God gives Himself to His whole creation; no one religion holds the monopoly of His Grace.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – III : CWM, Vol. 15, p. 27
The Ashram has nothing to do with Hindu religion or culture or any religion or nationality. The Truth of the Divine which is the spiritual reality behind all religions and the descent of the supramental which is not known to any religion are the sole things which will be the foundation of the work of the future.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Himself and the Ashram : CWSA, Vol. 35, p. 701
The spiritual spirit is not contrary to a religious feeling of adoration, devotion and consecration. But what is wrong in the religions is the fixity of the mind clinging to one formula as an exclusive truth. One must always remember that formulas are only a mental expression of the truth and that this truth can always be expressed in many other ways.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – III : CWM, Vol. 15, p. 27
You must not confuse a religious teaching with a spiritual one.
Religious teaching belongs to the past and halts progress.
Spiritual teaching is the teaching of the future—it illumines the consciousness and prepares it for future realisation.
Spiritual teaching is above religions and strives towards a global Truth.
It teaches us to enter into direct relation with the Divine.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – III : CWM, Vol. 15, p. 30
But as very few individuals are capable of thinking freely, it is much easier to join a religion, accept it, adopt it and become a part of that religious collectivity than to formulate one’s own cult for oneself. So, apparently, one is this or that, but in fact it is only an appearance.
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 9, p. 356
Again, you say that you ask only for the Truth and yet you speak like a narrow and ignorant fanatic who refuses to believe in anything but the religion in which he was born. All fanaticism is false, because it is a contradiction of the very nature of God and of Truth. Truth cannot be shut up in a single book, Bible or Veda or Koran, or in a single religion. The Divine Being is eternal and universal and infinite and cannot be the sole property of the Mussulmans or of the Semitic religions only,—those that happened to be in a line from the Bible and to have Jewish or Arabian prophets for their founders. Hindus and Confucians and Taoists and all others have as much right to enter into relation with God and find the Truth in their own way. All religions have some truth in them, but none has the whole truth; all are created in time and finally decline and perish. Mahomed himself never pretended that the Koran was the last message of God and there would be no other. God and Truth outlast these religions and manifest themselves anew in whatever way or form the Divine Wisdom chooses. You cannot shut up God in the limitations of your own narrow brain or dictate to the Divine Power and Consciousness how or where or through whom it shall manifest; you cannot put up your puny barriers against the divine Omnipotence. These again are simple truths which are now being recognised all over the world; only the childish in mind or those who vegetate in some formula of the past deny them.
Sri Aurobindo – The Mother with Letters on The Mother : CWSA, Vol. 32, p. 109
…. I have no attachment for any religion, and when one has no attachment, one has no aversion either. For me religions are forms, much too human, of spiritual life. Each one expresses one aspect of the single and eternal Truth, but in expressing it exclusive of the other aspects, it deforms and diminishes it. None has the right to call itself the only true one, any more than it has the right to deny the truth contained in the others. And all of them together would not suffice to express the Supreme Truth which is beyond all expression, even whilst being present in each one.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – III : CWM, Vol. 15, p. 28
Why do men cling to a religion?
Religions are based on creeds which are spiritual experiences brought down to a level where they become more easy to grasp, but at the cost of their integral purity and truth.
The time of religions is over.
We have entered the age of universal spirituality, of spiritual experience in its initial purity.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – III : CWM, Vol. 15, p. 29
A vital life, “a little higher than the animals” because of some play of mind, with death as its answer is all that human existence is as it is ordinarily envisaged. And yet there is an aspiration for something more; but the religions take hold of it and canalise it into something pointless for life and things remain as they are. Only a few indeed get beyond this limit.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – IV : CWSA, Vol. 31, p. 102
What is exactly the nature of religion? Is it an obstacle in the way of the spiritual life?
Religion belongs to the higher mind of humanity. It is the effort of man’s higher mind to approach, as far as lies in its power, something beyond it, something to which humanity gives the name God or Spirit or Truth or Faith or Knowledge or the Infinite, some kind of Absolute, which the human mind cannot reach and yet tries to reach. Religion may be divine in its ultimate origin; in its actual nature it is not divine but human. In truth we should speak rather of religions than of religion; for the religions made by man are many….
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 3, pp. 76-77
If you want to appraise the real value of the religion in which you are born or brought up or to have a correct perspective of the country or society to which you belong by birth, if you want to find out how relative a thing the particular environment is into which you happened to be thrown and confined, you have only to go round the earth and see that what you think good is looked upon as bad elsewhere and what is considered as bad in one place is welcomed as good in another.All countries and all religions are built up out of a mass of traditions. In all of them you will meet saints and heroes and great and mighty personalities as well as small and wicked people. You will then perceive what a mockery it is to say, “Because I am brought up in this religion, therefore it is the only true religion; because I am born in this country, therefore it is the best of all countries.” One might as well make the same claim for his family, “Because I come of this family that has lived in the same place for so many years or so many centuries, therefore I am bound by its traditions; they alone are the ideal.”
Things have an inner value and become real to you only when you have acquired them by the exercise of your free choice, not when they have been imposed upon you. If you want to be sure of your religion, you must choose it; if you want to be sure of your country, you must choose it; if you want to be sure of your family, even that you must choose. If you accept without question what has been given you by Chance, you can never be sure whether it is good or bad for you, whether it is the true thing for your life. Step back from all that forms your natural environment or inheritance, made up and forced upon you by Nature’s blind mechanical process; draw within and look quietly and dispassionately at things. Appraise them, choose freely. Then you can say with an inner truth, “This is my family, this my country, this my religion.”
