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At the Feet of The Mother

Spirituality and Worldly Life 3: The Springs of Spiritual Action

One may say that all this is very fine. All these qualities though acquired more easily through yoga may be helpful to make us a good human being, even perhaps creative human being. But what about meeting the challenge of life, what about survival of the fittest, what about competition and strife that abound in our everyday life?

It is true that competition and the blind race of the blind that drives humanity towards the abyss does not go with yoga. Nor does anger and aggressiveness and ambition thrive long in an individual who strives rightly for yoga. But as these things which are the stuff of what we are ordinarily made drop off, other things take their place which hold us in even better stead even from the point of view of worldly success. Take ambition for example. It is true that ordinarily man is impelled by the goad of desire and the whiplash of ambition. This dark deity nevertheless drives us to perform and thereby becomes the motivating force for a kind of progress in mankind. But this progress comes at a heavy cost. It is like the old coal engines that drove the train but threw up much smoke in the process. It had a limited ability to pull the carriages but in the absence of better fuel this was the cheap method to take us from one station to another. But as we progressed scientifically so to say better and more efficient fuels were discovered. Something similar applies to the field of all human activities. Desire is a fuel but not the best one. Hidden behind desire and clouded by it there is will and faith. These are the original driving engines for man. But since we have not developed them, in fact everything that we learn in school helps to deactivate these inbuilt original driving systems installed within us. It is the virus of artificially defined success that has corrupted these engines. It is not our true nature but a distortion introduced by the mind.

True success is to live the truth of our life. And we are given all the tools needed to express it. When we do that we discover joy and our life discovers its true harmonious rhythm leading to a sense of satisfaction and even fulfilment. This state is most conducive to psychological, social and physical well-being. If instead of competing with others, each one tried his utmost to discover and live the truth of one’s own being then each would automatically give one’s best. In other words we define success artificially like the rabbit and tortoise fable and then go about running a mock race. Spiritual perception clears this basic wrong understanding and thereby helps us put our efforts in the rights direction. Implicit behind his is the recognition that there is a Wisdom that works in creation and to each it has allocated a role and a place. Life is the way to find this place. Action is a means to discover what is our role in this universe, a role that is uniquely ours and which none else can occupy. When we live life with this perception then we simply do what we are meant to do just as the winds blow and rivers flow and the sun radiates heat and light and flowers their fragrance. It is simple, easy, natural. Then we are freed from stress and ambition but in fact succeed in the true sense since we are what we are meant to be. It is only when we try to measure our success in relative terms by comparing with others then we are constantly under stress and even when we ‘succeed’ we are not happy. A constant unhappiness gnaws in our hearts and makes all our success seem hollow. The result is chronic unhappiness which we try to cover up with artificial and scentless flowers that look real but are not. Or else we run here and there in search of an illusory happiness, get high on wealth and position or take to alcohol, drugs and other forms of pleasure to help us momentarily forget the pain and the sadness behind our smiles.

But there is still more. Spirituality in fact makes us strong in more ways than one. The Upanishad says that this self is not for the weak and indeed it is so. Spirituality takes away from us all fear and anxiety and replaces it with faith and trust. It makes us fearless so to say. It prevents a huge loss of energy that we incur through these leaking holes that sap our energies. It also frees us from anger which is in fact the sign of a weakness. Instead it fills us with courage and confidence which itself are so much needed for success in any sphere of life. Finally by a sustained practice of concentration we gradually develop the skills of a perfect marksman who hits his aim right in the target. After all true success is not the handmaid of aggression but of concentration. Aggression itself may help temporarily achieve success in some fields such as sports because through it one accumulates all the energies at one point to achieve one’s target. But for all its merits aggression is a poor fuel. It may give an immediate kick start but damages the system in the long run. Its harmful effects upon or social life and relationships are well known.

What alternative fuel to drive human nature does yoga provides? We have a few choices here. Yoga teaches us that work is worship and hence the yogin pursues excellence for the sake of it. He is neither working for any earthly reward nor to secure any other-worldly seat in heaven. For him work is a means to worship the Divine and hence he does it with utmost care. Besides a state of inner peace helps the yogin focus better. Work flows through a yogin naturally as a river flows towards the ocean. The Gita declares: ‘yoga is skill in works’ and it is indeed so to the experience of yogins. Part of the misconception arises because we associate peace with inertia but peace is a very powerful state. It clears the human system of all kinds of rough and turbulent energies and thereby helps the free and smooth flow of energies through us. This is the second fuel. Yoga opens us to doors of infinite energy from above and not as we presently draw from food and interchanges with people and environment. Most of us have a small container shrunk by the ego-self. But a yogin experiences widening of his consciousness and thereby opens to a much greater influx of energies from all around. Thirdly the work of a yogin does not stem from desire but from something much more powerful and that is love. Whatever a yogin does he quite naturally puts his heart and soul into it, literally so. Finally by subordinating his individual personal will to something higher and vaster, the Divine Will he quite naturally opens to the Divine Shakti itself that is working in creation from behind the veils of nature. As a result of all this a yogin has a free and easy access to delight and hence he does not have to amass wealth or other poor and dark substitutes for happiness since he has an abundance of it at his disposal. But this delight is a creative force and it pours through the yogin in countless works. Not only is the quantum of work much more but the yield is of a very good superior quality since he is now one with very original impulsion of creation. His creativity therefore touches peak in whatever sphere it is turned towards.

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There is nothing sentimental in the true weeping that comes from the soul. All that you feel now is the blossoming of the psychic being in you and the growth of a real bhakti.