Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

Radhanath Swami Answers, “Is religion the source of strife?”

By on February 26, 2015 in Insights with 82 Comments

Is religion the source of strifeQuestion to Radhanath Swami: ‘God’ and religion is the source of so much strife in ourworld, perhaps because of the fact that it is misused. I just wanted to get your perspective on that.

Radhanath Swami Answers: My guru Srila Prabhupada said, “Philosophy without good character is practically useless.” The whole purpose of religion is to help us in transcending the arrogant ego.

The ego creates such a void in the heart. If we have a full heart we don’t crave to feel superior to anybody. One who really considers oneself the servant of everyone is actually a true master, and one who feels that need to be the master is a servant of one’s own mind and one’s own ego.

If we have an ego and we don’t understand the purpose of our religion, then the very wonderful blessing of religion that we have to go beyond our ego, we use that same thing to be a weapon to conquer others for the purpose of that ego. You could use a knife to kill someone and a surgeon will use the same knife to save a person’s life. Is the knife good or bad? The knife is as valuable as the person who is using it. Wealth, money, academic power, scientific discovery, religion, philosophy, they are all like that knife. If we have the proper character – which is the purpose of religion, to develop that humility, that compassion – if we have that proper character, all these things, including religion itself can save people’s lives, can give people such life through love, through compassion. Otherwise, we just use it according to our own uncontrolled egos. And throughout history, people have used religion for that purpose, but that doesn’t mean religion is bad. It’s the most sacred blessing that we all have if we understand it properly. True dharma is beyond sectarian boundaries, if we understand the essence.


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  • Anand Patil

    very succinctly and thoroughly explained. Thank you HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj. True religion means to know God else its “kaithabha dharma”/cheating religion. If we use religion for any other purpose than to know God and understand our relationship with Him, then we are cheating others and ourselves too. Its also useless waste of labour if the true purpose of religion is not recognised…”shrama eva hi kevalam….”

    • Piyush Singh

      A thorough and useful comment. Thank you.

  • Prerna

    Very nice and significant answer……By hearing from such elevated soul we can understand true meaning of religion.The analogy of knife with religion is simply amazing. Everything in this manifestation will be sacred and blessings.,if we have pure motives for their use. Thank you very much H.H. Radhanath Swami Maharaj for this profound wisdom

    • Anand Patil

      Very true. Thanks.

  • Sumit Sharma

    Wonderful answer by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj, Thanks for sharing it! Unless we work on our ego part, it’s very difficult to serve the society and the whole world in true sense.

    • Christopher Hernandez

      Religion gives us strength to face the difficulties rather than creating difficulties for surrounding.

  • vilas bhujbal

    very nice analogy of knife by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

  • vidya karekar

    a wonderful explanation and an apt analogy

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Thank you very much for explaining in such a nice way.

  • Srivallabhi dd

    Very nicely explained by Maharaj

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Superb explanation and a wonderful analogy about the knife being good or bad!

  • Sanjiv

    So crucial to guard against the false ego that wants to enjoy seperate from Krishna either subtly through Power, respect and fame or grossly through sense enjoyment

  • brajswaminidd

    So true unless we have good character philosophy is useless.

  • chetan warade

    wonderful explanations by Radhanath Swami. Thank you for shearing.

  • Yadati Raja Shekar

    Wonderful answer by Radhanath Swami. Religion brings in character in people and people with character only can follow true Religion

  • Pradeep Kumar

    Great description of true religion, if people understand this principle there would not be any enmity in whole world. Thank you very much Radhanath Swami Maharaj for describing it so beautifully.

    • Piyush Singh

      Very ture.

  • Raju K Mewada

    Wonderful teachings. Yes there are people who always wish to get money and fame at without any efforts and so such people cheats the people. But even there are people who become victim of such person because of their own selfish desire. So we need to understand motive of people before taking any spiritual guidance from any such fraud person. And as a person to take path of spirituality we need to take care to guide and help the people in correct direction.

    • john

      true but how to do you recognize between a true and a fraud guide?

  • Vinay Malani

    HH Radhanath Swami has given a very nice perspective on the subject matter through the analogy of knife.

