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How much Spirituality to Pursue? the Dosage Levels


We had vis­it­ed Poom­parai near Kodaikanal. Its a beau­ti­ful place with a very very spir­i­tu­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant Muru­gan tem­ple con­se­crat­ed by Bog­ar. We had lots of dis­cus­sions and one of the ques­tions asked was “How much spir­i­tu­al­i­ty should I pur­sue in my life?”.

In fact this is so very impor­tant for peo­ple who enter the spir­i­tu­al path, how much of spir­i­tu­al­i­ty is cor­rect or right. And this is also impor­tant for those in cor­po­rate lives. Peo­ple talk of work life bal­ance. So how much of work is cor­rect, is right? So basi­cal­ly how do we attain to a sense of bal­ance in our lives? Gen­er­al­ly peo­ple eval­u­ate it with respect to out­er para­me­ters.

Things Evolve:

Many peo­ple who get on to the spir­i­tu­al path, imag­ine “Okay I need to med­i­tate three hours a day, four hours per day, six hours per day.” And they project it for­ev­er, not as a niya­ma to be fol­lowed for a cer­tain peri­od of time, but for­ev­er. When you project some­thing for­ev­er, in your mind when it is for­ev­er, then you cre­ate a very arti­fi­cial con­struct. It is just in your imag­i­na­tion. You are not giv­ing room for your own growth. As you grow, you will see that your thought process, every­thing evolves, and as it evolves, you will see, even your ambi­tions, many things change. So when you start work, or enter into work, you might project lin­ear­ly ” i am work­ing this way, I will get this much, i will work this much, I will get this much. and so on.” In whichev­er area we take up, we do this pro­jec­tion. It is a pro­jec­tion, it is not wrong. But you will see that as you action­ate on that pro­jec­tion, the key thing is action, when you action­ate you will see that every­thing evolves.

Pro­jec­tions

After some time a few years, you real­ize, you would have grown and hence what you start­ed out, with what mind­set you start­ed out, pro­jec­tions and ambi­tions you start­ed out, now you seem to have out­grown those pro­jec­tions. It is a very valid expe­ri­ence, for almost every­body this expe­ri­ence hap­pens. As a child i used to project, “ I like play­ing bas­ket­ball, so life­long i will play bas­ket­ball, dai­ly I will play three hours in the evening. Now my son wants me to play bas­ket­ball with him, and I look at him, “Ah yes yes, I will play.” Not that I don’t want to play but I have oth­er things to do, but still some­times I play it is okay. So the pro­jec­tion i had as a child, now it has changed, many things have changed, and hence what is the right dosage of any­thing, for one­self?

So What is the Dosage?

That is a key ques­tion. The right dosage is always to do with your inner nature, your cur­rent inner qual­i­ty. This is very crit­i­cal to under­stand, because oth­ers around you, your par­ents, your friends, nobody might be able to exact­ly under­stand this, only you can, if you close­ly fol­low your own move­ments, thought process­es, you will under­stand that there is change, and hence gen­er­al­ly it is said in the spir­i­tu­al path, what we call as the purushartha, what is the pur­pose or what gives mean­ing to a human life, you would have heard of Dhar­ma, Artha, Kama, Mok­sha. You will see that ini­tial­ly, many peo­ple assume that on the spir­i­tu­al path “I should med­i­tate, but i keep get­ting dis­tract­ed, i have temp­ta­tions, i want to eat this, I want to do that, but no, i should med­i­tate,” And that cre­ates a big inner con­flict. That is why it is recog­nised that, pur­suit of Kama is also a valid thing. But you would see that ini­tial­ly, when you are a novice, approach to plea­sure- your ori­en­ta­tion might be such that, that is high­er, but at that time, there is also Guru seva, there is also Svad­hyaya, or study of shas­tras, but that would be a low­er dosage.

