study of Religious Faiths have two aspects among Hindus, Buddhists
and all others following Eastern Religious Faiths. These are Theology
and Philosophy. In the Western Religious practice, it was
only study of Theology that was given to them as a dogma. Any
alternate thought was opposed as blasphemy and heresy. Philosophy
remained mostly outside the teachings of religion and often Agnostic
or non-religious. When the European settlers in America wanted
to understand the true meaning of the teachings, philosophy and
moral codes, they coined the new term of "Spirituality".
The path of Spirituality gives us the power for independent thinking
in our quest for truth.
the world, there has been a quest for this knowledge given to
us by elders about their search for truth with questioning and
analyzing the message rather than a blind following. In the East
also, the practice moved away from the ritualistic paths of Poorva
Mimamsa towards more of Vedãntha and Temple worship.
It takes every Hindu through several stages to get the Realization
of the Divine revelations. So, Spirituality, Religion and Philosophy
are all here, together with different perspectives.
Sivananda says "The real meaning of the Religion becomes
revealed to one who practices the spiritual discipline. It cannot
be reconciled if one emphasizes only on the letter of the scriptures
and overlooks the spirit and inner meaning revealed in those books.
The truth about dharma cannot be realized through any other knowledge
and one's own reasoning through any analysis alone cannot be that
authority". Here, some of the prescribed rituals become inevitable
and are essential to create that sense of concentration and discipline
to develop the necessary Intuitive Spiritual Wisdom.
of us have a question in our mind if there is only one Supreme
force or matter as "Paramãthma" inside all the
manifestations that they pray in many forms in several Hindu temples.
If they are all one and the same, then, why do they have several
Vigrahas with several names and shapes for our prayers? People
get more confused when they hear the talks of other faiths. The
Hindu recognized that the Supreme in the state of Absolute Reality
is Nirguna. It has the Immanent form that is "formless"
or without attributes.
Theology also mentions that the Supreme, as Paramãthma,
resides in every one of Its creations as the individual Ãtma
or Jîva. The same Divine also establishes the various forms
in the state of relative Reality and takes the Transcendent forms
for us to pray and condition our mind and to establish the Dharma.
Here, the Hindu recognizes very well that each one of the image
and form has the individuality and separate form, along with the
Supreme Paramãthma. Often they see miracles which establish
that each and every one of the manifestations is real and true.