Today we are going to study Spirituality vs Religion.
To understand the difference between Religion and Spirituality, we must first clearly understand
‘What is Spirituality?’ So let us understand that first.
Table of contents
WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?
(1) Spirituality, in Hindi, is called “Adhyatma”, which when broken down is “Adhi+Aatma”, “Adhi” means Knowledge, and “Aatma” means “Soul”. Therefore, “Aadhyatma” or ‘Spirituality’ simply means “The Knowledge of the Soul”. Even in the term ‘Spirituality’, the word ‘Spirituality itself is made from the word ‘Spirit’. Spirituality is thus the Knowledge of the Soul; the Knowledge of the Spirit.
Some people understand spirit as separate from the soul. I see it this way.
Spirit is the Supreme Soul. We may call it by different names such as ‘the Supreme Consciousness or the Creator of the Universe or God’ (same entity, different words).
The Spirit is like the ocean from which all the waves or the drops (the souls) have descended.
So the souls (we) are part of the Supreme Soul (Supreme Consciousness or God).
WHAT IS RELIGION?
‘RELIGION’ in Hindi is called ‘Mazhab’.
For example, ‘I belong to Hindu Mazhab (Hindu Religion)’ or ‘I belong to Isaai Mazhab (Christianity Religion)’.
Initially, all of these religions were based on the principles and morals of love and humanity. The purpose was to know the ‘divine love’, understand ‘humanity’ and realize ‘One God in all the living beings’ but it is very sad that over a period of time the same religions have become the cause of separation and wars…
Remember ‘Iqbal’ who created our very famous school Song in India which also teaches us ‘Mazhab Nahi Sikhata Aapas Mein Bair Rakhna’ translation ‘The Religions don’t teach us to hate each other’. You can also listen to that song here –
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY
Our souls (we) did not come with a stamp of any religion when we were born.
But as we grew older and gained awareness, we realized that we were born in a certain family, that followed a particular religion and therefore, we automatically started following that religion.
Very few families, give that choice where a person can choose his own religion that he wants to choose. But in most families, it is usually automatic.
For example. if we were born in a Christian family, we were Christians automatically and if we were born in a Hindu family, we became Hindus.
But do our souls come with any stamps of any religion and nationalities? No.
There are many countries where one religion is dominant. In many western countries, most families have been following Christianity, so the newborns are Christians automatically.
Similarly, there are certain countries that are following Islam and therefore the newborns are Muslims automatically.
In fact, if today, human beings create a new religion with a new name, the children will still be born to their parents, not knowing anything about any religion. And they will be given that new religion automatically.
It is we human beings that created these religions for our own convenience of understanding the formless and omnipotent Creator or God. God is ONE. All religions teach us that. But somewhere down the line, some religions have mistaken the meaning to be, ‘One God of Muslims’ or ‘One God of Hindus’.
Well, if we do go by the logic of ‘One God of Muslims’ or ‘One God of Christians’ then we are already defying the quality of God being Omnipresent. If God is present in Pakistan, India & the USA at the same time, it just simply means that this formless entity is not in a physical form and it doesn’t have any particular religion or nationality, as he is Omnipresent.
Spirituality is beyond all religions. A person who is spiritual can continue to follow their own religion and still be spiritual. So one can be a Spiritual Hindu or a Spiritual Christian or a Spiritual Muslim. In fact, Spirituality helps us become a better Hindu, a better Muslim, or a better Christian because it is the knowledge of the Spirit that is within this body, the body that is following a certain religion.
If we gain the knowledge of the Spirit and the knowledge of the religion and we combine both of them, we will realize that all the religions are leading us to the same truth.
Therefore, this world has seen Spiritual teachers emerge from different religions.
Saint Kabir was born into a Muslim family but his Spiritual teacher, Swami Ramananda was a Hindu. Saint Kabir did not see the religion of his teacher because he had understood that the knowledge of the soul is beyond all religions and that it was important to find the right spiritual teacher who could satisfy the questions that he had deep within himself.
Jesus Christ was a Spiritual Teacher in Christianity.
Guru Nanak has been a Spiritual teacher in Sikhism.
Rumi and Bulleh Shah were Muslims.
Sri Ram and Sri Krishna were Hindus.
It is in our limited minds that we are closed to set belief systems and over a period of time, religions have stopped serving the purpose that they were meant to serve.
WATCH MY VIDEO ON SPIRITUALITY vs RELIGION
Why do Religions Fight?
Though all religions talked about the ‘One god of all’ (all=all human beings), over a period of time the UNDERSTANDING of the teachings that were given in the holy books changed. This happened because of the misinterpretation of the teachings that were taught by different teachers to the disciples or the students.
Let me give you an example:
The Bible states ‘If thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light.‘
Now, any teacher would understand this line only from his level of consciousness and not beyond that. A teacher who has not yet worked on his own consciousness will not understand the subtle meaning behind these lines and would understand these lines literally.
But we know that Jesus Christ always used to talk in parables. His teachings had hidden meanings so that only the true seekers would understand those teachings.
So what is the subtle meaning in these lines?
‘If thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light’ –
If we see the literal meaning, the 2 eyes cannot become single. Here the single eye is referring to the third eye. And thus, these lines mean, ‘If your third eye opens (if thine eye be single), your whole body will radiate pure light and love of God'(thy whole body shall be full of light)
The third eye has also been referred to, by different terms in the Bible. for eg. ‘the eye of the needle’, ‘the camel’s eye’.
The difference in the teachings created divisions even within ONE Religion. For eg., there are divisions even within the Christian religion for the same reasons.
I can also compare this misinterpretation of the teachings to a game called ‘Chinese Whispers’.
If you ever got a chance to play this game, you would’ve realized how easily the message that we pass on to our friends loses its true essence.
The intention of the messengers that appeared in different religions might’ve been very pure and positive, but it became like the game of Chinese whispers losing its essence over the centuries. (understand more from my video above)
So we have to understand now that (1) different teachers have different levels of consciousness and therefore, their interpretations were also different. (2) the knowledge that has been passed on from one person to another and translated from one language to another has lost a lot during translations as they have been translated literally but most of the messengers that came have always talked in a subtle way and usually their talks had hidden meanings behind their words.
Therefore, I always say that the most important and significant part of one’s Spiritual journey is to find the Perfect Spiritual Teacher because a teacher can only give us what he has. He cannot give what he doesn’t have. So a teacher who has 1000, can give 1000 but if he himself has 100 only, then how can he give 1000, right?
Similarly, if a teacher has reached a certain level of consciousness, he can teach from that level of consciousness only and pass on the same to his student.
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WHO AM I TO TEACH YOU SPIRITUALITY?
I have practiced meditation and seva and walked on the spiritual path under the Perfect Spiritual Master for more than 25 years. With the techniques and the guidance of my spiritual master, I have been able to explore the astral plane of consciousness, the causal plane of consciousness, and even beyond the third eye.
I have been able to know the truth of my existence and get the answers to all of my spiritual questions during my spiritual journey. My spiritual master has passed on the divine energy and wisdom to me and made me so capable on my spiritual awakening journey, that today, I feel I am becoming in his image.
Today, my consciousness is expanding at a rate that is incomprehensible for my mind and I know many secrets of this world and wisdom about the soul that will never be taught in our schools.
You can read more about Kashish here.
Read the Review of ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ here.