Religion has been defined or understood as a way of life prescribed by the great seers to get the sole purpose fulfilled. True, the seers come in different periods of history and civilization, which explain the nature of various prescriptions based, as they are on the circumstances and phases of development of society in particular parts of the world where they lived. The prescriptions may at times be opposed to each other e.g., the pagan belief in the principle of violence-- eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth-is the product of a particular age in a particular society However, they also change if the circumstances change bringing about spectacular development in society as the mind grasps the spirit of time. The diverse principles do all come under the definition of Religion.
All the religions have but one common thing, despite contradictions, and that is to aspire for and employ all might and resources to realize the sole purpose of life. These efforts, in turn, impart pleasure and a sense of fulfillment. To the preciseness howsoever different their prescribed ways may be. If the followers of one religion derive pleasure in sacrificing animals in the name of God, others feel hurt to see the mass killings of innocent animals. The practice of the followers of the Islam in their festival Bakrid or the sacrifices of the Hindus during their religious worship of idols are done to please the deity as also to bring pleasure to one’s self seen as an observance of a pious duty towards the Creator. Going to the other side, The Jainese always put a mask round their mouth and nose to escape killing of even infinitely small insects going stealthily through their nose or mouth .The Budhists too uphold non-violence as their creed and practice it in word, thought and action. The observance of the duty, in turn, gives pleasure and the believers in their different creeds feel contented within.
The moot point that arises is as to what determines and guides the various practices to be precise; it is the sense of duty at the bottom. This duty, as said above, is towards an unseen, imperceptible entity who is immeasurably powerful, kind, hard task master, loving, just but uncompromising and capable of inflicting punishment by way of disease, misfortune, separation from, etc loved ones and is also capable, if pleased by the actions of the individuals, of granting unbounded joy, fortune, good health and the like. This imparts a color of divinity to the mighty entity and gives birth to the element of fear in all human beings. It is a universal truth, which manifests itself in various forms. However, no single explanation can be put forward for the element of fear in the minds of men and women but that it is present is a certainty in whatever form it may exist. It is for this that all the religions in the world have common tenets and principles. No religion encourages theft or gives permission for killing innocent persons, or prefers falsehood to truth, hatred to love or for things considered immoral in the public eye.
However, it is not only the fear of the supernatural power alone, which prompts actions by human beings as a duty. The other factor and one of the major ones, is also for the insatiable desires of human beings for power, pelf and limitless worldly pursuits. It is to please the Almighty in a bid to achieve what they cherish as immensely valuable in their lives. All these, in practice, generate hope to get pleasure and happiness in their lives.by His grace as a gift for the duty by them.
Another important way of deriving pleasure from religion comes from accepting a life of humility, meekness, mercy towards others who have wronged them in some form or the other., justice, piety etc--the soft and benevolent traits of divinity in imitation to God’s ways who would be pleased to find the pious disposition of the human beings. This is done by practicing the rigors of self-discipline. The more the devout the person is, there more satisfaction and pleasure he derives as the true spirit of religion cheers as well as composes the soul. It fills the mind with a perpetual serenity and uninterrupted calm and pious cheerfulness quite different from fulfillment of worldly desires.
The enlightenment that religion dawns upon human beings gives rise to a feeling of elation and of rising to Elysium heights, which gives him freedom from the harsh and crude realities of life. He surrenders his entire self before God and escapes the strain and turmoil of problems in daily life, even the responsibilities for success or failure in life which he. Experienced in the past or would come to pass in future.
Prayer is yet another lesson rendered by religion which human beings invariably resort to in order to derive pleasure in life. Prayer imparts piety, calmness and serenity to them and also the kindred feeling of heightened feeling. It is a direct means of hitting hard at the vicious and damnable ego which majority of them suffer from. This process of self-effacement deepens the intensity of dedication by the submergence of the self in the pursuit of an ideal, which readies him to spend himself without measure almost ecstatically. The person does not consciously apprehend the logic of it but does so instinctively or by intuition. This is the ultimate of religion which gives ultimate of joy and pleasure.. Every age has given its appraisal for prayer as commendable for the purification of soul and also for the fulfillment of desires to a great extent. Tennyson, a great poet of the Victorian Age opined the “More things are wrought by prayer than the world dreams of”.
