Material and spiritual acts

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Material and spiritual acts

Sunday, 30 August 2020 | Ajit Kumar Bishnoi

Material and spiritual acts

While material acts may or may not be rewarded, spiritual acts come under the exclusive jurisdiction of God, writes AJIT KUMAR BISHNOI

We are always carrying out acts with our bodies, minds and speech. In this classification, the mind and the speech are mentioned separately, because their functions need to be highlighted. Mind is always busy thinking about all sorts of things. It is said that there are on average 50,000 thoughts per day. Even during sleep when the brain is active, the mind must be too. The speech has been singled out of all the senses, because it makes a big difference in our lives. Suppose we speak angrily to someone, we evoke a negative reaction almost instantly. On the other hand, if we appreciate someone, we endear ourselves to that person.

There are two types of acts — material and spiritual. Material acts are basically in relation to material objects like the use of hands to do some physical work or walk to go to some place. Spiritual acts are in relation to the spirit, that is either soul or God. Prayer said to God is one example, and treat others as equal souls, irrespective of their bodies is another. (The Gita 13.27)

To start with the material acts, all acts done either by the body or the mind or the speech come to fruition. Mostly, there is a time lag but some acts bring instant result. Some of the acts come to fruition in future lives. That is what distinguishes horoscopes of different people. Then, some acts bring small rewards like a labourer working all day getting paid meagre wages at the end of the day, while a scientist may make an important discovery and earn millions. What one gets is overseen by divine authorities. God has set rules, which divine authorities implement. They have no independent jurisdiction. However, it is difficult for us to know what exactly is in store for us. Both the timing and the type are generally shrouded in mystery. Material acts have no permanence; we do them and we are rewarded or punished.

On spiritual acts, Lord Krishna has spoken about them extensively in The Gita. For example, in the verse #2.40, he has stated that neither there is waste of effort in it nor there is opposite effect. Such acts are only beneficial. He has said that even a small spiritual act protects one from great fear. Such acts are never extinguished like the material acts. They keep on accumulating to our credit. If these acts relate to God, He gets involved personally in rewarding the doer. Of course there are many different types of spiritual acts, and they all please God. The Lord has mentioned many such acts in the twelfth chapter of The Gita (12.13-19). Lord Krishna specifically mentions those faithful, who have made Him their shelter, who follow the nectar of wisdom spoken by Him, are exceedingly dear to Him. (12.20) In another place, the Lord mentions those who preach His supreme secret knowledge amongst His devotees. He states that no other than them please Him more. (18.68-69)

God rewards doers of spiritual acts in many ways. They get their desired objects. Sanjaya mentions a few such rewards; they get opulence, victory and wealth. (18.78) The Lord does mention two types of devotion. One is for material gains like an artharthi (seeker of wealth) or an artah (distressed person). This is ‘sakama’ bhakti. The other type of bhakti is nishkama in which the focus is on gaining liberation. The later one is of course higher because getting liberated from the cycle of birth and death is the ultimate gain for the small soul.

While material acts may or may not be rewarded, spiritual acts come under the exclusive jurisdiction of God. He always takes note of all spiritual acts. One must remember, God is never a debtor; He does not have to be. He must reward anyone who pleases Him in some way or other. God is unbelievably generous.

Bishnoi is a spiritual writer and can be reached at  

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