Spirituality is derived from the word spiritual. Spiritual originates from spirit-soul. Among the three –spirituality, spiritual and spirit – soul, the second, i.e., spiritual relates to accurate or righteous knowledge or Satyajnana. It is therefore connected to the last one, i.e., spirit. It leads one to self-realisation. This subject has been beautifully defined in the third verse –Shloka of Chapter Eight of the Shrimadbhagavad-Gita. In this Shloka, the Lord says, “अक्षरंब्रह्मपरमंस्वभावोऽध्यात्ममुच्यते Aksharam Brahma Paramam Svabhaavo’dhyaatmamuchyate”, i.e., “The Supreme indestructible entity is called Brahman; one’s own self is called adhyatma.”
Spirituality, the first one of the trio, is a noun which envelops the broad aspect of self-realisation and self-development. What is self-realisation? It is perfectly clear from the words of the Yogeshwara, the quoted couplet of the Shrimadbhagavad-Gita. It is to recognize and acknowledge the infinite capabilities and divinity of soul. It is to have identification with soul’s eternity. Endorsing this fact, the great Greek philosopher Socrates says “I know you won’t believe me, but the highest form of human excellence is to question oneself...”
Getting familiarity with the eternity of soul, to act in the right direction – what is to be done with body, a representation of matter –Maya, is the way of one’s self-development leading one to achieve the goal of life. In this upright process, the soul fulfils the objective with body and eventually unites with God.
Self-realisation and development is a continuous process. In this one realizes the reality of absolute unity. The state of origination of everything (visible or invisible) in the Brahmanda from one source emerges before him. This state demands one to dedicate one’s entire life for the cause of the larger welfare of mankind and salvation of all living beings while firmly accepting the truth of universal unity. It is the pathway to self-development and the way of making life worthy and momentous. It is the method of unification of soul with God.
The realisation of universal unity is a state of self-awakening. A self-awakened one remains fearless in all circumstances. He conquers untruth and attains the universal truth. He only embraces the truth of one source of origin of everything in the Universe. He interlocked with the Satya, reaches the state of pure harmony in which active goodwill towards living beings in general and towards fellow beings in particular remains in the nucleus. Active goodwill develops an atmosphere fully surcharged with large scaled co-operation and co-ordination.
Humanity, a word referring to mankind as a whole, divulges human qualities and accords strength to people’s goodness, making their belief firm in world’s unity and inspires them to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly for common welfare. Thus, on the basis of active goodwill it continuously develops co-ordination, co-operation and harmony as an attitude for the welfare of one and all. In other words, the acid test of humanity is the reflection of active goodwill. Co-ordination, co-operation and harmony are the characteristics of humanity constructed upon the active goodwill.
The scope of humanity is stupendous. Welfare of all remains the basic spirit of it and spirituality is the foster-parent and protector of humanity. Taking humanity in high stream and accepting its significance in life, the Mahatma went to the extent of saying, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; (even)if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
The state of humanity in context of its origin, characteristics and significance is quite clear. It is also clear from the basic Indian scriptures, especially the Vedas, the Upanishads, or the Shrimadbhagavad-Gita, or the Samhitas, and from discourses, sermons and precepts laid down for the welfare of the world by those great men, Maharshis and saints of all the ages, from ancient to modern times. They all almost unanimously connected with the basic characteristics of humanity with spirituality. It is spirituality which as an upbringer and upholder of humanity. Spirituality declares selfless service to be the prime duty of man and proclaims it to be the highest Dharma, the only human Dharma.
Accepting spirituality as the protector of humanity, man should indulge in righteous acts in compliance with the element of spirit – element of reality, the Satya Tattva existing within. Taking it as his principal duty (the highest Dharma) he should dedicate himself to the cause of the universal good. Spirituality, the foster of humanity alone can establish peace and harmony on Earth and unify all components of the universe –can bring cosmic unity.
*Indologist Dr. Ravindra Kumar is a Former Vice Chancellor of CCS University, Meerut. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Global Peace International Journal.