Ma Yoga Pratima
What is the difference between religion, religiousness and religio?
The difference is simple, yet very vast. The difference is that of a dead rose you find in a Holy Bible. It has lost its color, lost its fragrance, lost its life. It is just a rose for name’s sake. Otherwise there is nothing of the rose in it. It looks like a rose.
Once it may have been a rose, may have danced in the wind, in the rain, in the sun. It may have released fragrance without any conditions to anybody, to strangers or if there was nobody, even just to the winds. But now it is just past, a memory, faded. Religion is like that, a dead rose found in the Holy Bible.
Religio is a living rose: fully alive, totally alive, intensely alive, with immense glory, expressing the beauty of existence, very individual and unique…unrepeatable, irreplaceable, radiant. It is full of juice and full of fragrance, a miracle. It is a mystery from where it comes, because it is not in the roots, it is not in the tree, it is not in the leaves. And yet the living rose is surrounded by a mysterious aura of fragrance. It stands in the sun with great pride. That pride is not of the ego, it is authentic. It is true. He is what he is showing to existence – his color, his aliveness, his fragrance – these are not pretensions. It is his reality.
Religio is the living flower, and religiousness is the fragrance. You can experience it, you can smell it, but you cannot catch hold of it. You cannot catch hold of it in words, in explanations, in definitions. It defies any kind of imprisonment. It is pure freedom. That’s why I say the difference is simple, but vast, like the difference between a living man and his corpse. Simply: The living man breathes, loves, dances, sings, rejoices: the corpse does not do anything. It goes on deteriorating, it starts stinking. It is the same corpse whom you may have loved, whom you may have desired, whom you may have respected, honored. Now all that you can do is take it to the crematorium.
Religion is a corpse. Religio is a living being. And life has love, laughter, the possibility of all kinds of creativity., It can give birth to songs, beautiful, transcendental songs which can bring into words that which is almost impossible to express, songs which can be given live to a living audience from a living singer. Between the singer and the listener something can transpire which is not in the words, in the song, or in the music, but something by the side – on the margin – invisible, yet it reaches to the heart. The living man can dance. His body can rejoice in a thousand and one ways. That is religiousness.