Vairagya

As you grow, as you grow, you would see that you would come to a point where you feel, ear­li­er what used to give you plea­sure, has become monot­o­nous, it has become repet­i­tive, you know what to expect, and hence there is no fun, then you get that dis­pas­sion, also called vairagya. raga means attrac­tion, attach­ment. Vira­go or Vairagya means that no longer holds you so much, your mind gets some flu­id­i­ty, it is no longer rigid­ly hold­ing on to that plea­sure aspect. That is an auto­mat­ic process of growth, that is why it is sta­bilised by Dhar­ma or Guru seva and swad­hyaya, or study of the scrip­tures, that will give you vairagya, dis­pas­sion. Then you will see that your ori­en­ta­tion towards plea­sure also changes. The same masala dosa, does not elic­it that men­tal response that used to do ear­li­er. That is when you realise, “ok I have gained some degree of free­dom.” As you keep up with that, you will see that you can increase the dosage of swad­hyaya, or med­i­ta­tion, and decrease the dosage of plea­sure. Over a peri­od of time, you would fur­ther find, actu­al­ly the objects of the sens­es don’t hold any attrac­tion for you. Just don’t mat­ter. Many mahat­mas dis­play this behav­iour, they are indif­fer­ent to the objects of the world, then every­one starts get­ting a ques­tion, they start feel­ing guilty “Oh I am not like that, aiyayo”. It is not meant that way, it is a nat­ur­al pro­gres­sion. You don’t need to com­pare your­selves with any­body else, but when you under­stand your­self, your own heart, you would reg­u­late the dosage appro­pri­ate­ly. So after you get vairagya, with the pro­gres­sion of time, as you increase the dosage of swad­hyaya and Guru­se­va, the dosage of plea­sure auto­mat­i­cal­ly goes down. You will see that you are no longer inter­est­ed in the var­i­ous sen­so­ry stim­u­la­tions. And as a nat­ur­al pro­gres­sion, you will see that the mind, comes to a stage of equa­nim­i­ty, where it does not seek plea­sure. It will just be, it will be calm and deep as the ocean.

Maha­bali and Virochana

It so hap­pened, the great Maha­bali, day after tomor­row, is Onam, so we remem­ber Bali with fond­ness, he was a great asura raja. After so many years of rul­ing the king­dom wise­ly, rul­ing the asur­as wise­ly, he came to a point where he start­ed feel­ing “What is all this? It is just rep­e­ti­tion. There is plea­sure, every­thing that any­body would require, I have access to every­thing. But it seems repet­i­tive, what is the whole point? “. So when such an enquiry start­ed hap­pen­ing, then he remem­bered his dis­cus­sion with Virochana, his father. So Bali asked his father “Father, what is good for me? Please tell me.” For which Virochana has respond­ed “Bali, you are a great per­son, you rule wise­ly. You split up your activ­i­ties into four parts, now you might be engaged say 4 quar­ters, 2 quar­ters of your time and ener­gy you spend in the pur­suit of plea­sure. But one quar­ter devote it to Guru­se­va, Sukracharya, who was the Guru of the asur­as, and one quar­ter of your time and ener­gy you spend it on swad­hyaya, study of the shas­tras. Then as you pro­ceed, you will see that, you will find every­thing repet­i­tive, that is when you will get vairagya, then you spend one quar­ter of your time and ener­gy on plea­sure and wealth, two quar­ters of your time in Guru­se­va, one quar­ter of your time in swad­hyaya, study of the shas­tras. Then again with time you will evolve to a stage when plea­sure will not make any sense to you, that is when you are free, while being in the body and hence two quar­ters of your time you spend in swad­hyaya and two quar­ters of your time and ener­gy you spend in Guru seva. You are lib­er­at­ed while liv­ing”.

So Bali remem­bered this and hence sought the feet of his Guru, Sukracharya, who instruct­ed him on Atma Vidya, Brah­ma Vidya, and Bali went in to deep Samad­hi, that last­ed for a 1000 years and only after that, he got blessed by Vish­nu, in the Vamana avatara where he was pushed into rasatha­la, but in so doing, Vish­nu actu­al­ly blessed him and became his pro­tec­tor. So that is where we need to always look at our­selves, be sin­cere with our own quest, look deeply into our own hearts and see what is appro­pri­ate for us at this junc­ture. One does not need any sense of guilt or shame, these need not be there at all, life is won­der­ful!

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