Religion is nothing but a belief in a divine or superhuman power or principle usually thought of as the creator of all things. Such a belief is often manifested in the form of conduct, worship, etc. the noteworthy element here is belief. It has always been belief which has separated the believers from the atheists. I believe that religion is the force which binds a group of people but has never taught them to work against other religions. Some people say that where religion ends, spirituality begins. Spirituality is basically establishing a connection with your inner self. It is a means of connecting with the cosmic force which is the creator of this universe. I believe that science, religion and spirituality are nothing but different instruments to reach the ultimate truth. I believe that science shares the same objective with spirituality and religion- finding the why of all things. It is we humans, who have failed to realize that. This is the sole reason behind the constant tussles between science and religion.
All the religions in the world essentially talk about the same thing. But the means are different. Or it would be wiser to say that the way in which we have been taught to believe what our religion teaches us has changed over the years. The creator of this universe is the same.
I am a person who believes in her religion and also thinks that Hinduism is highly tolerant of other religions. Hinduism is a theistic religion. The difficulty of the western world in being able to categorise Hinduism into a monotheistic, polytheistic or pantheistic religion stems from the very fundamental error of wanting to categorise it. The Indian mind is much more inclined to regard divergent views as complementary rather than competing. We believe that God is one. People call him Ram, people call him Allah – but there is only one creator of this universe.
The message of spirituality is “Look within”. The Gita says it, the Bible says it and the Holy Koran also says the same thing. Spirituality is a direct connection with the soul, it teaches one to detach from the earthly pleasures which bind most of us. Spirituality teaches the mind to understand the truths of life in connection to the cosmic bondage. Talking of Hinduism and spirituality, the ultimate objective in life is considered to be the attainment of moksha (salvation) – freedom from all worldly pleasures. According to Hindu spiritual beliefs, the inner spirit (Atman ) is the only reality. It is the Atma residing within all of us which is the reason for life. When a person dies, it is only the body which decays, the soul is still alive, it detaches itself from the body and searches for Moksha. The path of spirituality teaches us to believe that moksha can be easily obtained if one were to learn to detach.
In the age of Kaliyug (a period of time described by sacred Hindu texts as that time when the world would be plagued by a horde of evils), man is not at peace with himself. He is trapped in the vicious cycle of greed, needs and pleasures .Our emotions are not within our control. We let them control us. This is when meditation and introspection comes to our rescue. When we meditate, we learn to control our thoughts, learn why our thoughts must be controlled and learn to channelise our thoughts in the right direction. Thoughts when let loose can create a huge riot. The path to self realization begins with having full control over our thoughts and detaching from all worldly pleasures. Meditation in the simplest of terms is “TIME OUT”. It is the means of connecting with your soul, the spirit within, the Atman.
The world has witnessed too much bloodshed in the name of religious fundamentalism. To cite a few examples: the crusades in Europe, the Inquisition in the Middle ages, the massacre of the Jains and Buddhists in South India, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the destruction of the Babri Majid, the brutal burning of Rev. Graham Staines and his two minor sons, the cold-blooded murders of Fr. Aruldoss in Orissa and Br. George in Mathura, jihads, holy wars, communal riots, genocide and so on. We should realize here that it is not any religion which is at fault, not Hinduism, not Islam, it is religious fundamentalism. Today people with their pusillanimous thinking and their selective and literal interpretation of our scriptures, their inadequate knowledge and their institutionalized perception of religion are responsible for the sorry state of affairs in our country.
Let us realize that religion should not be mixed with politics for our selfish means. The youth of this country, the flag-bearers of tomorrow must realize that no religion preaches hatred. It is high time we learn from the mistakes of the past and capitalise on what unifies different religious traditions rather than on what divides them.