It sometimes happens that the most curious and attentive visitors ask this question: “If Damanhur had arisen at a point of time and space different from Italy in the seventies, would you still profess not a religion but a philosophy of life?” The question is based on the fact that the presence of the Vatican and, in those years, the great influence of the Church also in the political and social sphere, made it urgent to qualify as something very different from a religion, perceived by many, even in a Catholic atmosphere, as a hegemonic and conditioning presence. So, the friends who ask us the question, hypothesize that the founder of Damanhur, Falco, and his first companions would have preferred to distance themselves from any form of religion. We answer that it is always a matter of understanding the terms.

What do the scientists say?

Sociologists and anthropologists used to insert Damanhur in the context of the “new religions”, since it proposes a model of a link between the earthly dimension and the otherworldly dimension. It is a definition not entirely satisfactory for us but functional to them. But if we think about what a religion is, we continue to feel something different. Damanhurians deeply respect all spiritual expressions, even all religions, which in many cases represent opportunities to reflect on the profound values ​​of life and the relationship with the universe.

What is a religion?

It is a form of teaching that explains how the universe was born and how it is made, from what divine forms it is inhabited, and what life and death are. Above all, it teaches how to be liked by the divine forms of which it speaks, in order to direct one’s life in a virtuous way and to gain the salvation-realization-perfect happiness of one’s own soul. The faithful of a religion are asked to conform to a particular discipline to access the mysteries of existence, whether they refer to a single transcendent god or to more divinities present in living forms. In other words, he asks the faithful to follow an already traced path.

What do the Damanhurians choose?

The Damanhurians are spiritual seekers who wish to draw a path, rather than follow one already traced. The teaching brought by Falco has placed some important cornerstones regarding the existence of a divine ecosystem that interacts with human peoples and with every person, but it has shifted all the attention to the path of each individuals responsibility. As explained in the book ‘What do Damanhurians believe in’“Every person has the responsibility of his own thoughts and actions: we are all responsible for ourselves, we must learn to be ourselves, there is no one responsible other than ourselves for the way we act. There is no ‘God’ who predestinates the life of every creature, there is no Providence that takes us by the hand and not even a guru who tells us what to do”.

And individual responsibility?

“Responsibility also means choice. According to the Damanhurians, Truth is a crystal of a thousand faces, all true. All paths can lead to knowledge and awareness, if they are practiced with consistency and constancy. That is important, as a first act, It is the choice of the road you wish to travel on. To approach the Truth, you need to choose a face of the crystal through which to contemplate the crystal as a whole, observe what is inside it, and from the inside, see all the others faces: choosing is fundamental, it is our first step towards awareness”.

The subtle but key difference …

A spiritual path that states that every path can be the right one, if it is followed with coherence and a sense of responsibility, it can not be a religion! The road represented by Damanhur is built day after day, through the relationship with oneself and with others. There are also essential ritual appointments, yes, as happens in religions! But it is because the universe itself relies on precise laws, which are like the pins on which the door that opens towards new dimensions rotates. Traveling in these dimensions is a continuous discovery, and everyone’s experience is simultaneously unrepeatable and enriching for everyone else’s.