Many people measure spiritual success by the number of times a mantra is chanted, the number of temples and gurus visited, the number of scriptures read, the number of pujas conducted, and the amount of time spent in meditation. The mind is capable of turning the spiritual quest into a ‘number game’ and feel quite happy about it.
Spiritual success is not just the ability to see godly visions and be in a state of divine bliss. Those may be personally valuable and satisfying but success cannot be measured by those alone. Is a ‘Vishwaroopa darshanam’ the culmination of spiritual quest? Yes, only if it radically and permanently alters our relationship with people, life and nature. Otherwise it is just one more experience to be remembered and cherished. The spiritual quest is not all about oneself and one’s experiences. It includes others as well. What is the use of inner peace if we are not able to resist controlling others? What is the use of a divine vision if all it does is make us feel holier-than-thou?
The awakening of silence, faith and bhakti is beneficial and healthy, but is that all there to become spiritually evolved person? Unless spirituality has improved our relationship with people, including ourselves, we really haven’t progressed on the path. The greatest spiritual sadhana is relationships. The greatest challenge for us human beings is relationships. One way of meeting this challenge is to bring spirituality in relationships.
One of the measures of success in spirituality is how it alters our being and gives a new vision of life. The most powerful qualities of a spiritual person are acceptance and sensitivity. In the presence of a spiritual person others are at peace because he accepts them for who they are. Acceptance may not sound like a spiritual quality, but it is the highest quality of a spiritual person.
It is beautiful to have bhakti on our favourite God, but success is when we translate it into devotion in whatever we do. Having faith in God is powerful, but if we can have faith in our abilities it is an achievement. We can feel sacred inside a temple, but success is in seeing sacredness everywhere. We can surrender to God and feel delighted in being powerless in front of Him, but if we could surrender our need to be always right that will go a long way in developing harmonious relationships. It is easy to have a wonderful relationship with a God who doesn’t have moods and talks back, but real success is in our relationship with whimsical human beings who are far from godlike.
Performing rituals will not free us from envy. Donating to temples will not reduce our greed. Chanting will not get rid of sarcasm. If we want to be called spiritual we must view envy, greed and other such negative traits as unspiritual. If we can notice the moments when we are unspiritual we are already on the spiritual path.
Measures of Success- Ramaratnam -Infinithoughts- May 14