When I was a kid, we asked a question in Moral Science class. “Where is God?” The answer was simple and holds a lot of meaning after we’ve grown up and reached a stage where we ‘think’ we know everything.
“God is everywhere!’ Yes, that’s what spirituality is all about. Seeking that all-pervading power, putting your faith or acknowledging a supreme being in whatever you see, hear or do…
My introduction to spirituality was simple. Recite a few shlokas in the morning and evening, observe my mother painstakingly follow all rituals and attend all pujas at the nearby temple. It was more on the lines of ‘don’t do this or God will punish you’ or ‘be good and God will be with you’. Not the best of introductions, but nevertheless an impactful one.
When I grew up, I began to seek that elusive spirituality which I felt had nothing to do with reciting a few shlokas I did not know the meaning of or the few rituals I blindly followed. I questioned with a vengeance and sought answers that could quell my fears rather than answer my doubts. I wrote ‘Sree rama jayam’ thousands of times before and after my exams and smeared enough ‘chandanam’ on my forehead to fell a sandalwood tree. I read Osho, J. Krishnamurti and Zen Buddhism and had endless discussions on the subject with my peers. Still there was no awakening of any sort.
As I entered adulthood, the adherence to rituals remained but somewhere along the line, there came a realization. Something that needed no awakening or Eureka moment. That who you are to yourself and others, determines how spiritual you are. If spirituality means being one with God, it also means being one with yourself, or if I may be more specific being true to yourself. I observed people and realized that those who were the most pious outside were the coarsest inside. You can pray for hours in the front of the lord but if you come home and abuse your wife or curse your children , what is your sense of spirituality?
For me, being spiritual is all about atleast trying to be a good human being with good human values. It means respect for yourself and for others. And respect for every living being on this earth, including nature and animals.
Now, let me come to the rituals part. Instead of debating and arguing against them all, I sought answers and still continue to seek. And that’s how I discover that everything comes with a meaning… and to seek that meaning and depth is another degree of spirituality. Today, my son says his prayers three times a day in full knowledge of its meaning. Some may argue it’s a waste of time and why do you need to do this? My argument is simple. When you devote a period of time to God, you are not only one with him, but are taking a break from the hectic routine of life to be also one with yourself. It’s about bringing a discipline, a so-called ‘time-out’ from the pressures of daily life and finding some ‘me-time’ so essential in this dog-eat-dog world.
I find God everywhere… in the dew drops, the rising and setting sun, the innocent laugh of a child, in a tear-drop, on the laptop helping me type out these words… In my friends (I have no foes), in my family, in music, in dance, in everything I see, hear and feel… That is the sense of spirituality that pervades my entire being. And along with emotions like a kind word said, a bear hug, unbridled laughter, a gentle pat on the back, a child’s innocent kiss make me feel blessed!
I am by no means a perfect person nor can I claim that I’ve reached a stage where spirituality is part of my life 100 per cent. But I have made a beginning and understood what I need to do to be spiritual. And this is the sense of spirituality that I will not trade for anything in this world.