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Spirituality is distinct from religion. Religion is a collective concept designed to ensure peaceful co-existence of the community as a whole. Religion, thus, is very much focused on the life in the physical world with only a peripheral regard to after-life, basically as a carrot/stick to control individual behaviour.
Spirituality, on the contrary, is an individual pursuit, an inward journey towards self discovery or self-realisation. It is a recognition of the impermanence and unimportance of the physical world and a recognition of the real and the eternal phenomenon that is before and after the physical creation, the spirit. It, therefore, goes without saying that spiritual pursuit has nothing to do with organised religions as they exist today.
The ultimate aim of spiritual pursuit is liberation from the repeated cycles of birth and death and it cannot be achieved until one truly believes that one has had enough of this physical world founded on duality. Spiritual pursuit consists of a fundamental transformation of the seeker’s attitude towards life in this world. It entails gradual and progressive reduction of one’s interest in the physical world so that the mental space so vacated can be taken over by the spirit.
This book presents the various facets of the above core philosophy. It advocates a spiritual pursuit which is practical as regards its adoption by an ordinary seeker who may still be a common householder. It puts across the typical Indian traditional non-dual spiritual philosophy. It starts with the non-dual theory of creation and explains the author’s understanding of the concept of god too in that context.
The other key concepts that are explained in the book are as follows –
• Mind is simply a software program designed to give the embodied soul a fulfilling experience of this duality-based creation.
• Desires are essential for a full experience of the fascinating play of duality during the first half of one’s life in this physical world. However, in the second half, one should gradually withdraw his mind from the worldly life so that he can be prepared to leave this world in peace, not wanting to return in another life of more of the same thing.
• The theory of karma with the core concept of doing your duty but not being attached to the fruit of it.
• Pain (physical and egoic) is an essential part of the duality that this physical world is founded on. It is the non-acceptance of this reality that causes suffering.
• A guru as a spiritual guide is of great help to a sincere spiritual seeker. However, a guru need not be sought because then one may land up with phony gurus. If a seeker sincerely pursues some suitable spiritual practice, a real guru will find him and guide him.
• Accepting the tremendous variety in the creation without being judgmental.
• A spiritual seeker should aim at a true feeling that he has nothing more to get from the world. He then lives totally in the present moment.
• Faith is a critical pre-requisite for a sustained spiritual pursuit. Without strong faith, a seeker is very likely to give up his spiritual pursuit, especially if he expects some worldly benefit from his spiritual pursuit that often may not accrue.
• Living in awareness of what human life is all about in a spiritual sense and not a mechanical living driven by worldly conditioning is an essential part of the spiritual pursuit.
• Thoughtless state is a natural outcome of spiritual maturity and not an aim of meditation. Meditation is simply a way of letting the mind play itself out gradually while observing its games in a detached manner.
• We see a dream and experience everything in the dream as if it is “real”. But when we wake up, everything simple vanishes. Similarly, our “real” life may be just a dream of the Creator. So do not take this life seriously!