Life on earth, as we have it, has a tremendous bearing in building the body and mind. We must therefore strive to simplify life and learn to live truly. It is true living on which everything else depends, even the search for one self. The importance of true living cannot be over emphasized. It is rightly said, “Truth is higher than everything, but higher still is true living.” The problem of personal conduct of man as an individual is one of prime importance for success in spiritual path. In order to progress in spiritual path, we need to develop right understanding so that we can have right thoughts, right words and right deeds. Each day we have so many shortcomings in leading an ethical life. We have so many failures in the areas of non-violence, truthfulness, humility, selfless service and chastity.
Unfortunately, we have developed ugly blemishes and are covered with the dirt and dust of sins we have accumulated while passing through the wheel of life. How many times we have gone wrong in matters of non-violence? Nonviolence has several aspects.
It involves non-injury in thought, word and deed. We know that we should not kill or hit anyone but still we are violent to some. We may be able to develop control over ourselves so that we do not physically harm anyone, but we are quite careless when it comes to non-violence in words and thoughts. We injure the feelings of so many people, we think ill of so many others. And because of our grievous lack of patience, we are prone to speak harshly. We must weigh our words carefully. If we can keep control on our tongue, we will find that our issues will be resolved lovingly and we will not injure or be injured in the process.
For those treading the spiritual path, truthfulness is one of ethical virtues we need to inculcate. Failures in truthfulness can be broken down into categories of falsehood, deceit, hypocrisy and illegal gain.
Some failures under these headings are quite obvious, such as telling a lie or stealing. People can lie in thought, word or deed. It basically means they are hiding the truth. We need to realize that while we may sometimes hide the truth from others but we cannot hide it from God. He is all knowing and He is watching us all the times, so our thoughts, words and deeds should be above board.
Next comes humility. Humility means treating every human being as equal and speaking to each one in a humble tone, with a sweet voice. But in reality each person thinks that he or she all powerful, all-knowing and endowed with the greatest of qualities.
We are filled with ego. Ego manifests in different forms i.e. ego based on knowledge, wealth and power. We try to flaunt our knowledge. We try to overawe others with our power and we try to prove our superiority to others on the basis of the riches we possess.
We should have love for all the people, regardless of their social status and position in life. The more we empty ourselves of our ego, the more God’s grace can enter into us.
Then we lack compassion. Man was created to have sympathy for his fellow beings, to share the pain, the trials and tribulations of others. We should share the sorrows and afflictions of our fellows, as well as of entire creation.
How many opportunities for selfless service, we take advantage of? By serving selflessly, we expand our hearts from our self to our family, to community, our country, the world and ultimately the cosmos.
Selfless service comes from an understanding that we are all members of one large family of God. To truly perform selfless service, we must act without any desire for a reward or recognition. It is one of the goals of spirituality to help all humanity develop the quality of love and service to all.
Chastity is the most important part of spiritual life. Spirituality cannot dawn on a mind which is driven or attracted through the outgoing faculties to the outward enjoyment. Out of five outgoing faculties of eyes, ears, nose, touch and taste, three are most powerful. Lust attacks us eighty percent through eyes, fourteen percent through ears and six percent through touch.
So how should we maintain chastity? We have to just control our attention. If our attention is riveted at the centre of the soul in the body, we will not be affected by what we see or hear. We should observe chastity in thoughts, words and deeds. To be pure is the ground on which God manifests. Christ said, “Blessed are pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
As a result of failure in leading ethical life, our soul continues to come again and again to this creation, without hope of returning to its source. The only way to become purified is to take shelter under a Living Master.
The Master through meditation process helps us to lead an ethical life. He has treatment for all our ailments. He is yearning and longing to come and bestow His love on us.