Chapter 2: Truth and Science
The essence of religion in the past was faith. And faith entails the acceptance of precepts without any kind of verification at all. If a man had no faith he was considered irreligious, because faith was looked upon as the shadow of religion. The essence of atheism, the opposite of religion, was lack of belief. This is only the other side of faith; as opposed to acceptance it involves rejection, but without any verification either. Without faith, neither atheism nor theism could have existed. Mankind has always swung between these two extremes, between these two polarities. But now science has given us a third option. It is now possible to be neither atheistic nor theistic, now possible to be absolutely free of belief. Now, mankind can free itself from those so-called principles that have been hammered into its unconscious through generations of tradition, through centuries of teaching.
The various societies and the different schools of thought always imprint their ideas on young minds in the most formative years. Whether parents are Hindu, Jaina, Buddhist, Christian or Mohammedan, all implant their views in the minds of their children. And by constant repetition these ideas become firmly ingrained in the unconscious minds of these youngsters. This negates any opportunity for free thinking. The same approach is used to promote atheism, to spread communism.
This indoctrination of innocent children is one of the greatest crimes against the human race. The young mind is stuffed with ideas, imprisoned by them. When he grows up a man is like a train on a track; he only appears to be functioning of his own accord. He is only under the illusion that his ideas are his own.
This kind of ideological indoctrination simply allows people to relate to each other within the framework of their own beliefs. This is tremendously detrimental; this stands in the way of the development of a man’s free and uninhibited consciousness. It results in a kind of mental slavery. Like a bullock turning a waterwheel, a man moves within the boundaries of his own beliefs and is unable to think for himself.
One’s latent power of thought only develops when one’s mind it totally free. And this alone can lead to truth.
Science has been of great benefit to mankind by its attack on the static belief-mentality. It has laid the foundation for mental freedom. And this will give rise to a new religion, to one based on discrimination and not on belief, to one whose essence will be knowledge and not faith. Religion will become the science of consciousness.
Authentic religion has always been scientific. The experiences of Mahavira, of Buddha, of Christ, of Patanjali of Lao Tzu were all based on experimentation, on investigations conducted with discrimination, with awareness. Belief followed, but there was no belief in their beginnings. Their experiments were based on knowledge; faith ensued. The truth they propounded was their experience itself, the essential and unique experience. Their words may have differed, but the essence of their truth is the same. Truth cannot differ from person to person.
This science of religion has always remained in the hands of a few enlightened beings; it has never spread to the masses. The religion of the people has always been fettered by blind belief. But now the advances of science are finally eradicating this blindness, and this is to the great good fortune of true religion. The fire of science will purify religion, and religion in turn will enlighten human consciousness.
A religion based on wisdom and discrimination can lead mankind to superhuman consciousness. The consciousness of man can only rise above itself in this way. And when a man rises above himself he becomes one with God.