Hurdles Galore

Why it’s so Difficult

 

“In order to save myself, I must destroy first the me I was told to be- the Dreamer”

Whilst I was grimacing and looking morosely at my unsold books, (I made a very brave attempt to pen my experiences, a journal narrating the first 5 years of meditation and the metamorphosis that occurred within me) and wondered why I am so pathetic at marketing myself; my daughter made a very astute observation.

She picked up the books and said, “Ma, why are your books so thin? I mean, all the books I read are 3 to 4 volumes and each volume has about 500 to 1000 pages! Look at these books of yours; both the books put together maybe 250-270 pages only”. I smiled at her, picked a few more books I had read in the recent past and pointed out to her, “Most of the spiritual books I have read are between 125 to 200 pages only, betu. Most of the books published by Sahaj Marg, Ramkrishna Mission, Divine Life society are more like booklets, rather than books.”

“Ah! Right!”, she said, comparing the thickness of the few books I showed her, and the next doubt popped, “But why? Why are they so thin? Can’t they write a thicker more voluminous one?”

I could have laughed out aloud at her innocence. How could I explain to her that true philosophy is a study of the Self, the earnest interest to know oneself. When the singular question ‘Who Am I’ and probably ‘what is my goal?’ (which gets answered if one answers the first one though); sums up philosophy and spirituality put together, how much can one write volumes about knowing oneself? It is a unique journey to be experienced by the person concerned. As long as the experience continues, the journey is ongoing, and they are able to share their experiences. Unfortunately, spiritual journey is rife with pain and desolation; and the books make the reader emotional, and teary, which is what people shy away from, not willingly seek, to say the least. Who wants to know about someone else’s grief when there is enough sorrow in one’s own life? The bliss is when the person has reached the zenith, gets merged with the Creator. Now, the person ceases to exist, and so the narration too comes to a halt. It is like the dew drop merging with the vast endless sea. Then how does one differentiate the dew drop from the sea? And where is the dew-drop to tell its story?

That’s just one aspect of it, the more realistic fact is, the number of people who broach this question can be counted on our fingertips. The rest of us live ignorant about our true calling and purpose in life. So, with less than one percent being interested in the truth, how can thick books possibly be written?

So, why is spirituality or practicing spirituality so difficult? Why are most of us happy within the tenets of religion?

“Page xxix: Introduction by C.G.Andrews for In the woods of God realisation  by Swami Ram Teerth: ‘Dark is the world to these? Thy self art the reason why: For is He not all but that, which has the power to say ‘I am I’. …. the loss of personal identity or complete absorption, as the final end of the soul, is a conception from which the poets of the West shrink back with dread, rather than accept with satisfaction’.”

I think what Sir. C.G.Andrews opined about the people of West has an ubiquitous applicability today. The loss of personal identity is something which no one is able to fathom, and spirituality demands exactly that, the complete absorption of Self, and a comprehension of Nothingness.

This is just the beginning of problems if one intends to practice spirituality in totality. On the other hand, religion has so many advantages, especially our Hindu religion! Islam, Christianity, Sikhism all have one text and they close their eyes, and abide by the book, with absolute faith. They don’t question their texts nor do they have Mohammad, Jesus, or Guru Nanak amidst us today, to make changes or answer any contemporary doubts and questions.  Hinduism has happily relegated the Gods who took human form and lived amongst us to God status, we have temples for Gods, Godmen and Saints. Unquestioningly we worship them, one and all, if our prayers are answered, perfect; else we blame our fate, or in moments of desperation we can blame the Gods too! How unkind, unjust and cruel they are, so as not to heed the earnest prayers of the seeker! Everything depends on our caprice, you see!

That’s the disadvantage of spirituality; our prayers are answered only, and only if, we are deserving and we continuously question our own deservingness before asking for anything. So, in spirituality we have questions galore! That’s the first big hurdle to cross, the inner Self keeps raising its hood and asks us to look within. Prayer for change becomes imminent and the blame game stops too, we have only ourselves to blame for our own failings.

The other advantage of Religion is, in Religion we have no mirrors; how do I put it… like we look at the mirror to appreciate or alter our physical appearance, so does our heart need a mirror, to tell us how well we know the Self within, the creator’s true abode being the heart, we need a mirror for our heart, do we not?  In Religion we go to our place of worship, pay obeisance, offer our prayers, make an application (we always have something we want done) and seek blessings from the priest and we get on with our life. How many of us really bring the temple home? That mindset of inner reflection, do we carry it with us? The prayers offered are rushed and amalgamated with other household chores, wedged in just so that He is not offended. Sadly, that’s not the case with spirituality.

The God is within, and not outside the person, there is the hurdle, again. If we have to check or measure the level of water in a well, do we look inside the well, or outside? So, no temple or temple functionary can help us in spirituality. We have to help ourselves, hold the mirror to the heart! And a mirror which is constantly vigilant, probing and always questioning the Self! Such a headache. Who has the time to be questioned every waking moment, and in sleep too! Knowing oneself is an arduous task with no palpable, material benefit one can showcase. In this day and age of material gain, lure of name, fame and glory, the spiritual journey is least becoming! Troubles never cease, no respite for the spiritual seeker. Is it any wonder that people are unable to rise to the challenge and pursue the quest of the inner Self?