Difference between Spirituality and Religion

The thought behind writing this post came to me during the visit to my nephew, who is 4 months old. I met him for the first time and realized he was so open and welcoming to me as if we knew each other. We are never so warm with the people we meet in our day’s routine. Isn’t it? As he will grow up he will be put to certain rules and expected behaviours in order to discipline him from being righteous and well behaved in life. Now! How does all this relate to our topic? I’m coming to it. Indeed, I have already told the essence of both spirituality and religion in this paragraph.

Spirituality and religion are two approaches or philosophies to reach the same goal i.e self-awareness and self-realization. Let us see some common fallacies about spirituality and religion and break the myths by understanding these concepts better.

Common fallacies about spirituality

  1. Being spiritual means visiting places of worship
  2. Being spiritual means leaving the social circle and living a different life.
  3. Being spiritual means being only vegetarian or principled in life

Let me break these myths by helping you understand the more applied meaning of spirituality. The word spirituality came from the word “spirit” i.e soul. Somebody is spiritual when he/she see himself (SELF) as SPIRIT or SOUL that exist beyond their body and mind. A spiritual being’s association with the world and its people is beyond the body and mind. They see themselves as the miniature of the entire universe. This philosophy best put in words is “I am the Universe”, as in Sanskrit “Aham Brahmasmi”. This is the ultimate truth and most of the human race is still not attuned to believe this truth as they experience their life only with their Senses (Body) and Mind.

Being spiritual doesn’t mean that you have to visit any place of worship by compulsion. It rather empowers you to understand your worth as a co-creator in the universe. It never restricts you to do anything in life, rather establishes the fact, that you being a true spirit do everything in life, but remember, since you are a spirit so detach your senses and don’t get attached to anything you do. Similarly, there is no need to leave the society you live in. You will now rather enjoy life to the fullest with your family and friends as you are with the flow of life and not attaching yourself with it. For example, you visit a restaurant with your family and find that the food is amazing, now a normal person will be tempted to visit this place often and will not be able to control his desire. But a spiritual person will admire the taste and move on. He may visit the place not out of his temptation, may be because his family wants him to take them there. Remember that spirituality is a state of awareness that is self-attained and can never be forced or induced.

If spiritual philosophy leads to the ultimate truth, then why do we even need any religion? Before I talk about this, lets also look into some common fallacies about religion.


Common fallacies about religion

  1. Religions bind you in life
  2. Religion makes you disrespectful to other religion
  3. It puts you in a vicious cycle of rituals and visiting places of worship.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph that when a child grows he is put to discipline by rules so that he righteous and well behaved in life. Similarly, religion also plays and important role. Not everyone has the same level of self-awareness in this world. For many people it is difficult to relate to the concept of their higher self and being universe because of their acquired beliefs, mental conditioning and karmic impressions that they carry from past life. Hence they follow the second approach of religion, where they repose their trust on the almighty and believe in him as being the ultimate creator and destroyer. This largely disciplines them in life and give a direction. It is always easier to put trust on someone definite (not by entity, but by presence). There is somebody up in the heavens who can hear them and guide them. Almost all the religions talk on the same lines of God being one and infinite, doing good deeds and leaving everything else to almighty.

No religion in the world binds you, but rather it liberates you from limited self-belief by ensuring that whatever happens in life, there is a higher force working, who is bigger than you. Religion disciplines you in life and adds direction. No religion ever talks about disrespecting any other religion. It simply says that be committed to yours. It doesn’t mean disrespect for other religions. The problem comes with the misinterpretation of the religious philosophies that leads to conflicts and intolerance.

Being spiritual or being religious is entirely our choice basis of our state of consciousness that keeps changing. One can be both religious and spiritual at the same time. They never conflict if understood in the right co-relation.

Sending Love, laughter and joy…… Parth Sharma

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