What is Spirituality? Why do we need to be spiritual? What does it take to be a spiritual aspirant?
Many of us confuse spirituality with dogma, rites, rituals and occult practices. We think that worldly life is tough enough to handle, and we cannot take on any more.
Rev. Dada tells us that spirituality is a matter of experience: it is simply opening the door of the heart and inviting God to enter into our lives.
Enter the beautiful world of the atman with Rev. Dada. Discover the true freedom that spirituality confers upon you. Discover the essential You, which has remained hidden under veils of worldly cares and materialistic desires! Explore the firmament of the spirit with Rev.Dada as your guide!
Dada J. P. Vaswani is one of India's greatly beloved and revered spiritual leaders. He is the living, moving, life-force at the helm of the renowned Sadhu Vaswani Mission, an international, non-profit, social welfare and service organisation with its headquarters in Pune, and active centres all over the world. A scientist turned philosopher, Dada was born on August 2, 1918, at Hyderabad-Sind. A brilliant scholar and Fellow of the DJ Sind College, Karachi, he turned his back on a promising academic career to devote himself to his uncle and Guru, Sadhu Vaswani, a highly revered modern day saint. For Dada J. P. Vaswani, spirituality is not a concept or theory; it is an experience. His brand of spirituality is not a matter of words, but of deeds of daily life. For Dada is a firm believer in the universal religion of Love, Unity, Brotherhood and Service to humanity. Deeply imbued with the liberal and tolerant spirit of the Hindu faith that he was born into, Dada firmly believes that there are as many paths to the Divine, as there are human aspirations. Each one of us can take our own untried, untested, unchartered paths to reach God, and God will meet us half way. Not only does Dada express the most profound truths in the simplest terms; but he lives and acts these truths in deeds of everyday life; truly, we may say that his life is his message. A fluent, powerful and witty speaker and an inspired writer, Dada is the youngest 94-year old that you can ever meet. His rapport with the youth is truly amazing. He is at home on the world's most eminent fora, as well as in gatherings of students and young professionals, who find his personal magnetism, humility and aura irresistible. Spiritual leader, educationist, philosopher and mystic, Dada J. P. Vaswani represents the very quintessence of India's wisdom and universal spirit.
This book is inspired by the teaching which I think is the very first call of the Gita to us all: You are not the body that you wear; you are the atman, the immortal spirit within! Is this not a clarion call to awaken the dormant spirit within all of us? It is my firm belief that spirituality is not an abstract, complex pursuit that it is often made out to be. It is born out of an inner aspiration, an awakening to the realisation that there is more to life than materialism.
Of all the aspects of human life, it is perhaps spirituality that is likely to seem rather remote and unfamiliar to many of us, especially the youth. Some of us might even consider it irrelevant to our daily lives. We are willing to spend a third of our life (or more) at work or in business, to build our financial resources. We are ready to spare time for our chosen relationships, including friends and family. We are willing to spend time and money to preserve our health and fitness. Enough time is also set aside for entertainment, leisure and relaxation. But when it comes to spiritual well-being, we are at a loss; we ask ourselves - what am I supposed to do for my soul? I would like to tell you, that you owe it to yourself to unlock the hidden spiritual powers that are within you! Gurudev Sadhu Vaswani taught us: "Man is essentially the soul, and spirituality is the foundation of a balanced life."
What is the soul? Of the soul, the atman within, Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: Weapons cleave him not, nor fire burneth him. Waters wet him not, nor wind drieth him away. ...He is eternal and all-pervading. He is unchanging and immovable. He is ancient, the same forever... [II 23-24]
This great reality is difficult for most people to grasp - for so strong, so powerful, so binding is our attachment to the body! Ancient Indian wisdom likens the soul to a lamp shining within: it is surrounded by three separate sheathes or layers. The mind is the inner layer, the senses constitute the middle layer, and the flesh is the outermost layer. The soul is the unchanging spirit that pervades all beings. What we call the body is but a garment that the soul has worn. In the words of the poet Shelley: The One remains: the many change and pass; Heaven's Light forever shines: earth's shadows fly; Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, Stains the white radiance of Eternity. As long as we remain unaware of this great truth - that the soul is eternal, and that the body is mortal - we become obsessed with the physical, material and sensual aspects of life. The more we identify with the body, the more unhappy we become! It is my view, therefore, that detachment from the physical, and awakening to the spiritual, is the first step to true happiness. Therefore, our rishis asserted: Tat twam asi! Therefore, Jesus said to the Jews, "Ye are Gods." "Your substance is that of God Himself," said a great Sufi saint. "Whoso knows himself, has Light,"said Lao Tse.
In this sense, spirituality is the key to unlock true joy and peace, to discover the essential Divinity within each one of us.
If we wish to progress on the path of self-realisation, we have to stop identifying ourselves with the body! Have you ever wondered why pious Hindus remove their shoes before they enter a temple or a holy place? This is merely symbolic of the idea that we move away from our habitual body-consciousness, which in turn, will help us move closer to God. We have got to move away from the body, even as we move away from the "shoes" we wear! Swami Vivekananda was an inspiration, an icon, a role model to the youth of this country. He believed that India's spirituality alone could save our sinking civilisation. He was, himself, a mighty spiritual genius, who carried to the modern west the message of India's ancient wisdom - that there can be no true freedom without spirituality and that no man is free until he is master of himself.
I request you to dwell upon this idea: there can be no true freedom without spirituality. Today, people are very conscious of their need for freedom, in every sense of that word.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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