“Spiritual but Not Religious” some say, and this is become a new trend and mantra among youngsters. Just as they like fast food they are obsessed with this service also. In a way to second their thoughts some modern masters have been assuring them with this knowledge. Those masters have in fact forgotten that the data that they have obtained to say “one does not need religion to become spiritual” had sprouted when they were practising some religion.
The word “religion” comes from the Latin word “religio” which has a meaning influenced by the verb “religare” to bind, in the sense of “place an obligation on.” While the word spirituality is derived from the Latin “spiritus” meaning “breath”. The fact is that breath is provided to me by the Absolute. It is because of Him I am able to inhale and exhale at all the time, even in my dream state and deep sleep state when my senses and mind are at rest. It is the only act that is happening in me without my conscious. Hence I am automatically spiritual first since birth and then because of this I am bound to Him in obligation and there was a need to be religious.
Religion and Spirituality are not strangers to each other; they complement each other very well. They are like two sides of the same coin. Religion as an institution focuses primarily on ritual, theology, mythology and well-being of the community, while Spirituality as an attitude guides me to excel personally and help in focusing on the Truth.
Initially in the framework of religion as a seeker I try to look for answers to who I am, where I came from and where do I go, and my purpose of life. By finding the answers to these questions I will learn about ethics and morals by which I should live, I am introduced to system of rewards and punishments that I receive here or hereafter. Moral fear put me in a situation to value other living beings that share the earth plane with me. What started as moral fear will take a turn towards compassion and kindness. I will start loving all, as I comprehend His presence in everything that I perceive.
Religion helps me to experience Him. But is it enough to go as far as believing and experiencing Him or is there a need to thread even further to consciously align with Absolute is the matter I need to decide and choose. It is at this juncture my religious mind takes help from spirituality and I step into the unquestionable realm.
Religion is like a path to the journey to align with Him and it is important for me to understand that there are many paths like what I have stepped on. If I have enough intelligence to understand that He is one and paths leading to Him are many, and if I respect my neighbours path as I respects mine then any number of paths will never be an issue to me. This spiritual thought is not merely due to tolerance or acceptance it has to make me a Universalist so that I feel the oneness.
In my spiritual life, I need to look upon Divinity not only in terms of my personal God, but in terms of everybody’s God. Thus my spiritual life firmly upholds the sense of unity in diversity. When I have such thoughts I need not confine to any particular religion by putting myself in a label of Hindu, Muslim or Christian. Since I have realized that when my visa to this earth plane (Prarabdha Karma) has ended and I return back to the Eternal realm, I will not walk through a door with a label on it even though I am cremated in my community crematorium…….What Say???