Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Conflating Religion and Irreligion

“That understanding which considers irreligion to be religion and religion to be irreligion, under the spell of illusion and darkness, and strives always in the wrong direction, O Partha, is in the mode of ignorance.” - Bhagavad-gita 18.32

Westboro Baptist Church is an example of people who hate in the name of God, single out a particular group, and use that hatred to further their own political agenda. In Hitler’s case it was the Jews. In their case of the Westboro Baptist Church it is the gays. The use the most incendiary rhetoric which includes protesting the death of gay soldiers, and politicians or other public figures who have showed tolerance for that group. Their hatred is an end in itself and they justify it by claiming that “God hates fags”. The more the hate, the more Godly they feel. The see homosexuality as wrong, but they would benefit from the passage in the Srimad-Bhagavatam where it is described that the accuser of the wrong doer is as much at fault as the wrongdoer himself. That is a religious principle.

The King said: O you, who are in the form of a bull! You know the truth of religion, and you are speaking according to the principle that the destination intended for the perpetrator of irreligious acts is also intended for one who identifies the perpetrator. You are no other than the personality of religion.

A devotee’s conclusion is that no one is directly responsible for being a benefactor or mischief-monger without the sanction of the Lord; therefore he does not consider anyone to be directly responsible for such action. But in both the cases he takes it for granted that either benefit or loss is God-sent, and thus it is His grace. In case of benefit, no one will deny that it is God-sent, but in case of loss or reverses one becomes doubtful about how the Lord could be so unkind to His devotee as to put him in great difficulty. Jesus Christ was seemingly put into such great difficulty, being crucified by the ignorant, but he was never angry at the mischief-mongers. That is the way of accepting a thing, either favorable or unfavorable. Thus for a devotee the identifier is equally a sinner, like the mischief-monger. By God’s grace, the devotee tolerates all reverses. Maharaja Pariksit observed this, and therefore he could understand that the bull was no other than the personality of religion himself. In other words, a devotee has no suffering at all because so-called suffering is also God’s grace for a devotee who sees God in everything. The cow and bull never placed any complaint before the King for being tortured by the personality of Kali, although everyone lodges such complaints before the state authorities. The extraordinary behavior of the bull made the King conclude that the bull was certainly the personality of religion, for no one else could understand the finer intricacies of the codes of religion.

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