Religious Traditions (vs Teachings)

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A note from an acquaintance regarding a recent satsang by a Living Master:

On Saturday 1/12/12, Baba Ji gave an English satsang for 15 minutes at Delhi Bhati Centre. There he emphasized upon religion and traditions. He said whatever traditions were followed in religions, that took a front seat, whereas the teachings nobody remembered. To illustrate his point, he gave an example of the story of a monk and a cat. Whenever the spiritual teacher (monk) and his disciples began their evening meditation, a cat who lived in the monastery made so much noise that it distracted them. One day, the teacher ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening practice. Years later, when the teacher died, the cat continued to be tied up during the meditation session. And when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the monastery and tied up. Centuries later, learned descendants of the spiritual teacher wrote scholarly treatises about the religious significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice.

This story is a brilliant illustration of how false and meaningless traditions persist and perpetuate across generations. All religions are chock-full of such traditions/rituals which have been passed down for so many centuries and have become so intertwined with the religion itself that it is difficult to get to the bottom of it or clearly demarcate between the two. This leaves many believers confused about the religion itself and makes each ritual open to all sorts of interpretations.

Further, he said that many people complain that there is no progress in meditation — they feel disappointed at times — for which he gave an example of a shop which has to be opened daily irrespective of customers coming or not. If the shop remains open, the customers will return. Similarly, one needs to sit in bhajan and simran — you never know when he will turn up.

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