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Friday, October 11, 2013

SPIRITUALITY VERSUS RELIGIOSITY



As a thinking being I consider spirituality and religiosity, intertwined concepts with no exclusive semantics. I’ve strong faith in spirituality but I also consider religious institutions to be a significant part of our lives. Practicing spirituality teaches us to be better human beings and being religious boosts our confidence and mental strength. My belief in either perennially responds to opportunities for in depth critiques. These two dimensions certainly act like a light house in darker moments of our lives.

Sometimes, for many days existential dilemmas of fears, doubts, hurts and expectations, pin one’s spirits down and one loses one’s perspective and with it the desire to be proactive. Thwarted hopes and shaky convictions give constant discomforting jolts.  Here is where my faith in spirituality helps me to transcend the transient and superfluous and strike a private conversation with an unseen but all-embracing presence, which always stands by me.

Confronted with the plethora of negative thoughts if you happen to read a spiritually inspirational book; slowly your dormant spirit is stirred and enthused to continue the destined journey which got suspended temporarily. You also learn to wriggle out  of the painful predicaments of life sooner.

Being spiritual is to remain consciously in the pursuit of reaching out to others through love, genuine concern and forgiveness and by demolishing evil webs of competitiveness and distrust. It is endeavoring to be generous and non-judgmental and to forge cordial relationships by policing the false hubris within.
Nature too is a potent force of spiritual vibes. It has its own deadlines for enriching our lives. It requires no prompting. It is a great teacher but doesn't pontificate. It uplifts the mood. It displays its miracles  overwhelmingly. It is a bonus par excellence. Albert Einstein once remarked, “Look deep into Nature, and then you will understand everything.
Respecting religious institutions I imbibed in my growing up years as my parents were deeply religious. Early morning  recitation of hymns from the holy book by my parents was a daily tradition in the family. Mom and dad was an exemplary couple. Their life values were steadfast and above petty personal gains or losses. Their simple lives were seasoned with repose, peace, warmth and tons of patience. Visiting gurudwara (temple of the Sikhs) on Sundays and on sacred festivals was part of our upbringing. I took in shades of all these influences which helped me to develop an independent value system and a distinct identity.
In those days people were not consumed by murderous hatreds or narrow parochialism. They respected all religious faiths. They were much more tolerant and participated in each other’s auspicious occasions and mourned bereavements together.
 Religion does not divide. It is the people who run these institutions, who sow the seeds of contempt for other faiths by creating psychological bogeys in the minds of the believers. It is their strategy to perpetuate their hegemony.
I visit the gurudwara to pay obeisance and be inspired by the folks who serve the institution devotedly and diligently. But mainly in the hope of receiving some singular psychic stimulation for living purposefully.
In fact one goes through the unique experience of sitting in the hall as  part of the congregation and listening to Shabad Kirtan (singing of sacred verses from the holy book 'Guru Granth Sahib') with eyes closed. Soon one gets infused with an impalpable tranquility one's mind instinctively longs for but which is unachievable in the mad rush of unceasing activity. After the experience you feel blessed and revitalized to face life afresh

This apart, partaking of LANGAR (free kitchen) is something one looks forward to. Sitting on floor mats with other members of the community and being served delicious food in steel plates conveniently designed for the purpose is utterly pleasurable,ennobling and humbling.
Decrying any religion is alien to me. It makes no sense at all.  Luckily we have inherited glorious and rich traditions of various faiths and have learnt to live with this wonderful diversity.  India is  a sacred blend of vibrating and enchanting tapestry of diverse religious faiths and languages, colorful cultures, holy books, holy rivers, holy places of pilgrimage, mountains, valleys and frequent festivals to celebrate life.

Spirituality and religiosity are the two sides of the coin which is called life.
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 Friends: your comments are awaited.


1 comment:

  1. Writing of this post was like opening my heart to life and its ennobling strengths. I think religion and spirituality are fountain heads of the vitality needed to traverse the given journey purposefully.

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