The spirit of spirituality


A day before, one of the news channels covered the story of a highly educated young sanyasi (recluse) returning home due to pressure from family and society. I do not intend to pass any judgment on the personal issue of somebody but just wish to share my impression about the subtleties of the words ‘spirituality’ and ‘sanyasa’.

I heard one of the saints saying that every human being has three kinds of lives- First is the social life which demands selfless service of the family and society. Next is the personal life, meant for genuinely serving one’s individual interests. A devotee, however, should be ever ready to sacrifice his personal share too for the sake of others. Finally, it is the spiritual life whereby we seek a loving connection with the Supreme Being. The one who is able to simultaneously conduct these three roles is destined to get enlightened. It is very easy to dictate these terms and probably even to start with but there is a need of unflinching faith and devotion to carry on without demeaning any of the three. Gradually, God becomes the center point of all our activities- social service becomes the way to serve Lord, sitting within all and lone time is wished to be spent in His contemplation only.

Spirituality instills purity in our worldly dealings. As we make progress in knowing our inner realm, the perspective for the outer existence grows clear. A spiritually awakened person humbly consumes himself for the sake of others, yet retains no feeling of being the doer which implies that he renounces the fruits of his actions but not the actions. This has been called as the genuine sansaya i.e. the renunciation in mentality and not just physical living. The sacred verses of Bhagwad Gita explain it thoroughly. The real knowledge enables the freedom from shackles of undue attachment with things, people and actions. Thus he remains in the world, yet not of the world (मेले में अकेला, अकेले में मेला).

There are times when a seeker may feel tempted to escape from the atmosphere which is not so favorable for his spiritual pursuit. More than that, one may feel utter emptiness inside and terrible darkness outside while moving towards God. The mystics in Christanity call it a ‘Dark Night’ for the soul and Hindus know it as spiritual trial. In fact, it is a progressive journey of devotion –कल्पना से भावना तक और साधना से वेदना तक. Firstly, the Almighty only attracts the attention of the prospective devotee and subsequently encourages his devotional love. As a result there develops a genuine disinterest in the materialistic world. The seeker desires for more and more spiritual joy but there may come a sudden u-turn and he is put in the reverse gear. (मिलने की ज़रा जब चाह हुई तो दूर खड़े मुस्काने लगे। घने घाव हिय में लगाने लगे, करुणानिधि होके सताने लगे।) As it is stated in Chaitnaya Charitamrit, Shri Mahaprabhu enlightens us by saying that in such a situation of being unwillingly stuck in the bondage of Maya, one has to do just two things- passionately longing for God (पुकार) and ardently waiting for His apparent return (इंतज़ार).

It is indeed an awfully tormenting phase and one may even begin to doubt His presence around. Such a painful period of waiting is basically meant for cleansing the subtle impurities of our conscience and requires nothing but unconditional submission to the absent one (God).

My mentor explains it by comparing a baby monkey and a baby cat. For the monkeys, it is wholly upon the little child to clasp its mother tightly while she jumps from one place to another. On the contrary, a cat is liable to hold the kids softly in her mouth while carrying them. Unlike infants, we cannot be sure of our grip on God, so we have to be like kittens- solely depending upon His grace to keep us close to Him.(विश्वास अपना कायम रहे, यह फिर उसके हाथ में है।)

Our Lord alone is wholly liable to lead us ahead once we surrender to Him.  Eventually our perseverance and patience make us experience how lovingly He carries us through. This is the spirit of spirituality which is very simple to preach and equally subtle to practice.


  1. Oh wow! This is WONDERFUL. I was so thrilled to read this. Y own path at the moment is the Dark Night of the Soul. For me, it is the !u inoys Darkness. A beautiful darkness with many gems to be found within it, but terribly painful. I did not know the Hi du equivalent, but am really interested to hear of it. Thankyou for this lovely

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that is it. It is a bit like a purging pricess so that in the end you let go of alk that does not real,y matrer in life, and only hold onto those things that do matter. It throws some people off balance and so oreciputates a dark nught within them. Something like a very serious lufe threatening illness can do it, or a duvorce, or something like that. It is really interesting

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice article. I lived in India for 4 years doing some Seva, practising spiritual things like meditation, Omkaram etc… It’s a pity I forgot how to read Sanskrit, Devanagari, it’s more than 10 years now… But I love doing some videos on spirituality – if you don’t mind, check it out, please 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Depends upon person to person. For a believer God is certainly the greatest because God is the creator of all including our parents. But that does not mean showing less respect to one’s parents. Also, parents and children can be unjust to each other at times but not God. As per the definition of God in major religions God is never unjust, not in the least way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it all varies from person to person…Spirituality helps us to enhance our inner strength so that we can carry on with our worldly endeavours effortlessly and goodness in our actions becomes deeply embedded…
      Thanku for stopping by😊🙏🏼

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Out of curiosity in your opinion, does the Bhagwad Gita portray a God that is transcendent (off in a Heaven/Utopia somewhere) and separate from us, with His own opinions and wants/desires, or an imminent God (God is all around us, in every living and non-living space) that is more the sum of each of His parts (we humans)? Just trying to understand the perspective in relation to this post. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou for your kind read.
      Bhagwad Gita portrays God in both the ways and we call it as Personal form (coming to Earth from time to time through various incarnations) and impersonal form (the whole of which we all are parts like the umpteen rays of one Sun). He becomes apparent in the form the seeker wants to realize Him. So it is upto us to choose the way we feel connected to Him. In any case, He is present in everything around and also everything rests in Him only (in short- all in one and one in all).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. most people have a personal life and a social life and a “spiritual life” of going to church once a week and that’s it


  6. This is a powerful image: ” I dedicate it to my dear friend Jim, the extroverted gay mystic, who gave this gift at the hardest of times to a church which could not receive it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My goodness, this is a gorgeous analogy… “So we have to be like kittens solely depending upon His grace to keep us close to Him.”

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s