Viswanath R Swamy

Spiritual life: Its relevance


What is the necessity and relevance of spiritual life?

This question is often put by the sophisticated, educated modern man who considers the concept of spiritual life as being something ancient, something old, which has lost its relevance now. Once upon a time it might have been a fashion and trend, the order of the day, but now centuries have passed, man has advanced, times have changed and therefore, this seems to be an old concept of some other age of the mythological times of Puranas(scriptures). How can it have any place, how can it hold any meaning in our lives today? So this is the doubt, a sort of an inner thought in this sophisticated and scientific age, when man has conquered time and distance. You sit and dial your mobile phone, you are able to talk to your daughter or son or brother in New York. So space is as good as not being there. Five hundred years ago, if we, who were in India, wanted to talk to someone who was in New York, there was no possibility unless perhaps we undertook a hazardous voyage, taking about two months to reach that place. Now it does not take even a minute. That is our age and what can spirituality have to do with man's life?

My attempt will be to try to focus your attention on the fact that spiritual life has not only relevance, it is not only necessary, but it is absolutely indispensable and it is the very central meaning of human life. In spite of man having advanced a great deal during recent centuries, having come far, far away from the state of life in which his ancestors and forefathers lived, yet he has left many of the problems that faced man in bygone millennia still unsolved. And so spiritual life is the one and only solution of all mankind's unsolved problems that have accompanied him down millennia. other problems man has created for himself but even without having created any problems, certain fundamental problems always existed since the dawn of creation: the problem of old age, disease, death, pain and suffering, the problem of sorrows of human life. It is here today, it was there when man was living in the stone age. His life was in no way different from the lives of common animals. For all animals their life is a struggle for existence, pre-historic times of the stone age, life started with the same problem. It may be ironical that with the sudden turn of time and the discovery of man's ability to harness nature, the coming of age of science, industrial revolution within the past three or four centuries, man has made amazing strides. He has conquered physical nature, harnessed all the resources and forces of nature to his advantage and provided himself all the comforts and conveniences.

Jungles have been converted in to cities and night has been converted in to day. We have conquered time, distance and air. We go under the water faster than the fastest submarine animal created by God; we are able to fly in the air faster than any bird created by Brahma; we have outdistanced the fleetest animal upon the surface of the earth and vast knowledge has been accumulated. There are thousands of libraries with millions of books, universities galore and colleges without number and education has spread all over the world. And in spite of all this advancement it is the most ironical fact that today human society in this world lives in a fear psychosis. The great commercial product making billions for the producers are sedatives and tranquillisers because the modern man is an anxiety-laden creature. The world is filled with problems, complexities, and there is such a great state of worry, fear and uncertainty that man has become compelled to take recourse to medicine to calm his mind. Alien excitement somehow or other gives him a little bit of stability and he lives in fear. The great fear is the question 'will we survive'? Has man a future or are we on the brink of global destruction, suicide, because man has accumulated due to advancement in science such unbelievable destructive potential? They say that the stockpile of nuclear weaponry in the arsenal of Russia and America is enough to completely wipe out everything that is on the surface of the earth nine or ten times over. And yet they are not stopping the race of piling up. Naturally when both sides know that the other side has the potential to totally bring about destruction upon us , they live with this question hanging over their heads: Have we a future? Will mankind survive?
........to be continued.