Move up from religion to spirituality

Move up from religion to spirituality


Life experiences, education, religion and spirituality are all constituent but delicate steps of a ladder uniquely set for each individual by the divinity. Used discretely, they bestow the bliss of eternal peace. If misused or not used, one will either stagnate at one of the steps or stumble to the abyss of misery and eternal agony.     

Spirituality and religion are often confused to be synonymous.  While there are many common factors between the two, there are glaring contrasts and contradictions.  While religion creates bondages, spirituality leads to liberation. 

Some common features of all religions are sacred images and symbols, ecstasies and emotions, manifold rules and regulations, several dos and don’ts, all supported by a set of beliefs and practices based on their respective scriptures and interpreted (often wrongly/misleadingly) by religious leaders. 

Religion restricts free thinking and questioning in pursuit of truth, often obsessed with an extreme love of oneself and hate of others ending up in fanaticism, discrimination, conflicts and destruction.  

Spirituality is private but one for all humanity. It has no rigid rules/regulations and not dogmatic.  It is more an experience and conviction that there is only one Reality and all of humanity is one. It makes you feel happy and contented, without being harmful to others. Spirituality is self-regulated and self-assessed, but infinitely more rigorous. In Sanskrit, spirituality is known as Adhyātma. There are many paths to realise the soul or reach God and the individual should choose the one path that is most appropriate for his upbringing, intellectual maturity and living style.   

However, practising spirituality is not easy and demands a tough grinding at all stages. After tasting the bliss of spirituality, no one likes to come back. Lord Krishna affirms this, saying yam labdhvachaaparamlaabhaumanyatenaadhikamtatah….(6/22), meaning ‘having gained such a stage, the devotee doesn’t reckon any other gain greater and, wherein established, not shaken even  by the greatest disaster.