Religion vs Spirituality

▪ Religion is not just one, there are hundreds.
▪ Spirituality is one.

▪ Religion is for those who sleep.
▪ Spirituality is for those who are awake.

▪ Religion is for those who need someone to tell them what to do and want to be guided.
▪ Spirituality is for those who pay attention to their inner voice.

▪ Religion has a set of dogmatic rules.
▪ Spirituality invites us to reason about everything, to question everything.

▪ Religion threatens and frightens.
▪ Spirituality gives inner peace.

▪ Religion speaks of sin and guilt.
▪ Spirituality says, “learn from error”.

▪ Religion represses everything and in some cases it is false.
▪ Spirituality transcends everything, it brings you closer to your truth!

▪ Religion speaks of a god; It is not God.
▪ Spirituality is everything and, therefore, it is in God.

▪ Religion invents.
▪ Spirituality finds.

▪ Religion does not tolerate any question.
▪ Spirituality questions everything.

▪ Religion is human, it is an organization with men’s rules.
▪ Spirituality is Divine, without human rules.

▪ Religion is the cause of divisions.
. Spirituality unites.

▪ Religion is looking for you to believe.
▪ Spirituality you have to look for it to believe.

▪ Religion follows the precepts of a sacred book.
▪ Spirituality seeks the sacred in all books.

▪ Religion feeds on fear.
▪ Spirituality feeds on trust and faith.

▪ Religion lives in thought.
▪ Spirituality lives in Consciousness.

▪ Religion deals with doing.
▪ Spirituality has to do with the Self.

▪ Religion feeds the ego.
▪ Spirituality drives to transcend.

▪ Religion makes us renounce the world to follow a god.
▪ Spirituality makes us live in God, without renouncing us.

▪ Religion is a cult.
▪ Spirituality is meditation.

▪ Religion fills us with dreams of glory in paradise.
▪ Spirituality makes us live the glory and paradise here and now.

▪ Religion lives in the past and in the future.
▪ Spirituality lives in the present.

▪ Religion creates cloisters in our memory.
▪ Spirituality liberates our Consciousness.

▪ Religion makes us believe in eternal life.
▪ Spirituality makes us aware of Eternal Life.

▪ Religion promises life after death.
▪ Spirituality is to find God in our interior during life and death.

-We are not human beings who go through a spiritual experience.-
-We are spiritual beings that we go through a human experience.-

Why do good people suffer?

Why do good people suffer is question of many people. Many people say why me? What have I done wrong? I have harmed or hurt nobody. Then why me? Again and again this question arise, it comes in mind. People say till I remember I have not done anything wrong. Then why I am suffering. I pray many times in a day. I ask God for help and protection. Every morning and night I offer a prayer. I also think about God and keep praying. Why of all the people did this happen to me?

This is the answer to the repeated question that why do people suffer? It becomes clear when we understand, the Law of Karma ( what you sow so shall you reap.) and reincarnation. Law of karma is cause, and effect. Every effect must have a cause, the effect we see now must have a cause, recent or remote, whatever suffering I am getting today is cause of behind. Dhritrashtra King of Hastanapur. When Mahabarata war was over he asked Shri Krishna why I am blind and I have lost my hundred sons? I have been good to everyone. And shri Krishna told him that an earlier incarnation he had been a tyrant King, one day as he walked by a lake side, he saw a swan bird surrounded by a hundred signets. He asked his people to remove the eyes of the swan bird and kill all the hundred signets just to please his passing fancy. And Krishna also said that what you sow so shall you reap, one cannot sow thorns and reap apples. The low of karma is universal in its application , it applies equally to all we are sowing seeds every day in the field of life. Every thought that we think, every word that we utter, every deed we perform, every emotion we arouse within me every feeling fancy wish that awakens within me, are seeds I am sowing in the field of life, in due course the seeds will germinate and grow into tree and yield fruit, we have to eat whether bitter or sweet. Some causes produce their effects immediately and some after a long time. You are the builder of your own life. Therefore, be careful of your thoughts. The theory of Karma is wide to understand and it kept secret and our karmic links are not known to us? Else it may be difficult for us to live in the world. For example there may be a woman whose husband, in the present incarnation, was her enemy in an earlier incarnation and has now become her husband to settle previous accounts.

