Spirituality has much wider and broader ambit than religion. Religion is caged by people’s dogmas, superstitions, biases and scriptures whereas spirituality gives more freedom to an individual to experiment with various ideas and notions. Spirituality takes off from religion and is more accepting of the changes happening in the society in terms of science and technology and revolution in terms of human thought and behavior.
Spirituality embraces new changes whereas religion is restrictive in nature.Spirituality is about finding God within whereas religion focuses on an external God. Religion requires obedience to a set of rules, performing of rituals, reading the scriptures whereas spirituality is open to new ideas and philosophies and has no set rules.
Spirituality co-exists with religion but many fail to see it. They go by the narrow definitions set by their religion. Religion can be used as a tool to spread bigotry, hatred, anger and distrust among different groups. This has often led to communal violence and the spread of terrorism. As a consequence, many people are massacred and get displaced from their homes. This is very much evident from instances that have occurred in the past such as the Muzaffarnagar riots and the displacement of Rohingya Muslims. Though, all religions propagate love and happiness, this is lost in the midst of chaos and war.
On the other hand, spirituality is about tolerance towards all religions and working towards the well being of others. It is more focusing on the self and cleansing the inner self so that one can reach God. Heaven and hell exist as a state of mind for a spiritual person.
Being spiritual is also about meditating to remain calm, steady and to tackle daily life problems such as stress, anxiety and other problems that we face in life. It is also acknowledging the fact that we are all bound by our good or bad actions, i.e. the theory of Karma.
Spirituality teaches one to perform good deeds by being kind and compassionate to everyone and to help the poor and the needy. Since, being spiritual is also about acknowledging God in every being, it is important to perform deeds where we are able to help others who are suffering in whatever way we can.
All the gods we worship in today’s world were spiritual. Gautam Buddha, Lord Jesus Christ and Sai Baba were spiritual. Their teachings were compiled together to form a religion. So, spirituality plays a bigger role than religion in understanding the higher consciousness and in spreading peace and love in the world.
Religion has its limitations in reaching out to people but spirituality has no such limitations. It is not that it is wrong to follow a particular religion but it is important to be spiritual as well as religious. By being spiritual, one can touch more people and bring people closer to God as well to one another.