To me, being a spiritual person means to live a spiritual life. It sounds obvious, but in reality it is a rare phenomenon. People love spiritual discussions. You will find many people with profound knowledge of the scriptures. They can quote extensively from the Gita and Ram Charita Manas. But their spiritual erudition does not translate into corresponding actions in their daily lives. Many confuse religious rituals as being synonymous with living a spiritual life.
In one of my postings, I came across a chief engineer who prayed at least three times daily. During Navaratri, he was rarely available in the office. Yet, he was one of the most corrupt officers that I have seen. He would extract money from contractors and vendors. Another colleague who sported a Tilak on his forehead and recited Mantras at the drop of a hat was ever ready to give you a discourse on God. Yet, as an officer, he was negligent of his duties and hardly contributed to any job. A spiritual person should excel in his job. This has been the teaching of Paramhansa Yogananda and other saints.
Daya Mata, president of Self-realisation Fellowship, founded by Paramhansa Yogananda, was once asked by a devotee, as to how he could gauge his spiritual growth. Her answer was simple. Was he a better person today than yesterday? If so, he was growing spiritually.
Spiritual talk, reading spiritual books, endless debates and profound speeches have no meaning unless they help you to live a truly spiritual life. A spiritual person would be one who performs his duties with total integrity and honesty and has right conduct and right attitude. He should be able to become aware of his inner Self and control his mind so that he is above greed, anger, lust, pride and jealousy. It is not easy; it is a journey where you try to improve every day. Introspection is what fuels this growth.
Paramhansa Yogananda has said that life should be a blend of right meditation and right activity. Right meditation as taught by him enables you to withdraw from your sensory telephones and look inward where you can hear the voice of your inner Self, the voice of God. But right meditation has to be followed by right activity. You have to live your life according to the voice of your inner Self; be true to yourself. Observance of Yama and Niyama as defined in Ashtanga Yoga, is essential. Same is the message of the Ten Commandments in Christianity and similar universal spiritual truths are enshrined in the teachings of every other religion. Right meditation gives you the spiritual strength to live a life where you are master of your mind and not its slave. As Ramana Maharishi said, “It is my mind, why will it not
listen to me.”
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