Religion weds science

An interview with the director of the New Delhi Centre of Scientology, which  appeared in the Times of India.

In Scientology, people find practical solutions which they can apply to life’s problems, says Horst Tubbesing, mission head, New Delhi Centre of Scientology, in an interview with Reena Singh.

How would you describe Scientology?

For me, Scientology is simply the best and most efficient way to solve everyday problems you run into. You will agree that every person has problems.

Religion in India includes practising of rituals and overt worship of idols. Is Scientology abstract philosophy or do you also have rituals?

In India, religion does not mean only worship. We have Buddhism here, and Buddhism is a lot of study. In Scientology, we have a connection between religion and science — these two subjects meet. We have marriages, we have christenings and different services like every other religion. The difference is that it is a study of certain principles of life — basic principles that are true for everyone, whether you are a Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Buddhist. Because you do not believe, you study, then you apply what you have learnt and find out if it is true for you.

Do you conduct marriages and christenings and other services in India, too?

Yes, we do, and people can follow them. They can have a Scientology marriage if they want. We had a couple who married here. This is a religious marriage. Like in every religion, a religious marriage is separate from a legal one. You are welcome to do a Scientology marriage, and then do the marriage according to the religion you were born into.It doesn’t exclude a Christian, Hindu or Muslim marriage.

India has a rich tapestry of faith and religions. Religion is such a key focus here. Do you think there is room for yet another religion like Scientology? Or do you think Scientology is a study of life principles, and so it applies to everyone?

On the contrary, Scientology has actually come back to India, where its philosophical and spiritual origins are. People are very open, because Scientology is very practical. Many families — or most families — have tensions and relationship problems and we have wonderful programmes, which, when properly applied, can help enormously to improve such relationships.

In the New Delhi centre, we have study courses, life improvement courses, communication courses, counselling, and learning courses for children to enable them to study better. Every religion contains a certain amount of wisdom and knowledge, and if you cannot properly learn, you cannot get it. In fact, our ‘Learning How To Learn’ course is quite popular with everyone.

Have you studied any ‘Indian’ religion and its scriptures?

A little bit, but not intensively. But L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, had. There is a very strong connection between Vedas, Hinduism, Buddhism and Scientology. The most important thing is the concept of spirit-mind-body.

We do not interpret what L Ron Hubbard says. I wouldn’t like to give out false data. We prefer people to apply his teachings. People can apply his teachings, and practise them and it is the effect of those teachings that is important. There is no point in going into the deep technical and philosophical things of Scientology which people cannot understand. We have techniques like spiritual counselling, but people have to come here and experience it. Hubbard has left a lot of research and findings, and his teachings and writings are there for everyone to read and to apply to their life.

Have you had any success in India of helping people rid themselves of their reactive nature? How is it doing here?

People here are of very high ability — but I don’t know enough of the Hindu religion to say that the highest levels of Scientology would compare with the highest learnings from the Vedas.

Indians have a certain sense of equanimity. They are used to ups and downs. If a relationship is strained, they tend to accept it or work on it…the first thought is not divorce….

And that is where Scientology can help to make things easier. It gives tools and knowledge that everyone lacks. People have the best intentions, but something is missing and they don’t know that. We have seen people do marriage and relationship, and communication programmes and then their relationship improves with partners, employees, relatives, and employers, in every aspect of society. Instant divorce is not the ideal solution. There is a way out.

What have you observed in the eight years you have been here? Is Scientology taking root here? Are its teachings being known to people?

Lots of people who have specific problems have found a specific answer here. They bring their friends and family members to benefit. It spreads very fast, and already more than 3,000 people have done programmes and counselling here and they come back here regularly to achieve more knowledge about other areas of life and to understand themselves better. People come for different reasons. We have a reliable personality test. We find the strong traits in a person — main traits like stability, happiness, relationships, work performance, strengths and weaknesses. And we give them a programme that will help them to handle their weak points to become more able and more responsible in the long-term. The test has been there ever since Hubbard introduced it. It’s been around for 35 years.[L. Ron Hubbard first mentioned the term Scientology in 1951--60 years ago. The first Scientology Church was incorporated in 1954]