First of all you have to understand that religion in its real spiritual form cannot be created by man. Religion is the natural spiritual principle, divine in character, which operates along with the principle of “cosmosity” in which the original creativity is manifested. It is the spiritual aspect the Supreme Power which is all God. Therefore, it is perpetually existing without interruption. Consequently, it cannot be man made. The rishis did not make any religion, but explained different aspects of religion which are always in existence. Neither did any “incarnation” found any individual religion, but expounded and strengthened religion which is eternally existing.
I said: But what about Buddhism, Christianity or Islam? Were they not founded by men?
Long time after Krishna left our earth, Gautama Buddha came to this world. He can be considered as the first spiritual leader in India whose name has been associated with the introduction of Buddhism. Buddha revived yoga by his own example – yoga which had become corrupted and abused by that time. In his life, he showed how to reach the final stage of spiritual yoga. He showed how, by making our consciousness void – free from all mundaneness – we could realise directly the ultimate reality where everything is non-being.
I said: What about Jesus Christ? What about Mohammad?
Jesus Christ was a great spiritual leader in Western Asia at that time and is regarded as an incarnation. He manifested his spirituality in that high degree, where his consciousness, raised above all worldliness, and in a state of concentratedness which contained God alone, became godly, and finally the divine consciousness was reabsorbed in God. It was possible for his intimate disciples, who realised God in Christ and in themselves, to develop Christianity, through which, being spiritually inspired, they wanted to give the essence of spiritual truth to man for his salvation. Mohammad also realised God within, in concentration, and wished to communicate the spiritual truth to man.
I said: If such great spiritual persons as Buddha, Christ and Mohammad are the founders of the great religions, why are they not effective?
So long as the spiritual currents flow in a religion or in one of its forms or doctrines by the tremendous spiritual impetus of a great religious leader, religion remains alive and consequently becomes fruitful. But as soon as spirituality ebbs, religion becomes mere words without life. When the spiritual force imparted by Buddha in his doctrine began to be diminished as time passed, distortion and corruption came, and spirituality was replaced by the dead words of theory. At a certain time, Shankara, who realised Brahman in samadhi, was able to destroy the Buddhist doctrine of lifeless words as then preached by followers of the Buddha, and to establish the Upanishada One and All Brahman doctrine. This was possible because of his great spiritual combined with the extraordinary brilliance of his intellect. But when Shankara’s spirituality began to ebb in his followers in later times, the Brahman doctrine likewise assumed wordiness without spiritual life. In this condition it was unable to stand against the bhakti doctrine of the great bhakti-yoga Chaitanya, who was immersed in the deepest love of God, both in concentration and in daily life.
Shankara: an influential Indian philosopher and religious teacher who established the Advaita Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy
samadhi: is the eighth and final step on the path of yoga, as defined by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Direct translations vary, and interpretations range from “bliss” to “liberation” and even “enlightenment.”
Brahman: beyond human understanding
bhakti: a movement emphasizing the mutual intense emotional attachment and love of a devotee toward a personal god and of the god for the devotee.
bhakti-yoga: is a practice of selfless devotion and recognition of the Divine in everything. Bhakti yoga is one of the most common paths of spiritual development, particularly in India where the practice originated.
Upanishads: one of the most important religious and philosophical texts of the Hindus.
Krishna: is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Chaitanya: Hindu mystic whose mode of worshipping the god Krishna with ecstatic song and dance had a profound effect on Vishnuism in Bengal.
Vishnuism: one of the major forms of modern Hinduism, characterized by devotion to the god Vishnu and his incarnations (avatars).