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Spiritual Meditations ( 4 March 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Spiritual is not religious or ascetic

By V. Balakrishnan

March 4th, 2011

Spirituality is a term that is often mistaken for a life of asceticism, meant either for aged people or saints, or for people who have proved an utter failure in material life or the last resort of those who are fed up with the material world.

It is a paradox that preceptors are often faced by the question, at what age should one start spiritual life! The pity is that even learned people often associate this term with the “other phase” of a man’s life. This is because of the wrong conception that the essence of spirituality is detachment from worldly relations.

The fact, however, is that spirituality and material life on earth are interwoven and complementary to each other. One without the other is incomplete and rather uninspiring. A person leading material life has to imbibe certain values and virtues in his life since childhood. Practices of humanitarian activities add to one’s worth. Possessing qualities like love and concern for fellow beings, respect for sages and elders, regard for parents and siblings, purity in thought, word and deed etc, ascribe to one’s personality the glow of spiritualism.

One treading on the spiritual path need not be religious. However, since all religions teach us higher values and a true follower of any religion is likely to possess some such values, spiritualism appears to be highly religious as well. There is nothing wrong if a spiritualist goes to a temple or worships a deity, so long as it adds to his conviction and promotes his piety, and that in turn makes him a more sympathetic, all-accommodating and a tolerant person capable of identifying himself as a spark of that divine spirit. There is no age bar, sex or caste differences in embracing spiritualism. In some, it is inborn, whereas in others it emerges gradually. In children, spiritualism is very much active owing to their innocence. A Harmonous blend of materialism and spiritualism is a pre- requisite for the promotion of a peaceful, mutually understanding, accommodating and supporting society, one that is progressive in nature and solid in function.

Dr Venganoor Balakrishnan is the author of Thaliyola, a book on Hindu beliefs and rituals. He has also written books on the Vedas and Upanishads. The author can be reached at

Source: The Asian Age