Does bliss lie beyond spiritual practices?
by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa, India)
I have no claim of doing any kind of practice for spiritual gains – self-realization or devotion to God, at least in this very life. The situation was created unknowingly and I had no option other than to surrender to God (Please see my article: Death – a great spiritual teacher, indeed!). This makes me belittled in the eyes of those who are still involved in practicing various techniques prescribed for the purpose, or taught by spiritual teachers. I admit their supremacy in spirituality and appreciate their adopted techniques. But, the next moment I find that they are still lacking in what they are taking pride in. Hence, I feel there are several categories of practitioners of spirituality as given below:
The first category in which the majority of people are included consists of those who wish to gain materialistically from the God such as wealth, reputation, family welfare, winning over their opponents, making the situation favourable, et cetera, which are not possible by any other means or couldn’t be expected from anybody else. Such people are guided by the priests of the various religions and adopt such practices as observing certain rules and regulations for worshipping, repeating daily prayers, counting rosary, pilgrimage, charity, et cetera, with a view to win the desired favours from the God or the demigods. They keep a record of the adopted practice in their minds and that makes their
ego satisfied, however, the result is not certain and there is no specified time in which the desired objective is met. If nothing happens then the aspirer loses interest in the process and may lose faith in God too! Usually such people hardly pay attention to inner cleansing, i.e. the removal of vices to make the heart pure and free from desires.
The second category consists of those people who are engaged in spiritual practices and have achieved the goal partially. Such people remain indulged in the by-products of a particular practice to guide others and gain money, respect, name and fame for themselves. Praise and reverence shown by other people satisfy them most. Their spiritual progress remains halted due to the appreciation of the crowd gathered around them.
The third category is comprised of those wise people who have surrendered to God when the situation was created and now act according to His Will. Such people must have done spiritual practices in earlier lives, not necessarily in their present life but the situation created demanded total surrender (even the sacrifice of the physical body) keeping the ego aside. It may be similar to surrendering to a formidably powerful but merciful and benevolent Enemy.
The surrendered soul who arrives at the state of eternal bliss has no claim of any practice, adopted and consistently followed, but feels the grace of the Spiritual Teacher or God.