Looking at these two words from the outset, it might seem like a square peg in a round hole. It may be like Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi doing a Nach Baliye in a rainy forest in the hills of Ooty. Or it may be like our Narendra Modi giving a lecture about atheism to a group of rationalists on the occasion of Janmashtami. During my second year when I decided to join Art of living, this seemingly called mis-fit struck me very deep. Though I had some spiritual inclinations ever since my childhood, I was quite apprehensive this time as things were different now. However without doing much ratiocination, I decided to go for it. Now, I realize that it had been the best decision of my life. It wasn’t so easy then. Many of my friends were flabbergasted by my decision. I had long debate in the canteen with my friends over my decision. They thought I was crazy. They couldn’t believe the fact that a guy who is in his twenties could be fascinated by meditation, satsangs, pranayam et al. I don’t blame them. It’s quite natural. The whole society thinks so. In fact the whole society is very apprehensive regarding spirituality. Think of spirituality for a moment. The mind immediately pictures those boring somniferous lectures given by some sexagenarian who seems to be in amnesia state (which his devotees proudly call Nirvana state) and is surrounded by the paraphernalia of faithful devotees and phirangi youth crazy about eastern mysticism. Things have changed now. With the world becoming flat, spirituality has also acquired new dimensions. Rather than going in detail about what spirituality exactly means, let me address the prima facie question asked by many. “Why do youngsters need to know about spirituality?” “Aint it too early?”
Well think for a while about all those people who taught us all those moral values in our childhood. I had moral science as a subject during my third standard. There were lessons for every moral thought. There was a lesson which taught me how bad it was to get angry over some one. There was a story written in which a person lost all he possessed because of his temper. While looking retrospectively at these imposed moral instructions taught during those classes, I realize that those lessons didn’t teach me what to do when I really got angry. They didn’t tell me what I should do at the spur of the moment when I get on to my nerves.
Let me quote one more example. Let’s say you have an internal test tomorrow. You cosily sit in your room with a firm resolve to study for the next few hours. How many of you can sit in the same seat for at least an hour? The moment you sit down in the table, you start to think about your girlfriend. You message her. Ten minutes passes by. Your mobile doesn’t seem to move even an inch. You look at your mobile to see if you can see “1 message received”. But all you see is that stupid wallpaper which you’ve set. You start thinking. “Has she started disliking me? Has she begun to ignore me?” While the book cozily sleeps in your lap, your mind is on a roll thinking of all sorts of questions to be asked when you meet her next time. How many of you can sit for two minutes without a single thought in mind? Give me one instance when every cell of your body was totally drenched in the present. Perhaps never... The problem with us is that we don’t let our mind to think about all these trivial things.
Spirituality can only teach you simple techniques to control your mind according to your will. Our mind is basically like a coca cola bottle (assuming for a while that coca cola is good for health). All those bubbles which effervesce out of the coca cola bottle are our thoughts. Thoughts keep coming up and disappearing. The moment the bubbles tend to settle down you will be able to enjoy your drink. Same goes with your mind. Our mind generally vacillates between the past and the future. We are either worried about our past actions or too anxious about our future. Caught up in these two worlds we forget to live in the present. Spiritual practices can only teach you to live in the present moment. People generally think spirituality means that we have to renounce what ever we have. None of the spiritual leaders nowadays advise their followers to leave their homes and join an ashram. They advise their followers how to attain peace of mind in this dog eat dog competitive world. Many youngsters in leading metros have understood the importance of spirituality in their lives. In Mumbai, several thousands of youngsters have joined Art of living. They do head banging in the night and pranayam in the morning. Countries in the west have realized the importance of spirituality and have introduced spirituality in the students’ curriculum. Ivy League Institutions like Harvard Business School and Stanford University have pranayam and meditation classes in their semesters.
By this time u must be thinking that I belong to the marketing division of the Art of Living foundation. Fortunately or unfortunately no is my answer. The whole purpose behind writing this article is to erase all the popular tags attached with this vulnerable word – SPIRITUALITY and see spirituality with a new perspective. I hope it has served its purpose.