Journal : Symbols, Rituals and Religion

When I wrote the wrote the gist of it on a respectable forum on the net, in response to a question addressed to me, one fellow member on the list replied : ” It must be one of my dumb days. This is not making any, or at best little, sense to me.” 

I was not surprised, even though I know him to be a fine, truthful man. None of that helps in the science of being, as it pertains to homo sapiens. Its too vast, deep and infinitely subtle. No religion, other than those derived of Sanatan Hindu tradition, has been able to evolve specific terms and language, and the processes, to map and expose the spiritual science of man. It just doesn’t work, when we use the literary language to discuss the physical sciences ! 

The question was about religion, rituals and ceremonies, and their utility to modern man. 

Here’s the summary post I made in response : 

To speak of “humans” is to bring into consideration unimaginable diversity with various analog measures of essentially three qualifying natures in our capacity and drive – 

 

Tamas

Inertia… dullness, sloth, stillness, unwillingness, regression, darkness, heaviness …

Best symbolised by a rock and represented by a sloth.

With its predominance, the individual being is naturally aligned with the id – ego.

 

Rajas

Disposed to move and act… drive, curiosity, vitality, desire, daring, strength, power …

Best symbolised by the boiling cauldron and represented by higher animals especially in heat and lust. aligned with ego – vital – mind.

 

Sattva

Filled with calm… balance, freedom, focus, awareness, knowledge, light …

aligned with ego – intellect.

 

The way these natures determine us —

I   Overall, by proportion of their nature in our being – drive and capacity to inform.

II  In Time, by their power of predominance over others at any one point in time.

For instance, a person with 70 : 15 :10 proportion combo would be lazy overall;

but at a time when his vitality is on the flare, he will show unexpectedted zeal.

Or, when calm nature predominates, he will be surprisingly awake and receptive.

 

To answer the question :

ALL things are useful and can become a means for our self-improvement as aid to memory, focus to gather ourselves around, activity to engage in so as to free our self from our own ill-thoughts and predispositions, and lay out a process to build up our concentration and conserve our vitality.  

In particular, most people have a need of symbols and myths… a form to see, remember or imagine, in order to conceive of that which is intangible. Geometry uses a lot of it for space. The idols in temples or god-persons of yore are a means of reminding us of ourselves, beyond the piggish, mulish or cocky self we take on in our lives. 

Rituals and ceremonies engage us, our vitality and mind, to a particular emotion or thought in our spirit. Armed forces regularly make use of this form of engagement. 

Ethics and morals are extremely intangible and tenuous matters for most human beings. In addition, they are difficult to carry and institute in ourselves. It is so much easier to be willful, to give ourselves away, and to indulge in. 

Religion, as i was introduced to, was more in the way of propping us up by morals and ethics, beauty and happiness, compassion and freedom. 

Once the the overall nature is transformed into being calm, especially when needed, to holding on to ethics and morals in our person … religion is not of much use, nor are symbols and rituals. 

Going by what I see however, in news and life in general, that time is not yet come for most people on this planet. We need to build the capacity in our self to outgrow religion, not just follow or deny it. 

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote Zarathustra in this urgent context … 

 

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