Spirituality - the anchor during good times and bad
As a part of my business, corporate and public life, I meet many people, young & old. There seems to be a general confusion on how to handle life at times. There are many questions, to which we have no answers, no empirical evidence, no hypothesis, and no study cases. Further the cause and effect of many variables in life do not lend themselves to an arithmetic equation. This is akin to index moving in the stock exchange which has a myriad of variables at play, mostly human psychology, and a view. Thus, the expert in the market always just states an estimate. So is life.
Although I have been spiritual all my life, only recently have I set out to understand this, to think deeply about this phenomenon and document my thoughts. This is the first time I am penning it down. Just as obtaining an MBA qualification provides the theoretical framework for a wannabe manager through accelerated training early in life, so is spirituality. It is needed earlier in life too and needs to be grasped through learnings, readings, sayings and preachings from family and the world.
The following lines may help in understanding why? One does not have to cross 50 in age to understand why? Within the age of 50 itself, one undergoes many stresses and realising spirituality helps cope with stress for a better life. Spirituality is needed to neutralize the effect of depression.
What is Spirituality and its composition in simple terms?
One study from the UK defines Spirituality as follows:
“Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature.”
To those who think I have a Boss, this is the boss. This is the force to whom you ask your questions, doubts, solutions to the miseries. Such a force is sometimes called God, Mother, Father and Teacher through their manifestations or avatars. The answers from God may or may not be direct. Spirituality thus essentially consists of a belief or faith that there is somebody who will help us swim through our life good or bad. Like Dial a friend! I often compare such a cosmic force to a Wi-Fi device and the blue tooth being the faith akin to a spiritual Bluetooth. Spirituality thus helps decode zillions of variables in life which are beyond analytics. Sometimes when variable interplay is very high, in data science it is called unstable/unpredictable correlation. It does not lend itself to analytics and it is possibly here that spirituality offers answers.
Why not rationalism as an alternative to spirituality?
An alternative to spirituality is Rationality which is based on reason or facts. Reasoning has been propagated by western philosophies as the only way to go. Such philosophies move from disbelief to belief through many experiments of the hypothesis. Rationalism holds that truth should be determined by reason and factual analysis, rather than faith, dogma, tradition, or religious teaching. No method is to be looked down upon. However, with very complex variable interplay, logical reasoning has no answers.
At this point, spirituality plays an important role. Hinduism has answers to these through philosophy of Karma (carrying forward of action DNA), Gita (revelation) Upanishads (commentaries), Vedas (the socio-spiritual science/law), the Puranas (stories) etc. Similarly, other religions have their own counterparts. All of them say in short, connect yourself to the cosmic force. The next logical question is “How do I practise spirituality? “
Rituals within spirituality the SOP
The answer to “How to practise is spirituality” is embedded in the word rituality, which is a part of spirituality itself. In simple words, rituals are a set of procedures or SOP which is performed to use spirituality to connect with the cosmic force. Like any SOP, that we have in our daily life, it is not a sure shot method, but something is better than nothing. Also, there is empirical evidence to say that rituals do have methods to answer the variable complexity most times. Thus, rituals while they evolve with time also lend insight to practices of the past that may well work. This fits neatly into the concept of “Look at past data to understand what lies ahead” that we practise in management. I would guess that explains the importance of rituals.
That we have forgotten the interplay of these forces, does not mean that they do not exist or impact.
Gita as a method of connect to God
Bhagavad Gita is the evergreen way of connecting with the cosmic force, the paramatman - The Ultimate being. Chapter 7 of Gita is relevant to the topic of spiritualism. Quoting from chapter 7 of Gita called the “Gyana Vigyana Yoga”
- Bhagwan in this chapter says “Oh Kaunteya! I am the taste in water, the radiance of the sun and the moon, the sacred syllable “Om” in Vedas, which is the cosmic sound in the ether or the space and manhood in men.
- He says, “I know the past, the present and the future and I know all the beings, but no one knows the ultimate me.”
- “After many births, the person of wisdom takes refuge in me, realising Vasudeva is everything”. This would mean that even to reach a state that there is god for refuge it needs efforts and practice. It seems the cosmic force runs its own “Loyalty program” and you need to be an early bird subscriber. You cannot expect to buy insurance after the insurance event has occurred.
- Bhagwan also says those who are deluded by this knowledge get enchanted in short joys, luxuries, and illusionary views of life. Such illusionary happiness’s are powerful and getting out of them for eternal connection becomes difficult. This perhaps is a demonic state or an Asuri Pravirti.
- Bhagwan also says it is possible to get out of this orbit by connecting, surrendering, realising the ultimate supreme being. Here rituals, which are prayers, pooja, meditations, devotion, hymns, preachings of theological studies like Vedic studies help ultimately realise & remain connected with the supreme cosmic force through spirituality. The Hindu culture affords a choice method and 330 million gods or godly figures, their stories to connect with the cosmic force, the supreme.
Spirituality a cure for modern day chronic disorders and illnesses
We are constantly battered by negative news, biased reporting, consumer targeting through social media that sits on our cell phones. Negative thoughts, depression, addiction, and criminality is an affliction that affects many of us. Whether one reads it or not, it keeps popping up. The standard recommended solution is to go in for clinical counselling and psychological sessions with a therapist or a Doctor. Spirituality affords an alternative to this malaise in very simple ways at no cost at all, besides switching off social media for a few hours a day. The beauty is that your counsellors can be the family, friends, gurus and if nothing else a suitable quiet place for meditation and/or prayer and connecting with the positive energy around.
In summary, spirituality can bring in terrific positivity, energy, and purpose to life.
Jai Shri Krishna & Jai Hind!