If you are living a worldly life and material things tend to fascinate you, you may think that the journey of spirituality is not going to be smooth for you. However, this is not true. You can still progress spiritually. You only need to know the key to how to be spiritual while living a worldly life.
Anything that one does in order to attain the Self (Atma) is the main production, as a consequence of which, one automatically gets all worldly necessities as its by-product.
Once a seeker asked Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan as to whether the ‘desire’ for material things or worldly desires obstruct spirituality or not. Let’s see what He had to say...
Questioner: Do desire and efforts for worldly prosperity hinder spiritual progress, and if they do, how?
Dadashri: For worldly wealth, you have to go in one direction, and for spiritual wealth, you have to go in the other. So, would it not hinder you if you were going in the wrong direction?
Questioner: Yes, it would.
Dadashri: Therefore, it becomes a complete obstacle. Spiritualism and materialism lie in opposite directions.
Questioner: How can one do without worldly prosperity?
Dadashri: Has anyone truly become prosperous in this world? Everyone is after worldly prosperity, but has anyone ever really succeeded?
Questioner: Some have, but not everyone.
Dadashri: Man does not have any authority over this. If nothing is under one’s authority, what is the point of all this useless restlessness? It is all meaningless!
Questioner: As long as one has an intense desire for worldly benefits, how can he go towards spirituality?
Dadashri: It is acceptable to have an intense desire. The desire will be there, but that authority is not in your hands.
Questioner: How can the desire be quelled?
Dadashri: The results of the desires will come. You do not have to fret too much for it. Just pursue and carry out your spiritual tasks. Worldly wealth is a by-product. Start your spiritual ‘production’ and the by-product of wealth will come to you free of cost.
Questioner: What do you mean by, ‘Performing our spiritual activities’? How are we supposed to do that?
Dadashri: First, do you understand that worldly wealth becomes a byproduct of your spiritual ‘production’?
Questioner: I believe what you are saying, but I do not understand it well.
Dadashri: So, if you believe it, then all these worldly comforts are a by-product. By-product means that which is free of cost. You have acquired the temporary happiness in this world, free. In your spiritual happiness-seeking endeavours, you have acquired worldly happiness as a by-product.
Questioner: I see many people who are not interested in spirituality but are wealthy and happy, all the same.
Dadashri: Yes, you do not see them as being spiritual, but it is because they have practiced spirituality in the past life that they enjoy the worldly happiness in this life.
Questioner: Does that mean that spiritual endeavours of this life will pay off in material wealth in the next life?
Dadashri: Yes, you will reap the benefits in the next life. The fruits will be evident in this life, but that person may even not be spiritually inclined at all.
This brings us to the point that every living being is constantly undergoing spiritual development. How? Let’s understand...
When we begin our journey in this world, our Soul is totally covered with karmic atoms. These coverings are responsible for ignorance or unawareness of the soul. As and when little of the covering breaks, the light of Soul comes out from that hole and one comes into the developmental stage of being a one-sensed creature, where the sense of touch starts. Thus, that Soul takes the body of a one-sensed creature.
After too many births, when some more coverings on the Soul break, it develops into a two-sensed creature. Further, after many more lives, one more sensory organ manifests to become a three-sensed creature. This is the way development takes place. In five-sensed living being such as cows and chimpanzees, mind is developed a little. When that Soul takes the form of human body; slowly, the mind, intellect, ego, consciousness and awareness develop along with anger, pride, deceit, greed, attachment and hatred.
While this development is taking place, one experiences a lot of discomfort, pain and suffering. In every stage of development, one is attracted towards different material things, one after another. One tries to get happiness from every object, and after some time, when no happiness comes from that object, attraction towards another material object begins. As one evolves from one sense being to five sense being, one is constantly experiencing, knowing, and finally deciding that there is no happiness in these five senses of vision, taste, smell, listening or in touch.
Through the five senses and with the help of ego, intellect, mind, and chit; we experience worldly pleasures. This continues life after life, and lastly, we find out that there is no permanent happiness in this material world; all the material happiness is temporary and material things also are temporary - they give only temporary happiness.
This is when the person starts hunting for permanent happiness.
One strives to find a place where he can find permanent happiness. It is only spirituality that can give this happiness. This is why one starts finding an answer to how to be spiritual while living a worldly life.
The Soul is permanent and is full of never-fading bliss! When one realizes that, ‘I am a Pure Soul’, one tastes permanent happiness. Thereafter, as one stays more and more in the awareness of Pure Soul; attraction or hatred towards any material thing does not occur.
This awareness also stops the charging of new karma. So, gradually, the old karmas bear fruits one-by-one and get discharged. Consequently, the Soul comes to a state where it is free of all the coverings.
When no covering of ignorance or karmas remain on the Soul, it experiences permanent happiness and gets ultimate liberation from the cycle of birth and death!!
Hence, it is important to develop and reach to a stage where one, through one’s experiences, arrives at a conclusion that all material things are temporary and so is the worldly happiness derived from them.
Therefore, wisdom is in following the path of spirituality even while living a worldly life. To get started with how to be spiritual while living a worldly life and having worldly desires, we can pray with all our heart, “Oh God! May all the desires to engage in worldly pleasures come to an end naturally. Please facilitate this.”
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