Phases of spiritual awakening
Only God knows what suits us the most. Therefore, God has to be the focus of all our efforts. It is then that he will take charge of our lives and guide us along, writes AJIT KUMAR BISHNOI
There are three distinct phases of this process. The initial stage starts when one gets attracted to spirituality. This happens over many births in a passive way; it is very gradual. One is aware of God as a concept but not a whole; one has not much idea about the identity of being a soul. However, when one reaches the active stage, ie when the attraction towards God becomes pronounced, one has three choices to pursue it. One can be on his own studying scriptures, visiting temples, doing meditation, chanting, etc. Or one can join an institution as is now becoming quite fashionable. Earlier, this facility did not exist. And the third option is to take help from a guru — the usual way.
Let us assess these three options. Beginning with going by oneself; this undoubtedly is very tough because God is subtle and getting attracted to him is difficult. Do not for one moment think that this process is impossible or I am discouraging anyone from taking this option. Shankaracharya did so and quite successfully. But he had reached this level after many births. Generally, people by themselves turn philosophical, of which there are multiple famous examples like Socrates and Pluto. Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita has recommended seeking answers from the real knowers of truth by honouring them properly and enquiring from them. (4.34)
The next option, which as I stated earlier is a modern one, is to join a spiritual organisation. However, one has to be very careful whether it is actually promoting spiritualism or something else. Unfortunately, there are many, which in the garb of spirituality do just that only. Let us assume that one has opted for the right type. Even here there will be benefits and drawbacks. Advantages are many. One will get focused, there will be proper guidance, and one will enjoy the company of like-minded persons. Sometimes, some philosophy different from what God has advocated is promoted to establish the uniqueness of the institution. Also individuality is not welcome. However, attraction towards spirituality becomes strong in such places.
The third and the most chosen option is to seek a guru. However, this is also not so straightforward, especially in modern times when gurus have also turned commercial. People also seek them for material gains. Therefore, one has to keep an open mind and keep looking till one finds the right guru. Then, attraction towards spirituality increases manifold. The right guru gives the right knowledge.
Once the attraction towards spirituality is strong, one will seek knowledge about soul, God, etc. This is the second phase in spiritual awakening. As the knowledge is unlimited, one has to choose what suits one’s interest. For example, many are studious types and will want to know more and more, while others will seek answers to their questions. As one gains spiritual knowledge, one will begin to practise what one has learnt. This brings spiritual realisations. This is when a connection with God is made and he begins to provide insights into spirituality. And God provides the information which a devotee requires because he knows us inside out, as opposed to a guru. One advances spiritually. Attraction towards God increases and one is ready to enter the third and final phase.
This is the phase of peace and bliss, but that happens occasionally. In the final phase, peace and bliss almost become normal in one’s life. Shankaracharya, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and Vivekananda had reached this phase. Therefore, this is not imaginary but is achieved after the efforts of many births. Let us remember that we all are unique journeying eternally. Only God knows what suits us the most. Therefore, God has to be the focus of all our efforts. Then he takes charge of our lives and guides us along.
Bishnoi is a spiritual writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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