Religion is not a cultural conditioning

Religion is not a cultural conditioning

Religion is not related to concepts. Your concept may be Hindu, someone's may be Mohammedan, someone's Christian—but it is not related to dharma.

The word dharma comes from a root meaning “that which gives support to everything, which maintains everything.” It is not a concept, but that which sustains everything. That which supports this vastness, this moon, these stars, this sun, these trees and birds, man and the endless expanse of existence—what supports all this is dharma.

Religion is not related to concepts. Your concept may be Hindu, someone’s may be Mohammedan, someone’s Christian—but it is not related to dharma. These are concepts, these are intellectual ideas. Religion is the name for that essential truth that sustains everything, without which everything would be dispersed. That, which joins all, which is the totality of all, which bridges all.

It is like making a garland of flowers. Here is a heap of flowers and there a garland. What is the difference? The pile is chaotic. No flower is connected with any other flower, all the flowers are disconnected. The garland is strung on a thread. The thread is not visible, it is hidden in the flowers, but it joins one flower to another.

This whole existence is strung on a thread called dharma. This which joins us to trees, the moon and stars, which joins stones and pebbles to the sun, which joins everything, which is the connection of all—this is dharma.

Culture is not created from dharma. Culture is made from cultural conditioning. Dharma is known when all conditionings have been renounced. Sannyas means renouncing conditioning.

Cultures will remain on earth, and they should remain because the greater the diversity, the more beautiful is the earth. I don’t want the world to have only one culture—that would be idiotic, very dull and boring. Hindu culture is needed on the earth; Mohammedan, Christian, Buddhist, Jaina, Chinese, Russian—thousands of cultures are needed because variety makes life beautiful. Many types of flowers are needed in a garden. Just one type of flower will make the garden monotonous.

Cultures must be numerous—they are numerous and they should remain so. But religion should be one because dharma is one. There is no other possibility.

That is why I call Hinduism a culture, I call Islam a culture—not religion. It is good, cultures are beautiful. Make mosques in their unique style, temples in a different architecture. Temples are beautiful, mosques too, are beautiful. I would not want only temples on the earth and that mosques should disappear—beauty would be greatly diminished. I would not want only Sanskrit to remain with us and Arabic to disappear—beauty would be much diminished. I would not want only the Koran to remain with us, and the Vedas, the Gita and the Upanishads to disappear—the earth would become very poor.

The Koran is beautiful. It is a rare literary masterpiece, it is the poetry of great height but it has nothing to do with the religion I am talking about. The Vedas are lovely, a rare proclamation of the earth’s aspirations to touch the sky. The Upanishads are very sweet. A sweeter expression has never been given. They should not be lost. All these should remain but as culture.

Religion is concerned with your being. Religion is your pure existence, your nature. Culture is your outer shell, your etiquette, your behaviour in everything concerned with these—how to stand, how to speak, what to say, what not to say.

Tradition never becomes religion. Religion is the timeless, eternal truth. Man makes traditions—religion already is. Traditions are man’s creation. Religion precedes man, man has been made by religion. Understand this difference.

Abridged from Enlightenment: The only revolution by Osho

Osho is known for his revolutionary contribution to the science of inner transformation, with an approach to meditation that acknowledges the accelerated pace of contemporary life.


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