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Akhandjyoti Magazine 2003 Jan Feb 2003 Materialism and Spirituality: Two ways of Living

Materialism and Spirituality: Two ways of Living

....Greed, attachment and egoism can never be satisfied. They function as mirages they project nice dreams in front of a person and then disappear. The person then remains busy in fulfilling the dreams. This is the reality behind the body-related requirements, desires and cravings, which provoke the person to fulfil them but which remain unfulfilled. Life is spent in this blind race. Time and efforts are expended in trying to realise something that is imaginary and so dissatisfaction continues. Whatever is acquired fuels the dissatisfaction even more. This is the lifestyle of people today. In the end people realize that they have not achieved anything worthwhile in life.

The other aspect of life is the inner self or the soul, called antaratma in spiritual terms. Looking after the soul results in eternal peace, satisfaction, bliss and the acquisition of both material and spiritual benefits. Here, priority is given to the soul compared to the body. Therefore bodily requirements are kept to a minimum and the principle of simple life, high thinking is adopted. This means, a person who takes care of his soul has to practise restraint over the senses and remain satisfied with minimum resources. If, for example, the food intake is kept low, it has the double benefit of longevity and protection from diseases. On the other hand the consumption of too much sugar, salt and fat can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis respectively. An excess usage of other senses also causes problems. For example, watching too much television or too much exposure to computers damages the eyesight. Youngsters today listen to loud pop music, which severely affects their hearing ability. Overindulgence in sexual activities decreases the vitality of a person.

Wearing simple clothes serves the purpose of covering the body. In the eyes of wise people, wearing fashionable clothes decreases the value of a person. Why? Because fashionable clothes are expensive, so in their view it would be a waste of money to possess them. A person who cannot afford such clothes and yet wears them means he is fashion and status conscious, and that he would have purchased them on credit. It should be understood that if fashionable, expensive clothes determined the status of a person, no one would have listened to Mahatma Gandhi, who wore only one piece of cloth over his body. But it is a fact that people sacrificed everything at Mahatma Gandhis call for Indian independence.

People who practice restraint never experience financial crisis or remain in debt. They maintain a healthy body and healthy mind. They are called people of character; they receive respect from the society.

A content man thinks: when several million people can live in conditions worse than mine, why do I need to increase my possessions? If I can earn honestly and spend wisely, there is no need for me to desire to become rich or adopt immoral means. It must be noted that only a limited amount of money can be earned honestly. Those who wish to possess an unlimited wealth have to resort to unethical practices.

If one wishes to develop attachment (moha), why not consider the whole world as his family, i.e. adopt the principle of vasudhaiva kutumbakam? Why spend valuable time and efforts for the sake of a few family members only? When the feeling of vasudhaiva kutumbakam develops, a person exhibits love and compassion towards everyone and offers his services for the welfare of humanity. On the other hand, if one person or a group of persons are showered with excessive love and caring, it spoils their habits and becomes a cause of suffering for everyone concerned.

Thinking about the welfare of the soul protects a persons wealth, time and efforts from unnecessary wastage, which can then be directed towards charitable causes. This has been the path adopted by great personalities. It was the reason why they were continuously occupied in the works of welfare. Because of their righteous deeds, they remained satisfied and achieved fame. Everyone around them became their friends, admirers or supporters due to the high quality of their qualities, deeds and nature. They receive the blessings of God and always remain blissful. Nothing remains to be achieved by a person who follows the path of the welfare of the soul.

A comparison of the lives of great personalities (who adopted the soul as their true guide in life) with ordinary people (who remained focused on their body) shows that real joy and happiness lie in looking after the soul. Although it is necessary to look after the body for survival, the point being made here is that one should not get engrossed too much in satisfying the bodily requirements. Giving priority to bodily requirements causes frustration. Conversely, taking care of the soul primarily and also meeting the minimum needs of the body results in permanent joy. It is this joy that the people are after today but seldom succeed in finding.

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The spiritual acumen and enlightened wisdom of seer-sage Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya had a reach into the deepest depth of human mind and emotional core. He could feel the agony of the masses through heart. He could therefore identify the root cause of the ailing state of the world today as – the crisis of faith....

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Materialism and Spirituality: Two ways of Living
The Meaning and Purpose of Culture
Yajna - The Foundation of Vedic Culture
The Philosophy of Gayatri: An Introduction
Vedmurti Taponishtha Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya
Scientific Spirituality
Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya (A University Established for the Cultural Renaissance of the World)
Awakening of Supernormal Faculties Through Sadhana
Is Unraveling of the Mystery of Life and Death Possible Through Science?
Humanity: Our Precious Heritage
Spirituality The Key to the Resolution of the Problems of Our Age
Awakening Divinity in Man
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