Spirituality is a matter of perception. It could be perceived as anything from singing bhajans to working for the betterment of mankind, from organizing mass prayers to being curious about every undiscovered ripple or pebble. We can define it as simple religiosity and also as a knowledge-quotient that takes a human to a level above that of a mere existence. Even Einstein wrote that “the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.”

Spirituality is thus a knowledge-quotient that is always at the base of evolution. Living for others, never stopping the pursuit of questioning and striving to have an educated mind is the kind of spiritual awakening that must be promoted. The important thing is not to stop questioning. Inquisitiveness has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when a person contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the spectacular composition of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to grasp a little of this inscrutability every day. Never lose a holy inquisitiveness. This is the way, the path that is going to benefit others.

The other important aspect of spirituality is ‘life other than self’. Only a life lived for others is a life worth-while. Khalil Gibran rightly remarked: Religion is what you do when the sermon is over. In simplified management jargon, all the good thoughts that are born in the mind during the sermon must be dressed up lovingly as action or karma. In the absence of such action what is actually lost is the spirituality of the words that have formed the sermon. The soul of the message is lost. Words remain just unconnected and directionless objects that themselves will not know which path to adopt or forsake. It will be prudent to remember that we don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take us or spare us. Words and sermons are simply guidelines or grids on a map and the actual journey is to be taken by us as individuals.

The search is within our own selves as well as in others. Search for the real life, the spiritual quality, in others. Without this, there is spiritual death unless one reaches out to the fine quality dormant in others. For it is only with the god enthroned in the innermost shrine of the other, that the god hidden in me, will consent to appear.

Spirituality thus is two-fold. The first is a realization of the knowledge-quotient and the second is a search for the real in service to others. Spirituality is as simple as that.

[Arvind Passey]
Published in PrepTalk, 2006