The AshlaPrelude: Religion
Before I begin this text, let it be known that neither I, nor any other sentient being that has ever tread these stars has ever truly understood the nature of the living Force. More time than can ever be recorded has been devoted to its study across nearly every species that has come in contact with it, and nearly all come up with their own answers, this is only my interpretation, and that of the Essonian Jedi at large.
As Jedi, it is our duty to study each of these individual perspectives, and try to congeal them into one concrete and understandable whole. That is the great task that has been set before us, and despite what many might say, is the true reason the Jedi Order exists in the first place. Our study of the Force, particularly of the Ashla, is the bedrock upon which every ethic, virtue, and ideal we have ever constructed for ourselves is built upon.
It is thus unfortunate that many of the modern Jedi have eschewed the study of the Force in favor of its martial gifts. While the causes they serve are nearly always noble, they have hamstrung their spiritual growth in favor of the material plane. I tell you this, dear reader, because I do not wish for you to fall into the same traps these unfortunate souls have found themselves in. Spiritual welfare, and even faith, are the keys to the balance our order so often espouses as our greatest virtue.
I realize to the uninitiated that the concepts of faith, spiritual wellness, and a living, sentient godhead are intimidating prospects, but they are key portions of a Jedi's training. Our many sects each have their individual beliefs on the nature of the Force, and it is the very nature of the Jedi that we tolerate these differing beliefs even among our own kind. Thus it must be known that all means of worship are valid, so long as they follow a single core component, a component all true Jedi share: veneration of the Ashla, the Light Side of the Force.
In the past, many scholars have debated as to the nature of the Ashla. It has been accepted that the Dark, the Bogan, is an equal component within the empyrean as is the Ashla. This belief is the very one that the Sith Order was founded upon, and it is a great heresy that we have allowed this lie to permeate the minds of the galaxy's sentient people for so many centuries.
Deep study of the galaxy's history will show you the true nature of the Force. The Ashla is its natural state. It is the balance, the ebb and flow of life and death. This is where most would challenge that the Dark Side is death, the natural violence of the stars: this argument is easily refuted. The Light is a benevolent power, but it does not deny mortality. For things to grow, some must die, and the Light allows for this to continue in such a balance that life will not spiral out of that balance. When the wolf kills, it keeps its prey from growing so numerous that its denizens would die a slow, excruciating death courtesy of starvation. This is the balance at work, the mercy of swift death in preservation of the greater whole.
When the Dark Side is introduced into this scenario, the balance is lost. The wolves grow ravenous: cruel, gifted with an insidious bestial cunning that drives them to greater acts of violence simply for the sensation they receive when partaking in them. They do not hunt because they are hungry, they hunt because they enjoy the kill.
In natural settings, the Dark Side does not exist. Sith philosophers will argue against this, but there is no truth to their claims. For every supposedly natural creation of a creature attuned to the Bogan, a world, or a species, there is always a sentient source. Korriban, as an example, is a reflection of its people. The native Sith may have claimed the world corrupted them, but that is a lie, an excuse for their depravity. In truth, the Sith people ruined their world with their sinful desires, and such has been the case anytime the Bogan crops up.
The Dark Side is not natural to the Force. Rather, it is the abuse of the ethereal energies to satisfy the dark urges of the depraved sentient mind. It is a cancer that grows within the empyrean with each cruel act, each wanton slaughter, each debauched excess, and it must be removed entirely for the galaxy to know true prosperity. In the Ashla: there is enlightenment, creation, love, understanding, civilization, and the balance of life and death. In the Bogan, there is only damnation and falsehood.
Do not fall for the propaganda of our eternal foes. Their gods have no place in our pantheon.