Spirituality to me is being ourselves, not hurting others, and being able to focus for a bit longer. Rituals are next in line which gives me the strength to carry on the above.
Out of all these, being rooted in self was a challenge for me. Thinking for others becomes our greatest priority all the time. While we are working in 9 to 5 set up, caring for the key responsible areas is our biggest priority, at home the children and house chores is the main theme. Being relaxed and taking out time for ourselves to connect to something higher goes back into the shadow of other priorities.
So, when do we get to be introduced to spirituality, is it a matter of fate, biology, environment, or an event that forces us to go deep within?
At this very moment, at 6 AM the nearby temple is playing the live bhajan song “Jai Jai Ram Krishna Hari” for the Kartik month, if work would have been my priority or if I was in rush to do some chores, there was no chance that I would have even noticed where the sound is coming from. But right now by the grace of the lord, I am enjoying them while writing.
I think values do provide huge background for spirituality. Whether we yell in a fit of anger or have a negative thought in mind, it is tough to remember that, even if I am angry, I don’t have to hurt others through my words. I had a hard time learning to stay calm under the cloud of anger. The want of something so badly, or the thought so deeply embedded that I am right has to go before I achieve this jewel in the crown. That’s where my struggle lies in spirituality.
I admire my Aunt, she has a unique quality of looking through various perspectives which adds charm to her personality. She quickly understands the situation and acts and talks through the lens of others, but at the same time adhering to her basic personality. She slowly and calmly goes ahead to win the hearts of people who pay their respects and obligations to her. I contemplate, is this a part of spirituality? I think, her way to reach the higher self is through understanding others and empathy.
While studying and living in the hostel away from home, there used to be a temple of a goddess nearby, which I visited during Navratri. The Bengalis celebrate this festival with pomp and fervor, the huge glittered magnetic idol, the magnificent aarti, and the fragrant Dhoop covering the whole “pandal” is mesmerizing. They feed food to the idol like she was for real. Looking at their rituals, my eyes simply would well up for reasons I don’t know why. I think many of us have the same experience.
I am a Gujrati, so circumventing around the “Ghat” has its own significance, I don’t mind doing that either. In childhood or teenage years we simply follow the rituals because it has to be done, but the “connect” we find later.
I feel lucky to come across Swamiji’s books while going through a rough patch. It helped me to meditate and peek into the self when the surrounding was chaos. I wish someday I would see him in person.
Thank you, Medha, for this workshop, I owe you big time.