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Spirituality by moral values

Discussion in 'Spiritual Articles' started by vsgrewal48895, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. vsgrewal48895

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    Writer SPNer

    Mar 12, 2009
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    Spirituality at one time was the domain of religion but to be truthful one can be spiritual with out belonging to a religion. One could be spiritual by following the Universal moral codes. Morality could be defined;

    1. The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct.
    2. A system of ideas of right and wrong conduct: religious morality.
    3. Virtuous conduct.
    4. A rule or lesson in moral conduct. ---Dic

    I am an Urologist. Am I good one or bad one- this could be found out by;

    a) By my bedside manners.

    b) By the results of my surgery.

    c) By my behavior in General with patients and collegues.

    Khalsa Sikh- By appearance is a Gur Sikh- good or bad-can only is known by his actions; Guru Nanak in Asa Di Vaar;

    ਅੰਦਰਹੁ ਝੂਠੇ ਪੈਜ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਫੈਲੁ ॥ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਜੇ ਨਾਵਹਿ ਉਤਰੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਮੈਲੁ ॥ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਪਟੁ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਗੁਦੜੁ ਤੇ ਭਲੇ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਨੇਹੁ ਲਗਾ ਰਬ ਸੇਤੀ ਦੇਖਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੇ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥

    Anḏrahu jẖūṯẖe paij bāhar ḏunī▫ā anḏar fail. Aṯẖsaṯẖ ṯirath je nāvėh uṯrai nāhī mail. Jinĥ pat anḏar bāhar guḏaṛ ṯe bẖale sansār. Ŧinĥ nehu lagā rab seṯī ḏekẖnĥe vīcẖār.

    Those who are false within, and honorable on the outside, are very common in this world. Even though they may bathe at the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage, still, their filth does not depart. Those who have silk on the inside and rags on the outside, are the good ones in this world. They embrace love for the Akal Purkh, and contemplate beholding It. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 473-15

    How morality is defined plays a crucial, although often unacknowledged, role in formulating ethical theories. To take “morality” to refer to an actually existing code of conduct is quite likely to lead to some form of relativism. Bhai Gurdas describes in his Vaar 1 an incidence of Guru Nanak with question and answer as to which faith is better;

    Q. ਪੁਛਨਿ ਫੋਲਿ ਕਿਤਾਬ ਨੋ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਵਡਾ ਕਿ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨੋਈ?

    Puchan Foal Kitab No Hindu Vada Ke Muslmano-ee?

    Guru Nanak was questioned to open and search in his book whether Hindu is great or the Muslim?

    A. ਬਾਬਾ ਆਖੇ ਹਾਜੀਆ ਸੁਭਿ ਅਮਲਾ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਦੋਨੋ ਰੋਈ ।

    Baba Akhay Hajiaa Subh Amla Bajho Dono Ro-ee.

    Baba replied to the pilgrim hajji’s that with out good conduct both will have to weep and wail. -----Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 1, Pauri, 33- 3 & 4

    Ethical religion can be real only to those who are engaged in ceaseless efforts at moral improvement. By moving upward we acquire faith in an upward movement, without limit.
    Morality is an ambiguous term. The features it refers to in any descriptive senses, are not the features denoted by it when it is used in the normative sense.
    The term morality can be used either;

    1. Descriptively to refer to a code of conduct put forward by a society or,

    a. some other group, such as a religion, or
    b. accepted by an individual for her own behavior or

    2. Normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.

    Let us look at the Philosophy of Morals from a variety of angles;

     For most people morals are the rules to follow because they tell us what is right.

     Philosophers need to base moral system on justifiable grounds.

     Kant's moral system is based on rationality. It attempts to show how any rational being would agree to universal moral laws. Actions are morally right by virtue of their motives. They are derived more from duty than from inclinations due to self-interest, which conflicts with duty.

     Jeremy Bentham, British philosopher (1748-1832), purposed a scientific approach based on happiness.

     Marx’ morality and ethics ignore the exploitative economic arrangements of society that contribute to false consciousness.

     Nietzsche, Neecha, German-Philosopher looked at the origins of morality. Like Marx, he, saw moral systems as arising from the interests of social groups. However, an individual has to go beyond the accepted morality to create a new one for him.

     Jean-Paul Sartre, an atheist (1905-80), emphasized the subjective judgments that an individual must make in order to be "authentic". Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count no one but himself. That he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself. With no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth. Individuals have no objective way of formulating a morality. If we follow a moral system or religion, we are acting in "Bad faith." We are denying that we have the responsibility for determining our own choices. Sartre believed that it is the individual who has to create his own moral code.

     Anglo-American philosophers have suggested that moral statements simply express the moral sentiments or attitudes of the individual and that philosophy has no way of evaluating which set of moral statements are best for him. Good philosophy must be based on good arguments, not in the sense of quarrels, but reasoned arguments. Logic can be understood as the science of proper reasoning, which separates a good argument from a bad one.

     Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh Faith, was asked some five hundred years ago, as to which was the greater of the two religions prevalent in India then, Hinduism or Muslim? He replied that without morality both will be losers.

