The spiritual seeker is one who is prepared to venture into the unknown , forsaking the sure and firm foundations of the mundane existence, willing to eschew sensuous pleasures in the search for elusive spiritual bliss. in the words of Saint Kabir , ” Jin khoja tin paiyan gehre pani paith, mai bauri booden dari rahi kinare baith “( The one who seeks shall find gems by diving into the ocean; I , like a fool, being afraid of drowning remained seated on the shore ) .
While there is nothing wrong in enjoying sensuous pleasures, what mostly happens is that senses , by their nature, seek constant indulgence in worldly pleasures, like fire in the havan kund requiring constant oblation. These pleasures are transient in nature and have diminishing effect. It is like a person who is fond of drinking ; graduates to heavy drinking to maintain his increasing satisfaction level of intoxication. A steadfast mind remains in control but an unsteady mind is like untrained horses which drive the chariot to ruin and the chariot driver to disaster. He gets stuck to the habit until a very determined effort , through will power, is exercised to moderate or altogether quit the habit.
While I do not suggest negation of sensuous pleasures until better and more pleasant alternatives like being close to nature, meditation, yoga, devotion, pursuit of artistic , philosophical or scientific activities etc is available, one should not indulge in them to the extent he can not do without them. OSHO had said, ” Know your attachments or bondages. Try gradually to live without things, which you can not normally live without, till you reach a stage that, even if things you can not live without, are taken away from you, you remain unperturbed. This would be a sign of detachment. If you are able to permanently move away from your attachments, gyan will flourish, self-realization will dawn. As we transcend the consciousness of the body and mind, we begin to remember the soul “.
We perceive sensuous pleasures through the instrumentality of mind. Mind largely works at mundane level ( though a chink is available for receiving light from yonder of which we are not usually conscious ) ; it stores, records, analyses and interprets the sensory perceptions received. Mind gets attuned to certain pleasures according to our genetic or environmental disposition and seeks ways and means to obtain those pleasures. In the event of of its failure to achieve the desired results ; it sinks into quagmire of depression, dejection , frustration , anger.
The journey of a spiritual seeker starts from Self. ” Know thyself ” as Socrates said. He has to equip himself for the long and arduous journey of self- realization as we do for a trip to far away places. The essential accompaniments are love, compassion, kindness and charity. Deprived of these essential qualities his journey would be like a journey in a desert -dreary and cheerless. ” It is of no worth to move from one tirth to another. The best tirth is one’s own self diving deep into that one we will be able to attain moksha (salvation ) ( Shiva Stotra )”.
Spirituality, to me, is recognition of the fourth dimension of our being i.e. spirit or soul , after body, mind and heart. Spirituality is an act of sublimation from the mundane existense to the soul experience, an act of self realization. ” Man does not live by bread alone ” ( The Bible ) or for bread alone but he has feelings, thoughts and inner voice. Spirituality is an extension of self beyond body and mind to the vast cosmos so that he is in tune with the infinite, the eternal. Not remaining content with the ephemeral sensuous pleasures alone, he seeks lasting spiritual bliss. Moments of such bliss do come in every one’s life as if to give him the glimpse of the existence of the beyond; the spiritual seeker explores the perennial spring of bliss. To achieve this, he has to shed negativities, attain certain detachment from the mundane though not giving up to live intensely and seek to transcend the ephemeral through sankhya yoga or yoga of knowledge, karm yoga, bhakti yoga or dhyana yoga, as described in the Gita, suiting to the temperament of the individual seeker.
THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY MAY BE LONG AND ARDUOUS AND THE GOAL MAY BE DISTANT AND UNCERTAIN, BUT IT IS NEVERTHELESS ADVENTUROUS AND ENJOYABLE. IN FACT THE JOURNEY ITSELF IS THE GOAL.