Freedom of religion

This article has been written by Swati Mujumdar pursuing a Startup Generalist & Virtual Assistant Training Program from Skill Arbitrage.

 This article has been edited and published by Shashwat Kaushik.


For centuries, man has been trying to resolve basic questions, who am I? Why am I in this world? What is the ultimate goal of life?  Does it mean accumulating wealth or gaining name, fame, and success? Or is there a deeper dimension to our existence that sounds to us from within? This intrinsic search for meaning and connection forms the core of spirituality.

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Spirituality vs. religion

Spirituality is different from religion. It is a broader concept. Religion is a set of beliefs shared by a particular group of people. Spirituality encompasses religious beliefs exploring the essence of human existence.

Is spirituality a religious doctrine or a hidden chamber within ourselves?

In the commotion and uncertainty of modern life, amid the cacophony of daily demands and distractions, people are trying to seek solace and meaning beyond the material realm. This inner urge for connection and deeper understanding leads people to spirituality.

Spirituality is one’s quest to understand one’s relationship with the ultimate. It involves a search for meaning in life. Spirituality comes into play when people try to find inner peace. Spirituality is the belief that there is something greater than me or that we are a part of the divine. Spirituality is an inward journey of the soul. It helps a person discover life’s ultimate goal. It covers a broad spectrum of beliefs, practices, and experiences that try to connect individuals with ultimate reality.

Elements of spirituality

  • Spirituality develops a deep sense of connection with oneself and the universe. It helps in understanding the interrelationship of all beings and the inherent unity of existence.
  • Spirituality is a quest for meaning and purpose. It helps to answer fundamental questions about the purpose of life and the mysteries of existence.
  • Spirituality often involves experiences of transcendence – moments when individuals surpass their ordinary limitations and touch upon something sacred or divine.
  • Spirituality aims at inner transformation. It is a journey of self-discovery and evolution towards higher states of consciousness and being.

Spiritual discipline : pathway to inner awakening

Discipline is a bridge between human goals and achievement. It involves practising self-control & self-improvement.

Spiritual discipline is the deliberate engagement in practices that nurture our connection to the sacred. It is a path that takes us close to the symphony of souls. It is a consistent effort made by a person to connect with divine or ultimate reality. It can be prayer, meditation, listening to the inner voice, and generosity, which help us understand our very existence in this world. The focus of conventional forms of discipline is mainly on external behaviours. On the other hand, spiritual discipline aims at purity of mind, awakening the heart, and expanding the soul. Thus, it targets the inner dimensions of consciousness. Spiritual discipline is a practice, not a prescription, that strengthens our spirit, refines our perception, and guides us towards that flicker of inner light.

Principles of spiritual discipline

  • Self-reflection: Spiritual discipline begins with introspection. It is the process of looking into the inner world or examining one’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs with consciousness and honesty.
  • Surrender: The act of complete surrender is central to spiritual discipline. One can move one step forward into the field of spirituality by total surrender to God. Reducing ego, egoic desires, attachments, and illusions will help one open oneself to the divine spirit.
  • Presence: Spiritual discipline emphasises living in the moment. It describes the importance of being fully attentive and engaged in the present moment, free from distractions and preoccupations.
  • Gratitude: Being grateful is fundamental to spiritual discipline. It fosters a sense of humility, appreciation, and reverence for the blessings of life.
  • Compassion: Spiritual discipline extends beyond self-interest to encompass compassion and empathy for everyone. It involves acts of kindness, generosity, and service towards all beings.

Different philosophies offer different perspectives on life


Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world. It revolves around the concept of “Moksha,”  or liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth due to karmic bondage. Moksha liberates the soul from the pain of the material world. Bhakti Marg or the path of devotion; Dyan Marg, the path of knowledge; and Karma Marg or the path of self service and meditation, are the four paths to achieving Moksha.


