Pleonastic, isn’t it? What about ‘Intelligent, but not stupid’? Or ‘Moral, but not immoral’? I have heard many women say that they are “Spiritual, but not religious” with a smile which displays their pride in knowing where to demarcate the line. Then, a lot are of the opinion I am a profoundly spiritual person, a trait which is not too common among atheists. I will agree to the first statement in the sense that a spiritual person cannot be religious. I will agree to the second one too, as I know that I am conscious of my own consciousness. I will take the compliment. But, could you please leave out the second part?
The word ‘spiritual’ means “related to the soul or spirit”. What we call spirit is the life force of an individual. It means his will or enthusiasm for living. I would like to point out the fact that it was man’s material progress which makes the present living standards possible. It is man’s material progress which raised his life expectancy tremendously. It is man’s material progress which brought down the infant mortality rates radically. It is mans struggle for material progress that makes his life possible. It is that excruciating struggle which indicates his enthusiasm for living.
I do not think that I have to point out that by the phrase “one’s enthusiasm to live”, I don’t mean life on a death bed. It is a life in which pleasure or intellectual play is not a luxury, but a necessity. It’s not a life of mediocrity, but of creative ingenuity. To live by the code of achievement, one should never let anything stand in between his mind and reality. A spiritual person, thus, can never believe in God. To believe in the unproven, one should first deny his consciousness. It means that he has to accept ideas which he can by no means substantiate. It is not the attribute of a spiritual person–of a man of mind.
A man who has once evaded reason will have no qualms while doing so whenever he feels that it suits him. He in fact, will actively seek reasons to do so. It is no coincidence that the word ‘God’, the filthiest word man has ever coined is responsible in one way or the other for anything that fits the description ‘evil’- from caste-ism to Sati system, gender inequality to witch hunt, astrology to terrorism. It is that word which is responsible for the mass slaughter of nameless, faceless millions. Isn’t it obvious that whenever man denies his mind, he engages in activities which delay his material and spiritual progress?
Spirituality is often considered to be in the realm of religion. It is no coincidence. The pseudo-philosophers and religious leaders have had a near monopoly on ‘spirituality’. When Sri Sri Ravishankar was asked how communism relates to spirituality, he replied,(to my delight) that “Only a spiritual person can be a communist.” It is where an altruist and a religious leader differ. The religious leader at least realizes that they aren’t that different. The altruist fails there too!
While the altruist tries to break the religious leader’s monopoly, the religious leaders assures them it is a wrong battle and that they are all different sides of the same coin. Ah, Ah.
Let us hear what our Mother Theresa had to say on it. She once said: “One should not be successful. One must only be faithful.” Now it is obvious that both religion and altruism blend. Both require the suspension of ones mind-of ones spirituality. Charity presupposes achievement–achievement of men of mind, of course. Every penny given to charity is taken away from further capital investment. It is such investments which makes further material and spiritual growth possible. An act of charity, needless to mention, delays material progress in the long run. To believe that an act of achievement is below an act of charity, one should first deny his ability to think. It again, is no coincidence that many of mankind’s horrors were perpetrated in the name of altruism. An achiever, the man of mind, therefore is the most spiritual of all men. It’s only an act of achievement which displays ones will or enthusiasm for living. It’s only such an act that displays spirituality explicitly.