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 3, pp. 80-81
All your relations must be newly built upon an inner freedom of choice. The traditions in which you live or are brought up have been imposed on you by the pressure of the environment or by the general mind or by the choice of others. There is an element of compulsion in your acquiescence. Religion itself has been imposed on men; it is often supported by a suggestion of religious fear or by some spiritual or other menace. There can be no such imposition in your relation with the Divine; it must be free, your own mind’s and heart’s choice, taken up with enthusiasm and joy. What union can that be in which one trembles and says, “I am compelled, I cannot do otherwise”? Truth is self-evident and has not to be imposed upon the world. It does not feel the need of being accepted by men. For it is self-existent; it does not live by what people say of it or on their adherence. But one who is founding a religion needs to have many followers. The strength and greatness of a religion is adjudged by men according to the number of those that follow it, although the real greatness is not there. The greatness of spiritual truth is not in numbers. I knew the head of a new religion, the son of its founder, and heard him say once that such and such a religion took so many hundreds of years to be built up, and such another so many hundreds of years, but they within fifty years had already over four million followers. “And so you see”, he added, “what a great religion is ours!” Religions may reckon their greatness by the number of their believers, but Truth would still be Truth if it had not even a single follower. The average man is drawn towards those who make great pretensions; he does not go where Truth is quietly manifesting. Those who make great pretensions need to proclaim loudly and to advertise; for otherwise they would not attract great numbers of people. The work that is done with no care for what people think of it is not so well known, does not so easily draw multitudes. But Truth requires no advertisement; it does not hide itself but it does not proclaim itself either. It is content to manifest, regardless of results, not seeking approbation or shunning disapprobation, not attracted or troubled by the world’s acceptance or denial.
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 3, pp. 81-82
Can one realise the Divine by this method [of religion]?
Those who carry within themselves a spiritual destiny and are born to realise the Divine, to become conscious in Him and live Him, will arrive, no matter what path, what way they follow. That is to say, even in religion there are people who have had the spiritual experience and found the Divine―not because of the religion, usually in spite of it, notwithstanding it―because they had the inner urge and this urge led them there despite all obstacles and through them. Everything served their purpose.
But if these very people want to express their experience, they naturally use the terms of the religion in which they were brought up, so they restrict their experience and inevitably limit it very much, they make it sectarian, so to say. But they themselves may very well have gone beyond all the forms and all the limitations and all the conventions and may have had the true experience in its pure simplicity.
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 8, pp. 45-46
Moreover the intellect of natural man is narrow, his effort soon exhausted & easily satisfied with imperfection. If he is led to think that his way of contact with the Divine is the only way, his own freedom of higher development is fettered or entirely taken away from him & in his intellectual & religious egoism he militates against the freedom of others. Most religions tend easily to believe that the contact with God once established, no matter with what limitations or of what kind, all is done that needs to be done, all fulfilled that God demands of us. Popular religions tend naturally to be dualistic and to preserve a trenchant distinction between man & God dividing the symbol being from That which expresses itself in him; while with one hand they raise man towards his super-nature, with the other they hold him down to his ordinary nature. The lower is suffused with the glow of the higher & touched with its power & rapture, but it does not itself rise into & dwell within it. At its lowest the dualistic soul cherishes the taint of its imperfections, at its highest, unless in rare self-transcending moments, keeps itself distinct in awe & reverence from the divine Lover, worships at His feet but cannot hide itself in His bosom.
Sri Aurobindo – Essays Divine and Human : CWSA, Vol. 12, pp. 339-340
…. The central idea is that the Divine Truth is greater than any religion or creed or scripture or idea or philosophy—so you must not tie yourself to any of these things.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Himself and the Ashram : CWSA, Vol. 35, p. 96
…. Religion is always imperfect because it is a mixture of man’s spirituality with the errors that come in trying to sublimate ignorantly his lower nature. Hindu religion appears to me as a cathedral temple half in ruins, noble in the mass, often fantastic in detail, but always fantastic with a significance—crumbled and overgrown in many places, but a cathedral temple in which service is still done to the Unseen and its real presence can be felt by those who enter with the right spirit. The outer social structure which it built for its approach is another matter.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Himself and the Ashram : CWSA, Vol. 35, pp. 702-703
….A spiritual consciousness is emerging and it is through this spiritual consciousness that one can meet the Divine. Religions, full of mental and vital mixed, troubled and ignorant stuff, can only get glimpses of the Divine…
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – I : CWSA, Vol. 28, pp. 270-271
Even meditation mused on a narrow seat;
And worship turned to an exclusive God,
To the Universal in a chapel prayed
Whose doors were shut against the universe;
Or kneeled to the bodiless Impersonal
A mind shut to the cry and fire of love:
A rational religion dried the heart.
Sri Aurobindo – Savitri: CWSA, Vol. 34, Book Seven, p. 497
There were no contraries, no sundered parts,
All by spiritual links were joined to all
And bound indissolubly to the One:
Each was unique, but took all lives as his own,
And, following out these tones of the Infinite,
Recognised in himself the universe.
Sri Aurobindo – Savitri: CWSA, Vol. 33, Book Three, p. 323