What is Spirituality to Indians?

August 19, 2003

Spirit and religion go together in the mind of the common man. But the difference is as essential as between a tub and a well. A religion is born when a great soul attains illumination and the population gathers around him to follow his path. Spirituality is each man seeking his own inner illumination.

India is a land of Rishis. Not hundreds but thousands have attained spiritual enlightenment. At a time when a car was a rarity in the small towns of India, the American worker was arriving at his factory in his own car. A long time ago, the Indian fashioned his entire life by the Truths of the Spirit, as the Indian atmosphere was overflowing with the light of the Spirit. It was a period when India was strikingly prosperous. What was rare all over the world was commonplace in India. But it was religious worship, following the footsteps of great souls. Today that has not been given up, but such a way of life has lost its vigour or life.

Since then, human progress turned to the arena of science. Now what rules the world is not religion but science. Science is great; its achievements are myriad. Science is the quest of Mind that probes into the processes of things so that it may master it and produce it or mass-produce it. Science has yielded technology. Technology is expressing the mental scientific knowledge in matter so that a new tool is born to enrich life. It can never replace the Spirit which is the ultimate substance of our existence.

If technology – mental knowledge expressing in a material tool – can render life comfortable, Spirit expressing in life can make it divinely abundant and opulent. Today India, along with the rest of the world looks to the USA for leadership. As long as India was a subject nation, it was suffering the cancer of self-degradation. No long is this true. But She is poor, very poor. As Freedom was the goal before 1947, Prosperity is the need of the hour. Naturally, the tool for that prosperity is considered to be technology. No. India should reach Prosperity through Spirituality, subordinating technology to that aim. That way, She will reach the goal quicker and not face the side effects of increased technology in life – a deadening of the life spirit.

A glorified technology will not lead to a glorious life. It is capable of dehumanising our life. The entire world will give up the primacy of science and technology soon. That is not the future of Mankind. The future of the world belongs to Spirituality and not religion. Nor does it belong to science, but to the Science of Life. Mind must move from life sciences to the Science of Life.