Question: Can I change ‘my’ religion for the sake of someone I Love?
Acharya Prashant: What do you mean by religion?
If religion just means following a particular code of conduct, if it means that I am loyal to a particular book, if it means that such and such will be my pilgrimage centers; If that is what is religion, then this religion is just something that you have been conditioned to believe in, it is just a belief system! And belief systems come and go.
Today you can believe in one thing, tomorrow you can believe in something else. These beliefs anyway have no permanency. They don’t have a deep root. Because these have been externally implanted. They are not coming from a very depth, the very soil of the mind. So, they can change. That is how people keep on changing their religions. Every year, lakhs of people change their religion. These religions that can be changed, they anyway don’t have any worth.
But that is not the true meaning of religion.
Real religion cannot be changed.
What you can change is your cult or your sect, ‘panth’, that can be changed. ‘Dharm’ cannot be changed.
Because there are no different religions.
True religion is just one.
How will you change it? There is no second religion.
Where will you go? Yes, there are many sects. There are thousands of sects, but there is only one True religion. And that religion is not about the following something. That religion is not about visiting a temple or a church or a mosque. That religion is not about being loyal to a particular book.
That religion is ‘your own consciousness.’
‘Religion’ means – I will act in a way that brings me closer to my center.
And because my situation at different times and at different points in Life, at different locations, is very very dynamic, changing, different, so real religion does not give you a code of conduct. It awakens your consciousness. It awakens your understanding. So that you know what is the right thing that must be done.
This Real Religion, has no name. Just as God has no name.
Real God, cannot have a name. Similarly, Real Religion cannot have any name.
God with names, are just substitute Gods.
religions with ‘names,’ they lose their essence.
The essence of religion is a nameless, formless essence.
So, first of all, this question about changing religion is not at all about religions. It’s about sects.
Yes, sects can be very easily changed. And as I said, millions of people change their sects every year! That is happening all the time. And there are people, who change their sects four-five times in their Life. First a Hindu, then a Muslim, then a Christian, then a Jew, then again a Hindu, then again a Christian. People keep on doing that. There have been people of such kind, who have been changing their sects every five years. This was their hobby.
This can be changed. But whosoever is doing all this probably has no understanding of ‘real religion.’
‘Real religion’ sits in your Heart. How can you change it? It has no name! How can you substitute with another name?
See, it’s a very good example. You take four-five candles of different shapes and sizes! Right? And you can give each candle, a particular name. And each candle has a form, a color, a size. Right? There can be diverse kind of candles. And all of the candles are then lit. So, light is emanating from all the candles. Now, the candle can have a name, a form, a history. But will the light have a name, a history? Is the light different from the different candles?
Religion is like Light. It removes darkness. And it has no distinction.
The light coming from different candles is always the same.
But we miss out on the light and we start focussing on the candle. And we think, that by changing the candle probably we will get a different light. Only a blind man will say that. The man who can see light will say, it is pointless to change the candle, because the candle is irrelevant.
What is relevant is the Light.
What do you get by changing candles? Look at the light. Light is One. And light has no name. And the light is not limited to one area. When light spreads, it spreads all across. Light will not say that I will go only to Hindus. Light will not say that others are qafirs, I will not go to them. Light does not differentiate, light makes no distinction. When light spreads, it spreads to all.
Have you ever heard somebody say, ‘Sir, I want to change my light?’ There are how many tube lights in this room! And this floor is experiencing light. Right? Light is falling on this floor. Correct? Now, break up that light into the light coming from this source, versus this source, verses that source. Try and break up that light! Can you do that?
These sources are different, the candles are different. Light falling is? ONE.
There is no question of changing religions because there are no religions! There is only ‘religion.’ Religion has no plural. There are no multiple religions. Sects might be there. And there are thousands of sects. But sects are anyway worthless. Who cares for sects?
Now, you are asking, ‘can one change his religion for Love?’.
First of all, religion is not changed.
Second, Love itself is very very close to religion.
You will not be wrong if you say ‘Love itself is religion.’ You do not need any other religion if you know what Love really means.
And remember, Love is not what you commonly see as attraction between a man and a woman! If you want to know Love, then you have to go to a Meera, or a Kabir, or to a Nanak. They were all Saints and poets of Love. They did nothing, but sang of Love! Go to a Farid, or go to a Rumi, and then you will know what is Love!
They know very well that only out of True religion is Love born. Love is not a sexual attraction!
And when you are really in Love, you do not make demands. I have no understanding of Love, I have not known Love at all if I demand that you must change something about you. Only then you are acceptable to me!
You say you Love a girl. And then you go to her and you say that you must change all these things about yourself, if you want to be loveable, go change your hairstyle!
You don’t know Love.
You tell her, ‘You want to be loveable? Go change your dress. Get some modern, skimpy dress’! You don’t know Love.
You want to be loveable? Go change your surname. You must take my surname. Then you don’t know Love.
You want to be loveable? Then you must change your house. Leave your house, and come to my house. Then, you don’t know Love.
You want to be loveable? Change your sect. You must accept my sect. Obviously, you do not know Love. Love does not make these kinds of demands.
Love never makes demands of any kind.
Are you getting it?
It is not only about asking the woman to change her sect, the so-called Religion. Don’t just think that that is unjust. We all are very very unjust. Don’t we all ask girls to change their house? Don’t we all do that? Don’t we all ask girls to change their surname? Is that not happening in our very family? That women are being asked to change their surname. Is that not happening?
That is not Love. Any man who is doing that, surely, does not Love!
And not only do men do it, but women also do it. Oh, you are my husband, so you go and change such things! This is not Love! And then you say, you are acceptable only when you live and behave in a particular way. This is not Love.
‘Love’ is another name for ‘freedom.’
Love arises out of freedom and gives freedom!
Whenever you find that something is limiting your freedom, it cannot be Love!
Are you getting it?
‘Love is the fruit of freedom, which gives rise to more freedom!’
Only a ‘free mind’ can love! The mind of a slave cannot Love.
Does a slave have even a right to Love? The slave does not Love. He only obeys the commands of the masters!
Only the free mind can Love.
And when you have a free mind, you help others be free. You do not limit their freedom!
~ Acharya Prashant Ji speaking at a Samvaad session on behalf of Advait Life-Education at BBDIT, Ghaziabad on 26th Sept 2014
Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant: About changing one’s religion for love
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