Spirituality transcends religion
The world is on the edge of World War III due to the misuse of politics and religion. For centuries, millions of people have died for the sake of religion and in the name of God. God did not create religions to promote fighting among human beings, but man-made religions have promoted intolerance and violence among cultures.
God sent His messengers, prophets, teachers and sages from time to time and in different countries to teach people the truths of life and spirituality. In olden days, spiritual knowledge was transferred orally to people, as there were no written means available.
People, especially the extremists, have twisted God's words. They have brainwashed the younger generation, saying that if you die in the name of God or fight a holy war, you will go to heaven. A true holy war is a peaceful demonstration against injustice. As a last resort weapons are used when the lives of children, women and the elderly are in danger. If you kill innocent human beings on earth for no cause, then how can you achieve a special place in heaven?
When a child is born, he or she is not Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Sikh. He is a pure spiritual being with pure consciousness. It is the family, which belongs to a particular faith and follows certain rituals, traditions and belief systems, that passes on those values to their children. A child's mind is like a blank slate, and whatever it is taught -- good or bad -- by the family, religion or society, it stays there for the child's entire life.
The misuse of ego, anger and power are the major causes of maladjustment, violence and war. Since World War II we have fought more than 165 wars. One of the causes of war is ideological differences between men. They are the underlying roots of many conflicts that have led men to take up weapons against each other.
Mahatma Gandhi believed, experienced and preached that nonviolence is the highest religion. He united people from all faiths in India. He pointed out that religions are like different labels, and God is eternal. He said, "I am Hindu, Muslim, Jew and Sikh." Gandhi suggested that people remove these labels and advised them to follow the path of brotherhood and nonviolence.
No religion is superior to another. God does not belong to one caste, society or nation. God is universal and eternal, and He resides in the heart of all human beings, no matter if a person is rich or poor, or belongs to one religion or another. I believe that spirituality is beyond religion in our life. At a spiritual level, we are all interconnected, and we are part of God and the cosmic universe.
God's love is pure and unconditional. God does not punish anyone and does not take enjoyment in dividing people or religions; it is men who divide man from man for their own selfish purposes and unknown fears. When you have self-confidence and strong faith in God, He is always with you. When God is near, there is no fear.
We have forgotten the messages of the Bible, Quran, Bhagvad Gita, Guru Granth Sahib and Baha'ullah. We have added layers of false beliefs, greed and desire for material possessions.
The ancient Hindu scriptures, the Vedas, state, "Let us have concord with our own people and concord with people who are strangers to us. Love creates peace between us and strangers, and a unity of hearts."
We need to teach our children to respect all other religions and encourage them to integrate good things from every religion in their lives. When we change, the world changes.
Raj Kumar was born in India and follows Hinduism. He is the author of several books, including "The Secrets of Health and Healing."