I know very well that this is not the correct forum to discuss about spirituality. But my inner conscious telling that I must write about spirituality for the benefit of youths who generally of the opinion that it is for aged persons only.Also there is a general perception that if we started practicing spirituality,we have to forego entertainment and pleasure. This is also not true.I kindly request every one especially the youths to read this post. Those who like this post can follow at least one or two spiritual ways mentioned here.Others may kindly ignore and delete this post.Since this is a large post,pl read this when you are completely free from any work
Spirituality is not for aged persons alone. It is a way of life. If you practice spirituality in day to day life, you will get peace with yourself as well as with others which can only be realised. In this connection, I wish to inform that in this post I will not refer to any particular religion or caste . But I will mention some of the saint names and these saints never labelled themselves as 'Hindu' saints but some of their followers labelled them like that.
I will write about how I entered into spiritual life,What is spirituality, Why it has to be followed, How to practice it in day to day life and finally what are all the benefits?. Here I use the word 'Saint'only through out this post which also refers 'swamiji', 'Guru' and 'Sanyasi' for the sake of easy writing and easy understanding.
MY ENTRY IN TO SPIRITUAL PATH
I born in a Hindu family and though I was not a firm believer of God, I used to go to temples mostly with my parents during my younger age. In the year 2000, I attended one week speech therapy course at Madurai. I applied leave for one month for practicing the techniques that I learned.I could not able to practice continuously for more than 2 hours alone in my home. During the training, I was able to practice about 8 hours. That's the power of group practicing!!! Meanwhile One Mr 'F' who also attended the above course has suggested me to meet at Marina beach near Gandhi statue every evening. I gladly agreed for this and started meeting with 'Mr'F' in the evenings.
In the afternoons, I used to read fictions for time passing. After few days I lost interest reading fiction books. One day I came to know about the book 'The Power of Positive Thinking' by Norman Vincent Peale.I bought this book and started reading it a few chapters. After reading these chapters,a thought struck to my mind that in the above book the author often refers 'Jesus Christ'. I got confused and started thinking that I am from a Hindu family but reading a book based on Christine religion beliefs. I was very unsure whether to continue to read this book or not.
In one night night while I was about to sleep, a sudden thought struck to my mind which goes like this.... 'You need Mr.'F' help to accompany at beach to overcome your stammering.... but you got confused whether to continue to read this book because of mentioning of'Jesus Christ' .... becase my friend Mr 'F' a christian!!! A firm believer of Jesus Christ. The very next moment I felt really ashamed of myself and felt like a very small man. From that very moment on wards, I have broken the religious barrier. There after, I read five more books written by Mr. Norman Vincent Peale.
After reading those books, I started getting peace of mind which I never experienced in my life before. Then I started reading various religious books of which I liked the most is Bagavat Gita.
Here I will write in detail about what I stated in para-3 above. What I am going to write here is only my PERCEPTION about spirituality after reading so many religious books and many experiences I had in my life and nothing is mine.All is taken out from one book or another written by various saints.
WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?
Spirituality is the way of life shown to the human beings (by GOD). And not the normal belief of worshiping God,doing rituals chanting mantras,visiting temples,joining Sat Sangas that too by mostly elders. Of course worshiping God and doing rituals etc...etc..are a part of spirituality but it is not the only one. At this point someone may have doubt that I also follow the spiritual path when I become elder and not now. Some other may thing that it is for elders only. But these beliefs are not correct and you will understand this after reading this post.
Except having 6th sense and laughing, there is no difference between humans and animals. Why should humans have to live in a cultured way?. Because God has given us the sixth sense and we can know what is right and what is wrong. If we live in a uncultured way, it will end up in chaos.
we are very fortunate now a days that we have got internet and media and by click of a button we read anything we want. But think of our fore fathers who lived 1000s and 1000s years back. Who would have told them to form a society and live a cultured life?. Please be aware that the culture now we are following was started not recently but 1000s and 1000s years ago. First it was shown in the 4 Vedas which were directly given by God to great saints saints. Those saints never reveled their identity to this world that they have written the Vedas. Saint Veda Viyasar compiled all the 4 Vedas and this is the present form we are reading it now.
