What is spirituality? In simple words, it is knowledge of God, not an intellectual knowledge but an illumined personal experience of the supreme.
Spirituality teaches us to look within. Even as there is an expanding universe outside of us, there is a larger and more wonderful universe within us of which we are not aware. One day, when our bodies drop down dead the outer universe will vanish. Our inner self will remain: it is timeless and eternal.
Spirituality is like infinity: it encompasses so many aspects, so many approaches that each of us must choose that which suits us best.
Spirituality begins with the quest to know the self; and this quest is endless in itself.
Spirituality, like faith, is a very personal concept. Atheists deny it; agnostics speculate about it in a detached manner; I do believe that there are thousands of people who practice some form of spirituality in their daily lives—through inner reflection, contemplation or even through silence and service—without actually codifying their behaviour.
The purpose of this human birth is to free ourselves from this vicious cycle. We may imagine that under the illusion that freedom is the ability to fulfil all our desires and satisfy all our sensual cravings: let us understand that all this is only going to shackle us deeper and deeper in bondage.
I say spirituality is personal to each one of us: we choose or own modes and practices in tune with our beliefs and higher needs. In this sense, spirituality is a means to an end; and this ‘end’ or goal’ may also vary from person to person. In our Hindu way of thinking, the highest goal is the goal of liberation—freedom from worldly bonds, freedom from ignorance and illusion, freedom from the eternal cycle of birth-death-rebirth. The purpose of this human birth is to free ourselves from this vicious cycle. We may imagine that under the illusion that freedom is the ability to fulfil all our desires and satisfy all our sensual cravings: let us understand that all this is only going to shackle us deeper and deeper in bondage. True freedom is the capacity to do what we ought to do, to follow the path of goodness, truth and dharma, to be able to live with a pure heart, a clear conscience and an untainted mind. Freedom is breaking away from bad habits, addictions and wrong attitudes; freedom is conquering the lower self; freedom is the ability to rise to the highest level of consciousness and the purest level of thought that we, as human beings, are capable of! It is this level, this height of awareness that we reach when we follow Sri Krishna’s profoundly simple, yet powerful advice in the Gita: “Whatever you do, whatever you eat or pray, do it as an offering untoa Me!”
Spirituality is as simple as this: let all our thoughts and words and deeds be an offering unto the lord!