Saumya P Mittal\r\nSaturday,01 September 2018 | in Devbhoomi Spiritual\u2013\u2013\r\nThe increasing fascination of more and more people across the world in modern times for meditation and spirituality speaks volumes of the growing disenchantment among them about materialism. Since the time man came up in course of the evolution of the soul in Nature, spirituality has been haunting him, the inmost being lurking deep beneath the lashings of the surface life, layer after layer. It triggers in the process a groping for 'something afar' from the sphere of the mundane. It induces him to go deeper into himself in search of the truth of the being that transcends mortality. A legion of saints, thinkers, and philosophers from the time immemorial has come up while trying to rise above the mundane insignificance of life and to go all-out to awaken the soul sleeping deep within. They all have provided their own interpretation of spirituality. While for some the renunciation of sense\/material pleasures is the essence of liberation from coils of the worldly bondage it for others amounts to selfless service to humanity, suffering because they are enmeshed in the bogs of the attachment to the fleeting.\u00a0 The Buddhist philosophy stresses that those who find delight in freedom from attachment are like shining lights as they have reached the acme of liberation and in possession of eternity and infinity, beyond the body and in the soul.\u00a0 There are other streams of philosophical thought which underpin the supremacy of liberation gained through spiritual bonding with the being left suffering in the world.\u00a0 \u00a0Both have their places in the true truth of things as service is perfect only when the man who serves is liberated and feels others present in his soul as part of the indivisible Brahman that is One in All. Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa says that it is required to first attain devotion, unconditional consecration and surrender to the Lotus Feet of the Divine Mother and the Divine Mother will show him whether to go for service of the humanity or go deeper and deeper and ascend higher and higher into the true essence of the Being.\r\n\r\nSince humanity dawned, various branches of theology have come up and attempted to define the essence of spirituality. The mind is befogged as they pull us in different directions, some asking for renunciation of the world, dubbing the world as unsubstantial unreal, and others stressing on freedom from ego, I-ness and My-ness and realizing the world as dancing in the Ananda, indefinable, inexplicable, formless, spaceless, in the language of Sri Ramakrishna, the Mansion of Mirth and not a Mesh of Maya.\r\n\r\nSpirituality broadly refers to discovering a connection between what we are on the surface and what lies latent in us, deep into our soul, which can be realized only when the mind is silenced. We are in fact searching for something which is greater than the physical-mental sheaths we are, which is enduring, which does not dissolve with death.\r\n\r\nThe spiritual quest involves the finding of an inner life where the fleeting stream of the surface living gives way to a kind of light which drives us to something timeless and spaceless where peace reigns supreme and where peace is not the ultimate as the supreme Ananda, the delight of infinity and eternity, follows peace. The inspiration for exploring one's spirituality comes from within.\u00a0 Human being represents a pell-mell m\u00e9lange of the divine and the un-divine. It is said that no creature in Nature is as weak as human because of the incessant fight for supremacy between the elements of light and those of the darkness and at the same time, no creature on earth is as strong as human as it is only he who can conquer the un-divine to become the divine. Herein comes the importance of meditation. Meditation means to connect with the deep. Through it comes purification through the realization of the deeper. Meditation means silencing the mind so that the Divine can come in and takes Its place in us.\u00a0 \u00a0The Divine lives only in a pure mind.\r\n\r\nMeditation is a powerful instrument to conquer the negative and usher in the positive. It helps us to detect what is negative playing in our minds which drags us away from the spiritual advancement. It begets a detachment from the negative energy assailing us from everywhere, from within and from without, and begets an attachment towards the positive which leads us to where we must go, leaving the transient on way to the transcendental.\r\n\r\nThe Dalai Lama has famously said: "Meditation is valuable for all of humanity because it involves looking inward." The Bhagwad Gita stresses meditation as the supreme instrument to reach the Divine.\u00a0 \u00a0"Through meditation, the Higher Self is experienced and the Higher Self leads us to the Divine." When meditation has mastered the mind becomes an unwavering flame of a candle in a windless place.\r\n\r\nReligion and spirituality are not the same. To answer the question whether religiosity is important for an individual to achieve spiritual wisdom is difficult. No doubt, religious beliefs provide a sense of moral judgment and bring inner peace to the individual. While religion follows a specific ideology and enjoins few rules for the follower's spirituality lets you listen to your own inner voice. At a certain stage of the life of a deeply religious man, the deeper call comes, the call of the soul, the spirituality.\u00a0 While religion advocates specific principles spirituality is about framing one's own principles by exploration and discovery. Religion controls one's impulses through fear associated with noncompliance with what is understood as Dharma while spirituality means an adventure of consciousness from lesser light to greater light.\u00a0 Gautama Buddha did not preach religious laws. He stressed the rightness of the conduct which leads one to eternal knowledge. Read more...\r\n\r\n(The writer is from Dehradun, is a graduate from Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi and currently working in a writing mentorship programme under the acclaimed Indian author, Anita Nair in Bengaluru).