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Many a times I have seen people visiting temples, offering votives, conducting poojas, yagnas and even offering sacrifices of innocent animals to please their gods! Some more ardent devotees even go to the extent of observing month-long foodless fasts, piercing their body, or offering their blood as sacrifice to their deities. Sometimes I can't believe how diverse out religious system is. Believing in god and following a religion is all we have been taught since our birth. Our parents tell us to be spiritual, but my question is, does spirituality or rather say religion is confined within a temple, church or a mosque?

With this I don't intend to offend anyone. Everyone is free to follow his or her own beliefs. I just want to voice my personal thoughts.

One moment you'll find people talking all sort of religious things, 'Geeta Updesh' and what not, the next you'll see them bad-mouthing about other people. You just don't understand what their real nature is? Whether they are really spiritual or just pretend to be, you just can't say. But anyways, that's not my point! My point is what exactly does spirituality hold in today's world? Although, I may not be the right person to be asking this question, or say answering this question, as I'm myself not as spiritual as we are supposed to be, but this question keeps heckling me every now and then.

Actually, I'm spiritual but in my own way! To me spiritually is not all about sitting in a quite sacred place for hours, or meditating incessantly – although I do mediate sometimes to ease my stress, but that's only once in a while. With time, ideals of spirituality have changed, at least for me. We Indians love to tout ourselves as god fearing people! No matter what the occasion is, we line up at temples to offer prayers, and in the process push others in the queue to get ahead. Take the recent stampede in Chamunda Temple for example, where 150 people lost their life, while on their way to temple. The reason? Some reckless young men who were pushing other pilgrims to get ahead, causing some to slip and the rest is tragedy. Now, you blame it on fate, but for me this was sheer ignorance on part of temple authorities which did not put in many efforts to manage the crowd.

Spirituality teaches us to value human life and not risking it for reasons as stupid as getting ahead in a queue. Spirituality is as you feel it and not as you're are forced to believe it. Most of us confuse spirituality with religion, when in fact religion is just one small aspect of whole wide spirituality. In India, however, it's difficult to differentiate between the two because of our several contrasting and sometimes illogical religious beliefs. Being spiritual is being yourself; it is living by your own values, it is being in the spirit. We need to understand that spirituality is something that helps our soul to evolve to a higher being, unlike religion, that restricts us from saying or doing what we want to do.

In the end, it does not matter how many fasts you observed or how many pilgrimages you made, all that counts is what you feel inside. So, if you feel content from inside, if you realize your worth and your purpose in life, you automatically get a step closer to the god.

Please do comment and let us know your thoughts on the topic!