Spirituality in India

The meaning of spirituality has developed and expanded over time, and various connotations can be found alongside each other. Traditionally, spirituality referred to a religious process of re-formation which “aims to recover the original shape of man”, oriented at “the image of God as exemplified by the founders and sacred texts of the religions of the world. The term was used within early Christianity to refer to a life oriented toward the Holy Spirit and broadened during the Late Middle Ages to include mental aspects of life. In modern times, the term both spread to other religious traditions and broadened to refer to a wider range of experiences, including a range of esoteric traditions and religious traditions. Modern usages tend to refer to a subjective experience of a sacred dimension and the “deepest values and meanings by which people live”, often in a context separate from organized religious institutions.

In the present age, we see that the whole of humanity is in disharmony owing to religious differences. This means that the present-day religious theologies and practices have outlived their spiritual efficacy to bring about peace and spiritual evolvement to humanity. It is for India to take up a leadership role in the spiritual renewal of humanity. Although it may be unconvincing to many, the reality is that India is the mother of spirituality, the inheritor of an ancient most spiritual culture.

As the global community becomes increasingly capitalistic, the quest for spirituality grows in urgency.  India, its people, its infrastructure, and indeed its very soil, encourage and breed Spiritualism, allowing religions to thrive, flourish and prosper.

India boasts the presence of every major religion in the world, as well many of their off-shoots and facets, all being supported, nourished, and living in comparative harmony. Many of these religions were conceived in India, and others have come to India seeking a haven from persecution after being created in their lands. The age-old environment has always supported such freedom of belief.

Spirituality and mystical charm have always drawn people from all over the world to India. As the world becomes increasingly capitalistic and materialist, the quest and urgency for spirituality grow more and more. The traditional Indian way of life has helped in the evolution and growth of Spiritualism. Numerous cultures and religions have thrived and flourished together for ages and resulted in the unique Indian way of life.

At different points in the history of our civilization, numerous spiritual leaders and saints have delivered the message of peace, brotherhood and co-existence that is so very well rooted in our culture. Arts like Yoga and Ayurveda coupled with religion have played an important role in the evolution and existence of spirituality in India.

Thus, Indian spirituality is all about showing respect to all living beings-animals trees, rocks and even water and lead a positive and healthy life. It is believed that the supreme Creator has put each one of us in this world for a purpose and that purpose is to be compassionate, caring and loving to one another. As mentioned earlier, the great Indian spiritual personalities and gurus have played an important role in spreading the message of love, care and the need for positive living all over the world. The presence of God as the supreme power, the concept of “Omnipresence of the Omnipotent” therefore finds a divine dimension amidst the concept of Indian philosophy. Indian philosophy suggests that all that exists in this universe is the ultimate manifestation of God. The words of Krishna further support this. As Krishna says:

“I am the original fragrance of earth and the heat of the fire. I am the life of all that lives and I am the penance of all seekers. I am the consciousness of all who have developed their consciousness. I am the splendor of all which is fine.”

This is the part where Indian philosophy ultimately offers a definite contour to the term “Spirituality”. This is when finally the emergence of that Ultimate Consciousness of the Greatest Knowledge happens which leads one towards felicity and towards that eternal bliss. This is the very halo of spiritualism in Indian philosophy, which finally binds the religiosity and the phantasmal elements with that sheer thread of tenet and feelings. Indian philosophy is therefore a religious tradition. The pride of the Indian philosophy again lies in that magical blend of the concept of reality or in that absolute reality with that of the existence of personal God which ultimately leads to a meaningful life. This immense fusion further crafts Indian philosophy as the most tolerant religion.

I would like to end these thoughts with a quote from the Gita: “Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender. Seek refuge in the knowledge of Brahma. They who work selfishly for results are miserable.”