The natural law is “As you think, so you become” and another Law is “As you sow, so shall you reap” and these two law together becomes the law of karma, There is an incident, a little boy, one night came home, and felt thirsty he drank few sips of water than he noticed that there was something wriggling which looked like a snake in the water. The very thought that came in his mind that he had taken poisoned water, he dropped down on the floor muttering “ I am dying, I am dying”. Family members rushed to find what had happened to him. One of them rang to doctor. Another asked, what made him feel that he was dying. In a frightened voice, he said that he had taken water from a glass that had a snake in it. Other family member went to kitchen to investigate and found that what had happened in the dark, to be a snake was actually, a string. As he heard those words, he jumped up, strong as ever. Thought has great influence on the body and mind. Therefore take care of thoughts. We need to understand that thoughts have force, thoughts are things, every thought generate for my good or evil. Every thought has form and colour. The though may have the form of an angel or demon depending up to its contents. If I think thought of peace, purity, love, prayer, sympathy or service, it will stick me wearing the form of an angel. If I think a thought of envy, jealousy, hatred, greed, dishonesty it will stick to me wearing the form of demon.

Take care of your desires also. With whatever desires, impulses, ambitions, feelings and thoughts you are building your own life, no one else is to blame for your present condition. You have built with your own thoughts and desires generated in the near or distant past. The forces of thoughts and desires have magnetic power. If we are surrounded by demoniac forms they attract to themselves many more demons. The desire to make easy and fast money, drives to cheatings.

Whom God loves send trials and tribulations. Those who love God with bottom of their heart, God also love them. Whoever would be chosen of God must gladly submit to a process of purification. He must be prepared to pass though the fire of suffering and he purified as thrice-burnished gold. There was a black smith who loved God deeply, even though he had to face many a sufferings. He was asked how can you lay your trust in a God who sends sufferings? Immodestly he replied as I have to make a tool I take place of iron and put it into the fire. Then I strike it on the anvil to see if it will take temper. If it does I know I can make something useful out of it. If not, I toss it on the scrap-heap. This has made me pray to the Lord, again and again “Lord put me into the fire of suffering.”

Golden Temple of Sikhs

God’s Gift to Humanity

By Dr. Harbans Lal

A while ago, I had an enlightening experience while visiting the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine. I visit Amritsar often and visit the Temple complex every time. The experience is always rejuvenating. No wonder the city is known as the abode of bliss and blessings.

The Golden Temple, conventionally known as Harimander (abode of the Divine) among devotees, was founded on December 28, 1588. Its founder, Guru Arjan Dev, the Sikhs’ Fifth Guru, asked his contemporary, Saint Mian Meer, a Muslim holy man with a large following and a spiritual adviser to the Mogul kingdom, to lay the foundation stone. History tells us that the land for building the town of Amritsar was a gift to Guru Arjan’s mother from Emperor Akbar. Akbar had visited the Sikh Center where he shared a meal with the third Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Amar Das, and gifted the land to the young daughter of the Guru at that time.

Further, the Granth’s author invited 34 holy men from different religions to the temple to contribute works to the Guru Granth, the scripture by which the Sikhs live and by which the millions of others feel inspired.

By founding the temple, development of the surrounding city, and installation of the holy book in the temple, the Fifth Guru laid the foundation for an interfaith place of pilgrimage for people of all nations of the world. He gave birth to the traditions of a universal spiritual consciousness: the consciousness to overcome the conflict among religions, between heaven and earth, the sacred and the secular, and the human and the Divine. The presence of spiritual understanding in the Golden Temple was meant to pervade the whole humankind.

Since its founding, the Temple has been invaded and desecrated three times by Afghan invaders (in 1757, 1762, and 1764). In modern times, it was assaulted by the armed forces of India in 1984. Astonishingly, it has been rebuilt each time with increased grandeur by thousands of devotees from various faiths and nations.

