying; therefore, religion also must be transcendent. This is not the whole truth. Fifty percent you are right, but fifty percent you are wrong. That fifty percent error is the cause of disruption of family relations, and the fifty percent that is right is the reason why one becomes a lover of God.

God does not hate the world, and therefore a lover of God also cannot hate the world. So, there is a mistake in the very understanding of the meaning of 'transcendent'. That which is transcendent is, at the same time, immanent. So the very fact that it is immanent shows that it is present in the family also. So, how will you disrupt the family? The man has not caught the point properly. It is the mistake of the teacher of religion, not the student.

Visitor: That's it. I think so.

Swamiji: The student is all right; the teacher is not all right. He misguides the whole thing. Now don't get misguided. I won't misguide you; I only probe a little bit. Now, what do you want from me?

Visitor: Teachers are very different; it depends if the teacher is a good teacher or not, and we have a lot of different teachers now.

Swamiji: You can have a hundred teachers, there is no objection, but there should be no imbalance of mind, distress in the mind, sorrow in the emotions or any kind of social disharmony. If this can be assured, you can go to any Guru, but if you say that they are disturbing your relations, there is something wrong in the teaching.

Visitor: And can you say something about, for example, Rajneesh Ashram?

Swamiji: I am not concerned with any ashram. I am not talking of any Guru or ashram. I am talking only of a principle. You can go to a thousand Gurus, but you must see that you are not put out of gear and made worse than what you were already. Sometimes people go to religion and become worse than what they were earlier. So, the understanding of religion is more important than the understanding of a Guru. It is very important. You must know what you are seeking. What are you wanting finally from the Guru, or whoever he is? If your quest is not clear in your mind, you will not get anything out of it.

Visitor: Yes, of course.

Swamiji: Are you a religious teacher or student, or what are you?

Visitor: Yes, I am a religious teacher.

Swamiji: What do you teach?

Visitor: The Christian religion.

Swamiji: Does the Christian religion differ from any other religion?

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: In what way?

Visitor: We believe in Christ.

Swamiji: Suppose I believe in the divinity of Christ, do I become a Christian?

Visitor: I think there is a different view and a different faith.

Swamiji: No, I wholeheartedly believe in the divinity of Christ as an incarnation of God. Do I become a Christian?

Visitor: I can't decide it.

Swamiji: Then how do you decide? What makes a person Christian?

Visitor: I think it is his faith.

Swamiji: Suppose I have got faith.

Visitor: We say it is first to baptise somebody into the religion.

Swamiji: No, listen. Suppose I go to the church and observe mass, and believe in the divinity of Christ; still I may not be a Christian for other reasons. You must be clear first what Christianity means. Christianity does not mean merely believing in Christ. It does not mean going to church. It is not following a ritual. It is not attending mass. Even with all these things, a person may not be Christian, because I can myself do all these things, and I will still not be changed one whit from what I am. Religion is not what one does, but what one is, and all these things you have told me are what one does. One can do a million things without changing one's heart even for one second.

Hence, religion is a change of heart, and not what one does. Going to temples, going to churches, going to Gurus does not make religion, because they are all doings. You call God the Supreme Being, and anyone who moves in the direction of God, the Supreme Being, also gets transformed in being, and not necessarily in doing. God does not seem to be doing anything. He is only being. We call God 'Supreme Being'. We don't say 'Supreme Doing'. Do you call God 'Supreme Doing'?

Visitor: No.

Swamiji: Then why are you worried about doings? The more you move towards God, the less and less there is of doing, and there is more and more of enlarged, expanded being. What else I can tell you? I have told you what I feel.

Visitor: I want to have a dialogue with other religions to promote understanding.

Swamiji: Whatever is the dialogue that you have with another religion, that religion will always remain as another religion. It won't become your religion. I may like your religion very much, without actually becoming that religion. So what is the purpose of the dialogue? There must be some intention behind it. It cannot become that thing which it is not. So, what benefit comes from that dialogue?

Visitor: We are living together.

Swamiji: One religion will say, “I agree with everything that you say, but I will stick to my religion.” This is what one will say. So how are you benefitted by this dialogue? Respecting all other religions is a simple matter. Any good man will respect everybody else, but still, he doesn't become somebody else. So, what is the final purpose of the dialogue?

Visitor: Trying to live together in a peaceful way.

Swamiji: That is a social phenomenon. Socially you will be happy, but religiously you will be different.

Visitor: I think the first step is to learn something about the others, and to respect them, and not to see if anything is the same – at first to learn something about it.

Swamiji: OK. Yes. There are some religions which will not yield even one inch of land from their territory; they will have a round-table conference with you, but they will stick to their own traditional fundamentalism. There are some such religions in the world, even today. There are some very malleable, flexible religions; there are some very hard-core religions. They won't yield. They are fanatical and you cannot have anything from them, even after dialogue, though socially, for purpose of convenience, they will sit around a table and drink tea with you. That is all. Now what is the final word from you? What do you want to tell me?

Visitor: I want to ask how to decide what is the wrong way and what is the right way to understand. There are a lot of different religious communities, and not all are serious.

Swamiji: All religions hinge on three great concepts. Due to the variations in these three concepts, they differ from one another. One is the relationship between God and the world. Another is the relationship between yourself and the world. The third is the relationship between yourself and God. The concept of this threefold relation varies from one religion to another religion. The whole essence of religion is only this much. It is a threefold relationship, which has to be clear to one's mind. How are you connected to God? How are you connected to the world? How is God connected to the world? Let anybody answer these questions, and from the answer you can know what your religion is.

Visitor: Yes. Thank you very much.

Swamiji: Be happy. Anyway, you be happy.