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Vedantic Wednesday: Why Seek Spirituality?

People turn to the spiritual path most often because they feel the lack of something. Most of the time this ‘not-having’ relates to softer aspects like peace of mind, getting to terms with loss of a loved one, sickness, agitation, depression etc. Few times people also turn spiritual ironically for material wants.  

So most often the spiritual journey starts from ‘not-having’. Because the whole world of spirituality is catering to these needs or demands – we find solutions being offered for all of the above. From a plain socio economic perspective if the supply and demand is not matched transactions cannot happen. So catering to these needs of the ‘seekers’ have become the business of spirituality, thereby reducing spirituality also to a worldly act.

Then what exactly is spirituality? Why should somebody seek spirituality?

Spirituality should be pursued when one seeks or wants to know themselves better. Religion should help people to connect back to themselves instead of encouraging people to become more dependent on external references. An external reference could range from simple amulets, highest shrines, rigid rituals or even multitude of gods portrayed to provide for specific needs.  This is not to say belief in these should be stopped.  It is to reiterate that all external references are but stepping stones in understanding the completeness of ourselves. One cannot rely on anything external to traverse the journey of SELF realization.

Spirituality cannot and should not dish out solutions to worldly problems. It can only help you to know yourself and connect to yourself better. By knowing yourself and connecting with yourself you get to understand how complete one is at that particular moment. With this understanding  springs the wisdom of realizing the futility of our worldly wants.  It is important to note that this is not talking about ‘giving up’ but it talks about being independent of anything that happens in the external world. It talks about not seeking more – while accepting everything that comes one’s way in with stoic equanimity. Spirituality is one that enables us to achieve this state of mind and this is its only goal.

Such knowledge though on the face of it seems to encourage inaction or inactivity in people it actually does exactly the opposite. It makes the knower of this get fully engaged in action without being concerned with the result and thereby lead a more satisfied life.  When one gets naturally contended he achieves happiness, which is what every human being directly or indirectly seek. Anything else is but a compromise!

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