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Chapter 1: To Walk with One’s Own Light

A young rabbi complained to the Rabbi of Rizhyn,
“During the hours when I devote myself to my studies,
I feel life and light,
but the moment I stop studying, it is all gone.
What shall I do?”

The Rabbi of Rizhyn replied,
“That is just as when a man walks
through the woods on a dark night,
and for a time another man accompanies him
who has a lamp, but at the crossroads they part
and the first must grope his way on alone.
But if a man carries his own light with him,
he need not be afraid of any darkness.”

There are religions - Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and many more - but they are religions, not the religion. They are the reflections of the moon in many kinds of minds, they are not the real moon. The moon is one, it can be reflected in millions of lakes; reflections differ, the reflected is one.

Mind is a mirror. When religion is reflected through the mind, a Hinduism is born or a Mohammedanism or a Judaism. When the religion is not a reflected one - when one comes face to face with reality without any mind whatsoever, when there is no mind between you and the truth - then there is born the religion.

Hasidism is the religion. Sufism is the religion. Zen is the religion. They differ only in names; otherwise they are all the same. Their language is different but not their content. They all have looked at the moon, but they call it different names. Obviously. That is natural. But they have not been looking at the reflections. They don’t believe in creeds, ideologies, scriptures, dogmas, doctrines; they know the truth. And when you know the truth there is no need of scriptures. You carry the scripture on your head when the truth is not known.

Theories are substitutes, dead. Truth is always alive, eternally alive. It cannot be confined in words; the message is wordless. And you cannot come to it by somebody else, because whenever there is a medium, it becomes a reflection. When your own mind creates a reflection, what about other minds through which you come to know it?

One has to come in immediate contact - direct, heart to heart. Nothing should be allowed between the two, your heart and the heart of reality. They should respond, in a deep resonance. They should meet and mingle and merge, and there should not even be a curtain of words, knowledge, concepts. Only then you know what religion is.

Hasidism is religion, Judaism is just a reflection. Or you can say the same thing in other words: that Judaism is just the periphery and Hasidism is the core - the very core, the living soul, the very center. Buddhism is the periphery, Zen is the core. Islam is the periphery, Sufism is the core. And the core is one, peripheries are millions. On one center you can draw many concentric circles. You can go on drawing them, the center remains one.

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