The Spiritual Dimension of Life
10 friends lived together on top of a 100-storied building. Once when they returned after an outing, they found, to their dismay, that the lift was not working. Having no alternative, they decided to lighten the arduous climb by narrating a humorous story each. By the time it was the turn of the last person, they had almost reached the top floor. The tenth person said, “I am sorry, but my story is really tragic. Hearing it will break your hearts to pieces. Its only a one-line story though. I have forgotten the key downstairs!”
The Dead End
Right from our early childhood, its drilled into us that the way to becoming happy is to make it big in life. And accordingly, we roll back our sleeves and get down to work. Slowly, painfully we struggle up the ladder of material success. School, SSC, HSC, Engg / Medical, MBA / MS, Project Leader, Manager?.Managing Director. The dream career growth chart. Assuming that one succeeds (a big assumption), what next?
Just take a look at the life of any of the supposedly successful people around you. Big money, big cars, big houses. And big enemies, big underworld dons?.?big tensions, big terrors. You don’t have to be a Sherlock Holmes to understand that they are not happy. But wasn’t happiness their goal when they started off? What went wrong?
Just as the ten friends forgot about the key while hearing anecdotes, the modern man also forgets the goal of happiness while working hard for achieving his goals. He gets so caught up in the struggle for success (or at least survival) that he forgets that he is not getting any happiness. And it goes on till the 100th floor?death. “I forgot the key to happiness. I foamed and fumed? in vain.” But by then its too late.
Lets look at our own lives. Till whatever rung we have climbed on ‘the ladder of success’, have we become happy? “Its there. Grab it” ??”Hey! Where did it go?” No matter how much we achieve, happiness eludes us. “Its just one step away”, but that’s the way it always stays no matter how many steps we take. “Try but don’t cry”, exhort the diehard materialists. But an intelligent person will think, “Just a minute. Is it intelligence to believe that which has not materialized for me or for anyone else despite years of diligent pursuit?”
The Vedic scriptures explain that each one of us is an eternal, individual being – atman or soul. Our fundamental need is love. And as we are eternal, we need an eternal object of love – the Supreme Person. The ecstasy of this endless love completely satisfies all the innermost desires of our heart.
Everyone implicitly recognizes that love alone can make him happy. But the big mistake that almost everyone falls prey to is to search for that eternal love in the temporary realm of dead matter. People think that by giving more and more wealth to their loved ones, they will get more and more love. But that just doesn’t work. People love the wealth, not the wealthy. And finally the separating sword of time is there to ruthlessly cut off even the wealthiest people from all their loved ones.
The Vedic scriptures do not negate our loving propensity; rather they redirect it to the right person. When we learn to love the Supreme Father, then automatically we develop true love for all living beings (including our loved ones). And this love is truly the wealth of the heart; it can never be thwarted; it conquers all limitations of space and time.
“Spirituality? I Can Do Without It”
Let’s see what Chemistry Nobel Laureate Richard R Ernst has to say: “Science and technology alone cannot solve the problems of the new millenium. We need additional guidelines for our actions? These guidelines have to do with ethics, with philosophy and with faith.”
A person may be able to live without a spiritual dimension to his life, but then he will also have to live without direction, purpose, meaning, happiness and love.
“Spirituality? That’s Unscientific”
Eminent Mathematician Jagadish N Srivastava, CNS Research Professor, Colorado State University refutes this categorically, “Spirituality is not just a bunch of emotions and fantasy. It is the Reality of our existence. Physics lives inside it only.”
A possible doubt, “Most religions worldwide have degenerated to a set empty rituals, which the masses are told to follow without understanding. Isn’t this the cause of the disillusionment of the intelligent and inquistive younger generation with orthodox religion?”
That may be true, but it is important to understand that bad application of a thing does not make the thing itself bad. Actual spiritual life is a higher dimensional science with authorized universities and textbooks. The aspiring spiritual scientist is carefully guided by an expert professor of spiritual science along the path to success in the experiment in spirituality.
“Spirituality? My Life Is Too Fast for It”
Once when a plane was in flight, the co-pilot made an announcement, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we are going very fast and the bad news is that we don’t know where we are going!”
For most people, life is like a 100 meter (or rather 100 year) sprint. No time for thinking. But its a strange sprint. Everyone – the gold medallist, the silver medallist,.. the last runner – gets the same prize – de ath.
If someone still insists that he just wants to come first in such a sprint and that he doesn’t care for anything else, what can be said? “Where ignorance is bliss, it is foolish to be wise.”
Spirituality? That’s Too Dry for Me.”
Can love ever be dry? The love of the material world dries up quite fast. “Love is blind, but marriage is an eye-opener.”
Spiritual life is however the ultimate love. Actual spirituality is not inane inactivity, it is dynamic adventure for the pleasure of the beloved. A real spiritualist sings, dances, travels, works, jokes a
nd rejoices – all in service to God. In fact, he alone enjoys life to the fullest. Spirituality is not self-abnegation, it is self-fulfillment.
“Spirituality? That’s Escapism”
A true spiritualist does not run away from the world; rather he lives in the world and actively fulfils all his responsibilities in such a way as to also achieve the ultimate goal of life– love of God. Being a satisfied, happy, dynamic and responsible individual, he is a beacon light for the whole world.
He differs fundamentally from a materialist because he has received the highest education (raj-vidya), by which he knows how to add God to everything in his life. Thus he lives without becoming entangled in the selfish intrigues of this world. His principle is “Be in this world, but not of this world.”
Spiritual life is an education. Teachers are needed to teach spirituality, but that does not mean that everyone who learns it has to become a teacher. Even in the Vedic times, only a tiny percentage of the population renounced the world and became full-time spiritual teachers. The greatest text of spirituality, Bhagavad-gita, exhorts its student, Arjuna, not to renounce work, but to do work for the Lord.
Thus spirituality can bring happiness into the life of anyone who accepts it. But only the intelligent will take to spiritual life and become happy – now and forever.