A verse in the Bhagavad Gita runs thus. “Out of thousands of men, hardly anyone strives for perfection. Out of those striving yogis, too, hardly anyone knows me in essence.” When I first read this verse, I was surprised. It is the second part of the verse that sparked doubts in my mind. Why would hardly anyone from among those taking the trouble to attempt linking with god know him in reality?
I have subsequently realised why. God is a repository of riches – both material and spiritual. We approach him seeking either or both. However, what does practically everyone want? Material riches, of course, owing to maya – illusion that overpowers all. How else can one explain spiritualists also seeking what an ordinary man seeks? Spiritualists, too, seek fame, wealth, comforts, attention, rewards and power. Additionally, they seek the status of being worshipped by disciples and a large following.
In doing so, they fail to realise the spiritual aspects of god. Maya is prominent even in the matter of one’s body; one remains attached to it, even though liberation is actually being free of it. It is an unbelievable contradiction for most spiritualists, a fatal flaw in their approach.
We seek god for four reasons, when in trouble, when seeking material benefits, when one is inquisitive about god, and when one is cognisant of god (verse #7.16). Obviously, the last pertains to the category of greatest beneficiaries. Once someone has had a taste of the resulting bliss, he or she is likely to continue pursuing the connection with god not get sidetracked by material attractions. (verse #2.59)
We have two choices – to seek material gains and remain in perpetual bondage to the cycle of birth and death or seek god in the true sense and be free of this cycle. For those who choose the latter, there is an additional advantage – that of feeling liberated even while alive. But those who choose this path are rare because the gains being to appear only after a long time. No wonder, practically all take the other route. Their illusion is overpowering but the fact remains that you cannot know god if you try linking with him only for material purposes.