  • Prahalad

    Lucid explanation by Radhanath Swami on true sense of religion.

  • Satish Rane

    superab article, clear & transparent message …..

  • Kuldeep soni

    Very Nicely Explained the true essence of religion. Thank you so much HH Radhanath swami.

  • Peterson


  • Sambu Srikanth

    its very important to remove the misconception that religion is a cause for strife

  • Rahul Gupta

    Because Radhanath Swami has deeply imbibed the true essence of religion and practiced it throughout his life, he has inspired thousands to surrender their lives to serving Krishna

    • Jane Costa

      indeed. its an amazing answer too. this should be read and understood by all those who are using force and money to spread their religion around. they don’t have true understanding of dharma. tks.. namaste

    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes very true! Because of the purity of great saints like Radhanath Swami Maharaj. We are very fortunate to have him guide us.

  • steven

    Nice one…

  • Jeewan

    The whole purpose of religion is to help us in transcending the arrogant ego….amazing…real purpose of philosophy…

    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes indeed! And every religion talks about this.

  • Ankush Mahajan

    “Philosophy without good character is practically useless.” Such a profound statement by Srila Prabhupada. Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj for sharing it with us.

    • Jason Garcia

      how do we define character?

      • Raju K Mewada

        Sorry I am interfering in your conversation, but just in above comments I wrote, character means some thing inherent, some thing natural. I hope this may help you to understand..

    • Sumit Sharma

      Wonderful point! Without character, there is no meaning to having anything.

  • Tony Wright

    I always believed that all the religions lead to same path, to know Lord and to follow what He says. But today there is so much trouble around the world just based on what one believes as God and they are ready to take lives by taking help of their faiths and belief. Its so sad.
    Here I see the right way of looking at this topic. We have to truly understand the essence.

    • Raju K Mewada

      Tony has correct point. We need to understand the essence of the religion. I also believe that no religion can teach us to kill someone. Every religion teaches us to love God and love all species of life. That is highest understanding of the dharma (inherent character). Thanks..

  • Satish Rane

    maharaj has very nicelt given the purpose of religion. If we understand this then no fight. hare krishna. This is very wonderful. hare krishna.

    • Kevin White

      I know, today people are just fighting to prove to others that their religion is better than other. Some use force and some use politics. People are really confused as to what are the true values and principles that religion wants to teach us.
      Thank you Radhanath Swami for such a nice answer. We have to try to find the essence.

    • sagar tiwari

      i too second your opinion.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Well said Satishji! Purpose of all the religions is to love God and His children

  • Jeewan

    If we have an ego and we don’t understand the purpose of our religion, then the very wonderful blessing of religion that we have to go beyond our ego, we use that same thing to be a weapon to conquer others for the purpose of that ego.

    • Christopher Hernandez

      Yes…..i also feel that if we have ego, we never understand religion. Religion is based on compassion, integrity and selfless love for every things including living and non living being.

  • Kaushik

    In today’s age where religion is misused to achieve one’s selfish agenda, such guidance form saintly person like Radhanath Swami is a read hope

  • Sanjiv

    True religion is actually the solution to all the problems of life.

  • Sujit Jadhav

    Very nice answer.

  • Narendra

    The whole purpose of religion is to help us in transcending the arrogant ego…till the time we overcome our gratest enemy…false ego….following the religion is of very little help. Thank you Maharaj for time and again reminding this to us.

    • michelle roberts

      thats really insightful understanding of you narendra for the above analogy. simply amazing

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very nice lecture. Thank you very much.

  • michelle roberts

    each and every aspect and thing has a finer aspect either good or bad in life

  • Lalit

    Radhanth Swami told that only purpose of religion is to transcend our arrogant ego

    • Steven

      i want to meet swami…
      Can you please help me?

      • Lalit

        Currently he is in US, for further information contact ISKCON Chawpatty Temple. ( Bombay, INDIA)

  • Sandeep Bhilwadkar

    I specifically like this statment of Radhanath maharaj “One who really considers oneself the servant of everyone is actually a true master, and one who feels that need to be the master is a servant of one’s own mind and one’s own ego.”

