What matters most for a seeker in the spiritual pursuit?
- The first and foremost ideal in life must be to lead a truthful life, whether it be through the spiritual quest of Self Realization or through a selfish cum egoistic pursuit of sensuality and materialism. The mode of living, whether it be through the liberal approach of introverted spiritual pursuit or through the utilitarian approach of extroverted materialistic cum sensual pursuit is secondary or immaterial provided our ideals are prioritized for the ultimate achievement of the selfless ideal of Self Realization. Though the spiritual pursuit is the ultimate solution, one cannot overstep one’s true level of spiritual evolution. This is because overstepping beyond one’s present caliber will only result in injuring oneself that will consequently result in unnecessary slow down of spiritual progress. Everything within the limits or in moderation or gradual improvisation is most recommended or prescribed by the wise spiritual masters. Imagine a dynamic, ambitious youngster, who is vibrant with passions and desires of his age, abruptly signing off from worldly living and claiming renunciation. Does this act befit his current state of existence, unless he is naturally a great evolved soul? The appropriate answer would be a big ‘NO’. What I am trying to emphasize is “There is a method in this madness, though it be madness”. The scriptures profess the ultimate truth that life is an illusion, that the pleasures, happiness and enjoyments we seek through our material aspects of Physical body, Mind, Memory, Intellect and Ego are all fleeting or ephemeral and do not last for eternity. Scriptures also profess that the Truth, our true original nature of supreme bliss is within ourselves and that our ego and desires of the Mind need to be given up to achieve Self Realization. Yes, we all agree with the basic precepts, but it is the methodology or proper procedure to achieve that Self Realization that matters most. We all must recognize the fact that just by our will and wish we cannot instantly become a Self Realized soul. There are proper preparatory courses and practices /spiritual exercises that one must undergo to cruise on the path with grace and precision to progress/proceed in the chosen spiritual endeavor/path. Dexterity is an essential quality of a true spiritual seeker.
Vedanta an ancient Indian philosophy elaborates on the methodologies and proper procedures to be undertaken for that Self Realization. It professes Karma Yoga (Path of Action-Selfless service, sacrifice, performance of Duty without result orientation), Bhakthi Yoga (Path of Devotion- Non hatred towards all the beings, universal love, unconditioned kindness and affection, impartial friendship towards all, Gratitude and surrender towards the Divine Providence, spiritual personalities, wise and noble benefactors) and Gnana Yoga (Path of Knowledge (Fixing and pursuing a higher, noble, selfless ideal of Self Realization with dedication and consistency of purpose till the goal is achieved, Studying scriptures/ spiritual/philosophical subjects along with practice of reflection and contemplation in the early morning between 4.00 A.M and 6.00 A.M called the auspicious time of “Brahma Muhurtha”, Developing and practicing of sublime and noble virtues of living like humility, forgiveness, uprightness, self control or control of senses, not initiating any work, non egoism, non possessiveness, Not disturbing the world and being undisturbed by the world, self sufficiency, Giving up falsities and all the negative desires and emotions, Practicing Introspection for 10-15 Minutes before going to bed about the day’s activities and proceedings, etc.) in appropriate proportions based on the composition of the individual personality. Some may be predominantly physical or active personalities needing more of karma Yoga, some may be predominantly Emotional personalities needing more of Bhakthi yoga and some others may be predominantly intellectual needing more of Gnana Yoga. Only through observance of these spiritual practices, the individual personality becomes refined and hence prepared for the final step of Meditation. By practicing meditation optimally within one’s bearable limits or within their capability from the beginning of the spiritual practices, the seeker attains Self Realization. The most important point is that Result orientation in the spiritual path is to be avoided at all cost. Do your best and leave the results to God’s disposal and accept the outcome graciously without unnecessary biases. Shri Adi Sankara in his famous work- Bhaja Govindam, states that all these spiritual practices must be adopted and pursued gradually and the seeker must progress slowly and steadily in the path of Self Realization. Haste or hurry in the path, that is result orientation (That is worrying or having anxiety for one’s own spiritual evolution) with respect to spiritual growth is absolutely forbidden.
- Thus along with fixing the appropriate and highest ideal of life called Self Realization, it is necessary that a spiritual seeker must imbibe the qualities of Patience (Titiksha is the word for patience in Sanskrit), dedication and devotion to the chosen ideal of Self Realization (Shraddha in Sanskrit language), Consistency of purpose without the slightest result orientation till the goal/ideal is achieved. These are all the vital principles/virtues that are basic essentials in the chosen spiritual path. The growth must be gradual and steady so that the seeker takes a bearable strain in working for achieving the next difficult step/stage well within one’s own capacity/limits, does not develop complacency and proceeds with utmost confidence of clearing every stage with perfection