Relation between religion and spirituality
Many are of the opinion that religion is to be abhorred and spirituality or Adhatmya alone is to be embraced. However this is not right.
Religion is a set of rules, spirituality is a
conscious effort to achieve the goal of life. So while one is about molding
life unconsciously, the other is being conscious about it. One fulfills the
You can practice spirituality or consciously move
towards the goal only when your karma is conducive and has put you into that
position. Religion is about directing you so you do not fall into the pit of
the world. Both are rescuing you.
India is a land where religion had touched
everyone and people followed religious precepts as a habit. This amazed the
invaders starting from Alexander to the
Britishers. They could not understand a race that did not lie, did not
steal, refrained from committing heinous acts, and had no fear of death. They
were surprised because no one was teaching the people. There was no high priest
who was preaching from the pulpit.
In India there is no one formal religion. There
are hundreds of sects and no one sect imposes itself on others. These sects
vary in practice but have the same goal of self realization. One is free to
join any sect depending on ones taste, preference, and ability.
India never had acrimony towards any other
religion. Rather the religious practices of foreigners evoked interest and
people studied them out of the desire to know and embraced what was suitable.
Therefore portions of Islamic and Christian
practices were adopted.
India also had atheists as a sect and they were
well tolerated. They too had a philosophy of their own called Charbak
India believes in a personal God and also is accustomed to the impersonal. Both flow effortlessly. You don't have to believe in any God to practice Patanjali's Yoga or Shankara's Vedanta. They are methods of inquiry that can be practiced by anyone. The Upanishads are Godless.
Those who seek God or self realization inevitably turn to India. They visit the
country or read its scriptures and voluminous literature. And again there are
now many who reside in India and either remain oblivious to or ignore its
heritage. No one is supposed to trouble them either.
However Hindus are tolerant to a level beyond
which intolerance comes to the fore. This is applicable to sects as well as
religions in its fold. The tussle between Saivites and Vaishnavites, the Bhakti
and Gyana cults, clashes with Buddhists are examples of this. The Hindus
believe in God, Karma, afterlife, rebirth, and realization. This is the core of
Many Hindus resent the term Hindu to describe
their religion. This term was used to identify people beyond the banks of the
River Sindhu and does not signify any religion. The real term to define
religion in India is Sanatan Dharma.
Sanatan means ever existing - without beginning
and end. Dharma is duty. It is all about following the inherent flow of the
universe as revealed by the creator or the dreamer of the dream called the
world. This Dharma has a power of its own and can decimate what is not
according to it. This is what leads to fall of civillizations that drastically
veer from the path.
The Buddhists have practices they undergo to
reincarnate in the Indian region. To be born in any other region is considered
problematic. Practicing Hindus cannot even dream of taking birth in any other