I am sharing my guest post from the White Hindu Blog at Patheos. The article is about my own spiritual life so far. Please check it out!
Most humans would like to select a career that fulfills their passion and also pays well. But what if you have a dream that does not align with big earnings? Should you still follow your dreams? Or should you select the job that pays more? To find out, please read my new article in the Speaking Tree section of the Economic Times (Mar 18, 2020).
You can right click on the image below and select “View Image” to read the article.
About two decades ago, I was teaching Indian Percussion to a kid over the weekend. Unexpectedly, the kid asked if I could teach him a piece of music of his choice — which he had heard somewhere but was not a part of the curriculum I had developed for these classes. While teaching music, I used to expect my students to follow the curriculum I had set, which involved lessons in their natural sequence. But now I had a choice: to teach what he wanted or refuse. I opted to teach him his preferred piece of music. My slight flexibility worked like a gift for the kid and resulted in a smile on his face.
In this interaction, I also learned a couple of lessons. When the universe gives us a choice, our tiniest decisions can make someone else happy. Moreover, such decisions, if towards goodness, can consequently connect us with happiness, even if momentarily.
Another lesson was that while teaching, the teaching paradigm that had worked for one student may not work for another student. Because the universe changes continuously and every human is different, I would have to go forward with a dynamic teaching approach.
In life, even our trivial interactions with people have a say in forming our disposition, which defines our behaviour for the next moment — and how we approach bigger problems. And they affect the people around us as well.
Which is the best place to start our search for God? Because there is no single correct answer, the workable answer depends on our disposition. We can search for God in churches, mosques, and temples — which are all traditional and established places for spiritual connectivity. These places can transfer positive energies as well as blessings from priests and saints who regularly visit them. We can also search for God in our homes. In fact, while we pray, we can request God to meet us in person one day.
Among all beings in the universe, God, the Supreme Being, is the most accessible to all. Because God is omnipresent, we can even remember Him periodically at our workplace and say a word or two to Him whenever we feel like. We can talk to Him while assuming that He lives in our own hearts and always listens.
Some saints believe that the power of God is present not only in every living being but also in every object. In one of his poems, Saint Kabirdasa says that humans often “forget that just like scent, which resides in flowers, it is the Divine who pervades every object and being” . Along these lines, we can start our search for God by appreciating that God is the nourisher of every soul. At the same time, we should remember that God, being transcendental, is beyond every object and living being.
 I have mentioned this previously in a blog post.
Once upon a time, a five year old prince named Dhruva lived in a palace with his father, who was the king, his mother, and his step-mother. While the child was well supported by his mother, his father and step-mother, at times, mistreated him. Depressed, the child consulted his mother about how he could obtain better care from his father. Dhruva’s mother said, “Our ill luck may be behind what is happening with us. But there is a solution to every problem. Why don’t you consult a sage?”
Dhruva met a sage, who clearly understood what the problem was. The sage said, “Changing the attitude of people towards you is not an easy task. You can make yourself more worthy of your family’s love by worshiping Vishnu, the Supreme Soul. Vishnu will change your destiny. He will also give you a designation in this universe that you truly deserve.”
Dhruva followed the sage’s advice and started worshipping Vishnu regularly. After a few months, Vishnu appeared and blessed Dhruva with spiritual knowledge, love of his family, and an improved fate. God liked his new child devotee so much that He blessed Dhruva with a position in the universe that none had; Dhruva was blessed with thousands times more radiance than the sun. Even today, the pole star in the night sky, which represents a fraction of Dhruva’s manifested energy, reminds us of God’s enormous grace on Dhruva.
Whenever we do something for God, our effort becomes a means of bringing us closer to God — the source of all happiness. In other words, we can gain happiness from our simplest efforts by offering them to God.
Efforts that convert to fame and money may have their importance in the real world but are considered perishables in spirituality. On the other hand, if we read a prayer to God or light a candle in front an image of God, it may bring more permanent results in terms of happiness. Why? Because God, who dwells in every heart and is the real witness of all our karma, gives the fruits of every action according to his own wish. If we have done something that should attract happiness, God will eventually give it to us.
Even career-conscious human beings can gain permanent happiness by forming a relationship with God. One approach of connecting to happiness on the workplace is by forming a harmony with karma yoga. To trigger this yoga, we have to make sure that we trust God. By remembering God at times and by surrendering our actions to God, we can remain unmoved by success and failure. As we move forward, we will see that our trust on God makes God’s grace the source of our happiness, not material success.
Knowledge from scriptures and self-realized individuals has its importance in guiding us towards happiness. In fact, scriptures supposedly provide us with viewpoints of human beings, generally saints, who have already realized God. Because God may directly guide a human being towards himself through inspirations and other means, personal experiences are equally important in spirituality. Personal spiritual experiences can range from chanting a name of God and listening to discourses to having a face-to-face meeting with God (darshan), where applicable. In our professional endeavours or our spiritual journey, whenever in doubt, we can always request God to guide us rather than making concrete assumptions about how the universe works or what our favourite scripture actually says.