Relation between Spirituality and Religion – Talk by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Spirituality is like a banana and religion is like the banana skin. People today have thrown away the fruit and are left holding tightly to the skin. – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

 Ambassador of Peace Sri Sri Ravi Shankar goes on to clarify:

“Religion has it’s place, I am not a communist or an atheist who says religion should be done away with. Let it be there but what is the point of having the skin without a banana inside?! If there is no substance, no human values, no compassion, no love, no sense of belongingness, holding on to the rituals and just the outer identity of religion, which has becomes the cause of more and more conflicts in the world today, is what I was talking about.”

“Religion has it’s place, let it be there. It does have a place. Your weddings are done according to religion, your naming ceremonies, even your cremation. From birth to cremation, your name is all indicated by religion. Let it be there. But let it not swallow or eat up, the basics of spirituality that is love, compassion, sense of belongingness, humility. These values are what you call spirituality.”

Symbolic Love

Commenting on Religious Fundamentalism Sri Sri Ravi Shankar states:

“It is the distress and mistrust in people which causes them to take religion as an excuse to express their frustration and display aggressive, violent behaviour.”

Art of Living Founder and world spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar adds:

“Every child should study a little bit about different religions and cultures. If people knew just a little bit about what Jesus said, what the Upanishads say, what the Vedas say, what Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam say, there would not be a single terrorist in the world.”

“Today’s terrorism is a result of Puritanism: i.e. when people say, “Only my religion is pure. I should keep away from other religious books or I should not be educated in those things. Only this is the way.” That type of religious indoctrination in children has given rise to Taliban sort of movements in the world. We have lost so many people to terrorism.”

Emphasizing that Spirituality is a way of life, a personalized attitude of relating with the world, one based on unity rather than diversity, on love and a sense of belongingness to everyone rather than anger and alienation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar advises:

“Bang on your inner door. See that there is no lack of love in you, there is no lack of anything whatsoever inside you.”

“You can experience God in the depth of your heart. Do not delay a moment. Bang on the door. All the wealth is within you.”