Spiritual reformation is a radical change for the better especially in the lifestyle & thinking pattern of the concerned people in regard to moral, religious & spiritual affairs. It does not necessarily aim at total abolition of the age-old cultural leanings, much less a bloody physical revolution to bring about the desired end. Because superficial changes too often change simply the labels & the beneficiaries whereafter the same corruption continues underneath more or less unaffected.
Some meaningful evolution in the right direction could be a process which starts imperceptibly at a deeper level & which gains momentum due to various favourable factors. It finally assumes the proportions of a tsunami that inundates the Society leaving many long-term effects behind. The history will never be quite the same afterwards. Just see what a Krishna Buddha Christ or Vivekananda could do in this regard – to site a few instances. Yea, often a few great persons are there on the crest of such rare high waves as the annals of history has repeatedly shown us. In great awe & veneration those who have understood the regenerative impact of these luminaries like to adore them as avatars, the veritable incarnations of the Lord God himself.
The arsha–bharatha in all likelihood might have taken many a century to shape such a superb & dignified society. It was based on the four well-known fundamentals of dharma, artha, kama & moksha as the inner mechanism to evolve and the varna–ashrama system for the social framework. This in actual practice withstood the vagaries & ravages of the all-consuming time intensified with the brutal & barbaric invasions for millennia. This time-honoured universality & appeal of the message in later years suffered a steady set-back especially due to the counterfeit of the original theme in the form of brahminism. Its stifling tentacles of casteism & unbridled sensuality made a mockery of all that was good & great in the arsha dharma. Not that the Sanathana Dharma ever enjoyed a universal acceptance even in the (fictional or poetic) satya-yuga. Nevertheless the original vision of the Sages always had a self-rejuvenating resilience unique in the cultural history. Bharatha Varsha re-asserted its pristine purity from time after time. It was of course thanks to the innumerable Sages gifted to us by the Almighty. Sree Gurudev is an exemplary example of that universal insight & profound spiritual humanism in the modern world.
This mortal existence, of necessity, is a constant change. So is the Society. Keeping this fact in mind, we can well say the eternal values with spiritual knowledge as their crest jewel are to be continuously cultivated & made available for the consumption of the exploring minds. There is an action plan to avert an imminent spiritual crisis looming large on the horizon of this human race overbalanced by rank materialism, by vulgarized kama & artha (lust & lucre). The solution is in sanely getting back to our roots, our sad-gurus.
These days the devotees are self-deceptively & superficially flocking to places of worships & religious leaders. In the same casual way they also try to follow the lives & teachings of the prophets as well. This history has been repeating itself from time immemorial: that the man is yet to be wise enough to learn of their true prophets. We know this weakness of heart as usual is perpetrated by the interpreters & priests & such self-styled leaders. As an old Upanishad has put it, here is an instance of blind leading the blind. It is again vested interest – hidden self-serving motives that prevent the well-meaning devotees too from seeing the higher teachings for which the Gurus have appeared before us in the first place. That Spiritual India alone has unflinchingly stood for the ultimate goal of enlightenment (mind u, parama–purusha–artha is the term) is no mean feat. Freedom from the dark forces of ignorance is the profoundest theme of Guru-ideal. Here alone, hence, a guru is worshipped even above the other great theme of motherhood. Here we perfected that concept, scope & practice to be a perennial lighthouse for the rest of the world. Those who ignore this guru-status of our cultural heritage doubtlessly do it to their doom. Here is the mother of all religions for all the time. And here we do have a spiritual master of colossal status who preached & practised a universal religion of that Truth which is inherent in everything as its essence & is at once transcendental in intrinsic nature, & is moreover realizable by one & all of us as our inmost & immediate Self. Indeed, Gurus confirmed ‘Religion is Realization’, & not a matter of beliefs & set of doctrines holy, inherited or otherwise.
