HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

Spiritual and material

Neela Sood   February 27, 2013
First Published: 09:07 IST(27/2/2013) | Last Updated: 09:14 IST(27/2/2013)

Do you have to be formally educated to be spiritual? My answer is no, when I go by my experiences in life.


If formal education was really a pre-requisite for being spiritual then we would not have got pearls of spiritual wisdom from Kabir, Bulleshah, Sant Ravi Das and many others who did not possess formal education and had not read many scriptures. Reading of their creations leaves the readers enthralled and spellbound.

I read about Chen Shu Chu, a Taiwanese woman who won the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, recently. She sells vegetables and has given away over $200,000 to help charities for children. She said, "I feel happy when I can help other people."

Another pearl of wisdom from this lady who has finished only sixth grade and never read any philosophical or spiritual book was, "Money serves its purpose only when it is used to help those who need it."

It sounds most befitting in our own context. One survey tells that the wealth buried in Indian temples and kept in Swiss banks by Indians is sufficient to connect all the country's villages by road and create infrastructure to enable every citizen of our country to have the three basic needs of food, education and health.

Spiritual maturity doesn't come only from reading scriptures. Kabir was cent per cent right when he said "Andha so darpan ved purana, darbi kahan maharas jana. Just as a blind person cannot see his face even after having a mirror likewise without enlightenment a scholar of scriptures cannot gain spiritual light."

We come across countless such persons whose conduct and actions reaffirm the view that it is not only reading of scriptures that drive a person to divinity, definitely a few other factors are also at work.

Last year, a factory collapsed in Jalandhar in which several employees lost their lives. The work to rescue survivors and recover people buried under the massive structure continued for almost a month. One person, who was brought out alive after 10 days of the accident, said that after having lost all hopes of survival and seeing death from close quarters, he tore up the currency notes worth Rs. 15,000 that he had received as monthly salary, with the thought that what was the use of the money after death.

I doubt whether even our most celebrated religious gurus could impart this lesson with their actions.

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