The relation between religion and spirituality

Acharya Prashant
4 min readJun 1, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): My sister believes in Christianity and she has also changed her religion. Now, she says that I am on the wrong path. What is the right path and how religion and spirituality are connected?

Acharya Prashant (AP): When the subtle becomes gross, rather the subtle is turned into gross, then all these religious prejudices are born. So when someone says, “Jesus”, one has to first ask, “Who is Jesus?” What do you mean by Jesus? The son of Mary? Who is Jesus?

When somebody says, “I have found my path”, the question to be asked is, “Whose path?” From the gross, inquiry must move to the subtle. And that is also the relation between religion and spirituality. The Truth is subtler than the subtlest. Spirituality is subtle. Religion is gross.

We get attracted to names, forms, conventions. Jesus is not the name or form of Jesus. Who is Jesus? And if you look at the Bible closely, then there is enough in the Bible to clearly see and demonstrate that those who are ardent evangelists are the ones who, probably, missed Jesus the most.

There are two kinds of missionary zeal. One is, when you have really dissolved, really found, and then what you have found disseminates itself from your being. Or rather non-being. This is love. You are like the Sun. You must radiate. This first form of zeal is love.

And then the second form of zeal is when you have not found and you know that you have not found and because you have not found you are insecure. And to cover up your insecurity, you want to gather numbers around you. Because insecurity requires a crowd. Insecurity requires that there must be more like you. Insecurity has a need to prove itself.

So to convince yourself, that you are not as, in a much-debauched state as you really are, you turn outwards. This is evangelism. You are trying to convert the other because you are yourself not converted.

And there is a great difference between love and evangelism. In love too, you bring something precious to the other. But in love, you bring something precious to the other for the sake of the other. In evangelism, you bring something to the other…