THE CULTURALLY PRESCRIBED GOD-IDEA – Aletheon

THE CULTURALLY PRESCRIBED GOD-IDEA OF EXOTERIC
RELIGION IS NOT THE DIVINE ITSELF BUT ONLY A CULTURAL (AND
ENTIRELY CONDITIONAL) MEANS FOR TURNING TO THE
DIVINE

THE ALETHEON – pages 121 – 123

 

 

In the Hindu cultural tradition, there is a great variety
of forms of exoteric “religious” worship-each of which is
centered around a particular culturally prescribed Divine
image, idea, and mythology. That focus of worship (however
conceived, in any particular branch of the Hindu tradition)
is regarded as one’s “Chosen Form” of the One Divine
Absolute. The understanding within the Hindu cultural
tradition (in its most profound developments) is that
whatever “Chosen Form” a person may worship (in the exoteric
manner) is the construct through which he or she is moved to
turn to the One Divine Absolute. Thus, it is understood that
one’s (exoterically worshipped) “Chosen Form” is not the One
and Absolute Divine Itself, but is (rather) the culturally
prescribed means whereby one turns to the One and Absolute
Divine-because the One Divine Absolute Itself is (within the
most profound developments of the Hindu cultural tradition)
understood to transcend all constructs (and, altogether, all
limiting conditions).

This understanding of the nature of exoteric “religious”
worship is correct. Indeed, all the various modes of
exoteric “religion” (not merely in India, but in all parts
of the Earth and in all periods of history) should (rightly)
be understood to be varietal forms (or variant
possibilities) of (exoteric) devotion to a “Chosen Form” of
the Divine-or to a particular culturally prescribed (and, in
accordance with tradition, described) Divine image, idea,
and mythology.

Westerners often (mistakenly) presume Hinduism to be
(irreducibly) a form of polytheism (and, as such, of
non-monotheism)-or the worship of many different (or
separate) gods, rather than the worship of One God (or of
the One Divine Absolute). How-ever, the right understanding
of the Hindu “religious” tradition is not that it allows for
a great number of separate Absolute Divinities (or otherwise
disallows the One Divine Absolute). Rather, the right
understanding of the Hindu “religious” tradition is that it,
without prejudice, allows for the approach to the One Divine
Absolute via (or by means of) any of the many possible
“Chosen Forms” (or “Chosen-Form” traditions). The many
different “Chosen Forms”-worshipped (in the exoteric manner)
by different families or different local or regional
cultures-are all presumed (within the Hindu cultural sphere)
to be virtuous, because they are all understood to be means
for turning to the Ultimate Divine (Which is, within the
Hindu cultural sphere, understood to Be One, and to Be the
Absolute and Only Reality).

The potential problem with conventional (exoteric)
“religious” traditions (in general) is that any such
tradition tends (or may tend) not to understand that its
particular focus (or cult) of worship is simply one among
many possible “Chosen Forms”. Thus, any such tradition may
tend to presume (or insist) that it is the tradition-the one
and only true and right (and “officially” allowable)
tradition. Such is the origin of fundamentalism. To the
fundamentalist mind, the prescribed images (and the
otherwise described ideas) of the cult define the Divine-as
if the Divinity (or Reality Itself) has been “copyrighted”,
subject to exclusive “ownership” by a particular tradition
of images and ideas.

When the exoteric traditions (themselves) thus replace
the Divine (Itself) with their own contents, the result is
(in effect) idolatry-which is what (characteristically) even
the exoteric traditions themselves say should not be done.
Rightly understood, the traditional admonitions against
idolatry are not a matter of forbidding the worship (or
worshipful use) of material images in temples. The “sin” of
idolatry is any and every act (either personal or
collective) of replacing the Divine Itself with the
constructs of approach to the Divine.

All the exoteric “religious” traditions of humankind-with
their many and different images, ideas, and mythologies-are
(each and all) at least positively-oriented (if not,
altogether, true and right) insofar as they are, in fact,
oriented to ego-surrendering worship of the Ultimate Divine
(Which Is Reality Itself). But all exoteric “religious”
traditions are themselves (in every sense of their nature
and origin) mere constructs-whether a given tradition has,
in the case of any individual, been inherited from one’s
family (or one’s local, or regional, or national, or even
international culture) or has been intentionally embraced
(from among any number of studied or somehow “experienced”
alternatives) in the course of one’s life.

Ultimately, the process of truly maturing in the
Transcendental Spiritual practice of life in Reality Itself
requires the transcending of all constructs. It is not that
there must be no use of constructs whatsoever in one’s
approach to the Divine (or the One and Absolute Reality
Itself). It is simply that all mere constructs must be
understood to be such (and embraced only as such).

Ultimately, exoteric “religion” must become (or otherwise
be superseded by) esoteric Transcendental Spiritual
practice-the ego-transcending, body-mind-transcending,
construct-transcending process of entering (by esoteric,
and, in due course, Perfect, Means) into That Which Is
Inherently Beyond (and Prior to) all constructs and
limitations.