  • Yashwant

    Speaking big philosophy in public is very easy but real character comes out when we are alone. thank you very much Radhanath Swami

  • Steven

    People say im very egoistic.
    Can you help me out to remove this ego….

  • margaret anderson

    real meaning of religion.

  • Jeewan

    Very nice answer…

  • Pradeep Kumar

    Very nicely described the real purpose & meaning of religion. Thanks.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very powerful answer to one of the important question of life. Thank you very much

  • rajeev

    Realistic and practical aspect presented by Swami ji on this sensitive topic. Thank you for sharing.

  • sagar tiwari

    Understanding that ultimately all religion have same massage to convey….to Love God and his children is very essential in present condition…..because there is so much hatred and crime in the name of religion.

  • Swapnil Gaonkar

    thank you Radhanath swami for touching upon this very important topic. Many are not following their own religion seriously because of the mistakes of few people. With proper understanding, as given by you, it is a boon to all of us.“Philosophy without good character is practically useless.” this statement of your guru is very striking. The more I hear and read your articles, I wish to read your guru’s books

  • khushal

    wonderful analogy of the knife given by radhanath swami in context of religion! true indeed. people are misusing religion for suiting their own selfiesh egoistic ideals and creaking a chaos in the world. harmony in the world can be created only when the ego is kept aside and we become instruments of God’s compassion.

  • Sanket Shravane

    it really depends on our own motives thus – Maharaj has given such a clear cut understanding! Hats off!!

  • Christopher Hernandez

    “Philosophy without good character is practically useless.” this sentence of srila prabhupad tells the reason for the condition of the global relligion.

    • Anthony Davis

      i m totally agree with u christopher… we need leaders like radhanath swami to lead us to the real religion.

      • Christopher Hernandez

        leadership means sacrifice, this virtue can be taught by spiritual leaders only.

  • dewanand

    purpose of religion is to transcend the ego.
    what a profound understanding. thank you for sharing

  • Vinay Malani

    Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj for the very nice dissection of the subject matter.

  • rajeev

    Swami ji makes it crystal clear as how in true sense religion is not the source of strife but it is source of unity among diversity and when taken in true spirit it becomes instrument of compassion to all the living entities.

  • Lalit

    I like this statement of Maharaj that – One who really considers oneself the servant of everyone is actually a true master, and one who feels that need to be the master is a servant of one’s own mind and one’s own ego.

  • amit

    A Wonderful explanation very beautifully illustrated with a simple yet clear and deep message.Thank you for sharing.

  • Prahalad

    One has to understand & practice religion under the guidance of a bonafide guru otherwise one can be misled as explained by HH Radhanath Swami.

  • Deepika

    One who consider himself servant is actually master and one who considers himself master is actually the servant of ones own mind and ones own ego.how truly said by maharaj what a profound meaning.thank you radhanath maharaj.

  • Satish Rane

    True dharma is beyond sectarian boundaries, if we understand the essence. ….. thank you maharaj for giving such a sweet nectrean answer hare krishna

  • Laura Baker

    Radhanath swami is a real spiritual leader because only a real spiritual leader can give such a wonderful thought about religion

  • Helen Collins

    Radhanath swami has very well explained with the help of example of use of Knife that the problem is not with a religion but it is with the human being

  • Jeff Smith

    Swami ji has given us different, logical and right way of thinking that it is not religion but the people who are using this are the cause of strife

  • Keshav Kishor Das

    So true. I remember His Holiness answering someone about the authenticity of a religious path. He said that the Character of the followers reflects the authenticity of a religious path. No wonder, the Bible says that the quality of a tree is known by the quality of fruits it bears…..!

  • Sanat Swain

    Analysis is encouraging

  • Piyush Singh

    Such a convincing answer to this commonly misunderstood aspect of religion. No religion actually teaches to hate anyone. All the religions are means to awaken our dormant love of God but the problem starts when few misdirected people start misusing religion for their own ulterior motives.

    The example of knife used by HH Radhanath Swami here is so apt for this case. The knife itself is not good or bad but it becomes something depending on who is using it, a surgeon or a murderer.