My Spiritual Talisman


 

ONE OF the secrets on my spiritual path is to try and develop the capacity to maintain an inner core of detachment regardless of how thick the battle outside rages. If one can stand back and watch oneself as if from the outside, the whole situation takes on a different dimension.
To my mind this is a key teaching of the Gita, which says that the battle must be fought but with a sense of detachment and without obsession regarding the result. Some people may feel that such an attitude would lead to lukewarm activity, but in fact the reverse is true. The sense of inner detachment gives us a deeper perspective into the whole situation and prevents us from getting overwhelmed by the tremendous physical and emotional activity inevitably involved in such events.

Joy and sorrow in fact represent the warp and woof of the fabric of life, and are as inevitable as night and day. It is this duality that needs to be transcended if we are really to reach our spiritual goal, and clearly this can only be done if we find within ourselves a spiritual centre that is unaffected by outer changes.

That spiritual centre in turn has to be linked with whatever form of divinity we may choose to worship. I am a worshipper of Lord Shiva and try to follow the teaching -- Yayat karma karomi tad-tad akhilam Shambho tavaradhanam -- whatever action I perform I look upon as an offering to Shiva. This is a talisman that helps to carry us through the adventure of living, whether the object of our devotion is Shiva or Krishna, the Goddess or Jesus Christ, or any other.

At their highest, all religions teach the religion of humanism, love and harmony. Once when the Prophet Mohammed was in Medina, a funeral procession passed by and he stood up in respect. His followers exclaimed that the deceased was not a Muslim but a Jew. Said the Prophet, "But was he not a human being?"

Excerpted from `I Believe', Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 2006.