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What is religion?

what is religion
If you want to know how rich you are, try to find how many things you have that money cannot buy.

One fine afternoon during the lockdown (i.e., when the home had turned down into an actual prison house due to the 2nd wave covid) I was reading an article, of the many articles I read to complete my dissertation, which said –

“Religion is in steep decline in countries with higher levels of education and internet penetration.”

On the other hand, an article by National Geographic Channel, titled ‘The World’s Newest Major Religion: No Religion’ says “More people than ever before are identifying as atheist, agnostic, or otherwise non-religious, with potentially world-changing effect.”

Also, some say that “this generation might be more spiritual than even if it is perhaps less religious.”

And I just couldn’t stop repeating to myself in my mind – ‘Oh! Only if these people had read the Bhagavad Gita or if they had come across a devotee, they would have found all the answers to their questions, and they would have had a better understanding.’

Sometimes I even feel the existentialist philosophers wouldn’t have had the existential crisis if they would have had access to the Bhagavad Gita and the knowledge it provides.

Not to demean but even the latest self-help book in the market available doesn’t actually provide any help to the self rather it pushes the self to kill it further.

As it teaches everything about the matter and matter-related objects around us and how we can enjoy them, discipline ourselves in a way, or to what extent we can enjoy them instead of teaching or speaking about the spirit, of which we are actually made.

Some of the Big Questions – What is Religion? Who is God? Who am I? Am I the body? Or the mind? Or am I something higher? Do I really know who I am, or do I merely think I know? And does it really matter?

Our materialistic society, with its unenlightened leadership, has made it taboo to inquire into our real, higher self.

Instead, we waste our precious time chasing something unreal, allowing ourselves to be deluded, in hankering and lamenting for fleeting happiness rather than actually seeking the absolute truth, which should be giving us real happiness. Only because we lack the proper knowledge and the choices we tend to make.

What is religion?

The Srimad Bhagavatam (1.2.6) says,

“The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.”

Religion in the truest sense of the term teaches one how to love God without any motive and to be an instrument of that love in every aspect of our lives.

“To be truly wealthy is to have a fulfilled heart, and that means to love and be loved. The joy of love is the true wealth inherent in all of us, and learning to recognize it is what spiritual practice is all about.”

Gaur Gopal Das, in one of his interviews beautifully, explains the real difference between being spiritual and religious –

“it is very fashionable to say these days, you know I am not religious but I am spiritual. Hang on man! Do you know the meaning of being spiritual? If people even know what the fine line is. I don’t think there is a difference between religion and spirituality if the spirit is existing. Every ritual is also spiritual but as soon as the spirit is gone that’s ritualistic religion.”

“I told Dorothy the worlds Mother Teresa of Calcutta once spoke to me: “the greatest problem in this world is hunger – not hunger of the stomach but of the heart. All over the world, both the rich and the poor are suffering. They are lonely, starving for love.”

With a soft smile, Mother Teresa concluded, “Only God’s love can satisfy the hunger of the heart.”

The term Religion can actually be understood when one starts practising it.

In the next article, I’ll be discussing -Who God Is?
Stayed tuned.
Until then you can search for an answer to that question.
Radhe Radhe!!

P.S. – There is no COPYRIGHT in bhakti, but to copy is right.

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