The other gift of pleasure given to human beings by prayer is also worthwhile to note. Practice of religion is a private affair by all means but prayer alone can be offered to God in groups and public also with accompanying music and chanting of hymns which provide pleasure altogether different in nature. A thought or a feeling finds expression as symptoms in the body. As thoughts and actions are very closely connected. If a man gets the feeling of happiness, the first symptom of this feeling is exhibited in the eyes and then it descends to the lips and make the emotion clear when the lips stretch to a wholesome smile. Prayer engenders pious thoughts, which express themselves in pleasing disposition and sweet temper. This again is the subtle pleasure to the person as a gift from religion.
However, it is not always correct to enjoin spirituality to religion. They are two distinct propositions and depend a lot upon each other though. Spirituality is concerned more so with the other-worldliness where religion is primarily meant for this-worldliness. That is to say, if spirituality be the goal, religion is just the means to achieve it. The prevailing misconception about this often results in violent clashes and irreligious actions Religion never puts any bar human beings from any innocent pleasure or comfort in human life. On the other hand, it purifies the pleasure by lending piety and serenity and also a calm and undisturbed conscience to forge ahead its path into the realms of paradise.
Religion is also pleasurable in its numerous manifestations. The two propositions of deriving pleasure from religion and its being pleasurable may, in the beginning, appear to be very very close making the distinctions between the two rather difficult. However, they have different connotations and are like two sides of a single coin To understand the religion‘s trait of being pleasurable, we must realize that anything which develops affinity with our feelings, emotions, thoughts. Or likings attract and give pleasure in. Religion, which follows, gropes deeper to trace out the affinity, which is often latent in one’s own culture and social environment. The incidents cited in course of religious teachings open new vistas for more nearness and for a sanction, as it were, for what one does. The gentle person goes through his religion and lauds its heroics. He is filled with pleasure. He feels greater satisfaction in doing his precious little as prescribed in his religion as different from what is there in other religions. He is inspired to delve deeper and deeper to find out the gems to satiate his love for his religious pursuita. Love, in turn, imparts piety making religion all the more pleasurable. Religious trends different from other religions fascinated him making him proud of his own religion as he continually tries to establish its superiority over other religions This tendency is not negative as such as it is often practiced with a pious intention and undeterred love for his own religion which makes it intensely pleasurable.
Religion becomes immensely pleasurable when we come across the genesis and the stages, which led to the establishment of our religion in particular. . Further, it is always gratifying to learn. Through religion the explanation of creation of the universe which is almost always the starting point of a great religion. . The explanation may, not be acceptable or plausible in the face of scientific advancements; nevertheless they make own religion pleasurable without saying. Moreover, the revelations made to a Prophet, Messenger or made by the so-called Incarnations of God are not only awe-inspiring but educative too. We learn what was the culture, structure of society in the backdrop of religion and the events, which helped its propagation. Sacrifices of the religious teachers; their own troublesome paths who braved great odds during their efforts to establish their religion. This is true of all religions, by and large, in the initial stages for there is always a clash between the traditional values and new norms howmuchsoever rational or novel they might be.. Superstitions do prevail as they are attributed to the supernatural powers. Are no less pleasurable .if later they are found to be simple laws of nature to cite an example it may be mentioned that the Parliament in session used to be dissolved in Rome if there was a clap of thunder. And it portended some unpleasant happenings and symbolizes the wrath of the god of rain and the king of heaven. Such anecdotes in religion leave us wondering how people stuck to them
There is yet another example of religion being pleasurable but in a different texture giving pleasure of a higher sensibility. They come from the people who lived and died for the pious cause of our religion. Inspire and please us with a sense of pride and veneration for them. It inspires us to imbibe the same steadfastness’ in our belief and conviction but away from diabolical zealots who unceremoniously waged wars for the spread of their religion which is still the practice in many parts of the world.
Religion in essence teaches us to uphold the virtues in life, which we generally miss in this age of fast life and paucity. Truth has always fascinated human beings and we also desire to lead a virtuous life. Minute observation of their teachings and their delineations make the reading a pleasant experience and an endeavor as worth taking.
Thus religion proves pleasurable for all inquisitive persons who like to find tested tips with the sanction of religion, if possible, for good health, virtuous life in the scriptures though they are based on the knowledge of the past but hold true even to-day. Religion for them is the epitome of knowledge and to read them from close is certain to fill all seekers of knowledge with ecstatic joy. Religion remains to be the only principle and safe hypothesis for a man to live or die by.