From The Essence of Spiritual Life
By Swami Rama
Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
Copyright Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
Swami Rama Foundation
SPIRITUALITY AND WHEN IT DAWNS
It is not necessary to retire to a monastery to lead a spiritual
life. We cannot escape from our inherent longings or postpone our
utmost needs. In addition to the primitive urges for food, sex,
sleep, and self-preservation, there is a higher urge to merge with
God. We cannot be at peace unless that inherent divine urge is
We all want to experience the all-pervading, omnipresent God from
which the entire universe, as well as each individual, has evolved.
Direct experience of the truth that each of us originates from God,
and ultimately will return to God, makes us secure, happy, and
Today millions of educated men and women are suffering from a lack of
purpose. Lacking also in self-confidence, young girls and boys have
become victims of dissatisfaction and frustration. Along with a
worldly education, we must provide some spiritual education.
Human beings have done research on three levels so far on mind,
energy, and matter. Yet we have not found out a way to live in peace,
to attain happiness that is free from all problems, pains, and
miseries. We study this "ism," and that "ism." We go to this church
and that temple. We seek advice from this swami and that other yogi.
Yet, we have not found the way.
The whole confusion lies in the fact that we do not understand
ourselves, and yet we introduce ourselves to others. We are strangers
to ourselves yet we get married, have children, have homes, and claim
to love others.
That training that helps us to attain a state of happiness free from
pains and miseries, is missing from our daily life. Nobody teaches us
how to look within, how to find within, how to verify within.
We are taught to know and see things in the external world, but this
inner training and knowledge is missing. When we graduate with flying
colors from colleges and universities, we find that we are still
unsatisfied. The big questions about life still remain questions:
Who am I? From where have I come? What is the purpose of life? Where
will I go from here?
Modern education helps us to understand and to be successful in the
external world, the world of means. It doesn't help us to know
To know yourself, you don't have to go anywhere. If you want to know
yourself, you have to follow the path from the grossest to the
subtle, then to the subtler, and finally, to the subtlest aspects of
your life. You have to search for yourself, because religions do not
fulfill this need.
I am not telling you not to follow your religion, or not to believe
and trust in your religion. Often religions do not answer certain
vital questions of life. Religions tell you what to do and what not
to do, but religions do not tell you how to be.
No matter how many temples and churches we build, nothing is going to
happen unless we accept one principlethat the greatest of all
churches and temples is the living human being.
The scriptures say:
"The greatest of shrines is the human body. Look within and find
within. There His Majesty dwells in the inner recesses, in the inner
chamber of your being."
The day you come to know this, you will be happy. To believe in God
is not a bad thing. It is a very good thing, because at least you
have faith; but you should not forget that God is within you.
As a part of our educational training, we must define spirituality in
its most precise and universal terms. Spirituality means that which
helps us discipline our thoughts, speech, and actions, that which
leads us toward the center of consciousness, and thereby unfolds our
Education based on such spiritual guidelines will help humanity to
become self-reliant, confident, and active in the external world. At
the same time, it will enable humanity to broaden its world view, and
to become inward to search for the perennial Truth. Only a
spiritually based education can bring harmonious balance to our
external and inner lives.
Knowledge of theories that prove the existence of God is not as
important as learning to discipline oneself, so that God can be
experienced directly. Children should be taught how to sit quietly
and make their minds one-pointed. Through their calm and one-pointed
minds, children can obtain a glimpse of true peace and happiness. We
need not force them to believe that there is a God; however, we
should provide them with the opportunity to unfold their inner
potentials, gain confidence, and become inspired to search for God,
according to their own inner tendencies and backgrounds. Children
need to cultivate divine virtues within themselves.
That which is purely physical has its limits, like the shell of an
egg. Spirituality has infinite horizons and limitless freedom. It is
full of knowledge and perennial light, life, and delight. When one is
completely detached, one realizes oneself in a wider and deeper
relationship with the Universal Being.
When ego becomes aware of something that is higher than egothe
individual spirit, or soulthen spirituality dawns.
Spirituality dawns when individuality vanishes.