Chapter 8.10 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
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8.10 SPIRITUALITY

WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"Believers, if any of you turn back from God's religion, God will bring forth a people divinely beloved who love the Divine; humble to the believers, strong against the scorners, they will strive in the way of God without fear of the censure of critics. That is the grace of God, who bestows it on anyone at will; and God is all-encompassing, all-knowing."    Mohammed

"Extremely dear to Me are they who regard Me as the Supreme Goal, and endowed with faith and devotion, follow this nectar-like religion."    Sri Krishna

"I tell you this: anything you did for one of My brothers here, however humble, you did for Me."    Jesus Christ

"The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord your God is the only Lord; love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength'. The second is this: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."    Jesus Christ

FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?

Spirituality does not mean preoccupation with meditation, worship, etc. It involves total extinction of the animal and demonic qualities in man and the manifestation of his inherent divinity. When the attachments and hatreds in which man is enveloped are removed, the inherent Divinity in man, the Being-Awareness-Bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda) in him will manifest Itself.  There is no need to search for the omnipresent Divine in any specific place. When you are yourself divine, why search for the Divine elsewhere? It is a mark of ignorance. (251294)

Spirituality means seeking to realise the oneness of all beings. There is only One. All came out of this One only. The entire creation itself came from the One. This truth is proclaimed in all religions. For instance, the name of Jesus (Yesu) itself spells out this truth. 'Ye' means one, 'su' means good. There is only one good. In the term Allah, 'A' stands for Atma, 'la' for layam (merging into the infinite). Invoking Allah signifies merging in the Atma which is the One God. (140494)

The teachings of the masters vary according to the condition of the disciples. Likewise, in the Bhagavad Gita or other scriptures, statements might appear which seem to contradict each other. These differences relate to differences in circumstances and requirements of the persons concerned. You should not contrast one statement of Swami with another and ask why there is a contradiction between the different statements. In the Gita itself, at one place, Krishna stresses the need for action, at another the adherence to Dharma, and in another place commends the renunciation of all Dharma and urges complete surrender to the Lord. These apparent contradictions are not contradictions. The teaching varies according to the state of spiritual development of the person concerned and the situation in which he is placed. (SS July 88,184)

Spirituality means merger with God. You are not different from God. You are God, God is you. If you are firmly established in this faith, you need not undertake any other spiritual discipline or spiritual practices. (SSB 90,142)

What, then, is the meaning of spirituality? It is not the reading of scriptures or the performance of rituals. It is to live up to the truth one has learnt. Unfortunately today, because of the influence of Kali, this does not happen. At least on this auspicious day, people should concentrate their minds on God with purity and devotion. The control of the senses is itself a form of sacrifice which leads to Immortality. Sacrifice of wealth or possessions is no sacrifice at all. It is the sacrifice of the senses (the desires caused by them) which is the highest sacrifice. (110394)

FROM ANIMAL TO THE DIVINE

What really constitutes spiritually? Does devotional singing constitute spirituality? Or repeating the words "Sai Ram" or making pilgrimages to shrines? All these are signs of human weakness. True spirituality consists in the elimination of all animal instincts in man and manifesting the Divine Light within him. This is the true meaning of spirituality.

Today, man practises meditation and performs recitation of the name, but along with them the animal qualities are allowed to grow. As long as these qualities remain, the observance of religious practices is worthless.  All such spiritual practices amount to practising deception on the Divine itself. Therefore, true spiritual practice means getting rid of all the animal qualities in one such as cruelty, wickedness, etc. Two qualities make a man alien to God: envy and egoism. Envy and egoism are two pests which destroy the tree of life. They deprive man of his essential human nature. (310892)

Spirituality is not mere worship, recitation of the name or meditation. These may be good activities but they don't constitute spirituality. The driving away of animal qualities and proceeding from the human to the divine is real spirituality. There are human, divine and animal traits in everyone. You should get rid of the animal nature and develop divine quality. (210193)

Spirituality does not mean preoccupation with meditation, worship, etc. It involves total extinction of the animal and demonic qualities in man and the manifestation of his inherent divinity. When the attachments and hatreds in which man is enveloped are removed, the inherent divinity in man, the Being-Awareness-Bliss in him, will manifest Itself. (251292)

People participate in bhajans. This is doubtless a good act, but it is only an auxiliary element in spiritual discipline. People take part in spiritual singing, but are they transforming their attitudes as a result? No. All the animal qualities like bad feelings remain along with participation in singing. Without getting rid of such attitudes, the continuous participation in spiritual singing is of no value. Without removing the animal nature, a singer of spiritual songs continues to be a sinner. The spiritual songs should be used as a means for overcoming the animal nature. Participation in spiritual singing and performing worship should lead to the elimination of animal qualities. Without the conquest of animal nature, all forms of external worship are of no use. (240592)

Spirituality calls for the removal of the animal qualities in man and developing his divine qualities. This is the duty of all spiritual aspirants. Qualities like slander, back-biting and speaking ill of others are sub-human qualities. You must learn to respect the divine in everyone, while carrying on your duties.  The path of direct realisation of the Divine consists in total surrender to the Divine, as exemplified by Lakshmana in his surrender to Rama. (280295)

People should realise that there is nothing closer to them than the Divine. Even one's mother may occasionally be remote from the child, but the Divine is never far from anyone at any time. This means that every one is Divine. But each one must strive to recognise this indwelling Divinity that is the eternal Reality. Most people waste their lives in the observance of external rituals and forms of worship. Together with external observances, people should also try to achieve internal purity. (110394)

SPIRITUALITY IN ACTION

People today are totally immersed in worldly concerns and do not devote any attention to the spiritual quest. It is true, involvement in worldly affairs cannot be given up totally. But all such actions can be sanctified by performing them in a spirit of dedication to the Divine. The Bhagavata demonstrates how this kind of dedicated life can be led by a devotee. It is not enough if you claim to be a devotee of the Lord. The Lord must recognise you as a devotee. Only then does one's devotion acquire value. Arjuna for a long time felt proud about his closeness to Krishna and about his devotion to Him. It was only towards the end he realised that he had to abide by the words of Krishna and completely surrender to the Lord. He then declared: "I shall carry out your words".

