Let us read a dialogue.
“Why, what are you afraid of?”
“The bird that is born inside a cage, fears the sky the most. It is true that it is unhappy behind the iron bars, but its heart beats fast if we open the door of the cage. It is confused as how it will manage to live outside. It thinks it cannot yet jump into fearlessness. It is used to live confined in the cage since long time.”
“You believe it is always good to keep the box closed using numerous locks. You do not care to know what there is inside the box.”
“My elder brother says that when we get detached from everything subsidiary, then only we get the main thing. So, we are continuously occupied with getting rid of anything we come across. We keep an account of only number of things we let go; there is no end to it.”
“Your elder brother may be telling you this way, but my elder brother tells me that we get the main thing only when we get everything else. So, we do not close the doors of our house, they are open day and night.”
This dialogue has been written by the great poet Rabindranath Tagore in his book, “Achalayatan.”Do not you think of present mind set, present sight, when you read this? Do not you think these dialogues written in the past century are relevant today also after a whole century has passed?
Our country has a great faith in religion. Most of the religions of the world are founded here. Indian religions have contributed a lot in the development of other religions. Followers of many religions have stayed in our country Today, the followers of various religions inhabit our country.
When we see the condition of religions and the followers of them in our country, Tagore’s comparison with a caged bird and what he wants to say in, “my elder brother says……” are relevant. We react with a grim smile and nothing else, when we look at the pitiful condition the religions and followers of religions are in today.
Most of the religions today have become religions of traditions instead of being religions of soul or conscience. So it’s soul has been suffocated. A religion is in fact, a dance of conscience. It is never enclosed within temples-mosques-churches or the holy books. It is omnipresent in every atom of the universe, it dances, it flows sweetly like a spring.
But, it is in a pitiful condition today, more than ever in history. The soul of the religion is thrown and they try to preserve its dead body. As Kaka Kalelkar says, “In trying to make the religion stable-achal – we have discarded the religiousness out of it. Our religions have become the one which like to throw out and not taking in.” Today, we see the violence, terrorism and hatred everywhere, our perverted attitude to destroy other religions, oppose them. These are the results of worshipping these dead bodies.
What may be the reason?
Whatever, the social-economic- political reasons, but the main reason is that we have kept the window of our mind closed. Every religion firmly believes that it is the best religion only. The followers of any other religion are nonreligious, sinners! In fact, every religion is an open ground, but their followers have constructed walls around it. They have constructed roof over it. They have kept no windows in the walls. As a result, the open ground has been converted into a closed jail. There is only darkness prevailing in it.
The second blunder we have made is to believe that this darkness itself is a religion. We believe that traditions, commands in holy books, superstitions and fanaticism comprise of the religion. We make meaningless great efforts to justify violence, hatred and terrorism, by giving them the label “Religious activity”, for the survival of the religion. The whole society turns upside down, if somebody tries to bore a small window in the wall for little light, little fresh air. All the “Religious people” immediately react and investigate, “Who bore the window? How was it possible? They act very fast on two fronts.
One, they fill the window space immediately. Besides, they make thicker layers on the wall, so that the light cannot penetrate inside. Not a small hole is spared, through which the air enters.
Second, they try to murder the person concerned as far as possible. If that is not possible, they harass him. If that person surrenders, he is lead to darkness and his eyes are pierced. If the person is still strong not to bow before them, he is out casted helplessly. They think that our religious darkness has to be preserved at any cost, thousands of people may die or the whole world may be destroyed. The pleasant orange colours of dawn or the beauty of dusk should not be seen in it .Beautiful Sunrays should not enter it.
Thus the birds are brought up in cages in windowless houses. The bird becomes so accustomed to the darkness that if by any chance or by mistake, a window is bored and the light is seen, it will shout in panic, “Wake up, run, the religion is in danger. SAVE YOURSELF FROM NON RELIGIOUS PEOPLE. Bring stones. Fill the hole somehow. I cannot tolerate this atheist light.”
That man who bored the window says, ‘Hey! Come out. Darkness is not the truth. The religion is here, outside. Religion is light, it is conscience, it is a dance, it is an effortless process, it is love, it is knowledge, it is a global relation. So come out. Let us dance in open, sing, enjoy the freedom. Your walls are not the religion, there you have hatred, no fragrant freedom. There is only crematorium.
The religious bird shouys,”Do not disturb me. Cannot you see , my wings have weakened due to religious practices. Now I cannot fly. I am free here. Get out, do not disturb me in my meditations. Let me read my religious books.”
That man says, “Oh! To be in constant light is the only true religious reading. It is in embracing the fellow standing outside your wall.”
The bird says, “No, they are from different sect. They are ignorant. They are the men of evil thinking. They do not follow our religious principles. They do not worship darkness. Their light is atheist.”
“But, they are also the birds like yourself!”
“So what? Are they brought up in this house? Have they enjoyed the darkness of this house?”
Somehow, throwing tantrums, the bird gets the window filled. It puts extra locks in the house. Then, calmly, it closes its eyes in the darkness and goes into deep thinking about religion.
How long the lovers of twenty first century will accept this hateful religion! Will they endure for ever? As Tagore says, “The physical form of the religion is given by them in the pure darkness of dawn and then in an effort to preserve it for ages, they have allowed it to rot. If they want to preserve ever-growing soul of the religion, they have to throw away the rotten body and replace it by one that ever fresh at any moment.
Now there is only one religion- ‘Love for all’
The true religion is that which teaches us to surrender before the vastness of the cosmos and break the walls of caste-creed-sect. The four directions are the only walls of the religion. Now, the God is the only one. The person who cannot love any live being or the whole world is in fact terrible atheist. One who favours this non religiousness is a big sinner. Association with such a person is more dangerously contagious than even the AIDS patient. We must keep away from him.
When will such a religion spread?
Such a religion will spread when the windows of our minds are open. The true religious people are those, who are governed by the intellectual light. They use their intellectual scissors to cut injustice, darkness, exploitation, and fanaticism, wherever they feel them. The shower of love from their intellectual light drenches the whole earth.
At last, the only best wish to the mankind when we enter the twenty first century, “Every new day should enable us to break free from the cages, either self-created or forced by others, and love all impartially.”
Translated by : Susmita Vaishnav, Ahmedabad