Is inquiry taboo in spirituality? Radhanath Swami Answers

Spiritual Enquiry

Spiritual EnquiryQuestion to Radhanath Swami: Is inquiry taboo in spirituality? I mean, are we expected to be blind followers?

Radhanath Swami: Srila Prabhupada, our beloved Guru, did not want blind followers. He wanted independent thinking people who by their own free will were convinced of the substance of the scriptures through sincere and submissive inquiry. Srila Prabhupada welcomed questions.

One or two generations back, here in India, you just did whatever your parents told you to do. But you don’t do that anymore, having gone through the modern educational system. Last summer I was at the Venkateshwara Temple in Pittsburg. I was speaking to the president of the temple, a Professor at a University in Pittsburg, and he was giving me a tour of the temple. He brought me to an auditorium and told me of the yearly Youth Festival held there. So I was curious. I said, “Most of your children are born and raised in America, although all of you are from Andhra Pradesh, South India. I would like to know how your children who are born and raised in America are adopting to your religion.” He said, “None of the children have anything to do with the rituals, the yajnas, the samskaras, or anything like that. They just think it’s a waste of time. However, they ask us, their parents, as to why we do it. And I consider that they are more exalted than us. Because we do it all, and we don’t even know why we do it. Our whole lives we have been performing these pujas everyday for hours because our parents told us to. But we never asked them why we were doing it. But our children are asking. I think our children are more advanced than us because they are asking a good question.”

Religion without philosophy is either fanaticism or sentimentalism, and philosophy without religion is simply mental speculation. Philosophy means to inquire, to understand, and religion means to practice with faith. So the marriage between philosophy and religion makes our spiritual foundation very strong and then our spirituality can grow in the right direction. So yes, you have learnt education through western systems which teaches you how to doubt, which teaches you how to question, and the Vedic literature have  the most perfect and precise answers to those questions.


By Radhanath Swami

You can find him on Google+