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The Mirror Of The Self: [29] Fundamental Laws Of Spirituality

Published: 11.03.2009

Fundamental Laws Of Spirituality

Every religion, philosophy and system of government has always emphasized the importance of Truth. 'Know the Truth which makes for a beautiful life!' The most practical and original definition that I have come across is: 'Truth is an understanding of the laws of Nature.'

The world is governed by certain laws. There are laws of the inner world and laws of the outer world; laws of the material world and laws of the spiritual world. All these laws are natural and universal. In contradistinction with natural laws, there are laws made by man. These man-made laws keep on changing but natural laws are eternal. All that is created is transitory. A celebrated maxim of jurisprudence runs as follows: "Whatever is made, is transient, such as the pitcher. Whatever is uncreated is eternal, such as the space. Lasting truth is uncreated.

Fourfold Law Of Spirituality

Our soul is governed by laws, so are religion and spirituality. The law of spirituality is fourfold, characterised by transience, in­security, unity and otherness. Without grasping these four attributes, no one can reach the essence of spirituality. For becoming a spiritualist, one must come to know these four noble truths.

Conjunction Of Union And Separation

The first truth is the transience of life. All union and relationship is transitory.  No relationship lasts forever.  Our relationship with our body is not eternal. Similarly, our relation­ship with particular space and particular time is transitory. One day we are destined to leave them behind. Relationship with another individual is also not lasting. This is a natural and spiritual law, known to all. A Sanskrit poet has expressed this truth as follows: "Every union ends in separation!"

Moment Of Direct Experiencing: Change In Consciousness

The question arises: We all know this truth. Yet we continue in sorrow. Why? The reason is that we know it only verbally, without having experienced its truth. Coming to know something means to directly experience the reality thereof. The fundamental concept of Indian philosophy is direct experiencing, not merely intellectual understanding. We do not directly experience the truth of anything; we merely know it verbally. We hear a particular word, grasp it intellectually and achieve perceptual cognition through sensation, speculation, judgement and retention. But knowing does not mean only this much. Real knowledge implies reaching out the heart of a thing or a word, to apprehend it at the experience level, direct perception.

Every day, the sun rises and sets. Has the sight of the sun aroused in a person the spirit of renunciation? Has it diminished his attachment to the world? In an incident narrated in Jain Ramayana, the day Hanuman directly perceived the sun, his consciousness underwent a transformation; detachment blos­somed in him. Is there one who has not come across a very old man or a withered leaf? Who has not witnessed a funeral proces­sion? When Buddha saw one, the spirit of enlightenment really awoke in him. When Nami Rajrishi could make a distinction between noice and silence, his consciousness was changed. It is in the moment of direct experiencing that consciousness is trans­formed.

Direct Experiencing Of Transitoriness

We know the law of transience, but do not directly ex­perience the truth thereof. We pay no attention to the transitoriness of material objects. With what zeal and jubilation does a man put on a new garment? When this garment wears off, the man forgets with what longing and pleasure he had first put it on. He discards it without much ado and throws it into the dustbin. In time a new garment becomes old and is destroyed. The man sees it being destroyed, yet does not experience the transitoriness of it. The man himself undergoes many changes. What a contrast an aged man of 60-65 years today bears to the gambolling youth he was at twenty! Yet he is not really aware of the great physical change he has undergone. If every event happening to us in life is directly and acutely perceived, our consciousness would stand quite trans­formed. When we continue to falsify the truths we know, our consciousness is adversely affected, even though we remain in­sensible of it. In the course of his life, a man witnesses 3-4 generations vanishing before him. The world is a stage on which new scenes are being enacted every moment. If we are attentive and directly experience the truth of each event, our consciousness will be transmuted.

What Is Required Is Patience

An important spiritual exercise is the anupreksha (con­templation) of transitoriness. While doing anupreksha, we reach a level where thought ceases and is transcended and direct percep­tion begins. In that state the soul becomes vulnerable and is hypnotised. Self-hypnosis is an indispensable condition to reach that state. Let us not delude ourselves that we can reach that stage by practising sadhana for 5-7 days. It requires a good deal of perseverance. One need not dig 50 wells, but one must dig at least one well so deep as to reach the perennial source of water below. What we mean is that we must practise continually till the soul is mesmerised. Lord Mahavir practised the anupreksha of transitoriness for six months before he got initiated. If we are permeated by the sense of transience, we shall easily comprehend the spirit of insecurity. What we need is perseverance. Until we are saturated with the bhavana of transitoriness, no transformation is really possible.

Contemplation Of Solitariness

Another spiritual exercise is the contemplation of one's solitariness. "I stand alone! "nothing can disturb a man who as­similates within himself this feeling of being alone. As long as we remain attached to the family, society or group, even a brief separation becomes a source of disquiet "I’m alone!" is a transcendental truth. "Life is relationship," is a practical truth. He who comprehends both these truths may be said to be truly spiritual. Such a person can survive any crisis unharmed. There is not a single person in this world who has not experienced the ending of joy or pain. However, the man who becomes confirmed in the practice of the anupreksha of solitariness learns to live peacefully even in the midst of the chaos of union and separation.

Contemplation of solitariness and contemplation of tran­sitoriness are two important spiritual exercises. If we are fully permeated by the feeling of aloneness and transience, our con­sciousness will be transformed and the path of keeping equanimous in a situation of pain would become available to us.


3rd Edition 1995

Jain Vishva Bharati Institute
Ladnun -341 306 (Rajasthan)

Muni Dhananjay Kumar (Hindi)
Muni Mahendra Kumar (English)

Translated by:
Late Prof. R.K. Seth

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Bhavana
  2. Body
  3. Buddha
  4. Consciousness
  5. Contemplation
  6. Mahavir
  7. Ramayana
  8. Sadhana
  9. Sanskrit
  10. Soul
  11. Space
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