God is the ultimate reality for Christians. They believe in living life guided by love, kindness, and faith. The teachings of Christ, prayer, and service are ways to union with God. Their highest aim is the final bliss of heaven away from life in space, time, and matter.


Islam emphasises submission to the will of Allah. According to them, the ultimate aim is to seek pleasure from Allah. Islam believes in surrender and obedience to divine will. They also believe in living a life of righteousness and inner peace. Their belief is that daily prayers connect the individual directly with God. Keeping fast, charity and prayer are the ways to achieve inner peace. Islam means surrender and has the extended meaning of peace.


Buddhism believes in achieving Nirvana, perfect enlightenment, and freedom from suffering. Its emphasis is on mindfulness or paying attention to the present moment without any attachment. Following the eightfold path described by Buddha (encompassing the right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration). They also believe in meditation, which, according to Hindu philosophy, is the way to attain Nirvana.

Key practices followed by different faiths

Spiritual discipline is necessary for nurturing and cultivating the soul. Deliberate efforts and regular practice help a person navigate an inward journey.

Fasting or abstinence

This is useful in the initial stages when an individual starts practising spirituality. It helps in cultivating discipline by controlling desires, sacrificing belongings, and leading a sacred life.

Simplicity & moderation

One can concentrate on spiritual development by living a simple life and controlling desires and wishes. It also helps with detachment from materialistic things and concentrating on spiritual development.


Reading sacred books like the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, the Quran, or the study of scriptures, can help in understanding spirituality in the right sense. Learning from a guru or knowledgeable person makes this path easier to follow.

Prayer and meditation

Prayer helps you connect with your inner self. Showing gratitude, chanting mantras, and practising “Dhyan” (focused concentration), are ways to get connected with the inner soul. “Bhakti” feelings of complete devotion and surrendering to God are ways to achieve self-realisation.

Service and Charity: Practising disciplines like selfless service or “Nishkam Karma,” compassion and contributing for the wellbeing of others, keeps individuals directed towards achieving spiritual awakening.

Benefits of a journey within – than just reaching the top

Embracing spiritual discipline is a lifelong journey of inner transformation and awakening. By practising it as a way of life, individuals can overcome their negativities and achieve all round development.

Inner peace and calm

Spiritual discipline helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts. Fear of the future and the unknown is reduced by following spiritual discipline. It also built a sense of contentment and equanimity.

Greater self awareness

Spiritual discipline helps in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a person. It can also motivate and boost a person while following their inner journey. It helps in judging what is right and what is wrong. This helps with personal growth and acceptance.

Meaning and purpose

Spirituality helps in understanding one’s unique role in the world.  It helps in finding out the very purpose of our lives. It also helps in aligning our desires and actions, leading to a fulfilling life.

Compassion and connection

Spirituality makes us contemplate our inner and outer worlds. It fosters a sense of belonging and enhances deep empathy for others.

Close bonding with family and friends

Following the path of spirituality can promote close bonding with family and friends. It helps people deal with physical or emotional pain and other stress in life. It develops a strong sense of community for those who are part of a spiritual group.


Spirituality and spiritual discipline offer a profound pathway to inner transformation and self-awakening. As we navigate the complexities of life, our spiritual disciplines become the compass that guides us. The path towards spiritual disciplines is not so easy. It requires dedication, patience, and a willingness to face challenges along the way. Eventually, by embracing practices that nurture our connection with the divine, we can tap into a source of wisdom, love, and guidance that transcends the limitations of the egoic mind. Regular and conscious practice of spiritual discipline offers not just answers but a way of being—a way of experiencing the world with a sense of wonder, connection, and purpose. We cultivate a deeper understanding of ourselves, our connection to the world, and ultimately, the meaning of our existence.

This is just the beginning. There are countless resources available for everyone on this journey. It includes ancient scriptures and philosophical texts, as well as modern guides and online communities. One must seek guidance and discover what truly nourishes one’s spiritual quest.



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