Who is a religious fanatic? The man that other people call a fanatic is the same man who is hugely valued inside the structure of his religion, because he makes his religion grow around the world. Once religions have taken this stance of conquest, they are into a process of conquering rather than serving humanity. Once this process is on, the word “fanatic” is only the terminology of those who are outside the religious process. Those who are inside organised religion, consider the person you call a fanatic a hero and saviour.
There is sufficient intellect on the planet right now for us to reconsider the very fundamentals of religion on this planet. Religion is an inward step. It is something very intimate that a human being does within himself. It is not something that you organise and do on the street. It is a step towards your creator. If you just watch this body, you can clearly see that the source of creation is within you. When you say it is a step towards your creator, it is naturally an inward step, which you can only take by yourself. You cannot take a crowd of people inward.
A universal religion is needed. When I say a universal religion, I am not talking about one religion for all. I am talking about one religion for everyone. I am talking about one religion for every one of us. There are seven billion people, so we can have seven billion religions. What is the problem? Only because it is organised, what should have been a beautiful process has become an ugly process of fanaticism.
It is from this context that the Indian culture grew. We call this Sanatana Dharma, which means an eternal religion that will always be relevant. This is the only culture which allows you this freedom. You can choose your own God. This is known as Ishta Devata, which means a God of your own choice.
Every individual is free to see what he can relate to best at a certain time in his life. He can create a God of his own and give himself to that process, because it is not about God. It is about bringing a certain quality in you to make you worshipful and reverential towards life. To bring this quality of reverence and worshipfulness within you is the very reason religion started at all. So you worship a monkey, and I worship an elephant. What is the problem? And tomorrow, if we want to exchange our Gods, we can do that too.
This freedom was allowed in the culture. That is why it was referred to as an eternal religion, because it is not rigid, you can change. God with form, without form or even no God is okay, whichever way you choose. The important thing is that you learn to be reverential to life around you.
Learn to sing the praise of life and bow down to every aspect of life which nurtures you, which is the basis of your existence right now. Only if this happens in the world everybody can choose his own religion, and his religion is not organised by somebody else. Then you can see deeply religious, but not fanatical people.
Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic and visionary, and a prominent spiritual leader. An author, poet, and internationally-renowned speaker, Sadhguru’s wit and piercing logic provoke and widen our perception of life.