In certain quarters ‘Religion’ has come to mean the opposite of ‘Spirituality-‘ the observance of out-dated law as opposed to spiritual development. A quick search on WordPress.com is sufficient to get an overview of this particular debate. The question is- are these two concepts truly the opposites that some points of view suggest?
As explained by Bahá’u’lláh the rationale of our existence is to express those virtues that comprise the very essence of our being. Bahá’u’lláh referred to the human being as a “mine rich in gems of inestimable value”. However these virtues can only be developed successfully with the guidance of a Divine Educator, as it is not possible with our limited perspective to understand the will of a transcendent God.
Thus over the millennia humanity has been guided by Divine Educators including Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and Bahá’u’lláh. The guidance that each has brought has been both timeless in reiterating key spiritual teachings but also contemporary in revealing laws relevant to that particular age-
“…is not the object of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself both outwardly and inwardly, that shall affect both its inner life and external conditions”?
I would suggest that following the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh unites both the ‘form’ of religion and the ‘content’ of spirituality. This is because of the appropriateness of the social guidance to the age in which we live.
In the words of Bahá’u’lláh-
“Think not that We have revealed unto you a mere code of laws. Nay, rather, We have unsealed the choice Wine with the fingers of might and power. To this beareth witness that which the Pen of Revelation hath revealed. Meditate upon this, O men of insight”!
– Bahá’u’lláh- The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá’í World Centre, 1992 edition