The Hierophant — Spiritual Message of the Day
Beyond the trappings of rites and rituals and dogma, there is a true essence of religion which may be encapsulated in this simple statement attributed to the Dalai Lama:
My religion is kindness.
Any religion without genuine personal devotion was worthless to him.
Similarly, when asked which is the greatest of the Ten Commandments, Jesus said:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. — Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV)
Consider also these two quotes from Rumi:
Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love!
Asleep or awake, writing or reading, whatever you do,
you must never be without the remembrance of God.
In fact, these two essentials (kindness to others and devotion to the Divine) are two of the primary spiritual disciplines (Yogas) described in the Bhagavad Gita: Karma yoga (the path of selfless work) and Bhakti yoga (the path of devotion).
So we see that love and devotion are the basis of the teachings of history’s greatest religious leaders, and when we combine these sentiments, we find we have a wonderfully effective litmus test for the teachings of any religion or religious leader: Any religion is authentic only to the extent that it is based on kindness to others and devotion to the Divine.
This seems simple enough, but it is worth elaborating on one of these points. Kindness to others is generally well understood, but devotion to the Divine is often misunderstood. The Divine does not need our devotion, but rather, we need to practice that devotion in order to reunite with the Divine. As stated in the Bhagavad Gita (9.34):
Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.
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