And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it
In an endless revolving sphere, with no beginning and end, how do we define time linearly? If so, how do we then define our life and spirituality if we neither have seen the beginning nor will live off the end? Alchemy of spirituality differs from religion as it is a journey from ignorance to truth and the latter being rather a social enterprise.
Existence of supreme power
Our contemplation to understand the universe and the things beyond it will be the most universal journey one has to endure in one’s life. The beginning of the universe is indeed thousands of (light) years far in time and distance. Yet as long as we live here; we search for an answer. Call it Power, God or Nature. We have but defined it as supreme and eternal. Irrespective of our color, caste and creed we somehow relate this eternal entity to God. But the similarity ends there. It diverges into various cultural and religious existence. We represent that entity from Saguna (virtuous) to Nirguna (Nirguna Brahman– without qualities) divinities. These representations are then propelled by various philosophies like dualism (existence of two distinct spirit and matter) ; one among the Shad Dharshans (six schools) of Hindu Philosophy) to Semitic, monotheistic faiths (like Islam, Christianity) to even a mixture of dualistic and monotheistic faith (like Zoroastrianism).
It is the ear of the ear, the eye of the eye and the word of words, the mind of mind and life of life. Those who follow wisdom pass beyond and on leaving this world become immortal. There the eye goes not, nor words, nor mind
The purpose of spirituality is to realize that formless eternal power through God (the God-image is diversely portrayed from the Himalayan Shiva to the Middle Eastern Jesus) in the same way we see God through the various religious earthy idols. The realm of spirituality is unlached to us when we travers through all these three Idol-God-Entity stages.
Spirituality and Religion
If religion is God then spirituality is what constitutes God. Beyond the sacred texts and scriptures of various religions, the idea of divinity is still open to interpretations and to philosophical perspectives. Even, the Sanskrit word for philosophy is “Darshana” which means seeing or perception. Such diverse perceptions are what constitutes the base of spirituality.
Spirituality is a journey to elevate your spirit (not your heart or brain but your spirit or soul ) to revelations and further truth. When the soul is formless and shapeless to the naked eyes. Such spiritual revelations too will be obscure to the human eyes. The core idea of such spiritual journey is self-realization and enlightenment of an individual rather than the society.Such enlightenment is never an invention that you make. It is rather a discovery that you find. It is not something that you can steal from a Saint or Holy Scriptures. You have to work towards it; to believe, discover and realize, aided by all those spiritual guidances (Religion, Scriptures, Saints and Sages).Like Shasi Tharoor says:
A religious text is a breach in the fog of ignorance that enshrouds the human mind.
Why I am a Hindu
Spirituality is the journey to further truth, from ignorance. Spirituality is individualistic in nature, it is personal. No one is going to be spiritually exemplified by someone else’s work and belief. Your spirituality is defined by your individual effort to be in that belief system or enlightenment.
Religion can be defined as the sum interaction of people on the idea of spirituality. It ranges from daily rituals to yearly festivals, from personal hymns to public prayers. That therefore makes religion a social aspect of spirituality. Religion is always an evolving and dynamic entity. As such an outdated religion is a very recurring phenomenon. One wonders why? This is purely because of the social aspect of religion. The purdah system which is generally related to the Islam religion however, has only been actively promoted after the Islam revolution in the 70s. Whereas, ghoonghat in India, has been there for centuries and has even become a part of their religious marital traditions. Every custom, ritual and tradition caters the concurrent society. Those that are socially approved stays, rest perishes. That is why spirituality is a personal and individual act and religion a social one.
Spirituality and Religion in a Society
Spirituality is a mental journey. It can be scientific, logical, atheistic, monotheistic or polytheistic. There are no wrong paths; there are only path to more truth and realization. On the other hand, religion is the social conglomeration of like-minded people. It is the social facet of the soul that enhances the idea of human being as a social animal. From the initial spiritual grail, the cultural, social and racial diversity spans out into diverse festivals, customs and rituals. Historically speaking, religiously evolved social customs like caste system, child marriage and sati had existed in India because of a plethora of complex aspects (social, cultural and political) which even dates back to the ancient period. Such customs and traditions might be justifiable then; in the midst of war, chaos and plunder. But, such social practices must and will change with the evolution of the social dynamics of people. When temples became the prime bait for looters owing to the rich religious pampering, restrictions were imposed on temple entry as bulwark. Early marriages were initiated during the Muslim invasion in a hope to prevent foreign invaders from home entry despite temple entry.
Today, none of these are digestible and acceptable in our current social relationships purely because of the evolutionary nature of society. All such dynamic relationships is what constitutes the social and religious existence of each époque (refer How men and women coexist?). And hence the religious interactions will always be evolutionary and subjective in nature.
The Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé is an example of such evolutionary nature of religion and society. The birth of Candomblé is facilitated by the migratory nature of the society (people from Africa and the Portuguese Catholics) combining the philosophies of African Yoruba and the European Catholic belief system.
Key to Spirituality
The core philosophy of the multifaceted religions can rather be summarized into Unity and Love.
Quoting from bible “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” is reminiscent of the Hindu philosophy of Aham Brahmasmi (I am God), finding equal love in everything.
As a matter of fact, the one thing that is most important in this world is love. Love for oneself, for others and the universe; it is that alchemy that solves any problem we face in this world.
One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving
Precursory religious rituals and traditions might be an absurdity to you. In fact, they were never meant to serve you. For the present , you yourself have to define your religion . Consequently, such ever evolving religion will be the perfect platform to love and be loved.
Like Kahlil Gibran says:
Alchemist by Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a book that is to be read less and thought more. It is a fantasy, quest novel that engages us with a simple but relevant storyline. The experiences we gain are more precious than the journey itself. Beyond the end goal, it is those experiences and revelations that defines one’s spiritual journey and enlightenment. If anything at all, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho will ignite your quest for existential questions.
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