Religion and Spirituality
By Kapil Kakar
There is a big difference and no difference between Religion and Spirituality. In the advent of this universe when satya Yuga was prevalent, there was no difference between religion and spirituality because man comprehended God and followed his Laws. In Srimad Bhagvatam you will find lot of kings and people attaining self- realization in that period. But as the time passed by man started getting more influenced by material nature than spiritual nature. The result was he started losing his intelligence, and he stooped to such a level that man started propagating religion for his own selfish benefits. This selfish act of man has led to believe that ‘Yes' there is a big difference between Spirituality and Religion. And the difference is that spirituality is God made and religion is man made because when selfishness started replacing the true selfless nature of man, he started twisting spirituality and started making it look different and that different form is what we call religion. Though this should not be assumed that every individual is trying to use religion for his own benefits. Inspite of all this there are still many great people who are spreading religion which is in its original spiritual form and has only one purpose and that is to get man back to his real and true abode; that is to get him back to God.
For me the worst is over because few centuries back Kings were seen demolishing religious places, which they did not believe in. At least this is not to be seen often now. This also suggests man is evolving positively. And since man is also a part of God therefore the religion which he is still preaching has not lost everything. As said in Bhagvad Gita that man is made of my superior energy. Therefore it should not be assumed that every individual is trying to use religion for his own benefits.
The desire of man to control religion for his own benefits has made religion very narrow minded. This is a major difference between religion and spirituality. God is not narrow-minded. Spirituality is broad minded till the extent man can think broadly and even more than that.
Whatever broad or narrow thought which comes to an individual's mind come only from God. People think that God signifies good and evil is signified by demons. But that is actually untrue. Whether it is good or bad everything comes from God. There is no demon, which is competing with God, and if you still think there is a demon then I would suggest that he is also a part of God and he is not doing anything against the wishes of God. But God has created him so that human being can understand what good or bad is. Because if there is nothing bad then we cannot appreciate good also.
There are two planes. One is the spiritual plane and the other is material plane. The laws of these two planes are a little different.
In spiritual plane one is only focused on God as he realizes his true home. In this plane happiness, sorrow, jealousy, pilferage, truth, excitement does not exist. A person is calm and detached about the material world as he sees this world as an illusion like a material man sees a dream as an illusion.
In material plane there are two Laws. One is the Law of land, which is man made, and the other is the Law of Material Nature. Man can escape the Laws of Land but he cannot escape the Laws of Material Nature. As I said earlier that God is very broadminded, this should also mean that God is flexible and not rigid like most of us are. Though people understand things as that if they want to please God following material Laws they should not be selfish, should not speak lie, should not cheat others, should respect elders and always listen to them, should not enjoy sex and so on and so forth. These are certain fixed Laws, which religion preach and expects people to follow them blindly failing which they will incur sin and this attitude makes religion narrow-minded.
I will like to share my viewpoint on the laws of material nature, which have been made narrow minded by religion. I believe nothing is good or bad as there are no fixed Laws which make a thing good or bad but it all depends on the circumstances. One thing may be good in one situation and the other might be evil in another situation. I will elaborate on this in my next article.
Lying is a sin - If you are lying so that the other is not hurt and it is for his benefit, then that lie is not a sin. But if you lie for your own selfish gains and sense gratification where by you try to fool other, that lie is surely a sin.
Disrespecting elders is a sin - It is taught to a child to respect and listen to his elders blindly. Because if he does not do that then he will be disrespecting them and since they are elder to him in age therefore he will be incurring a sin by not listening to them. But the fact is that if an elder is provoking a child to do something wrong and if the child has the ability to understand and discriminate between the right and wrong then he will surely incur sin if he follows the elder. This is to say that if child is asked by his parents not to share his food with his peers and if the child follows his conscious which obviously says otherwise, then it is not a sin though child is not following the advice of his parents.
Sex is sin - This is another myth that all those who enjoy sex incur sin. That means Right from Lord Rama, Lord Krishna and other great sages were sinners. No God is not against sex but definitely he is against it when a person is not faithful to his spouse and enjoys sex elsewhere. Since this is a totally selfish act for vested pleasure and that too by genuinely hurting his spouse it automatically becomes a sin.
Killing is sin - This is another myth but having said that I am not provoking you to kill people who you hate because that becomes sin. When a soldier kills his enemy on a battlefield it is not a sin. In Bhagvad Gita in Text 33 Ch=2 Lord Says: “If, however, you do not perform your religious duty of fighting, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter”. Therefore if Arjuna or any other soldier does not fight for his country when required, they will surely incur sin but if they fight wholeheartedly definitely they will be blessed by God in their cause for the country inspite of killing others. Similarly if you kill somebody because you have some enmity with him then in that case it becomes a sin because you have done it for your own selfish interest.
Performing others duty at the cost of your own duty is a sin-
In Bhagvad Gita in Text 35 Ch=3 Lord Says: “It is better to discharge one's prescribed duties, even though faultily, than another's duties perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing one's own duty is better than engaging in another's duties, for to follow another's path is dangerous”.
What will you call this ‘if a man is faithfully looking another's man's wife, giving her all the comforts and neglecting his own wife' is it not a sin. Though he is keeping a human being happy but the time which he should give to his wife is being given to someone else. This is a sin. Similarly neglecting your own office work to complete the work of your peer also becomes a sin.
Hurting others is a sin - Religion blindly teaches not to hurt others and to keep everyone happy. But how good it stands when a person is not hurting or has no intention of hurting anybody but the other person gets hurt. In that case is it right that he should incur sin? No. Why should a person be blamed for others ignorance. Eg- If a man tells a woman with a clean heart that she is beautiful. Now this man has no malicious intention when he makes this statement. On the other hand if the woman takes wrong meaning out of it and makes a hue and cry over it, do you think God will punish that man? On the other hand the woman because of her polluted mind and ignorance is already being punished by her act by getting upset about the whole episode. Here Woman is hurting herself and not the man.