What is spirituality?1

Spirituality is the universality of Truth, Light and Bliss. Spirituality is the conscious necessity of God. Spirituality is the constant opportunity to realise and prove that we all can be as great as God.

God is Delight. Delight is the breath of the soul. God does not want us to see the face of sorrow. God will give us infinitude, the moment we are ready to offer Him just one flash of our soul's delight.

Sorrowful is the world. We are responsible for it. Our self-interest and self-importance are fully responsible for it. The individual consciousness must expand. Man needs inspiration. Man needs action. Spirituality needs man. Spirituality needs an absolute Fulfilment. Spirituality has the inner eye that links every condition of life with inner certitude.

Man can make and unmake his outer conditions by his spiritual thoughts. To him alone God is a living Reality, who carries Him in his thought and action.

Spirituality has a secret key to open the Door of the Divine. This key is meditation. Meditation simplifies our outer life and energises our inner life. Meditation gives us a natural and spontaneous life. This life becomes so natural and spontaneous that we cannot breathe without the consciousness of our divinity.

Meditation is a divine gift. It is the direct approach. It leads the aspirant to the One from whom he has descended. Meditation tells him that his human life is a secret and sacred thing, and it also affirms his divine heritage. Meditation gives him a new eye to see God, a new ear to hear the voice of God, and a new heart to feel the Presence of God.

The spiritual life is not a bed of roses. Neither is it a bed of thorns. It is a bed of reality and inevitability. In my spiritual life, I see the role of the Devil and the role of my Lord. If the Devil has temptation, my Lord has Guidance. If the Devil has opposition, my Lord has Help. If the Devil has punishment, my Lord has Love. If the Devil takes me to Hell, my Lord takes me to Heaven. If the Devil has Death for me, my Lord has Immortality for me.

Out of the fullness of your heart, and with tears flooding your eyes, you must pray to God. You must pitch your aim as high as God-realisation, for that is the sole aim of your earthly existence. Sri Ramakrishna says: "He is born to no purpose, who, having the rare privilege of being born a man, is unable to realise God in this life."

Science has achieved marvels. Nevertheless, its range of vision is limited in the purest sense of the term. There are worlds beyond the senses; there are hidden mysteries. Science has no access to these worlds; science can never solve these mysteries. But a spiritual figure with his inner vision can easily enter into these worlds and fathom these mysteries. Again, forget not that a spiritual figure is a real idealist who does not build castles in the air, but who has his feet firmly planted on the ground.

Spirituality is not merely tolerance. It is not even acceptance. It is the feeling of a universal oneness. In our spiritual life, we look upon the Divine, not only in terms of our own God, but in terms of everybody else's God. Our spiritual life firmly and securely establishes the basis of unity in diversity.

Spirituality is not hospitality to the other's faith in God. It is the absolute recognition of the other's faith in God as one's own. Difficult, but not impossible, for this has been the experience and practice of all spiritual masters of all times.

"Truth" has been the problem of problems in every age. Truth lives in experience. Truth, in its outer aspect, is sincerity, truthfulness and integrity; and in its inner and spiritual aspect, is the vision of God, the realisation of God, and the manifestation of God. That which eternally breathes is Truth. Soul-stirring is the cry of our Upanishadic seers: Satyam eva jayate nanritam: "Truth alone triumphs and not untruth." Blessed is India to have this as her motto, her life-breath, her far-flung message of universal Divinity.

Spirituality is not to be found in the book. You may even squeeze the book but you will get no spirituality. If anybody wants to be spiritual, he has to grow from within. Thoughts and ideas precede the book. Mind arouses thoughts and ideas from their slumber. Spirituality awakens the mind. A spiritual man is he who listens to the dictates of his soul, and whom fear cannot torture. The opinions of the world are too weak to torment his mind and heart. This truth he knows, he feels and embodies.

Finally, I have an open secret to those who want to launch into the spiritual life. That open secret is: You can change your life. You need not wait for years for this change, not even months.

Try to live the life of spiritual discipline for a day — a single day!

  1. This talk was given in San Juan, Puerto Rico on 18 July 1966 during Sri Chinmoy's nine-day visit to that country. The lecture was held at the invitation of "Aquarius: Universal Brotherhood Society"

Sri Chinmoy, AUM — Vol. 2, No. 4,5, Nov. — 27 Dec. 1966, Boro Park Printers -- Brooklyn, N. Y, 1966