There are infinite number of rationalists who claim their theories or world perspectives to be the only truth, either by giving contemporary examples or mixing creativity and logic. Some of them survived while others perished in the sands of time. Those whose perspectives or theories remained they got more followers. These followers later went on create and institutionalise traditions (or parampara). Even though traditionalists or conservatives do not always understand the original concept or theory very well, their egos are subtly attached to the philosophy and many others, amongst which they claim to follow the most original and authentic form of the same.
They never allow anyone to question or go beyond their philosophy or theory. The one who follows as instructed gets a rewarding welcome. Followers are faithful yet stubborn. They may follow all the rules but their ignorance does not go away. They might be intelligent, but never question their own blind beliefs. Ego then automatically accompanies blind faith. Such followers give more priority to imitation than the original philosophy or thought process behind a particular process.
Their external activities and behaviour always has a tinge of ego and artificiality. The thought in their mind is: “I am the only one who has understood it all well…” The tradition may expand, but the horizons of knowledge don’t. Later on, the one who seeks more respect and attention moves away from the original philosophy and tries to create sub-sects or other streams of theory within the original concept.
Even though the basic concept remains the same, divisions occur along the lines of how to follow them, which method would be the most appropriate and so on… This leads to expansion and spreading of the idea. Crossing geographical barriers and mixing of populations creates more localised modifications of the original concept.
No religion, faith or theory can ever survive without all kinds of followers. Today, every such religion/philosophy owes its existence to its stream of followers who continued following them over such a long time — humans are the agency of tradition.
The original contributors or creators of the concept have died long ago and that’s the reason followers don’t question the dominant ideas or openly revolt against the established thought-process. Also, it’s not easy to rebel against a group of followers. After all, a human has to live in society as a constituent of it. Groups are very powerful – quantity has a quality of its own. But happiness or liberation is an individual concept. For achieving true happiness, one must achieve liberation (not salvation). In Sanskrit, the word to indicate the same is “üddhar” .
Moving out of a situation to higher levels is called liberation. Út means upper and ‘dharayati’, which means to obtain or achieve – to achieve a higher dimension. To move on , away from ignorance, blind beliefs, situations and liberation – moving our true self out of these externally imposed restrictions.
It is also essential to liberate oneself mentally from the chains of mental beliefs and disbeliefs. True happiness and freedom come when one achieves a state of open mindedness, free from this belief-disbelief game. One experiences a true sense of inner freedom at that stage in life. Getting relieved of this duality is true liberation. This is also mentioned by Shri Krishna in the Bhagwad Geeta as:
Chapter 6: Sankhya-yoga
atmaiva hy atmano bandhur
atmaiva ripur atmanah
uddharet — one must deliver; atmana — by the mind; atmanam — the conditioned soul; na — never; atmanam — the conditioned soul; avasadayet — put into degradation; atma — mind; eva — certainly; hi — indeed; atmanah — of the conditioned soul; bandhuh — friend; atma — mind; eva — certainly; ripuh — enemy; atmanah — of the conditioned soul.
A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade himself. The mind is a friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.
To get away from the physicality and the psychological drama of human life, which most of us have misunderstood as life process and getting connected to the higher universal energies, is actual liberation .