Very Few Today Want To Practice True Religion
by Adi Da Samraj
People tend to think of religion as a benign influence on individual thought and behavior—and this is, indeed, the case when the more benign aspects of religious awareness and experience begin to inform the thought and behavior of any individual. Yet, in the context of the larger world of the collective of all of humankind, religion is only rarely found to be functioning on the basis of its benign aspects—and, indeed, most characteristically, the ego-based and even negative aspects of religion are most apparent in the collective (and inherently non-sectarian) larger world of all-of-humankind-together. And, at large, it is certainly the case that very few individuals become truly creative personalities, mystics, Saints, or even reliably good men or women as a result of their religious beliefs and associations.
Religion is, in general, an exoteric cultic phenomenon that controls the thought and behavior of individuals through external and psychologically manipulative techniques. Thus, the principal religious phenomenon that is common in the world is not true (or free) religious awareness and benign behavioral habits on the part of individuals. The principal phenomenon of religion is all the separate and separative institutions that contain and otherwise manipulate broad and massive segments of the human population.
Large-scale (or “great”) institutional religion is—because of its worldly public status—not primarily a benign power in the world. One has only to look at the cultural and political conflicts in the total world of today to see that the immense institutions of ancient religion have now become, for the most part, contentious, absolutist, and the perennial sources of irreducible social conflicts. And “great” religions characteristically are “established” (and their power legitimized) by a nearly indivisible union with the State (or the otherwise secular national power). And the problem of all of this is made extreme by the immensity of these “great” religious institutions, each of which controls even many millions of people.
True religion is a universal and (necessarily) ego-transcending psycho-physical motivation of human beings. However, up to the present stage in human history, only relatively few individuals in any generation have been willing and able to make the gesture that is true religion (or, otherwise, true esotericism). In their great numbers, most people have, up to now, never yet been ready or willing to adapt to the true (and progressive) practical, moral, devotional, Spiritual, and Transcendental Wisdom-culture of right life.
“A Prophetic Criticism of “Great” Religions”, from the book Up?