Spirituality is the topic of the second part of the series. Spirituality is broadly defined as including “a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves”—typically involving a search for the meaning in life. But many people loosely use the term “spiritual” in ways that detract from the true meaning of spirituality and what it is to “be spiritual”.
Acharya das clearly explains the meaning of “spiritual”. It begins with a real understanding of the differences between the material and spiritual energies. He also contrasts the materialistic and spiritual worldviews. The wisdom which arises from true spiritual vision is to see as follows:
- The world, not as my home or my property, but a place that existed before I showed up in this body and which will exist beyond my current life in this body. My claim to any part of this world is false. “Consuming” this world will not give me true and lasting happiness. I should view this world with appreciation and through the lens of guardianship.
- All life is sacred. All life is spiritual. There is no higher or lower. We are all spiritual brothers and sisters. Exploiting or using others brings unhappiness to the user and the used. Love and serve others.
- I am not material. “I” am spiritual. The path of true self-discovery brings eternal happiness, peace, and fulfillment.
Ignorance consists of considering that which is temporary as eternal, the impure as pure, misery as happiness and the non-self (the body or mind) as the real self. – Yoga-sūtra 2.5
In the stage of perfection called samadhi, one’s mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This perfection is characterized by one’s ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness, realized through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact. – Bhagavad-gītā 6.20-23
He is a perfect yogi who, by comparison to his own self, sees the true equality of all beings, in both their happiness and their distress, O Arjuna! – Bhagavad-gītā 6.32
It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words. – Caitanya Caritamrita Adi 9.42