Higher Teachings of Sri Swamiji

Spiritual Life

The experience of God is very precious. It is the ultimate truth of human life. Why does a human incarnate? To manifest the unmanifest God. Man has been given this body to realize the invisible God as a visible power. Man is the only creature who can think about God and proceed towards Him. Humans and animals have the same basic instincts. The only difference is that we can experience God. Animals cannot discuss or understand God, although they live by the grace of God. We are aware of God. We are searching for Him. We have questions about Him. It has been said that the ability to know God is the special attribute of human beings.

Spiritual life begins with a question: “Who am I?” You begin to ask: “Where have I come from? Am I the body? If so, I will die at a certain age, I will no longer be. Am I then perishable?” The Upanishads say, “You are indestructible.” How am I indestructible if I can die? They say, “Your body is not indestructible; you are indestructible.” Who am I then? Shankaracharya has written in Mohamudgar (v.22):

Who are you, who am I, from where have I come, who is my mother, who is my father? This is the gist of everything. Give up this dream-like world and think about this.

This is all spiritual life is. Rituals and worship do not constitute spiritual life. That is religious life. Spiritual life means knowledge of the third eye that God has given to you. With that knowledge, find the jewel of the atman hidden within you.

You will have to participate in material life. There is no other way. You will have to go through instinctual life, but ask these questions: “Who am I? Where have I come from? What is the path of my arrival? What will be the dock of my departure?” After assuming the human form, ask these questions. That is when you will enter spiritual life.

Material progress and spiritual progress are like two sides of the same coin. Just as you cannot separate the two sides of a coin, you can only indicate them as heads and tails, you cannot separate material and spiritual prosperity. Two different terms have been ascribed to them, but in reality they are dependent upon each other. It is usually believed that when material progress obsesses a person, it causes his downfall. However, I believe that if a person is able to undertake a task through the power of wisdom, will and dedication, it will not allow him to fall. If a person practices yoga nidra, dhyana, any other anushthana, fixed course of sadhana, or tapas, austerity, he increases the power of his mind, and then whatever he undertakes benefits the human race. In this process, he may earn money, achieve fame and become a historical figure, but it does not matter.

After all, the person who discovered electricity did immense good for humankind. The person who discovered that sound waves can travel benefited the human race immensely. The objects of our daily use have been created by individuals. How high must the mental awareness of those be who gave these things for our well being! Therefore, we cannot denounce material life. To excel in it requires a spiritual consciousness, and that benefits all.