Are religion and spirituality the same or different thing?
Where religion ends, spirituality starts from there. # Religion is faith, ritual, and # Spirituality is feeling, perception. Let me explain…
1) Planting a tree, watering it, making a fence around of it, these are the matters of religion. And when the flowers are bloomed in that plant, we become fascinated by watching it, our mind filled with joy and that is spirituality.
# Religion is to decorate the temple by taking those flowers from the plant, but # Spirituality make us to enjoy the beauty of the flower by leaving it on its plant.
2) Bhajan, hymns, judgments, chanting mantra, singing to the God, fasting, performing puja, all are part of a religion. Religion is a preparation for becoming spiritual.
3) What you are doing in front of your God, is # Religion. It needs preparation, planning, effort, as well as mind-set. And sometimes you suddenly feel another dimension in this work, with deep concentration, that is # Spirituality.
4) The pursuit is religion, but when your mind becomes calm while pursuing, you reach spirituality.
5) You can feel it, even in the material world, too. When your mind is filled with joy at seeing the sunrise, be amazed at the vastness of space, feel the fullness of love, forget about everything when listening to your favorite music, then you unknowingly touch the threshold of spirituality. But you can feel it consciously through religious pursuit.
6) Religion is an attempt to calm the mind, and after calming down, spirituality begins.
7) We have to pursuit the liberation of the present from the influence of the past (memory), and then through symbolism we have to pursuit the future (feeling of the Divine) and this process is called as ” spiritual practice “. At the end of a long night, the first sunlight of dawn makes us believe in another new beginning. Then we realize there is neither past nor future, only present.
8) But this is not static. You will always have the feeling of the present, but you are still in motion. So, the momentum is vibrating, in a #present of the very moment of the present, only practice can prepare you to feel so.
9)Religion is a revolve around a limited “I”, “myself”. But spirituality goes beyond that limit. Only consciousness then transcends the individual.
10) You are still there but not as a mere person with a name, #Not as a man or woman, even not as a student-Bengali-Hindu-Indian, nothing. You will feel like a bird who has jumped out of a cage and is flying around the sky. And that bird is singing with joy, that is a joy of freedom. It is an entity which has no name no form no limit, it is only your conscious entity.
11) Religion is discovered by others. Someone either has said or shown the way and you are following that path. But spirituality is your feeling, your #enlightenment, your own way.
# Now the important question, is that the #Religion necessary?
Certainly, there is. Before entering college, you must pass the middle school. Look at the Buddha, he refused to worship the deity (symbol) while emphasizing on spirituality. He rejected the idol. But the ridicule of the history is, now we have so many idols of Buddha in this world. By reading books about religion and forgetting the spirituality does harm to human beings. And at the same time, by denying religion, only giving the importance to spirituality has been alienated us from the people and then the new symbols have emerged. This is how the cross is made in the Christian religion, the idol of Jesus and Mother Mary. In Islam, moon-stars, green colors, black stones of the Kaaba-mosque.
We must have to feel the infinite through the help of a finite object. This is the reason for what scientists also use various symbols, the poet draws the vision, the artist paints color.
# It is a translation from the writings of Swami Someswarananda.