Spirituality · yoga · Yoga & Spirituality

‘Spirituality: Understanding it in the right context’

In this article, I would be talking about ‘Spirituality’. We all know that the spirituality is one of the most controversial & misunderstood subjects in the society, and that’s why I think it’s our responsibility to bring clarity to this and help you understand it in the right context & perspective. Whenever we talk about spirituality, the very first question which comes from people is ‘Are you Hindu’. Hence people think that when we are talking about spirituality we are basically propagating some kind of religious belief. This shows a clear sign of ignorance in the minds of people, which is very unfortunate. The other major factor for such kind of misconception is that people are very judgmental. Without knowing the proper context they start bringing up their own conclusions and which naturally leads to the clash of opinions. As I just used the word Hindu here, I want to take this opportunity to clarify what it means. The word ‘Hindu’ does not mean a religion. If we expand the word Hindu it is H: Himalayas, Indu: Indu Sagara (Indian Ocean). Hence the very word Hindu means the land which lies between the Himalayas and the Indu Sagara. Hindu is not a religion, it is our geographical identity. Any person who lives within these two boundaries is considered as Hindu. I think if every person living in India knows at least this much, there will be no conflict as to who we are and which religion we belong to, ultimately we all are the same human beings existing individually as a piece of creation. I know there is a huge political debate which is happening on this particular issue but keeping that aside, all the people who live in this part of the country are essentially Hindus. It’s not a religion, its the very way of our life.

Now let’s understand what is spirituality and what it means to be in a spiritual process. As I have already written in my previous article that when a person understands the limitations of the physical boundaries and strives to go beyond that boundary, we say the spiritual process has begun for that person. Hence spirituality is nothing but a series of realizations which a person goes through in his life. You might have observed that even a nonspiritual person who has reached a stage where he has crossed his sixties or seventies, he seems to be more inclined towards devotion and mukti. This simply means that with the series of life experiences he has realized that all the activities he performed were actually to attain a certain kind of pleasantness within. What it implies to us is that the person has reached a stage where he has the necessary kind of awareness using which he can keep himself in peace even if he lived his whole life unconsciously.

Now it would have been a completely different possibility if this person would have led a spiritual life. Hence the very nature of a spiritual process is such that the person becomes an active seeker. Which means the person does not simply believe something because somebody is talking about it. He wants to experience it. Whatever that person does, it is a living experience for him. Now when we talk about ‘Atheists and ‘Theist’ originally both these kinds of people are in the same boat. Let’s take ‘Theist’ first. These are the people who believe that there is a god, and he is sitting in some kind of heaven. Now if you ask a theist, whether he has seen a god, he will say no. That means this person simply believes something which he doesn’t know what it is. Similarly, the people who do not believe in god doesn’t seem to understand that when they say ‘I don’t believe in god’ they actually believe that they don’t believe in god. Again they have beliefs of something which they don’t have any idea about. Contrary to both of these, a spiritual person is an active seeker, and he has the audacity to say ‘I don’t know’. Only when you see that you don’t know, the possibility of knowing arises.

When you say I know everything, you have frozen your ideas with assumptions and you destroy the very possibility of knowing. But when you say that you don’t know, you become an active seeker. The spiritual process begins at different stages for different people, depending upon what kinds of circumstances you are exposed to from childhood to later part of your life. But essentially the spiritual process starts to begin only when your survival needs are met. If you go to a person who is dying of hunger and you start preaching about spirituality, you would be wasting your time. Instead of telling him about spirituality, you should feed him and do whatever you can do to bring him out of the poverty. The very nature of human being is such that the ‘Survival need’ is of the highest level. Once this is met only then we can take a step ahead.

We as Indians should be grateful to the nature that we were born here in this particular piece of the planet which we call as India, where the spiritual process has been very very deeply rooted in our culture. I think everyone of you would have experienced that from the very childhood, your parents used to tell you, sit in this particular position while having food, drink water in a sitting posture, place your drinking water in a copper vessel, bow down to the elders, bow down to the food you eat and million other small things which we used to resist simply because of the reason that we didn’t understand the logic behind it. But let me tell you all these simple gestures and acts have played a very significant role in our lives, even though we didn’t realize it. These are the very ingredients of the spiritual awakening within us. The reason why we are forgetting these ‘Samskara'(Deep impressions or imprints in our mind) is that we are blindly following the western culture. I am not saying we should not adopt new things, We should definitely adapt and do new things to be competent enough, but at the same time, we should not forget the Samskara which we have received from our ancestors because that is the very seed which will blossom the spirituality possibility within us. So finally we can say that spirituality is nothing but a very process of bringing a person to the yogic discipline.

If I talk from modern time’s perspective yoga has become a multi-million dollar industry specifically in the western countries. It’s very unfortunate that people perceive yoga simply as a series of postures. Its only because of the way yoga is being practiced and spread in the western countries and it has now started in India as well. Out of the total of 196 sutras which Maharishi Patanjali propounded, people took just one sutra (Asanas) and started calling it yoga. That’s why as Indians we have a huge responsibility that the yogic discipline which started almost 15000 years ago by the Aadi yogi ‘Shiva’, should be understood and transmitted in the proper perspective. The mistake which people are trying to do here is that they are trying to ‘Teach’ yoga. But the fact of the matter is that yoga cannot be taught, It can only be transmitted at the experiential level to the people. And only those people who have had some kind of realizations within themselves can transmit it to the other people.

Let’s take an example, You will not understand about electric current by just reading its definition. The definition i.e the flow of electrons per unit time will never give you an experience of what exactly an electric current is. You might understand it but it is not in your experience. Only when you touch a live wire and you get a shock, you understand the immense power of the electric current. Similar is the case of yoga, No matter how much you practice it, no matter how much you study it, you will not understand the immensity of yoga until or unless you experience it. We need to make necessary arrangements within and around us to make it work. If the physical fitness is what yoga is all about, then all Americans would have become realized beings, but despite having almost 70 percent of the global economic resources, people in America are the most miserable people in terms of their mental health and well-being. One of the scientific studies clearly says that almost 45 percent of the people who are above the age group of 55 living in America are surviving on some kind of psychiatric drugs. Which means if you close all the medical stores in America just for 1 day, almost half of these American people will go crazy. This is the scientific proof that no matter how much materialistic life you live, you can not buy happiness and blissfulness with it. Whether the happiness comes or not, that we don’t know, but misery will surely come if we totally strive for the materialistic life. It will certainly bring comfort at the physical level, but it will never bring an eternal sense of fulfillment.

So I will stop here by thanking all the great sages and gurus of India who were gracious enough to bless India and its people with a technology which has the ability to transform the most sophisticated Gadget in this planet, which is we human beings itself. I am calling it a technology because if you know how to operate it, it will work 100 percent. It has worked & survived for thousands of years & it will work in future as well. We just need to become receptive to it, it’s already there. That’s why in Indian culture it has always been called as ‘Realization’ & not an ‘Achievement’.

Happy Reading 🙂

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