What is the purpose of religion?

man tu jot sarup

The purpose of any religion, or specifically Sikhism, is to reconnect us to our true self. Gurbani says that our true self is the divine light. Each one of us is a divine ray and thus, inherits all the qualities of divine light. What are the qualities of divine light or God?

God is the embodiment of all the virtues such as

  • Love
  • Kindness
  • Forgiveness
  • Joy
  • Bliss
  • Peace
  • Compassion
  • Wisdom
  • Intelligence
  • Benevolence
  • Abundance
  • Magnanimity
  • Mercy

Abraham Hicks uses the phrase “pure positive energy” for God.

Thus, in our true nature, we are full of joy, peace, bliss, compassion, wisdom, benevolence, kindness, and love.

However, clearly, our life doesn’t reflect this reality. On the contrary, most of our lives are filled with hatred, struggle, jealousy, suffering, vengeance, lust, greed etc.

The reason that there is so much struggle and suffering in our lives is that there is a huge disparity between our lived lives and our true nature. When there is a harmony in our life with our true nature, all struggles disappear, and we become light, and our life becomes filled with joy, peace, and love.

Why is our life so different from our true nature?

Because of the social conditioning, the beliefs that we carry, which effects the way we view the world and live our lives.

While Gurbani says we are souls or divine rays, none of us live our life believing that. We understand ourselves to be this body and mind, not to be a soul. If I am a soul, what is the role of this body and mind? If I am a soul, what does it mean to my day to day life? If I am a soul, what is the purpose of this life, and all the activities that engage in? Clearly, we haven’t pondered on these questions.

Haven’t we implicitly assumed Gurbani and all other scriptures to be false and incorrect? If we don’t believe that we are souls having a physical experience and not live our lives according to this belief, aren’t we doubting Gurbani itself?

Clearly, we don’t have faith in Gurbani. And given years and lifetimes of conditioning that we have gone through, it will take some time and some diligent effort on our part to even be open to the ideas presented in Gurbani. Right now, we are not even open to the ideas presented in Gurbani. We just nod in agreement to what Gurbani says, but every second of our life shouts that we don’t believe in Gurbani.

The purpose of a religion or Gurbani is to make us aware of our divine heritage. No matter what we are doing or pursuing in this world, ultimately all pursuits are pursuits of happiness. Everything that we are trying to achieve in this world, we are trying because we think possessing that thing will bring us happiness. No one is seeking suffering or sadness. Now, the interesting thing is that Gurbani says all fountains of joy, peace, and happiness dwell within us. Joy is our natural inheritance. Joy is our true nature. So, once we connect to our real nature, we’ll be joyous without bounds. We’ll not suffer anymore.

This is the purpose of Gurbani. To connect us to our divine nature. To change our beliefs so that we don’t deny our divine inheritance. To take us slowly back home – the home of endless joy, peace, bliss, and love.

All the rituals, practices or customs that are a part of a religion are meant to help us connect with our divine heritage. Gurbani says:

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If we don’t realize our soul or divinity, all the rituals or practices that we call “religion” will be bogus and useless. Gurbani says:

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If we think that any ritual or practice is not helping us develop faith in our divine heritage or love for our Guru, then we should abandon that practice or ritual. We shouldn’t mindlessly continue to engage in practices just because older generations have. Practices and rituals are not ends in themselves. They are means to spiritual growth. If they don’t aid spiritual growth, they should be abandoned.

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