= Spirituality The original article is in Tamil by Guruji.
This article in English is adapted from the original article found in Poornalayam.org. Translation from Tamil to English: Veeraswamy Krishnaraj, M.D Swamiji Guruparananda.
Spirituality. It is not removing yourself from worldly life. It is living a life in fullness. It entails a zest for knowledge. The ones in the spiritual path say, "I am in pursuit." pursuit means looking for something you do not have or want to have. The Sutra Vakyas: The Aphorisms 1) As long as one blames others or circumstances for one's misery, one's spiritual practice has not begun. 2) When you begin to blame yourself for your misery, Spiritual practice has just begun. 3) When you experience misery and do not blame neither others, nor the circumstances nor yourself, your spiritual practice has come to a complete fruition. Sutra ( = सूत्र) is pithy and short expression. Vrtti ( = = वत्ति) is a brief ृ ) is expansive treatment of
explanation of Sutra. VyAkhyAnam ( Sutra.
There are three stages in the spiritual development of man. Vrtti, a brief explanation of the Aphorisms 1) Man in the first stage blames others and external circumstances beyond his control for his miseries. Assigning blame is an attempt to change others or the circumstances. It is identification of the cause of the misery. The victim tries in vain to change the external factors that caused his misery. There is no change or progress in the horizon. ஆன்ீ கம் (AnmIkam = Spirituality) is to shape a change in oneself and not on the external factors. Changing external factors is the common stratagem for most people. 2) The second stage of Spiritual development. Man assigns the blame for all his miseries to himself (his mind). He is of the belief that the mind leads him to the state that generates misery. When a person in the first stage of development is subjected to slander, the words of slander cause misery in his mind. The man in this second stage assigns his misery to his mind as the cause. The cause has an effect on him. He matures as he experiences such impacts. He is undergoing a change in his mind.
AnmIkam has taught him that an immature mind is the cause of misery and that the external agents are not the proximate cause. 3) The man in the third stage of development. He realizes that the misery affects only his body and mind. He inculcates in himself the attitude of a witness to these miseries: a healthy dissociation. With these in the background, he attains corporeal liberation (Jivan Mukti = liberation while alive). Vyakyanam: Expansive treatment of Aphorisms. 1) As long as one blames others or circumstances for one's misery, one's spirit has not awakened. This stage of stagnation is common among people. They blame others for their ills. They do not recognize ignorance and mental weakness as the cause for their miseries, and lack the maturity in outlook. They point to others as the cause of misery and happiness. For them, happiness is acquiring external objects and favorable circumstances. Niyati ( ) is determination and direction we take. The person in the first stage has determined that happiness and misery come from outside. They tend to change the external factors rather than effect a change in themselves. These souls, engaged in rites, rituals, prayers, Yagas and Vedanta enquiry, do not qualify as the spiritual aspirants. Their practice are twofold: KAmya Karmam (காம் கர்ம்) and PrAyacchita Karmam (பிாச்சித்த கர்ம்). 1A. Kamya Karmam (காம் கர்ம்) Desire-induced ritual acts. Vedas recommend many rites and rituals for the fulfillment of desires. The desired objects may be rain, progeny, success in business, war, wealth.... This is trading with god: I give You this and You give me that. 1B. Prayacchita Karma. This is practiced for removal of cause of unhappiness, purported to originate from external sources. For every cause, there is a Pariharam (பரிகாம் = cure or removal technique). The practitioners engage in removing external causes without changing their internal milieu. They are prone to acquire the desired objects, retaining desire, anger, jealousy, and delusion in their minds. These people are known as Samsari, Vishayi, Karmi.... They see defects outside, while their defects go unnoticed. What is there to nudge them upwards to the next stage? Mother Goddess, the deified form of compassion shows the path of Dharma. These people in time gain the knowledge to ascend to the second stage. Thus, Vedas make allowance for Bhoga (enjoyment) with conditions. Dharma is that condition, which takes man to the next stage. 2. Second Stage: When you begin to blame yourself for your misery, Spiritual practice has just begun. When man is subject to external causes, he assigns the agony to his mind. He realizes that reactive anger, desire, jealousy...coming from inside himself are the proximate cause of his misery. To him, the world does not have the power to inflict pain on him. It is his mind, he realizes, that gives meaning and substance to his feeling. It is due to ignorance, want of mental strength, desire.... He feels this way. As others have the capacity to slander me, I have the right not to give credence to it. Because of lack of maturity, I attribute my unhappiness to the words of hurt as the cause. Many and varied situations beyond my control impact on my mind. Others can think high or low of me; that is their prerogative. Likewise, it is my inalienable right to look at myself in a different light. All experiences, purported to cause happiness or unhappiness, have different impact on individuals. What is happiness to one may be unhappiness to another. This is easy to observe in sports events. Unhappiness does not proceed from the external world, which is merely an appearance. In reality, mind is the causal agent for unhappiness.
