9 January 2014 - QA 7

Gurudev, religion is called the opium of the society. Why is there so much violence in the name of religion? What do you think should be the driving force in society: religion, ambitions, ethics, money; what?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Humanism. If religion is devoid of humanism, only violence will exist in the pretext of religion. If you don’t consider that all the people on the planet belong to you, belonging to one God, and if you think they are your enemies, they are bound to fight. This whole problem in the world today on the pretext of religion is unfortunate.

It first appears like the fight is between Muslims and Jews, or Christians and Muslims, or Muslims and Hindus; these are all appearances. If you go a little deeper, you will find people are fighting even amongst themselves. Among Muslims, among Christians, and among Hindus there is fight. So inter-religious and intra-religious fights and conflicts are happening all around the world. And the main reason is not God, or the prophet, or the philosophy, the main problem is personal egos. It is peoples' ego and narrow mindedness that is the cause, and they use religion as a pretext to bring out of all their pent up anger, frustration and stress, because nobody ever taught them how to get rid of stress and be free, and to live in the moment and be happy. Nobody taught them how to look at everybody with compassion. This teaching, this technique was missing.

Not all the people are like this. There are good people in every religion. And there are so many good people who are striving for the betterment of humanity, in all the religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism, Islam, Hinduism, everywhere there are good people. There are only a few people who create conflict; they need help. They need help rather than condemnation.
It is easy to condemn a bad guy, but that is not going to help. We need to bring the transformation of hearts and minds. That is what the role of spirituality is. Spirituality unites people of all religions and makes them experience the one truth, the one love that we are all made up of.