In general a religious person can be defined as someone who adheres to the set norms and practices of a particular religious tradition. He shows interest in expressing beliefs in the divine power through various rituals and rubrics. An analysis of the behaviour of such persons would reveal that some special streaks of beliefs and expressions could be found. It can be summarised as total obedience to religious laws because he feels God made them, spends any amount of time in glorifying and praising to please God, feels severe remorse for committing sins because it may displease God, fasts for God and gives charity for the sake of God and above all feels that his religion is the best among all.
Even though I tried to sketch a religious person, I feel it could be clear through a few examples. A rich religious man lived in a town. He always made sure to attend all the religious ceremonies. He felt that he was very close to God when he was with the priest. He offered much assistance to people who were serving religion and spent a lot of time with them. He made it a routine to visit the sick, the poor and the needy. He talked to them about the benevolent love of God. He invited them to join his prayers and other major celebrations. He preached the superiority of his God and his religion. One-day he came to know from the high priests that many people were leaving his God and religion. So he was very upset and made plans with the leaders and rulers to stop them. He stopped preachers of other faiths, never allowed to initiate any rational conversation. He used violence even to the point of killing preachers of the other religion. One-day morning he realized that he could not get up from the bed due to paralytic attack. Nearly a decade he lived on bed. Now he felt that death was near him so called his sons and daughters, and told them, “I have done everything to save our religion and God but my suffering is unthinkable, I do not know whether it all pleased the God?”
If we rightly understand, Religion is a road map that leads to God. The road covers all the nook and corner where all living beings live. So to reach the destiny everyone will have to travel all through the way. I think that the basic principle to reach heaven must be cause least uncomfortable situations to people whom we know and whom we do not know because all are God’s children.
A priest lived in a village. He practised all rules and regulations prescribed in the book. He never missed to read any obligatory prayer. He spent hours in meditation and prayer. Except in religious activities kept timing attending functions, office working, house visiting, talking to people etc. He insisted workers to be in time supervised that they never to waste time. In whatsoever reason he would cut the wage of persons who were absent part from the allotted leave. He never allowed himself or anyone else to break even a letter of the law. People called him a principled man. An elderly man lived near his monastery. He used to come regularly for prayer. He helped anyone who was in need. People called him son of God. One day he died. Crowds of people gathered to bid farewell. They brought him to the priest for his last rites and burial. The priest came out in his official attire, red out an excellent eulogy but ended with a reading from the law that prescribe requirements for a person to receive a religious funeral. He said, “I m sorry dear people, this man has not followed the law, so it does not permit me to give him a funeral, so you may take and burry him.”
One of the greatest dangers that engulfs today is, in pursuit of a holy life people end up in being religious. Religiosity is often mistaken by the undiscerning believer for spirituality. We must understand that there is a world of difference between the two. The former is human, the latter is divine. Blind adherence to the law could make people religious, but not spiritual. Religiosity is taken up with the external and visible things and law is a cobweb that keeps all within its ambits. Will it be true to say that all religious founders gave a book of law to reach to the Supreme Spirit, but its care takers use the laws to control life and death?