By Shammi Paranjape
Does turning spiritual mean I have to shun the world? Does it mean I have to become serious and sober and abandon fun? On the contrary. Spirituality is nothing but refining your worldly experience. You are the same person doing the same things, only in a different way, with a different attitude. This change of attitude and the way of looking at things and dealing with them is the keynote of spiritual life and it can turn your life around. You learn to treat things in their proper perspective and see the happenings of the world through the prism of consciousness/wisdom/awareness.
How does this change happen? There are many ways. Either an awakening to spiritual truths happens spontaneously within you if you are mature and ready for them, or it happens when a guru enters your life. A catalyst is needed, and it could be anything that creates a shift in your consciousness.
Just as art elevates the ordinary into a thing of beauty, spirituality elevates the human consciousness to the divine. It is like a sculptor chiselling a marble rock into a beautiful figurine. The material is the same but now the lump of marble has beauty and worth.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, “Compassion is the hallmark of devotion and of the spiritual life. No one can hope to please God without showing compassion to fellow beings. It is the highest dharma.”
He further says, “However many scriptures you may read, however many spiritual exercises you may do, if your heart does not melt with compassion at the plight of others then all your scholarship and spiritual sadhana is a sheer waste. Spirituality does not mean going to the forest or leading a solitary life. It means going beyond attachment and hatred and realising the oneness and unity of all mankind.”
It means refining your impulses and abandoning base ideas and expanding your heart. Spiritual life is a life marked by human values like satya, dharma, shanti, prem and ahimsa.
Baba further says, “The ability to rise through effort to higher stages of spiritual evolution is given only to man. Animals cannot do so. But man is gifted with this unique ability to raise his consciousness by his own disciplined efforts. Doing so is extremely rewarding as it opens the gates to all knowledge and all bliss.”
The spiritual path rescues man from the grip of insatiable desires, endless worries, and problems. The steady discipline and sadhana awaken a power in individuals which makes them better equipped to face and overcome the constant challenges that are thrown up. Faith and trust in a higher power leads to mental equanimity, which eases the agitations and anxieties of life.
Above all, spirituality opens the heart to compassion and ignites a sincere desire to help all, without any distinctions. In this way it helps not only yourself but all others too.
Today is the birth anniversary of Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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