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Religion Is The Body And Spirituality Is The Soul For A Vedantin

To a Vedantin, religion is the body and spirituality is the soul. The body cannot function without the soul and the soul can do nothing without the body. It is spirit and matter. Brahman or pure Consciousness manifests itself through the body-mind organism. This Brahman is the Spirit, or the Self. Only those who dwell in that Spirit or God-consciousness are truly spiritual.

The flesh of a juicy apple develops slowly, protected by its skin. The flesh would rot without the skin, and the skin would dry up without the flesh. Spirituality is like the flesh of an apple, and religion is like the skin.

Most people live on the physical, sensate, mental, or intellectual planes. Only one among millions lives on the spiritual or transcendental plane. When a person says, ‘I am spiritual’, it is hard to say what she or he means. To a Vedantin, every being is spiritual, from the creator Brahma down to an ant, because Spirit or Consciousness dwells in all.

According to some Vedantins, religion and spirituality are intertwined. Religion is connected with external practices such as rituals, worship, fasting, vigils, prayers, singing, chanting God’s name, and so on. Spirituality is connected with practising internal disciplines such as hearing, reflecting, and meditating. Both help human beings to experience their true divine nature.

After experiencing the divinity within, the ancient teachers of Vedanta declared that each soul is potentially divine.