Published in: The Pioneer
    Category: Hacked BY
    Dated: 5/17/2004
Spiritual life is pure and perfect, but most of us are quite impure and imperfect. There exists a large chasm between the two positions. Though it is possible to bridge the gap, the task of achieving it is very difficult. In the beginning, many converts try to adopt the most stringent rules as they try to copy someone who is “quite advanced” or at least appears to be so. One does not quite know whether the other person who is being emulated is genuine or not, and how that person is coping with the different pressures that come, while adopting a spiritual life.

By either following a model person or strictly following spiritual injunctions, a neophyte may renounce his routine life and activities. This is for the good, but human nature, which is strongly linked to one's mind, is not easy to control ; it resists changes, especially those which deny sense pleasures. Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Geeta has, therefore, warned that “one needs appropriate recreation if one is to avoid unnecessary pains” (6.17).

The principle of "not this, not this" may give one an instant feeling of greatness and may appear very impressive to others, but what it does it is prompts one to do a lot of activities from whom one is not deriving much pleasure, while having quit the ones which were pleasurable. Lord Krishna has specifically warned against such a move. "The embodied soul may be restricted from sensual enjoyment though the desire from them remains. Ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness" (2.59). The word “experienced” is very pertinent and experiencing higher pleasures takes some doing, that is, first learning it and then doing it well.

Anyone who takes a premature course of renouncing existing pleasures without having achieved spiritual pleasures is left with a lot of time when there are hardly any pleasures and, therefore, life may be found to be quite unbearable. One may actually end up in a vacuum of self-creation and in such a situation, one is likely to fall. This is especially true for the spiritualists in whom the innocent and the devout place their trust.

Then , what is desirable? Again, guidance should be had from Lord Krishna who said in the Bhagavad-Geeta : “Gradually, step by step one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction" (6.25). As mentioned earlier, the spiritual path is traversed in gradual steps since it is the highest and, therefore, quite difficult. From the Bhagavad-Geeta, we learn that, "Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavour for perfection and of those who are thus trying, hardly one knows Me in truth" (7.3). Such things are never to be trifled with.

Yes, there must always be some challenge in life, but too much of it, even of the spiritual kind; they may do more harm than good. lt is never wise to be too harsh on oneself .Though human life is precious and limited in span, rushing things could be counter-productive. Therefore, a wise person makes steady progress, realizes the benefits, and moves one. Falling down by rushing is not very wise ; a little progress is better than losing it all. Also one should keep in mind that spiritual pleasures are different from sensual pleasures. Spiritual pleasures are subtle and shall be received in due course of time according to what one deserves. In the Bhagavad-Geeta, Lord Krishna has said : “Those who surrender unto Me, I reward them in the proportion of their surrender” (4.11). Things simply cannot be rushed according to one’s whims.
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