Chapter 1: Religion: Knowing through Feeling
Ordinarily knowing and feeling are two distinct things, but there are ways of feeling when we know, as in love. You can know a person through science, but then you know only the periphery, then you know only the circumference, then you know only the physiology or the chemistry or the biology or the history, but you do not know the person as he actually is. You know about him, but not him. But when you love him, then you don’t know the biology, the physiology, the chemistry of the body or the psychology, but you know him as he is - the total. In love, you penetrate to the innermost core, you become one with him. So love, too, becomes a dimension of knowing.
Feeling has been the basis in the East for those who have thought, lived and known. In the West, logos, logic - the discursive mind and the analytical intellect - has been the base. For us, the feeling heart, the synthesized mind, has been the base.
But still I will deny the terms “Eastern” or “Western” even though religion has been the predominate note in the Eastern lands.
What is the path of religion all about?
Reason is not the path of religion because reason is only partial, and that too, a superficial part of the human personality. Religion needs you as a whole being, totally involved in it.
Reason creates a division. With reason, you can never be total in anything. Religion demands a total involvement; nothing must be left out of it. You must take a jump with your total being into existence. This looks irrational but it is not because even unreason is part of rational thinking. Religion is neither reason nor unreason. It is the totality of your existential being.
So “How to be total?” really means “How to be religious?” - how to act as an organic totality. If not, how can a being be religious? Religion is not a ritual either; ritual again is a fragment. And you cannot be Christians, you cannot be Hindus if you want to be total because again, to be a Hindu or to be a Mohammedan or to be a Christian is to think through reason and conditioning. You can be man only if you are religious.
So a person who wants to be religious must not belong to any religion in particular. This belonging to a particular religion has created an irreligious world. And this belonging to a particular religion makes you very rooted. Then you are not open to all the possibilities, to all the dimensions.
So be religious: don’t be Christian, don’t be Hindus. And when you are religious, you will be deeply nearer to Mohammed and to Jesus and to Krishna. Sects are not religion; again, they are rationalizations. So ultimately, religion means a way of life in which your totality is involved. And you cannot be totally involved if you divide the world and existence into two separate and antagonistic blocks.