Did the makers of the modern India & its constitution ever know India has a long past & a grand mission of uplifting & reforming the entire world spiritually! Since the meagre basic necessities of the common man are not yet met even after six decades, there is unrest, frustration & uprising quite naturally among those who are at the receiving end. Their own democratic (?) government is sending army against them to silence the cries for justice. What else is neglect, exploitation & organized crime! Could this be the welfare state envisaged by the law-makers! What & whose development is this! We just wanted to say they forgot their Sages – both the new rulers & the ruled. They lacked the vision. Whether in India or anywhere else in the world, a holistic society can never be properly formed or maintained without the fundamentals of spiritual well-being of the humanity.
This ancient path of Truth & wisdom always remained a highway but only for the discerning few. But it was an amazingly arduous & uphill task for the mediocre. And even worse, the man on the street was to be helped & supported at every step in his royal adventure of rediscovering himself & the Path. Hence it was actually the Society to be revitalized & re-formed to make it eligible for the perfect manhood in the true sense of the term. Sree Gurudev as a cultural ambassador of the sublime values came back to the human race, or rather descended lightly on it, to infuse life into it by his spiritual brilliance & brought about a radical reform by this golden means.
A person bereft of spiritual unfoldment, though endowed with so many shallow achievements of the world accumulated round his bloated ego is still too many zeroes only. There has to be the spiritual vision, the number one, behind to give them all an assigned value. It is just so regarding the human society too. For is it not after all a conglomeration of the persons in it! So such a society or organization or movement lacking in constant spiritual maintenance will never solve its basic problems of harmony & happiness, peace & purpose. The result is rumbling volcanoes beneath waiting to erupt at the slightest opportunity as some war or catastrophe which appears to be imposed from outside for no good reason.
The man here has to be waking up to a deep soul-search sooner or later. The sooner the better. There could be some more time left for a rectification before we are compelled to learn by the hard & bitter ways. And with good luck, before the man vanishes from the face of this lovely, though uncompromising, blue planet.
Therein is the profound relevance of the Gurus who show us the way to achieve this end ‘scientifically’ which simply means minimum expenditure of time & energy and optimum level of clarity & efficacy. They have told us – have they not – in unambiguous terms that the soul is fundamentally the spirit first, but is having a human experience for the time being. Consciously or not, the soul has been labouring to break this delusion of death, sorrow & unabated suffering, & to get back to its pristine nature of absolute bliss & freedom. As the very word Guru or Rishi indicates it is exactly the panacea of spiritual wisdom that we are to imbibe from them. All other benefits we may derive from them are secondary, are by-products. At best they go to arrange a springboard for the final leap/dive towards the Infinity.
Our sages have exhorted us that all religions are essentially the same. The details seem to differ due to various lingual cultural & historical contexts of varying space & time. As we go deeper the differences also tend to vanish. And that essence presented directly or indirectly is God & God-Realization. Any religion or doctrine does full justice to its central theme only in so far as it helps the follower realize spirituality in this life itself. A quest for the Self & self-conquest as the way – that moulds & strengthens the man with the right orientation. Be & Make – be free from the murky ignorance & then help the less privileged to be free from the deceptive & relative knowledge. And that will make it as clear as daylight that we in spite of our huge universities & researches knew next to nothing about anything. But the more one is established in unselfish love & service the more she is nearer to this Truth, this enlightenment. Sree Gurudev also meant just the same when he told the quintessential theme of every religion is only this much. ‘Truth is one, the sages call it by diverse names.’ Why we pretend to sleep when the insistent call for awakening has come from them time & again?
As we think deeply over the esoteric significance of arsha-jnana we unavoidably come to this intuitional awareness: that every religion big or small (which in other words includes all of us) is trying to approximate to this universal ideal of Sanathana Dharma. It is precisely a religion of love & service, equality & freedom enriched by the supercelestial ideal & truth of the Oneness. In short, those have to be the intrinsic values of the soul or ‘individual consciousness’ which is nothing but a reflection of the pure Self. So all the different doctrines of some merit are trying to realize this essential ideal consciously or unconsciously, & with some or other measure of success rate. Let us at this point dare to say, even religious terrorism, convulsively rampant nowadays, is nothing but a perverted & futile manner of this quest for the Supreme.
