The Quest for the Royal Road: Spiritualism and Building National Character

Published: 11.02.2016

Truth is of two kinds-eternal and periodical. The truth which is periodical is subject to change, and hence, it continues to change. The value of such truth is in the present, but the future is not committed to it. Eternal truth is valid for all the three times. The past, the present and the future recognise that truth. Spirituality is such an eternal truth. It belongs to all the three times, it is alive and is the basis of human culture. It is the lustre of life, it is the support and is the indicated direction of the power of the soul. That is why it is important to understand spiritualism and bring it down to the plane of life.

Why Spiritualism?

The value of any power is determined by its usefulness. Without usefulness, even if that power is infinite, it becomes futile. The aim of the value of spiritualism is community rid of all problems. There are problems in every age. When the problems become extremely pressing, there is an increased impatience to solve them. As attempts are being made to solve those problems complications also grow to the same extent. For spiritualism is the basic solution of the problems. So long as the basic solution is not within our grasp, what would we gain by making frantic efforts in all directions?

What Does Spiritualism Offer?

It is a natural tendency in a human being that he wants to turn every situation in his favour. If he succeeds in his attempts, some situation do turn out to be favourable to him. But it has never happened and would never happen that all situations become favourable to human beings. For that reason man would not only have to conquer nature, he would also have to be tolerant. The particular need of this age is that turning away from the direction of fulfilling his aspirations, he starts thinking in terms of a pause. Alongwith the limits of aspirations, it is also essential to change the wrong ideas about ends and means. Any person who proceeds in life by regarding the means of earning livelihood as the end can never do away with any irrelevancy. Hence, man would have to take support of spiritualism in order to develop an appropriate outlook so that he regards the end as the means. This is because such an outlook cannot be developed in any other way except through spiritualism.

What is Spiritualism?

People have different ideas about spiritualism. According to one concept, spiritualism is a means to attain moksha, it is a process of liberation. But this too is a one-sided concept. In my personal view, spiritualism is not only the path of jeevan- mukti[1]. It is also the path leading to peace, it is the art of living life, it leads to awakening and a lively process of transformation. The dignity of spiritualism cannot be expressed through its definition in words. Nonetheless, appropriate words would have to be found to express what it is. From that point of view, spiritualism means peace, tolerance, simplicity, softness, correct outlook, non- aggressiveness, co-existence, ability to create harmony among opposite views, equanimity, limitless aspiration and lofty conduct. This meaning of spiritualism can be present in many new forms. But in reality spiritualism is the indicated path to eternal happiness and peace which every man in the world seeks.

National Character

One aspect of spiritualism is character. Although character is the wealth of the individual, in the life of the community, national character is more important even than the individual character. The national character can be defined in a number of ways. One of the definitions is: Do not indulge in any activity whereby your nation may go down in the eyes of others. Self-respect and rights of others are taken away only because of lack of character. Simple and righteous life which is free from addiction, rejection of social dissimilarities, untouchability, blind faith and evil customs and faith in ethical and honest life are the best example of national character. In brief, it can be said that the code of conduct based on anuvrat alone is the straight path to elevate national character.

Anuvrat

It is not necessary to deal with anuvrat at great length, because an educated Indian does have some idea about anuvrat. However, the difficulty is not about knowing what anuvrat is, but about putting it into practice. Without the co­ordination of knowledge and practice, the problem of poverty of character cannot be solved. For the purpose of raising the level of national character, anuvrat would have to be accorded its due place in some way or the other. A humane religion which is free from the limitations of caste, community, colour, gender, language, province and sect is anuvrat. It is a kind of protective armour, which can give protection to mankind even in the most difficult situations.

Prohibition

Prohibition is an important part of national character. All religions, religious leaders, social reformers and thinkers have laid stress on prohibition. It was also Mahatma Gandhi's dream that liquor would have no place in independent India. But it is surprising that with all this, consumption of liquor is more and more in vogue. Even the efforts on the part of the Government have not succeeded in eliminating that problem. And they would not succeed so long as the law pertaining to it is not applied on the basis of change of heart. Change of the heart can be easily brought about with the help of anuvrat. Even the dream of world revolution cannot be realised unless there is a change of heart in the case of every human being. This is because the very basis of total revolution is human. Anuvrat provides the magical formula for human revolution. Revolution in society, nation and the world can result from this type of revolution.

This mission of human revolution is one of the objectives of our padyatra. As a matter of fact, padyatra is our vow for life. Wherever we go, we go with a special purpose. Therefore, our padyatras become more purposeful. I am confident that the press representatives too would give their full support in carrying these messages about spiritualism and national character to the people at large.

Footnotes
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Sources

Title: The Quest for the Royal Road
Authors:
Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anuvrat
  2. Equanimity
  3. Mahatma
  4. Moksha
  5. Padyatra
  6. Soul
  7. Tolerance
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