Attitudes for aspirants: Rituals and ceremonies become a sidetrack to the path

Often the aspirant is concerned in the early phases of his awakening by his attitude towards established religions and their rituals. All of these have a tendency to encourage the spirit of love and worship, and as such they help to a limited extent in wearing out the ego-shell in which human consciousness is caught. But if they are followed unintelligently and mechanically, the inner spirit of love and worship dries up. Then they harden the ego-shell instead of wearing it out.

Rituals and ceremonies cannot carry one very far towards the path, and if they are unintelligently followed they bind as much as any other unintelligent action. In fact, when they are deprived of all inner life they are in a sense more dangerous than any other unintelligent action, because they are pursued in the belief that they help towards God-realization.

Due to this element of self-delusion, lifeless forms and ceremonies become a sidetrack to the path. Through mere force of habit one can become so attached to these external forms that intense suffering may be required to dispel their imaginary value.

-Listen Humanity, p176

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