However, the corrective force of love & sacrifice can have no substitute. As we reiterate any law & order of a shallow secularism or humanism leaves much to be desired. So many isms, systems, sects, philosophies, religions & ways & walks of life we have experimented with. But where else we have found a heart broad enough to unite, an indomitable will successful at self-conquest & an intelligence sharp enough to penetrate the profound mysteries of oneself & the multiverse! ‘This Atman is not to be achieved by the weaklings.’ ‘It is by putting away the self interest (for obtaining the riches of the world such as wealth, progeny & indulgence in a workaholic world) that a few are enabled to realize here the immortal Self.’ The spiritual reform spearheaded by the great sages can be kept vibrant & alive only by transforming our lives in the wake of such sagacious wisdom. That sublime information has to sink deep into our being & transmute our hearts. That will in good time uplift the Society. Indeed, the Gurus will have to be reborn again & again in & thru the boundless & brilliant lives of the sincere devotees to bring about the desirable end in view.
‘Be good & do good.’ This ideal uplifts our soul to our higher dimensions of existence. This again is the same as getting nearer to the Truth / God. Because the Self is the stuff of the Divinity itself. All other natural blessings (we may hasten to add the sufferings too – the best teachers to these) on earth bestowed upon us with specific purposes by the Omniscient are to be continuously judged & monitored taking spiritual values as the measuring rod. Hence artha & karma (the ways & means for enjoyment) are to be strictly subjected to dharma which is the unerring guide of a true devotee. It is this character, this dharma which allow our higher self to manifest unhindered till the highest destiny & dignity of man is realized here in this everyday life. This acme for sure is an all-embracing perfection. ‘Every grief is removed by the dawn of that self-knowledge’.
This sacrifice of such magnitude & benefit we are not prepared to offer on the altar of our divine love. The output has to be directly proportional to the input. Can we ever cheat God! The natural outcome of our self-deception is a sort of bhakti which is ‘full of sound & fury & sentiments, signifying nothing at all.’ And we go for the ignorant & adamant leaders for spiritual solace! The rulers we get exactly reflect what we the ruled are & what we truly deserve!
The Cultural Bharatha has remained the spiritual heart of the World from prehistoric period. In fact it is the Sanathana Dharma, the universal religion ever existent hidden or manifest in the civilization of the humanity. It is here alone the great teachings stated above have originated in all their beauty & catholicity. Who else openly admit all religions are genuine attempts at worshipping the one & only Lord God! Evidently, the sublimest contribution of India to the whole of our international community is this teaching of oneness, this unique spirituality. The modern science has no reason, no experience, no will to limit the wants, no heart for compassion & what more, even in its professed field of knowledge it is destined to be a mere baby groping ever in the half-baked hypotheses for want of a better framework to pursue the Truth. Here in this predicament a spiritual reform aims at opening up new vistas of experiential knowledge of the immanent & transcendental Truth.
Ah, it was precisely based on this enlightened awareness of the one ‘Me’ pervading everything in & out, that spiritual form of secularism & brotherhood of man was preached & practised here for ages. On the other hand, racism, casteism & so many other sectarian vices catered to the needs of the mean & lowly in this very land. But certainly that is no reason to mistake the potential of the tree which yielded such full grown, ripe & luscious fruits for us all to use & nourish our souls. The constitution makers & the law-givers, either due to their undue eagerness for cheap popularity or more probably owing to the spiritual ignorance enveloping those souls, went to embrace the foreign idea of ‘secularism & scientific temper’ which was not at all originally conceived to meet the requirements of the man in all his integrity & wholeness.
