Sunday, 27 November 2016

Spiritual but not religious !

This 'we are spiritual and not religious' has been a very irritating phrase.

As if they have made a superior choice.  As compared to the 'masses'.

The village people practice a very superior ethic of shareing and morality. In their simple phrases one hears the bhagavad geeta, and they follow rituals of fasting, lighting lamps, going to temples, tonsureing etc. It is integrated - the spirituality is embedded in some basic religious practices. I stand by what the poor people do.

"Many youth of today are very hesitant to identify themselves as religious but do not mind identifying themselves as spiritual. By religious, they mean activities like going to temples, performing ritualistic worship, sporting religious marks or clothing and visiting places of pilgrimage. By spiritual, they mean activities like practicing yoga asanas and meditation, visiting ashrams to listen to talks on personality development and ethics, reading books on disciplined life and participating in social service activities by ashrams.

Why would a person want to identify as spiritual and not religious? What is it that he is trying to identifying with? What is it that he is trying not to identify with?"
Suresh Sureshkumar How do you get it that they (those call themselves spiritual) believe that they have made a "superior" choice? Why can it not be just a simple choice? In fact I made it and so am asking.
By the same token is one's choice of calling oneself "religious" him/her superior to ones like me?
And how does one infer what anyone means when they say "spiritual"
Is that not then the root of the same bigotry that leads to killing people of a different faith? For I believe that the next step in this argument is that my religion is superior to yours. Mine is more ancient, and therefore better, compared to yours.
Aparna Krishnan Most choices are loaded Suresh. And when they are different from that of the ordinary poor, we need to be doubly careful that there is no sense of superiority, or that it is justified ! And certianly, the 'educated' largely feel that religion and rituals are are little 'unscientific' and 'foolish'.
Suresh Sureshkumar I am very wary of generalisations and sweeping statements!
Lakshmi Kutty Cheeniyil The debate, faith vs being rational is an ongoing one. I have thought a lot about it. I believe that blind faith is an easier path to happiness. If you choose a path of rationalizing everything, then that is long drawn and a tougher one. People give up in between and become cynical.
Aparna Krishnan i dont like the word 'blind' !! :)
Zulfi Haider i am getting rather surprised by your repeated glorification of the villager! "village people practice superior ethic...". You are essentializing what has to be subjective! I strongly protest. While there is a lot to cherish in our villages, or in some villages, there is a lot that is simply terrible. Like you i have spent a significant portion of my live living in the country side and am left with no romantic notions about it. In the south of India a greater degree of religiosity persists, greater continuity of tradition and culture too, unlike in the north in general. I in fact find the religious people (of all hues) difficult to talk to engage with and simply maintain a huge distance with them. Please experience the religious in the form of VHP, Bajarang Dal, Taliban, Wahabi's, Lashkar -e-toiba, Sipahe-e-sahaba, orthodox christians in mid-west USA, some of the evangilizing christian sects, orthodox and most Zionist Jews and then talk! I have engaged with almost all the groups i mention in the list. I know you will say, you are talking about the other kind of religious...who have faith, who bow down to life around, who carry reverence for life and things around. Most of this is spiritual....even if rituals are involved. religion as identity politics and groupism for power and survival Vs relligious outlook towards life, a way of life....are probably the way to distinguish. If being religious makes you tread gently on earth Vs stomping and conquring....that first is sprituality.
Lakshmi Kutty Cheeniyil Aparna I have seen many people so blinded by faith that they surrender themselves to it. I guess otherwise the noisy mind starts rationalizing.
Aparna Krishnan Zulfi, 1. yes, when i say religion, i speak of essential religion as i see in the village 2. the rest are perversions, just as there will be perversions of everything under the sun - religion,politice, governance, family - and need correction 3. religion is also rituals and also higher thought. I dislike the educated looking down subtly on rituals, and on those who perform them. My village people perform a lot of rituals. 4. yes, the villagers have a superior ethic. try giving rice to every mendicant who comes because that is dharmam, even when rice at home is running out, and there is drought. i would not even try. 5. i have actually seen nothing 'triible' in a village, only essential goodness. and some perversions. 6. now this is treading where angels woudn't - but religion is also identity, as is caste, and language and food habits and ... So be it. Let each religion absord the essentials of what its text says and follow it, and on each religion is the onus of corrections. (but I agree that I am speaking for a dalit, landless village, and maybe i should not generalise ... but i needed many years of living as a neighbour to see through many of my stereotypes and prejudices into an essential goodness. Maybe it takes that kind of time. ) OK, tell me what terrible things you have seen in village - structurally terrible. Everywhere there will be some 'wrong uns'.
Sathish Yadav There are five layers of intelligence, 1) Soul, 2) Spirit, 3) Mind 4) Physical 5) Environment - When one says he is spiritual but not religious is that Spiritual reality is real but Religion is just an idea in the Mind the 3 rd layer. When one says Spiritual and not religious is that he has tuned on to a higher dimension than the mere practice of a religious idea through the use of a mind.
Aparna Krishnan The village people accept and live both. Some are welcome to one - but usually they feel superior to those who follow rituals. That is all i object to. The village people are not to be condescended to !
Sathish Yadav U can throw it on their face that their spirit is weak when they feel superior... Superiority is not the trait of a Good spirit.

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