Vedas are the oldest books. Vedas are the repository of all knowledge. Here in religion has been described in its wider perspective.
According to the Vedas, the efforts, which inspire man for various conducts and develop human qualities, fall in the category of religion. Hence, than in characteristic of religion is inspiration for virtuous conduct.
The modern word ‘Religion’ cannot be a synonym for ‘Dharm’, because ‘Dharm’ has been considered as all-pervading in Indian scriptures.
All activities from rising in the morning to sleeping at night and death and actions after death are all included in ‘Dharm’. In fact, whatever qualities a person acquires are his Dharm. Here qualities mean human qualities which are universal.
In Islam ‘mazhab’ is a way of imparting education for virtuous conduct. According to the philosophy of this religion, ‘namaz’, ‘Roja’ and ‘Haj’ are considered, a method for creating universal love and feeling of neighbourhood. To give some benefit to the society or social service are considered as a part of this religion.
Religion and Sects (Belief)
Some narrow minded people evince unnecessary opposition by equaling religion with sects. We should clearly understand the meaning of religion and sects.
Religion is taken in the wider sense which means spiritual development of human society through the welfare of mankind. In other words; religion means human religion which every society is prepared to accept.
A sect (belief) is a specific religious view point of a group of persons. That is the individual belief of the persons of that group, based on the wider values of religion.
It is not necessary for other sects to accept that belief. Hindu religion accepts the opinion of Vedas, Islam that of the Quran and Christians of Bible. Hindu Dharm has been divided into Buddha sect, Jains, Sikh, Vedic (Sanatan and Arya Samaj) according to the different methods to philosophers and thinkers of these sects, although all these sects are parts of Hindu Dharm.
Some agitators and diplomats propagated it as different religions in order to create faction in Hindu Dharm. The idea behind this propaganda was to cut off the organisation and unity of Hindu Dharm.
It is amazing that some Hindus also accepted the sects as different religions.
Islam Dharm has its original form the word ‘Salm’. ‘Salm’ means peace which has been interpreted as knowing God peacefully and surrendering the self before Him. This is the true nature of Islam.
Whenever someone seeks the shelter of God, forgetting his vanity and pride, he attains all-round development and divinity is radiated from his personality. In Christian religion, Christianity was formed from the word ‘Christos’ which means ‘bathed in Divine wisdom’.
Thus Christian religion extends that divine wisdom which creates brotherhood, love, sympathy and tolerance in the human society.
Vedic religion, is based on Vedas, ‘Ved’ means knowledge. Hence Vedic Dharm means that scientific knowledge which by recognising the existence of ‘Inner self and ‘Supreme self i.e. ‘Antaratma’ and ‘Parmatma’, develops human qualities like, nonviolence, truth, humanism, love and compassion, etc.
Thus religion is a source of morality. Science can be of great help in this direction, but science devoid of religion is meaningless. Religion is all-pervading and Universal. So it should be included in education.
Mis-use of Religion and Violence
Due to ignorance and superstitutions some universe followers of religions have strangulated humanity and have committed great atrocities.
The reason for such violent attitude is misinterpretation of religion. These religions hypocrisies of violent nature committed so many atrocities on humanity that man began to hate religion.
These committing oppressions in the name of religion were non-Vedic (unwise) and selfish. Religious reformers born from time to time led the people to the right path and presented the true nature of religion. Buddha, Mahavir, Shankaracharya, Dayanand, etc., were such great personalities.
In the Western countries Rousseau and Locke suggested to save education from wrongly interpreted religion. Corrupt practice, in various religious bodies in the name of religion created hatred for religion.