What is the Meaning of Religion?
“Therefore it means that which binds human beings to each other in the bond of love, sympathy and mutual rights and duties.” According to Christianity religion binds human beings in the bond of love and sympathy. From the Hindi viewpoint, the term ‘religion’ is much more comprehensive and all-inclusive.
In fact, the English word “religion” cannot be an equivalent to ‘Dharma’ as conceived by the Indian seers of yore. In the Hindu sense religion stands for performance of one’s duties. So in many ways ‘Dharma’ is considered as an equivalent of “kartabya’, i.e., duty.
According to Islamic philosophy ‘Mazahab’ is a method of educating man into tenets of behavior and conduct some people associate the purpose of religion with social service.
Here it appears necessary to explain the difference between the term ‘religion’ and ‘sect’. In fact, a sect refers to only some particular ideologies, whereas the meaning of religion is much more comprehensive and it refers to spiritual advancement of a person.
There may be followers of many sects in a particular religion, for example, under Christianity there are Catholic, Protestant, Methodist etc., under Islam there are Shias and Sunnis. Under the Hindu religion there are Arya Samaji, Brahma Samaji, Radhaswamists and many others.
Whatever difference of opinions there might be about the meaning of religion, but at least this much accepted by all that it (religion) helps one to proceed towards a spiritual goal for finding all happiness and peace some people have conceived of a super soul (Paramatma) much higher than man. God is considered as an Almighty and all pervasive.
Everything comes from Him and everything goes to Him. Each particle of the universe is a part of God. Truth, Beauty and Bliss are forms of God. Man advancement lies in the realization of these three tenets. Religion helps one to come near God. Thus religion is the best means to realize God and to obtain the ultimate happiness and peace.
The meaning of the term Islam is quite unique and divine. The word Islam’ has been derived from ‘Sain’ which means ‘peace’ and acceptance of the existence of God. In other words, one has to surrender himself before God peacefully and to get rid of one’s conceit and to accept the universal impact of God.
The importance of the term ‘Dharma’ is also the same. What can bind the various things together? With love and sympathy we may become duty-bound to each other. The essence of Christianity is also the same as that of Dharma.
The term ‘Christ’s’ means bathed in divine wisdom. Vedic Dharma means religion of knowledge. The meaning of Sanatan Dharma is the religions of the eternal self and religion of humanity. The meaning of Bauddha Dharma is the religion of reason.
The above analysis indicates that the meaning of religion is very wide one comprehensive. Religion envelops Truth, Beauty, Bliss, Love, Sympathy and higher values of life. Evidently, religion is closely related with life.