Devotional Spirituality: Our feelings matter to God

How are our feelings related to how we see God? Do we have a full choice in deciding how we approach God? To find out, please read my new article from the Deccan Herald titled “Our feelings matter to God” (Panorama Page; Sept 25, 2019).

You can right click on the image below and select “View Image” to read the article.

Workplace spirituality: Following our passion

Most human beings would like to select a career that fulfils their passion and also pays well. But what if you have a dream that does not align with big earnings? What if your aspiration for being an artist or a writer has a lower professional success rate? Should you still follow your dreams? Or should you select the job that pays more? This question has been answered by many professionals, including counsellors and spiritual gurus, and is not easy to answer. A single answer may not fit everyone.

For many individuals, circumstances may not provide the freedom to choose a career of their choice. They may need to maximize their earnings to pay their bills and postpone their dreams for later. For individuals who have a choice in selecting a career, following their dreams may be the way to go. Let us take a look at this dilemma in the background of Hindu spirituality.

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The more righteous option

Following our dreams may be more in line with dharma. Simply having a dream or aspiration in life implies that we have spent time thinking about what we want to do in life (besides earning money) and is a spiritual achievement. Because having a passion or dream is more selfless, it may be more righteous. Accordingly, it may be well supported by God.

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What does Nature want?

By choosing a career that is righteous and tunes well with our aptitude, we may be developing a more harmonious relationship with nature. If God has a plan for us and he wants someone to follow his or her dream, not following it will simply waste time. Just like it is difficult to own a dream, it is difficult to let go of a dream if we possess one.

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Finding Happiness

Even if our passion has unveiled itself late in life, if our responsibilities do not allow us to follow our dreams full time, or if our affinity to profits is very strong, we can begin by spending a few moments from our lucrative job towards our passion. Because dreams in life are guided by our true nature, following them triggers a simultaneous search for happiness, which is a permanent attribute of our inner nature. On the other hand, if we do not feel delighted in following our dreams, we probably have not connected to a dream.

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The Perishability Principle

Contribution to the world is a vague concept in the context of spirituality. While exertion in selected professions may be labeled more significant by the onlooker depending upon one’s preferences, all results, including all commercial products and most discoveries, are equally perishable in time.

Alternatively, after nurturing some happiness within by following our dreams, we can opt to transfer the energy of optimism from our heart to others. This propagation of positive vibrations through the universe may be as good as material achievements. At the same time, if someone is less interested in Science and Technology but participates in these areas to take society forward, their efforts may categorize as being selfless; God may reward selflessness with permanent happiness.

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Connecting to God

While God is the real doer, we take too long to understand this. Because following our inner voice teaches us to place aptitude above profits, following our passion can better our chances of spiritual connectivity to God. By being true to our self, we can allow our inner inspirations to guide us to the stage where all karma, including profession, are no longer significant — it may create ways for gaining permanent proximity to God.

Rama’s forgiveness for Kak Bhusundi

What is the role of Divine forgiveness in Kak Bhusundi’s story? How do chanting and the grace of God relate to our spiritual evolution? To find out, please read my new article from the Speaking Tree section of the Times of India (Sept 16, 2019).

You can right click on the images below and select “View Image” to read the article.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-edit-page/the-story-of-an-enlightened-crow/

Is the Ramacharitamanasa dualistic or nondualistic in philosophy?

I would like to share a part of my answer to a Quora question that was related to this topic. The full answer can be read on this page.

I would not limit the Ramacharitamansa to a single philosophy. The Ramacharitamansa is a scripture of devotional spirituality and should be compatible with multiple philosophies, including Advaita, Dvaita, Visistadvaita, and others [1]. For living beings focusing on the lotus feet of Lord Rama, philosophical differences should not matter too much.

We can find nondualistic elements in the scripture and dualistic ones as well. If someone sees Advaita in the Ramacharitamansa, he or she is correct; if another being sees Visistadvaita, he or she is correct as well. Goswami Tulasidasa has been one of the pioneers of Hinduism as far as amalgating opposite viewpoints is concerned.

[1] This can also be said about the Bhagavad Gita, which has had both dualistic and nondualistic interpretations depending upon the devotional and philosophical preferences of spiritual seekers.

Ramayana’s SunderKand: Its Significance

The Sunder Kand has innumerable benefits, some of which are mentioned below.

Growth of devotion for Lord Hanuman. Sunder Kand, a selection of Hanuman’s divine plays on Earth, can be recited as a distinguished prayer to Lord Hanuman. Its recitation may develop bhakti (devotion) towards Lord Hanuman, who can grant the bhakti of Lord Rama (God), leading to eventual liberation. As I have already summarized on this page, Hanuman “is worshipped among Hindus for his delight in connecting jivas [individual souls] to God.”

Growth of devotion for Lord Sita-Rama. Reading about Hanuman can develop bhakti for Sita-Rama. As mentioned in this post on my blog, “we can learn from [Hanuman’s devotion for God] and add bits of selfless service in our own path of devotion.”

Protection from sufferings. Hanuman can protect beings from all kinds of sufferings, including physical, mental, and spiritual ones. One of the main messages from a popular prayer titled “Sankatmochan Hanuman Aashtak” is that when Hanuman has the potential of even rescuing Lakshmana, Devi Sita, and Lord Rama, (there appears to be a figure of speech here, given that Lord Rama is the Supreme God himself), what can stop Hanuman from removing the suffering of a simple human being? Along these lines, the Sunder Kand supposedly has a protective effect on the beings who recite or study it. Note that reading this prayer may antidote many bad karma of the past as well.

Astrological Benefits. Like the Hanuman Chalisa, the Sunder Kand has astrological significance. An astrologer may recommend the Sunder Kand to nullify one or more malefic planetary infleunces (if applicable) — from Mars, Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu.

Recognition of Lord Rama’s grace. Lord Rama has given Hanuman a major role in his divine play, the Ramayana, demonstrating Lord Rama’s love for all his devotees. Sunder Kand celebrates this grace of Rama on beings in his creation.

Source: My answer to a Quora question on this page.

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