The great men say that mind is the cause for bondage and release. Bhagavad Gita states, "You are your friend; you are your enemy." Man in the second stage of development has discovered who the enemy is. Half the battle is to know where the enemy is; that by and in itself is partial victory. When the enemy (the mind) becomes a friend, there is victory in its fullness. Apprehension of the cause of unhappiness is a major premise. Once you know it, the effort becomes part of the progress made in spiritual path. The aspirants engage in rituals and rites such as prayer, chanting, vratas (religious observances), and Tapas (austerity). One should realize these external observances do not contribute to the progressive maturing of the spirit. These rituals should not be Kamya Karma meaning exchange of rituals for gifts from God. The Kamya Karma performed by man in the second stage of development contributes to spiritual advance. In this case, the Kamya Karma becomes Nishkama Karma-- actions free from desires. Bhagavadgita 7:27. Desire and hate arise from the dual nature of delusion, O Bharata. All living beings surge forth into delusion, O Parantapa. Desire, hate, jealousy, greed... are like the corrosive verdigris. These qualities corrode the mind. These corrosive elements must go and the mind should change. Once the change abides in the mind, auspicious qualities like tranquility and love grow and become the norm of the mind. Then, mind becomes the friend.
People in the second stage of development perform their duties in the spirit of mental purity; their actions become Karma Yogam (கர்யாகம்). Purity of mind is the antidote for unhappiness (of mind). They perform contemplation and attain tranquillity, peace, realization of Truth, and a sense of fulfillment. They attain Ātma Jñānam (Self Knowledge) or Brahma Jñānam (Realized Knowledge). Atma Jñānam is knowing oneself; Brahma Jñānam is knowing Brahman. Between the two, the latter is superior. They realize the impermanence of the world and want to attain the Eternal Truth by knowledge. Beginning with Karma Yogam, the aspirant engages in Dhyanam, VisAram, Mananam, NitityAsanam (திானம், விசாம், னனம், நிதித்ாஸனம்) and such; this is progress in AnmIkam or spirituality. The Third State. When you experience misery and do not blame neither others, nor the circumstances nor yourself, your spiritual practice has attained fruition. The attainers of the third stage are not aspirants (சாதகர்) but Siddhas (சித்தர் = the perfected ones). Their minds do not
blame neither themselves, nor others nor the world; they have attained fulfillment. They are even-minded and not subject to heat, cold, fame, infamy, honor, and dishonor. The Siddhas do not wilt thinking they did not do good deeds and they committed sins. They do not engage in censure of others or self-censure. Bhagavan Krishna calls them कृिकृिय ् (Krtakrtya) meaning, "the ones who did what need to be done."--BG 15.20. They have found fulfillment in themselves. They are neither an affliction nor a cause of an affliction to the world. They are the true Bhaktas (devotees) of Bhagavan. The ones who have not attained Self Realization have a mind weighing heavily on them and thus are incapable of tranquility, peace, patience.... The Siddha (the perfected one) has a mind like the mirror, which reflects his Bliss Form (ஆனந்த ஸ்வரூபம்). He is the Jivan Mukta (ஜீவன்முக்தர்), meaning he attained liberation while still alive on earth. The Siddha found fulfillment where fulfillment was not possible and changed the enemy in the mind to a friend. Let us find what his wisdom is. The perfected one sees all beings in him and himself in all beings. Tat Tvam Asi = That You are. Aham Brahma Asmi = I am Brahman. This is Advaitam, nondualism. This is man going from matter to spirit: transforming oneself from imperfection to perfection.