See, for instance, how the ignorant Churches – means their priestcraft – with the vested interest of strengthening the dependence of the followers on the Church & the sensual priests abolished the principle of rebirth from their holy scriptures. This theory was based on the rationale of experience & the law of causality. Nevertheless the fact of reincarnation is being reinstated continuously (cf. Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss). How could one be blind to the spiritual matters & still be having some elevated type of progress, happiness, knowledge, freedom, fearlessness & the like! What a pity! And then U go to religiously declare the nation, & its courts, its legislative bodies & the constitution itself infallible & above the Truth & spirituality! It sounds quite Draconian or diabolic an idea, isn’t it! It is then done in the best faith & interests of crooks & fools who profess to be the greatest lovers on earth of the humanity & the rest of the world. It is the wily brahminism in the garb of modernism. It is told much more money than the British Empire looted from here is stashed away in Swiss Banks by the law-abiding good Samaritans of the independent India. As a rule, the rules here are continuously & conveniently bent & interpreted, evidences & witnesses are planted or demolished at the discretion of the indiscrete enforcers of the law & justice. Democracy if anything has become its shadow. The big creatures as usual break away from the cobweb just meant for torturing & annihilating the creepy-crawlies. Cases pile up in the courts, undertrials perish behind the bars! And these bigwigs are then invited on to the dais/pulpit of the so-called spiritual institutions whence those wiseacres with a pretence of omniscience sit on judgement & give their verdicts on dharma, spirituality, Gurus & everything under the Sun. It is precisely at this juncture, the crying need of the hour is seen as the re-establishment of the dharma – the rhythm & order of the world – in the lines of Sad-Gurus (universal teachers) like Sree Narayana Gurudev.
So we have here a spiritual stalwart in the embodied being of Sree Gurudev to learn, to follow transform & worship. But the cultural pygmies want to cut short him, his spiritual stature, to something which their semi-blind minds can grasp. To them, the secondary benefits alone matter. He is so a social reformer, a leader of the downtrodden or more specifically of a particular caste, a Dravidian who fought back the atrocities of the invaded Aryans in his inimitable & effective manner, a man of neo-brahminism, an ardent advocate of communism, a bourgeosis, a simple Saivite Saint, a swami & teacher of the avarna community & so on & so forth. At any rate the self-styled followers are in no mood to follow in his footsteps of spiritual transformation. They don’t even have sufficient information to make a good start in the direction paved by the Great Master.
These appellations may be considered partially correct or incorrect depending who that particular viewer is. It is not easy for the multitude to shed their sectarian views. Moreover, even an ordinary person is simultaneously a mother, sister, daughter & so on. Then what to speak of such a Himalayan greatness whose spiritual heights especially remain incomprehensible to the plain people! So some are adoring or respecting him but for some assumed or wrong reasons. And many more who profess to be his admirers truly hate him because of their secret agenda or prejudices. But still they have got to make a show of respect towards him simply because of some politically wise or diplomatically correct reason.
In spite of all that, the time will show that his spiritual greatness alone is of an abiding value. It is exactly that which made him a Guru & Archarya in the first place. But before coming to this original glory of his being a spiritual reformist, if only these ‘devotees’ could abstain from the casteism & liquor consumption as the initial step! Of course, such disruptive draw-back is a common feature of all the church-goers & followers of all the great prophets. The forces of darkness are united from inside & outside of the religious groups alike. Should the genuine followers of the Gurus also not be united in practice & preaching! Sree Guru convened an all religious meeting with that intention. He hoped to have a Brahma Vidyalaya, a university where all the religions & philosophies will be learned & taught impartially to have a healthy & harmonious human society (certainly with the Rishi wisdom as the guide & backdrop). And finally, as the first attempt could not come to his expectations, he founded a second organization, a Trust of renunciates who, he hoped, will be able to give a right direction to the world to progress fearlessly towards a holistic & spiritual resurrection. It is such an enlightened sort of service & selflessness that will meet the problems at every level in its entirety. This the message of the Sages we should learn to live by means of our immaculate purity, patience & perseverance. Amen !