Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ritual Vs Spiritual

No one can remain in this world without action. Ritual is a series of action in a pre-defined sequence. The moot point here is the application of mind consciously into what is being done. Action without mind being focussed towards it is fruitless. Thus importance is given to devotion(Bhakti) through the mind(Manasam) though physical activities (Kayikam) and speech (Vacikam) are also involved.
Without absolute faith (Sraddha) whatever one does is a sheer waste.The mechanical performance of rituals is like a body without soul. Hence action has to be done with inspiration and absolute faith.The major obstacle in the path of action is the attachment that one develops towards the fruit of action. It is obvious that any actionbrings with it some fruit. If one is blindly attached towards the end result, he gets into trouble. Though every man does some action in order to be successful, he is not in fact the bestower of the fruit of action. It is only the Supreme who calls the shot in this regard. In the ultimate analysis, the outcome is determined by factors beyond one's control.
Another impediment in the pursuit of action is ego (Ahankara). One thinks arrogantly that he is the doer of an action. But Bhagavad Gita says that one who sees action in inaction and inaction in action is the true seer.Thus in the Vedas though rituals like Soma Yaga can take one to Heaven(Svarga), it cannot ensure absolute release(Moksha). Though Heavenly life is at a higher pedestal, it is like an office or place of profit with a fixed tenure. Once the tenure is over, he is again pushed back to Earth. Thus in the tradition, the hell is considered as an iron cage while Heaven is the golden cage. One who understands the limitation of action surrenders at the feet of the Supreme with single-pointed devotion by placing total faith on Him unconditionally without any expectation.Though a person has committed sins in the past , the Vedas do not condemn him for ever. If he realizes his mistakes he can start his march towards redemption. Thus the Vedas encourage one to make use of his present fruitfully instead of dwelling into the guilt of the past or the anxieties of the future. Certain acts like Sacrifice (Yajna), Charity(Danam) and Austerity(Tapa) should not be given up as these purify a person.

Being Spiritual is to make an in-depth inquiry and understand clearly about the true nature of the individual Self (Atman) and the Supreme (Brahman) and unite oneself with the Supreme.