Purifying the heart (3/7): Heart cannot be purified by following rituals and ceremonies



“Even as the mind cannot be freed of bindings by mere physical renunciation, so the heart cannot be purified by mere mechanical following of the external forms and fads of religion. One must act on principles and not by rituals.

“For example, the essence of Zoroaster’s teachings lies in the principles of good thoughts, good words and good deeds, and not in the multitude of rituals and ceremonies. These latter serve more as an escape from, rather than as an incentive to, the task of purifying the heart. “In achieving good thoughts, good words and good deeds, one finds that good is not just something better than bad, nor merely the opposite of bad; and not-bad is not necessarily good. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are terms that reinforce illusory duality more than they remind one of divine unity. From the point of view of truth, thoughts, words and deeds are ‘good’ only when they are born of the longing for, or the love of, God, the one and only truth.

“Although born a Zoroastrian, all religions are the same to me insofar as they help men to come nearer and nearer to God, who is ever most near to man.

“It is better not to worship if your heart is not in it. Any prayer made mechanically in a spirit of show or ceremony is all a farce. It results in greater bindings through one’s pretense to purity. Similarly, a self-imposed fast, if not observed through a sense of obedience or through love of truth, may make a clock the object of your fast through watching to see when it is time to stop. Such actions tighten more than they loosen the bindings of impressions.

-Listen Humanity, p42

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