What is the Difference Between
Religion and Spirituality?
Religion and spirituality
are not the same thing, as many of us have discovered through seeing
the harm perpetrated in the name of religion. Religion at best
serves to provide ethical training and shows various outer ways of
worshipping God through rituals and prayers, which can help maintain
harmony in society. Spirituality consists of internal attitudes and
practices which lead to Self-realization and transcends all external
rules and rituals. One who has truly entered the spiritual path goes
beyond all outer religious identities.
Today the world needs not a
new religion but a universal spirituality. A universal spirituality,
a sense of Sanatana Dharma, will take what is of value in all
religions and not circumscribe us within the field of any of them.
It will emphasize spiritual practices over all dogma and ideology.
To achieve the real goal of
life we should follow an enlightenment path, a path founded by
Self-realized sages which leads to Self-realization. All that is
called religion does not do this. The exoteric dimension of
religion, which is belief and ritual, can never be equal but is at
most preliminary to the esoteric dimension, which is meditation. We
must recognize the value of the inner teachings and cease to
emphasize outer differences of names and forms.