The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Question: I just want to say that many times in a day we all think the same thing, that we all want to become free. I mean free from all relations. My question is, we all think that we should have an understanding of individuality, freedom of thoughts, attachment but at the same time, my religion says that in the holy books of the Quran, it is mentioned that Allah says to worship me. Believe in me. If you want something then ask me, I’ll give you. But then, this is contradictory, this means that we are bounded.
Do we first need to understand what is religion or is it fine to go on talking about individuality, attachment, and freedom, etc?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Freedom and bondage are not in the world, situations, other people, relations, or in religious practices, or in holy books.
Both freedom and bondage exist in the human mind.
If my mind is in bondage, I can never experience freedom even if I am given the best of external situations.
So, do not look at others, situations, or religions.
Just look at your own mind.
If the mind is greedy, it will use relationships and religion just to fulfill its own greed. If the mind is afraid, it will create a God who protects and is merciful. If the mind is insecure, it will create institutionalized relationships where there can be the hope of permanent security. If the mind is full of desires, it will use prayers just to ask for more and more.
You talked of religion. Religion is a very simple and meaningful word.
Religion just means living in awareness.
Religion just means that I will not lead a stupid life of imaginations and conditioned reactions.
Religion means ‘I am Intelligent’. That’s all that religion is.
So you see, even religion is dependent upon you. You do not become religious by following an external commandment, or a holy book. You become truly religious only when you live in the joy of your own intelligence.
Questioner (Q): Yes, I agree. Moreover, in my religion, one worships Allah five times a…