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Spirituality – the way to innocent obeisance

 There is a famous saying, ‘If you worry, then you didn’t pray. If you prayed, then don’t worry.’

Spirituality is a straight path to surrender worry and be free. It is a tremendous relief for the modern day man. It is a proven science. In today’s world of science and knowledge, the call of the being needs to be addressed compassionately and immediately. Spirituality is the way. Spirituality restores the cosmos with its sanctity and mysticism. It reminds man that he is not the greatest creature on the planet. It reminds him of the powerful Existential energy that pervades the universe. It creates not-knowing and innocent surrender in the mind.

Spirituality is not a ritual. It is the science of merging with Existence. From time immemorial, the first thing that all world religions did was to create a space for the Divine to become a part of life. A temple is a space to reconnect with the cosmic energy and be restful in it. That is the core purpose of all world religions. When the connection deepens, it becomes a blissful space within oneself. Religion is a clear stepping stone to spirituality.

From time immemorial, from the time humans lived together in tribes or groups, they have allotted different areas in their living place for different purposes. Almost in all cultures these groups created special places that they used only for worship. Researchers have discovered that even animals do the same thing. They keep aside a space where they do nothing but rest. They do not use this space for any other activity. Of course, they don’t know anything called worship or prayer. That is the reason they use it only for rest. If they knew they would have used it for worship. That space was to reconnect and relax in the lap of Existence. What man might miss because of the pace of his life, animals do naturally and meticulously! If you look into the eyes of animals, you can see deep innocence because they live in deep surrender to Existence.

When man pursues science alone, he becomes too knowing because his inventions and discoveries seem to be his own findings. Everything seems to fall under the purview of his intellect. Spirituality on the other hand keeps the mystery of the cosmos alive. It creates humble obeisance towards a life force that is mightier than the intellect. That is why spirituality can restore innocence. There is an immediate need to pay obeisance to the cosmic force and calm the intellect. With obeisance comes fresh intelligence that sees the cosmic consciousness as the central core of activity. Then, man will no more be afraid of the unfathomable cosmos. He will simply fall in tune with it with deep devotion, love and in ecstasy. The greatest saints of India who had the power of willing the cosmos to lovingly respond achieved this power through spirituality.

There was a man by name Muruganar who was an ardent devotee of Shiva.

Every day before break of dawn he would bathe in the cool waters of the river, gather flowers from trees, fields, the river and creepers and make garlands for the Shiva deity in the temple.

He would walk to the temple every day taking care while walking not to disturb the flowers in their setting in the garland! After offering them to the deity he would chant sacred verses for long hours.

It is said that he attained enlightenment through just this innocent worship.

Today he is worshipped as one of the 63 saints called Nayanmars* who attained enlightenment through innocent devotion to god.

 Those who shun spirituality are those who have not tasted its transforming sweetness. They are the ones who think spirituality is seriousness. No!

God is always an embodiment of bliss, then how can spirituality be seriousness? Man has made it serious by reducing it to mundane rituals.

Our masters have even specified the times in which to connect to the deeper realms of our being through prayer. They have said it is good to pray in the early morning. What is the reason for this? The intellect has rested well in the night and has not as yet started functioning in the morning. When spirituality is practiced at that time, the impact on the mind is greater. The impact is made while the mind is still fresh and innocent, while the mind has not yet started chewing on the intellect. Not for nothing have the great masters gifted spirituality to us. When the intent is understood, spirituality becomes a straight route to restoring innocence and trust.

A small story:

One evening, a farmer on his way back from the market found himself without his prayer book. The wheel of his cart came off right in the middle of the woods and he felt sad that the day should pass without having said his prayers.

So he made up a prayer for god. He spoke aloud, ‘Oh god, I have done something very foolish. I have left behind my prayer books today. And my memory is so poor that I can’t recite a single prayer without the book. So this is what I am going to do. I will recite the letters of the alphabet five times very slowly and you, who knows all the prayers, please put the letters together to form the prayers I can’t remember.’

 And god said to his angels that day, ‘Of all the prayers I have heard today, this one was undoubtedly the best because it came from a heart that was simple and sincere.’

Spirituality is an opening to express innocence in its purest form. Innocence itself is an offering to god. Innocence itself is the greatest prayer to god.

Religion is by itself not any belief as it is made out to be. Every religion is the result of the deep spiritual experience of the great master who founded it. What they experienced, they gave as a religion to humanity, through which humanity can get the same experience. There was no other intent. If this is understood, any person can practice any religion. That is the beauty of all original religions.

The same is true when you are around a master. Be in a mood of innocent surrender. When you are innocent and prayerful, the master’s silence penetrates your being. The religion of silence is the greatest religion. It is the religion of the great masters and disciples. That is true spirituality also.

Spirituality when practiced out of innocence keeps you childlike. If you see the Tanjore* art paintings depicting themes from the Hindu epics, you will see that the faces of the men, women, sages and gods in the painting are always young and innocent. The reason is that true spirituality keeps the essence of life young because it deals with the ‘feeling’, not with the ‘knowing’. When you are with the head you age quickly. When you are with the heart you remain fresh and young all the time.

With spirituality comes deep devotion to the Whole. It is devotion from the being. Devotion is an outpouring that removes all your defenses and makes you vulnerable for Existence to enter you. There are enchanting stories of the great devotees of Hindu mythology who made miracles happen through sheer devotion.

Such is the depth of innocent worship. The innocent worshipper continues to be prayerful even after the worship is over. The prayer is an expression of the humble innocence and gratitude towards the Whole, so it knows no reason. It just continues.

Glossary:

* Nayanmars – Tamil devotee saints of enlightened master Shiva, 63 in number, whose life stories are told in the book Periya Puranam.

* Tanjore art paintings – Devotional paintings from South India that use semi- precious stones and gold as adornment.

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