Man with all his religion has not been able to solve even the most elementary of human sufferings and problems. Even though most religions in the world teach us love and compassion and tell us how to enrich our spiritual lives with beliefs and teachings, we have been inheriting a poverty stricken world all around us in terms of spiritual emptiness.

Religion has become more about rituals, about building barriers on the basis of Gods, about communities and about differences in beliefs. It has not helped human beings respect the world in which we are born. It is painful to see such a beautiful planet, our only refuge in space, and our home being destroyed right before our own eyes. Every single human lifetime is enough to put an end to hundreds of species of animals and plants, molest every natural resource around us above or below earth, water or air. Religion has not helped prevent human greed to overpower everything that it sees around itself. What has religion taught?

That we should declare Jihad against the critics of God, that we should wear the turban that God is a malevolent figure that is capable of punishing the heathens? How do these diktats help us or the world around us? Does it prevent us from taking the breath out of our lakes, the fragrance out of our air and the colours out of our vegetation?

Religion should give us the sensitivity to guide us in our daily lives, in all things ordinary and extraordinary. It should give us the wisdom to know how to respect and make use of our blessings and give us the strength to fight our way through problems. Man has achieved milestones when it comes to science and technology but without any spiritual insight.

Religion must remind us of our duty to be kind and caring and understanding to other human beings and not just think of money and material achievement. We talk of development in telecommunications, in medicine, in industrialization, in a hundred other fields. If we were all that successful, should we not have reached out to the weakest and the poorest and bridged the gap between haves and have-nots.

A death of feelings, concern and care for our fellow beings has made us insensitive. Are we the creatures on top of the ladder of evolution? What’s the use of reaching the moon when men are dying in unwanted wars?

Today, in India, religion is about vote banks, about land disputes over temples and mosques, about riots, about reservations and about partition. Everyone has forgotten that religion was meant to help man connect with his higher self so that he can develop a better understanding of his nature and his surroundings. So that he can grow spiritually and live in harmony with nature and his fellow beings.

There is a challenge before all of us to rediscover our respective religions in a new light. We have to raise above all dead systems, call it religion, politics, society, to refuse to be part of that dogma and instead to infuse a fresh approach to the way we have been viewing religion. We must understand that it isn’t about rules, rituals or how we live and what we eat, it is more about understanding ourselves in context with the universe.

It is about knowing that whatever be our material achievements we as human beings must never forget that we are men of conscious and that we need to nourish and nurture our inner beings if we are to evolve as good human beings.