Today the holy city of Amritsar enjoys a beauty and harmony that are reminiscent of the Garden of Eden. In the heart of the city, surrounding the Golden Temple, is “the spring of the water of life,” bright as crystal and producing ripples that seem to flow through the hearts of everyone who visits here.

From the Golden Temple (so called because it is covered with gold) where the sacred Guru Granth scripture is read continuously, there emanate constant vibrations for the healing of people and their hearts – people of all races, colors, and dispositions. The singing of spiritual hymns in classical ragas (musical tunes from the ancient Indian subcontinent) is central to Sikh worship; the sounds of this singing around the clock are a spiritual feast for visitors. Even those who do not understand the language describe the experience as emotionally and spiritually uplifting.


The Temple has four doorways facing each of the four directions: north, south, east and west. Strength in diversity becomes evident when you discover these entries from all four directions and hear the hymn on page 853 of the Guru Granth, saying,

ਜਿਤੁ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਉਬਰੈ ਤਿਤੈ ਲੈਹੁ ਉਬਾਰਿ ॥
Accept and save them, O Creator of the Universe, from whichever door people might enter.

When you hear this, you know that the clergy of the Sikh religion have surrendered any claims of exclusivity at the feet of the Divine.

On one occasion, I visited the Golden Temple as a guide for a group of interfaith delegates.They were followers of six different world religions, and came from nine different countries. They had come to participate in the International Conference on the Guru Granth, which was held in Amritsar at the Guru Nanak Dev University to deliberate the Sikh scripture’s interfaith wisdom.

The conference was being held at a time when the need for faith, wisdom, love, and compassion was felt greater than ever before. People were hungry for a vision and liberating truth, the participants felt, and our world desperately needed healing and renewal.

The scholars at the conference affirmed that, in this generation, the fundamental task of religious and educational leadership would be to discover “the spring of the water of life” and to help make it flow through the middle of our villages, towns, and cities. I felt that all of us were called to make it flow so that all people might be equitably nourished, and that the whole community life be purified and sustained. Building spiritual societies locally and a faith civilization globally will be aided by making “this water of life” flow through each of our own hearts and each of our communities.

Man-CaLrfsmWcAAbR14The hymns being sung in the Temple stressed the universal wisdom of world faiths. We stopped and prayed there for peace within and without. We prayed for the higher understanding of the faith through which each one of us would experience divinity and avow spiritual consciousness. A review of the history of the Golden Temple and the compilation of the Scripture residing in it taught us that, among religions, there were shared values and a universal foundation. They were of greater significance than the differences that historically divide people and the religions they follow.

I heard one last verse:

ਪਰਥਾਇ ਸਾਖੀ ਮਹਾ ਪੁਰਖ ਬੋਲਦੇ ਸਾਝੀ ਸਗਲ ਜਹਾਨੈ ॥ SGGS, p. 647

Wise men speak to individuals and to specific historical events, but their wisdom is God’s gift to all humanity for all the times.”

Send all communications to the author:

Harbans Lal, PhD; D.Litt (hons)

Emeritus Professor and Chairman, Dept of Pharmacology & Neuroscience, University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Emeritus, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India.
President, Academy of Guru Granth Studies.


Do I have to choose between Science and Religion?

Seeking Wisdom
By Dr. Harbans Lal

Science, religion, and culture are three forces that greatly affect our world.

It is no exaggeration to say that the course of human history will depend on the relationship between these disciplines, and the impact and influence each area has on society. Intellectuals, for example, will be attracted to religions that are mainly dynamic, progressive, and at peace with science.

Science has succeeded remarkably in learning about the workings of the human brain and the earth and universe around us. It is unlocking the code of life by mapping human DNA, tracing the history of the known universe, and disclosing virtually all physical and biological phenomena in impressive detail.

And until recently, science and religion co-mingled well in Sikh society. Sikh clergy simply ignored science, as their educational handicaps did not permit the implications.

To read the full article, please visit my website.

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Send all communications to the author:

Harbans Lal, PhD; D.Litt (hons)

Emeritus Professor and Chairman, Dept of Pharmacology & Neuroscience, University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Emeritus, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India.
President, Academy of Guru Granth Studies.