Do religion and spirituality go together?


Question: Sir, I have a very basic question in my mind. How does religion and spirituality go hand in hand? Is there a nexus or they both go on a different way?

Acharya Prashant: They are just one.  They are not different, when you are talking of the ‘One,’ when your dissolution is the one, how can there be many? Neither are there many religions, nor are religion and spirituality different. So all this diversity that you see in the name of the ‘One,’ is sham! In fact, ‘religions’ itself is very self-defeating plural. Religion-is all.

To live simply, to live directly, to live innocently, honestly, that is religion. What else?

Listener 1: But if my religion stops me, like for example, spirituality is whatever I like, gives me inner happiness, that is something I want to have, but if my religion says, for example, you don’t need to be eating non-veg, just a very basic example, but in case of spirituality, you know, maybe I like it, it gives me inner happiness, I can have it. So in those situations, what is to be done?

A.P: Inner happiness?

L1: I mean when a person feels happy about it, there is happiness in that, I feel satisfied when I am having it.

A.P: I am nobody to dictate what must or what not be there on your plate. But, please live as someone who really lives. Look at the trees, look at the squirrels, look at the birds; don’t you want to know what you are eating? Have you ever had a relationship with a rooster, with a hen, with a chicken? I just want to please; don’t you want to know what you are eating? You are taking it in your body; the same body with which you are so attached to.

Yes? Don’t you want to know?

For your own sake; not because of compassion towards the hen, don’t you want to know what you are taking in? Have you ever looked at a bird in the eye? Have you ever looked at the bird at the moment it is being killed? Please, I am not saying be merciful towards the bird, but don’t you want to know? What else is called living in the facts? Don’t you want to know the fact of the bird? The fact of the slaughter, the fact of the killing, the fact of the bleeding?

Don’t you want to know?

Know all those facts; and then you do whatever you want to do. Your stomach, your culinary preferences, all are existentially free to eat or not to eat. But, please know what you are doing.

And that knowing is not a moralistic assessment-is it right? Is it wrong?

Should it be killed?

Should it not be killed?

Just look at it.

Without thinking, without deciding, without judging, without wondering whether it should or should not be eaten, who knows, maybe it should be eaten, who knows? Maybe, it should not be. Look at it. That’s the thing with packaged food; you don’t know where it comes from. Packaged food is so much like conditioning; one does not know where it is coming from, and what it would lead to.

If you could just see the whole dynamics of our eating, our wearing, our walking; the house, where it comes from and what it is; the car, where it comes from, how it’s made and what it leads to, if we could just know these things, would we still live the same way?

Are these facts so difficult to know?

And don’t they deserve to be known? Don’t you want to know what you are putting on your head? Don’t you want to know what you are applying on your face? Don’t you want to know what you are wearing? Don’t you want to know what’s going down your throat? Don’t you want to know?

If you could just know that much, life would change. And that is, spirituality.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Do religion and spirituality go together?

Article 1: The ones likely to misinterpret a religious book are the followers of that religion

Article 2: Choose religiousness rather than religion

Article 3: Religion is One, just as Truth is One


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