Vivekananda says, ‘Forget about all you know as “religion”. Go back to Upanishads, the Source. Drink from the Source which will strengthen you. Listen! Drink from the Source which will strengthen you.’
Many times, the “aachaara” – the every-day practices you observe – get the status of religion, and, sometimes, the “aachaara” starts even contradicting the main core truth of religion and you continue to practice the “aachaara”, leaving the religion! It is like…..they say a story:
In one mutt (Matha – monastery), they had a cat. The cat used to jump around the Sannidhanam (Head of the Matha) when he does puja. He (the cat) will create a big ruckus.
So, the Sannidham has said, ‘Hey, first tie the cat before I start the puja, so that I don’t have disturbance.’
They tied the cat, and the Sannidhanam did the puja peacefully.
On the second day, again, they tied the cat, and he (the Sannidhanam) did the puja.
Third day, again, they tied the cat, and he (the Sannidhanam) did the puja.
After some time it became a habit that before the Sannidham starts the puja, you tie the cat, so that he (the Sannidhanam) starts the puja.
One day, the cat died, and they don’t know what to do: Without the cat, how to start the puja? And they started searching around here and there for a cat. ‘Hey, we have to tie the cat; only then the puja can start!’
Finally, that day the Sannidhanam didn’t do the puja because the cat was not there!
See, the “aacharas”, unfortunately, get into the state of religion, when the reason, context, is lost in course of time. There are thousands of stories where the “aachaara” becomes, “anushtaana” becomes religion.
See, “aachaara” and “anushtaana” is a way of living religion only if you know the context of the “aachaara” and the “anushtaana”. Once in a while, you have to review yourself all the “aachaara” and “anushtaana” you are doing: Are you in the right context and doing it? Based on this, you can measure. The scale: Are you in the right context? How to align yourself to the right context? The scale to align you to the right context is Upanishads! Again and again and again, go back to the Source, the Upanishads. Upanishads will give you the clarity, setting the right context for the “aachaara” and “anushtaana” you are following, and making you live, making you live the context in your every-day life.
See, “aachaara” and “anushtana” means: “habits” and “lifestyle”; the every-day habits and lifestyle you are supposed to follow. Neither you should give up the “aachaara” and “anushtaanas”, nor you should be without knowing the context. You should do it knowing the context. Doing it by knowing the context! People who give up, lose spiritual strength. And, people who don’t know the context, become superstitious. If you give up “aachaara” and “anushtaana”, you will lose spiritual strength. If you don’t know the context and continue to do, you will become superstitious. So, for both diseases – who don’t know the life, and who are living a superstitious life – for both, the greatest medicine is Upanishads.