No one should feel that it is beyond his capacity to surrender himself completely to the Lord. If there is firm determination, this can be accomplished. It is only through earnest endeavour that divine wisdom can be got. (210892)

What is spiritual practice? It is doing good deeds with this body. These good works are God's work too. The essence of the 18 puranas of Vyasa is condensed by him as "Help ever; Hurt never".  This is true devotion. While doing worship and meditation on one side if you hurt others can it be real spiritual practice? (210193)

True spirituality consists in promoting human unity through harmonious living and sharing the joy with one and all. Devotional singing and all forms of worship are only good actions, but are spiritually not important. Devotion consists in expressing love towards all. You cannot effect a change of heart by speeches. They often lead to confusion and conflict. Better than speeches is the practice of love, with faith in the Divine. Follow the path of love and redeem your lives. (240389)

There is no meaning in preaching spirituality to a starving man. Feed the hungry. Offer solace and encouragement to those in distress and despair. The educated should try to teach the illiterate and open the minds of the ignorant to wider vistas of knowledge. The educated persons may be doctors, lawyers or businessmen. Doctors should be ready to render free medical service to the poor. Lawyers should be helpful to those who are in need of legal aid but who cannot afford to pay for their services. Businessmen should be content to keep a reasonable income for their needs and utilise the surplus for charitable purposes. (191190)

Reciting the name of God, meditation, devotional singing, austerities, sacrifices, these are all methods for temporarily controlling the mind. But there is one practice that will have a permanent effect, and that is enquiry. You should go on inquiring "Who am I? Who am I?" until you reach the stage where you find out who you really are. The enquiry should go on thus, 'Here is my body, here is my mind, my heart, my feelings, my intellect, my memory power .... I am not any one of these. Someone has praised me; someone has censured me, but to whom does this pertain? Only to this physical body." In this way, you have to develop a sense of detachment and a sacrificing nature. (300387)

Through spiritual practices, one must transcend the duality of I and you. I is only the reflection of you in this body. The consummation is reached when duality is superseded. That is why it has been declared, "It is good to be born in a church; but, it is not good to die in it". That is to say, before life ends one must go beyond the limits set by institutionalised religion and reach the vast limitless expanse of the Atma, which pervades all. (290769)

What is spirituality? Spirituality is nothing but the blossoming of love. Whereas science is the split of love, spirituality is spirit of love. it is love alone that unites entire mankind into one. Then mankind will have no problems at all. (SSB 93, 112)

All scientific investigations are based on the intellect. All spiritual explorations are based on the heart (or the consciousness). In the spiritual field, man alone is supremely important, not the machines. Scientists put their faith in machines. The spiritual seekers place their faith in mantras (sacred chants). One is a scientist, the other is a saint. The saint believes in fullness. The scientist is content with half the circle. Spirituality represents the full circle. The beginning and the end meet in the full circle. When this circle is divided by half, you have a half-circle resembling the letter C. The C is science. It starts at one point and ends at another. Between the points there are endless doubts. Hence, there is no absolute certainty regarding scientific findings. What is considered true today may turn out to be incorrect tomorrow. But spirituality stands for what was true yesterday, what is true today and what will be true for all time to come. (280591)

On the vast ocean, countless waves appear. Each wave appears different from another. But despite these differences the waves are not different from the ocean. The waves arise from the ocean and are of the same stuff as the ocean. Likewise, although human beings appear different from each other, it has to be realised that all of them have emerged from the ocean of being-awareness-bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda). Forgetting this truth and identifying themselves with the impermanent body, many are falling prey to various troubles. For people who are caught up in the coils of mundane desires and pursuits, the beacon of spirituality is showing the path to emancipation. Spirituality is fundamental for man to reveal to him the means for the blossoming of his qualities.

Spirituality, however, does not mean leading a solitary, ascetic life. Spirituality means looking upon the whole of mankind as one family and realising the unity in diversity. (160292)

UNIVERSAL OUTLOOK

In this vast cosmos, you must develop a universal outlook based on an understanding of the spiritual principle. You cannot aspire for the spiritual from a narrow point of view. All forms of worship and meditation, which are regarded as spiritual exercises, are in fact mental excursions intended to please the mind. God is described as father, mother, brother, friend and so on. But all these are unnecessary epithets if it is recognised that we and God are One. You are in God and God is in you. There is no room for the feeling of duality.

Spirituality essentially means realising oneness with God. God and you are not separate. Once you acquire this conviction there is no need for any kind of spiritual practice. This oneness should not be a mere intellectual concept. It should be a living reality. Then you will experience true freedom  -  the freedom of the Spirit, divorced from any association with the body and the mind. When you experience your inherent divinity, you will be free from sorrows and difficulties. (310590)

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