Q: Can you realize God by following Religion?
Religion is a set of beliefs, customs, duties which came into existence by the Founder, who was in the search of the Origin; as per their limited level and approach. Followers of the Founders, tried to absorb the teachings as per their capacity and capability. In this process, as per the saying “there’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip”; the purpose went off the track. And gradually it degenerated to such a state that the intellectuals found it as wage-less labour and for the self-centred man it became means to fulfill their material needs.
The present day religion brings us the idea of multiplicity, hatredness, enemity, narrow mindedness, prejudice, fanaticism and bigotry. Even the rites and rituals, dogmas appear to be superstitious. Its spirit is lost. And true religion is buried in the grave.
There is lot of exaggeration and personification in the religious literature about God. God has made man in his own image and even man has made God in his own image. God appears to be in the limitation to that person who is himself under bondage and hence whenever he remembers God he thinks God to be like him. People try to have His darshan in the same form just as presented in the idols, photographs, signs, symbols, solid things etc.
God has no form and figure. Hence God is said as omnipresent. If there was any particular form or figure He would have been present at any one place only. A religious man who sincerely worships God, if he gets the thought that there is something Supreme to be sought for and it is very much within him, in the innermost core of the heart, then it is the end of religion. Later on, he has to proceed to find the ways and means to achieve it and seek the capable guide in this field who has already traversed the path.
When the seeker wants nothing from God but God alone and has the aspiration for the Highest he receives the training from a Samarth Sadguru (capable and adept Master). He infuses in the seeker the idea or concept of God to be devoid of all the attributes, adjectives, qualities, description etc. This is the beginning of the study of Self which is Adhyatma or Spirituality.
So one has to evolve from the religion which is knowing, towards spirituality which is ‘having and then becoming’. Further, one transcends to Reality and then to Ultimate Reality which is the real goal of human life.