What is the difference between being religious and being spiritual? (TMY JJ of 12-8-18)

1. Being religious in the right way and the right spirit includes spirituality. However, if one does not practice religion in the right spirit, and if the practice of religion becomes purely mechanical, than it becomes devoid of spirituality.

2. If a person believes that being religious just means meticulously following the practices of the religion like prayers and tarikats without thinking, internalising and making conscious efforts to change one’s life, than it becomes mechanical.

3. Being spiritual means consciously living in awareness of one’s self, one’s mind, one’s soul and working towards evolving and making oneself better. Spirituality means being in harmony with the seen and unseen worlds. The unseen worlds include our inner self and the external divine world. The seen world is the entire creation around us with which we have to live harmoniously.

4. If one is just mechanically religious, one may not necessarily become a good human being. One needs to find the purpose behind the practises of the religion and perform them consciously. The conscious performance of religious principles and practices can lead one to goodness and humanity.

5. Just being religious in a mechanical way, may make one feel good, but it will not actually work towards improving one at the mental and spiritual levels. However, mechanical practise of the religious principals, after following all the ritual and purity requirements, may augment one’s khoreh (divine energy) which in turn may help at various levels.

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What is the role of Ram Yazad? (TMY J J of 5-8-18)

  1. The name Rām is the Pazand form of the Avesta word rāman. As a common noun it means “joy” and as a proper noun, it is the name of the Yazad who presides over joy. The name of the Hindu god Rāma has no connection with this Yazad.
  2. Ram Yazad is the Hamkar (co-worker) of Bahman Ameshaspand, who presides over the ‘good mind.’ Hence if one wants to be joyful, one needs to have control over the mind and keep it good. Since Ram Yazad is the Hamkar of Bahman Ameshaspand, we observe Rām roj as an an-roja (no meat day).
  3. Since Ram Yazad presides over joy, pleasure and domestic happiness he is invoked at the time of marriage by the performance of the Varadh-pattar baj just before marriage ceremony. In fact the phrase ‘shādi rāmashni’ actually means happiness and joy.
  4. Since Ram Yazad presides over joy of life, and one of his works is to bring together, his name is omitted in the ‘Jasa me avanghe mazda, amahe hutashtahe’ when recited in some after death prayers, as death is the separation of the soul from the body and hence not a joyous happening.
  5. Ram Yazad works along with Meher Yazad in looking after the space between the earth and the sky. That is the reason why a baj is recited in honour of Ram Yazad just before the Chahrom (dawn of the fourth day after death) to request him to give a safe passage to the soul of the deceased on its way to the spiritual world.
  6. Vāyu Yazad is an associate of Rām Yazad. Whenever Ram Yazad is invoked, Vāyu Yazad is always invoked along with him. Vāyu Yazad is described as travelling by a golden chariot with golden wheels. He also presides over the space between the earth and the sky – the path which the souls of the departed ones have to travel on the dawn of the fourth day to reach the other world. Vāyu is an Indo-Iranian divine being and hence worshipped by both the Indians and the Iranians. In the Rig Veda too, Vāyu presides over the wind and is depicted as traveling swiftly in a chariot drawn by horses.