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Why to Stand Up for Our Religious Principles

Yogananda paragon of religious principles

Jesus said, Preach from your housetops that which you will hear in your ear. For no one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel, nor does he put it in a hidden place, but rather he sets it on a lampstand so that everyone who enters and leaves will see its light. (Gospel of Thomas, verse 33)

This verse is dealing with the manifestation of inner realization in relation to others. First a person must attain insight, and then he must express it. Although he should not be annoying people like a bullying missionary, at every moment going on and on about his ideas to those who are not interested, but his actions should proclaim his spiritual vision, and so should his dealing with others and his conversation as well.

For example, we should not hide our dedication to spiritual life and our firmness in the observation of right conduct. When asked to betray our principles we should never be harsh or accusatory, but we must be firm in our refusal to do wrong.

Helping others

People are stumbling through this world in varying degrees of blindness. We are obligated to help them with calm and wise words. When we understand their situation we should diplomatically give our insight.

One time a man lamented to Yogananda that his son was going to hell because he got drunk. So Yogananda suggested that the next time his son got drunk he should make a huge bonfire and throw him in it! When the man expressed disgust at Yogananda’s words, the Master asked him how it was that he thought that God, who was also the boy’s loving father, would throw him into the fires of hell.

Not being ashamed of your religious principles

Being ashamed of our religious principles and practice is not just bad for us, it robs others of a chance to learn of a better way of doing things. For example, we frequent a restaurant that is highly recommended by members of some spiritual groups, and their members are usually to be found there. Yet we have never seen a single one either pray before eating or bless their food. Why? No one would laugh or object, least of all the owner who is a devout Buddhist and has many images of Buddha displayed in the restaurant.

Even more to the point, when people tell us of their problems we should sympathize and promise to pray for them, and explain the spiritual perspective on their troubles. Otherwise, how will we fulfill Saint Paul’s injunction to be lights in the world (Philippians 2:15)?

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