Chapter 18: Neither This, Nor That
It is generally believed that religion is a search for truth. But one night you said that while the Greek mind, the scientifically inclined mind, sought truth, the Eastern mind, the religious mind, has moksha, or freedom, as its object of search. But you have also said in the past that it is truth alone that liberates.
Will you kindly explain the contradiction?
Philosophy is a search for truth, not for religion. Religion is a search for freedom - ultimate freedom. What is the difference? When you are searching for truth, the emphasis becomes more and more intellectual, mental. When you are searching for freedom, it is not simply a question of intellect but of your total being.
The moment someone utters the word truth, your intellect is affected. Your emotions remain unaffected, your body untouched. It appears that truth is for the head. How is truth concerned with your toe? How is truth concerned with your bones and blood? But the moment you utter the word freedom, it is concerned with your totality. You are involved in it, totally.
This is the first difference. Religion is not an intellectual affair. Intellect is involved, as a part, but your total being is required to be in it. Freedom is for the total being.
Secondly, whenever one is thinking about truth, it appears that truth is to be found somewhere else. You are only the seeker; truth is somewhere else as an object to be found. But when you are seeking freedom, freedom is not something objective to be found somewhere else. You have to transform to find it because freedom means: Drop your slavery! Truth appears to be something static, just like any thing. Freedom is a process, alive. That’s why I say religion is basically a search for freedom - ultimate, total freedom.
It is true I have said so many times that truth liberates. There is no contradiction. The search of religion is for freedom; truth is instrumental. If you attain truth, it helps you to be free. Truth liberates, but liberation is the end.
Really, it would be better to define it otherwise: that which liberates is truth, and unless it liberates you it is not truth. But freedom is the end for religion. This emphasis is not just a small difference, it is a great difference, because whenever mind begins to seek, search for truth, the total approach changes. You begin to think about it, you begin to argue about it, you begin to intellectualize about it. It becomes a philosophical endeavor. When freedom is the aim, it becomes psychological.
Truth is meaningful, but only as an instrument toward freedom. So religion is not against the search for truth, religion is for freedom. Truth helps it, but then truth is secondary. It is not primary, it is not basic. It is a means; freedom is the end. That’s why moksha is the ultimate aim of all Hindu thinking, of all Hindu seeking - moksha.