But this culture is changing slowly and gradually people are become more selfish than ever. The present practice in Tamilnadu is, those people donating things to temples like lights,clocks,fans etc wanted to paint their names in big letters on the donated articles, so such people coming to temples can see their names.So they only wants to show others that they donated some articles to the temple rather than serving to God. This is definitely not spirituality....Actually the help rendered to others in right hand should not even known by the left hand. That is we should not tell anyone when we helped to others.This is real spirituality.
Why should we follow spiritual path?
As already mentioned, spirituality is how humans have to live apart from worshiping God. Suppose no one showed us the path of present way of life we are living, then how would have we lived?. Like animals?... or as we like....We cannot even get the answer.Because We are following our fore fathers cultures e are living well.
Now that culture is started deteriorating gradually after the entry of multinational corporate with lot of job opportunities and hefty salaries..... late night works and weekend parties....no respect for parents....in some cases wife stops giving respect to her husband because her son / daughter earning more money...but where are our ethics....where are our culture... If this trend continue for another few years we will land up in a complete chaos.... I hope this will not happen to us. Spiritual path is the best way of living peaceful, useful and purposeful life.
How to identify real saints?
About 50 to 60 years back, saints can be easily identified by their living style. They wear simple cloths, eat simple foods,sleep on the floor, giving equal treatment to all the devotees. They even don't have door to their bed rooms. They are living life in such a transparent way.
What about today's saints?.Of course keeping in mind their need to connect with people across the world, they may be using modern gadget,modern way of living / travelling and there is no issue on that....but the real issue is their intention. What message they are trying to convey to the people?. What message they conveyed so far to their devotees? Now a days lot of 'HIGH PROFILE SAINTS'are there in India and each one claiming hundreds of branches and millions of followers all over the world. Then why corruption is more prevalent now a days....why more murders are taking place now a days...why more women raping are taking place now a days.... What these so called 'HIGH PROFILE SAINTS'are doing?. Why can't they ask their million followers to stop above nonsense and instead instruct them to lead a good spiritual life. They can't...Because they are preaching good things to others only and not following themselves in their life. A child will grow by seeing his parents behavior rather than their advice. First of all the saint must set himself as an example to others before giving any kind of advice.
Another one I want to highlight hereis, of late some of the high profile saints in Tamilnadu started diversifying their activities other than spirituality such as running institutions and hospitals. But strictly speaking, the saints job should limited to in connection with spirituality only like spreading awareness among public, giving discourses.In this changing time, I have no issue about some of the present saints diversifying their activities.....but at what cost....what is the motive behind it....giving free education and free health care at least to the poor..... not at all...they are charging hefty fees like other private institutions...charging lakhs and lakhs of rupees for management quota.... they are also running behind materialistic things.....you can very well imagine about how his followers wold behave. Recently one of my friends mailed me informing that one saint aged over 50 years is still having black hairs (ie he is using hair dye). The question here is not about using hair dye or not, but the so called saints are not even accepting the natural changes taking place,then what will he do for spiritual cause. In fact I am not using hair dye like Sachin. This in the real meaning of live along with the nature.
Third one I want to highlight here is about such saints writings. Lot of books on various spiritual topics are being published by such saints with attractive glazed sheets, lamination binding priced at Rs 500 and Rs.1000. Is such price is necessary for spiritual books. A simple meaning for spirituality is everything must be as SIMPLE as possible.....But even their books are not simple...the price is not low....how can a poor man buy such books. Few years back, I purchased Bagavat Gita (about 1600 pages) printed at Gita Press, Gorakhpur for a price of Rs.120/- only. Even now also they are selling 80 - 120 pages of books at a cost of Rs.5 - Rs.10 only. You can check the site here http://www.gitapress.org/. This is real spiritual service. I recommend everyone to read Bagavat Gita which is the best management book I ever read. It is difficult for the youths to read original version and they can buy condensed version of it by various authors. Why I am recommending Bagavat Gita is no one is holding copy rights for this book.But what about the books written by the present day high pfofile saints?. They are all having copy writes of their books. TISA is better on this count where we are give copyleft for all the articles.After reading the above you might have got some ideas about how a real saint should be.....now the choice is yours and chose as per your wish.
How to practice spirituality?
The basic quality required for this is to come out of all religions,caste and groups. But this is not easy and requires lot of time and practice like controlling stammering.
