Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda


Insights & Inspirations (Venkatesa Daily Readings Vol 2) — Religious Life Versus Divine Life

August 10, 2018

Religious LifeVersus Divine Life

Vidya      The world has never lacked good people. There are many religions (in fact too many!) in the world today claiming countless adherents. All that is good, excellent, wonderful, super-wonderful. But spiritual life or divine life is a different life.

     Spiritual life can grow out of a religious life, out of a good life, and even outside of a religious or a good life. That is, it is possible for a man who has had no religious training at all, for an atheist, to be suddenly awakened to the existence of the Supreme Spirit. It is equally possible for a man who has not been good to get a sudden inner transformation and awakening.

     In religious life, as it is popularly understood, religion is one part of life - prayers in the morning and evening, regular visits to the temple, observance of fasts and festivals, etc. In divine life, the entire life is divinized. In a good life goodness is adhered to as a ritual, as an end in itself. In spiritual life, this goodness is founded on the right spirit.

     This does not mean that divine life or spiritual life is opposed to a religious or a good life: on the contrary, it is the fulfillment of a religious or an ethical life. Goodness becomes more stable when founded on spiritual life; religion regains its significance when life is made divine. But the spiritual life is definitely opposed to worldly or materialistic life. It should awaken in us the consciousness that we are in truth the Immortal Spirit. It should result in our expressing our essential divine spiritual nature in our thoughts, words and deeds. This demands keen discrimination, intelligent dispassion and firm determination. This demands an ability to make sacrifices, a daring spirit of adventure and a willingness to make the necessary psycho-spiritual experiments which might cost us not only the pleasures of this worldly life but our life itself.

      All this is possible more easily when our spirit (not only our body) is young, than when the senility of pessimism and infirmity has overtaken us and we cling to the false security of riches and relations.

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