Religion and Spirituality

An increasing trend noticed these days is that more and more people are becoming spiritual and religious. At my home itself, my mother has started reading some books related to religion and spirituality. However, being excessively religious may prove to be harmful. Lack of spiritualism and excessively fanatic religious behaviour are often used by political leaders to exploit political situation in the country. Spiritual people have a thirst for truth and hence the lack of spiritualism means absence of thirst for truth which is why political leaders tend to get away with all their political games.

Although suffering may seem ungodly, undesirable and painful, it actually embodies a very specific purpose. Suffering brings us closer to God and creates compassion within us. When we are suffering we are usually more open and tolerant. When we are open, willing and tolerant, God- energy or God- consciousness can fill us to a much greater degree. The Bombay riots, Gujarat riots and many other riots have always been caused by political leaders who use religion as their main weapon for winning elections. As spiritual leaders say, it is spiritualism that connects all religions and once spiritualism disappears the link is broken. This is a ready-made situation for politicians to exploit.

Being religious is acceptable and is needed. Certain religious practices in fact help in personality development. Practices like Sandhya Vandnam have been scientifically proved to have a positive impact on concentration levels. Such religious practices must continue as it not only has a positive impact on development of the human being but it is also a part of the rich Indian tradition and culture.

However, causing the threshold limits is what makes a person a religious fanatic. In today’s world it is tough to set those threshold limits. However, such a situation is neither acceptable nor needed. It is morally repugnant too. What can prevent people from turning into a religious fanatic is spiritualism. It will provide them with the necessary ideology of all religions being equal and treating all religions equally. Unless spiritualism is encouraged and taught, fanatics will continue to prevail. As a result religion based politics will continue to exacerbate the political situation in our country. I think spiritualism needs to be promoted the most among politicians. This will ensure that they start viewing each religion equally and will realise the importance of all religions. Religious and spiritual leaders like Sri Ravi Shankar Ji and Sirshree need to be mentors for the politicians. This would be quite similar to what the government has done by appointing Nandan Nilekani to head the unique identification programme. Similarly people who are neither bureaucrats nor politicians and at the same time great spiritual leaders need to head a spiritual programme for all the politicians. Hope such a step is taken in the near future.

Keshav Parthasarathy

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