To begin with, do not think your religion / caste is higher than others. Do not think your God is more powerful than others. You have got every right to think that your God is powerful but do not argue with others. Even if others started this kind of argument, do not argue with them and instead keep calm in those situations. The reason for not arguing is, it will end up in a fight only which defeat the very purpose of entering into spiritual path.
Do not judge others, because that is not our Job. God has created each one and is watching everybody actions and HE is the only judge for all of us.Do not comment others physical appearances such as their height, weight, skin colour,hair style,beautiful, ugly etc.... do not get irritated / angered for others behaviors such as their way of dressing, way of speaking, way of eating etc..etc..because they thought their behavior are correct. So why should we interfere with them and get bad name...
Helping others...this is the most important of all. Helping does't mean giving money only. There are so many other ways of helping. Last year myself along with my two brothers went to an aged home and asked them what their requirement.You know what they told us that they don't want anything as they were going to die shortly and instead they requested us to come to see them whenever we find time and speak with them for sometime....I was really got astonished after hearing their request.... my thoughts ran like this... what is the meaning of life?.
Then say thanks to God after taking food every time because there are millions and millions of people in this world not even able to food atleast once in a day. Be gratitude to the God that we are getting good foods 3 times a day. Be gratitude to the beggars while giving money or any other things to them. Because without them, to whom should we give?. After rendering each help to others, thank God for giving us the opportunity for helping others.
Always respect parents, even if you think that they are doing something wrong to you. The real fact is no parents would ever think like this. Participate all the family functions. There is a general complaints from parents that present day youths are very much reluctant to attend such functions and interested only in attending friends parties.I am not against attending parties with friends but also attend family functions. When you attend family functions only, you come to know that who are all your relatives, their status, who are all need your help and what can you do for them. First help to your relatives rather than giving big donations to big charity organisations. Because lot of rich people are there for giving donations to such organisations. But you are the only person available to help for your poor relatives. Do give sweets / dresses to your servant,Paper boy, Post man, Gas Cylinder delivery boy who are serving us throughout the year irrespective of summer / winter/ rainy seasons. Also do visit old aged homes / Orphan children homes and celebrate your birth days / wedding days along with them.
I always inspired by reading Swami Vivekananda's books and quotations. The best quotation I like very much is " STRENGTH IS LIFE; WEAKNESS IS DEATH ". In one of his books he mentioned that ' Chanting Mantras, doing rituals or praying for hours in front God is of no use, if you do not help to the nearby orphan or a widow". After reading this, I also changed my helping ways accoedingly.
Everyone aware about the great Saint "Shirdi Sai Baba". He never discloses his identity such as about his parents, place of birth or his religion. That is the greatness of a real saint. Their only purpose is to serve for humanity. Devotees who were coming to swamiji for darshan, asks so many questions like 'How can I get peace of mind?' 'How can get rid of my fear?' 'How can I overcome my family problem? 'What is the way of attaining God' etc...etc... His only answer to all these questions is do meditation regularly. Meditation gives enormous power to us, we can overcome any obstacles / hurdles in our life. Do meditation regularly.
There are 1000s of ways to practice spirituality and I mentioned only a few above. Every individual can choose their own way and practice.
Benefits of spirituality
The main benefit is it always keeps you in a composed manner. Keeping your mind calm in all the situations.You will treat everyone as same. You will stop judging people. You feel whatever happens is for good only. You do your work without any hurry but still able to complete within the stipulated time. Your general health will improve. You will be in peace with yourself as well as with others. You will stop blaming others for your failures.These are only few benefits I am citing as examples. There are 1000s of benefits you can get from spirituality.
Spirituality can be defined in one sentence also. It is a way of life without either harming yourself or others in whatever manner.
Some of the members may be interested in knowing about changes taken in my life style after learning spirituality. Yes....there are lot of changes...now I am at peace with myself and with my neighbors (very important)....can able to handle tense situations calmly...can able to work calmly and finish my it within the time...reading news papers, going to restaurants, going to movies & parties are as usual. But I am laughing more now than before (there is a wrong perception among people that spiritual people should not laugh and always be serious), eating less than before.....yes...less eating...more healthy (applicable for white collar jobbers only and not for hard working labours)....stopped eating foods which are not good for health
Lastly I thank all of you for spending your valuable time by reading this post. I will be very happy if every member of this group benefited one way or other.
May God bless you.