Question: How does religious discipline differ from spiritual discipline?Sri Chinmoy: Religious discipline is not asking you to pray and meditate every second of your life. Religious discipline may tell you to go to church once a week and pray to God. That is more than enough for religious discipline. But if it is spiritual discipline, then it will tell you to be conscious of God twenty-four hours a day and to pray and meditate at least twice a day — in the morning and in the evening. Spiritual discipline is a conscious, constant process. It is infinitely more significant than religious discipline, for when one practises spiritual discipline, one tries to be a conscious and constant living instrument of God so that God can manifest in and through him in His own Way. If one follows spiritual discipline, then at the end of the road one feels that one is growing into the very Image of God; whereas if one follows religious discipline, at the end of the road one will say that one has come and seen the goal. Religious discipline at most can lead you to the goal, whereas spiritual discipline or yogic discipline will not only take you to the goal but also make you feel that you are nothing short of the goal itself.
Sri Chinmoy, Flame-Waves, part 6, Agni Press, 1976