Religion is considered not only a matter of faith but also a way of life. We all believe in Almighty God, the creator of the universe who guides our lives. God is one but he may be worshipped in various forms by different religions. It is the faith in our religion that teaches us, how to lead a good and happy life.
India is singularly blessed on this account; it is the birthplace of Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism. Most of the saints and sages who propagated these religions were born in India. It is from here that they set out to enlighten the world. Thus, culturally and spiritually our forefathers were more advanced and lived a full and happy life.
The same cannot be said of today, for religion has become a major reason for discord and unrest. Like a double-edged sword, it can also incite hatred and inflame passions to such an extent, that men start behaving like beasts, baying for each other’s blood. This evil facet of religion has been fanned and exploited by some religious and political leaders, for their own vested interests. It is indeed shocking to see, that in this age of enlightenment, we are still living in the dark ages, believing one religion superior to the other.
However, at the personal level, we find that we are being greatly influenced by western culture. The strict moral pillars of our religion are gradually being forgotten. No longer do we find many Muslims offering Namaz five times a day, Christians going to Church every Sunday or Hindus going to temples everyday for offering prayers. The reason is that our outlook has become very moderate and easy-going. However, at the political or social level, we are ready to exploit our religion for acquiring more power. It is this contradiction in our thinking that is being exploited by the unscrupulous leaders, who build discord among people resulting in communal strife.
The cause of this contradiction is that we don’t understand religion. If we had really understood our religion, things would not have come to such a pass. This is because no religion teaches violence, disharmony, and disrespect for other religions. It is only we who fall prey to the mechanisation of conspirators in the religious grab. This has led to several disastrous consequences for it is said
“Men will wrangle for religion, write for it, and fight for it, anything but live for it”.
The place of religion in India is indeed very sensitive and politically explosive. It is, however, still not too late; we should realise that we cannot wear religion on our sleeves to be used only at our will. It is something more sublime and spiritual. We must not only proclaim to be religious but we must practice it in our daily lives. This only shall lead to more love, compassion and a feeling of brotherhood which is the need of the hour in India.