1️What is the difference b/w spirituality and religiousness?
Every religion has two aspects:
- Religiousness, which manifests as a cultural setting consisting of its traditions, customs, rituals, practices, etc.
- Spirituality i.e. to develop a love for god purification of mind, and cultivation of ethical values based on divine knowledge
Eg, to visit holy places, to recite prayers in the temple, wear rosary beads, etc. is being religious; but to practice holiness for the self, to decorate the inside with ornaments of good qualities, and to develop a prayerful heart is being spiritual
2️ Which is more important – being religious or spiritual?
Religiosity conforms to the norms of society. However, spirituality will please God. Spirituality will elevate you in the journey of self-unfoldment. While ritualistic practices can be likened to many zeroes, spirituality is the ‘one’ to be put in front of all zeroes. Together, they are of immense value but without this one, the zeroes do not amount to anything. Hence, spirituality undoubtedly is of paramount importance.
3️ If spirituality is our goal then can we discard ritualistic practices?
Religious practices when passed through generations, form the culture, and heritage & also bond people in a spirit of community. In society, the percentage of people interested in the spiritual path is always small due to a lack of divine knowledge. Hence for the masses, the religious traditions become tangible rituals & easy-to-adhere practices. These form the foundation for a deeper quest. Hence with spirituality as the primary goal, it is advisable to hold a healthy respect for religious practices
4️ God is one yet, why did so many religions come into existence?
Like the same person does different roles in different movies, similarly, God is one but manifests in an infinite variety of divine forms. All religions are approaching the same absolute truth in different ways. Lord Krishna says in the Gita “One who views with the same vision, a Brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog eater, that is a person of knowledge”. Hence, there is diversity in the unity & unity in diversity
5️ Why did different saints offer different teachings?
All souls are at different levels of realization in their spiritual journey of endless lifetimes. Hence, based upon the level of consciousness in a place, God sends a saint to teach them in a manner suitable to progress in their journey. So every religion is empowering souls in their divine flight based on the time, place & circumstances in which that religion came into existence. India is fortunate to have the treasure chest of the Vedas which describes Sanatan Dharma i.e. eternal religion. When you access it, you find it so systematic, scientific & amazingly applicable to even contemporary times!