    Spirituality can help us become better human beings if we follow the general moral codes with devotion. It prepares our body and mind, to receive God's inspiration. It also transforms our thinking, speech, and our actions that form virtuous habits that determine our moral character. One cannot be spiritual with out good character. Character is a combination of qualities that make an individual ethically admirable. One should be well settled in relation to feelings and action. The moral law dictates that one needs strength of will and self-mastery to fulfill imperfect duties. Morality is more properly felt than judged. We like to think our views on right and wrong are rational but they are grounded in emotion. David Hume states that though reason can shape moral judgment, emotion is often decisive. It explains some strange quirks in our moralizing. One should have a belief in human equality and reject caste, race, and other prejudices. Use of images to represent a spiritual God is irrational. It is important to insist on the ethical side of life with absolute sincerity and love of God. Mere show of external piety is futile for spiritual growth. Guru Nanak founder of Sikh Faith proclaimed that he who considers everyone an equal is religious.

    Is it not possible that someone who is considered the worst example of a human being has the potential to become great? Everyone has a Divine potential and is capable of attaining the highest spiritual state if the Divine spark residing within gets ignited. Moreover even the best of us are not entirely free of blemishes. No one is perfect. Spiritual growth comes through inner purification and living a virtuous life of truth, love, humility, and compassion – through right and positive action.
    The spirit is one part of the triad forming reality. The others are mentality, being of the mind, and sensuality, being of senses and body. These three together create reality. To achieve harmony, a delicate balance must be maintained with contentment in harmony with the universe. Spirit is the non-physical aspect of existence. Mind is a bridge between spirit and body.

    Spiritual emergence is the process of personal awakening into a level of perceiving and functioning, which is beyond the normal ego functioning. At its peak, spiritual emergence is the experience of the ultimate unity of all things. It is merging with the Divine which transcends verbal description. Some of the positive outcomes spiritual awakening is an increased creativity, feelings of peace and an expanded sense of compassion. Those who fathom the Lord cannot behold Him and those who behold the Lord do not fathom Him. You may get a glance, or have a feeling or an inner experience, but no one has come close to fully understand His wonder. The only way to get close to Him is through His Grace attained by singing His praises. That is, one must become pure, and live a life of Truth. Life is to be considered as an opportunity to serve Him by serving humanity. This is the way to realize His presence in the depths of your being. God is an all-pervading energy and a glorious light. It is not prudent to intellectualize about God. An individual should be left to arrive at his own understanding of this Higher Power.

    An awakening of the mind with spiritual wisdom is the highest human achievement possible. Spiritual awakening causes a change in personality, which manifests itself in many different forms of the "educational variety". It develops slowly over a period of time. Often it is the others who become aware of changes in one’s personality first, long before the individual recognizes them in him. He may eventually realize the profound change in his reactions to life. He also realizes that a change of such magnitude could hardly be the result of his endeavors alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. The individual has tapped an unsuspected inner resource. He may attribute this to a Power greater than himself. He is the same but he is not the same.

    The purpose of developing spirituality is to be free of spiritual ignorance, free of selfish or destructive behavioral patterns. In recent years, “spirituality” has often carried connotations of the believer’s faith being more personal, less dogmatic, and more open to new ideas and myriads of influences that are more pluralistic than the faiths of established religions. Those speaking of “spirituality” rather than “religion” are apt to believe that there are many “spiritual paths.” There may be no objective way to determine the best path to follow. On the other hand there are many adherents of orthodox religions who consider spirituality to be an aspect of their religious experience. They are more likely to contrast spirituality with secular “worldliness” than with the ritual expression of the religion. Yet, others hold that spirituality is not a religion per se but the active and vital connection to a force, power, or sense of the deep self. Some proponents of spirituality believe that the goal of “being spiritual” is to simultaneously improve one’s wisdom, will power and communion with God/universe. This necessitates the removal of illusion of feeling and thinking at the sensory level of a person.

    Development of true spirituality is independent of any faith and or religious institution. One can grow in spirituality without belonging to any faith or religion by just disciplining oneself rather. It is independent of any outer trappings. Leading a life of true devotion is preferable to a life governed by rituals.
    Guru Nanak looks at it on the deeds performed by an individual as well as recitation of the Name of the God with devotion;

    ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਉ ਖੁਦਾਇ ਕਾ ਦਿਲਿ ਹਛੈ ਮੁਖਿ ਲੇਹੁ ॥ਅਵਰਿ ਦਿਵਾਜੇ ਦੁਨੀ ਕੇ ਝੂਠੇ ਅਮਲ ਕਰੇਹੁ ॥

    Nānak nā¬o kẖuḏā¬ė kā ḏil hacẖẖai mukẖ lėho,Avar ḏivājė ḏunī kė jẖūṯẖė amal karėhu.

    O Nanak, chant the Name of God, with heart-felt devotion. Everything else is just a pompous worldly show, and the practice of false deeds. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Majh, AGGS, Page, 140-10 & 11

    Evil actions take one away from spirituality as is evident from the following hymns of Sabd Guru;

    ਘਤਿ ਗਲਾਵਾਂ ਚਾਲਿਆ ਤਿਨਿ ਦੂਤਿ ਅਮਲ ਤੇ ॥

    Gẖaṯ galāvāʼn cẖāli¬ā ṯin ḏūṯ amal ṯė.

    The halter is put around his neck and he is led away, because of the evil deeds he has done. -----Guru Ramdas, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 317-6

    ਬਦ ਅਮਲ ਛੋਡਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਹਥਿ ਕੂਜਾ ॥

    Baḏ amal cẖẖod karahu hath kūjā.

    Let renunciation of evil actions be the water-jug you carry.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Maru, AGGS, Page, 1084-6

    ਮੰਦੇ ਅਮਲ ਕਰੇਦਿਆ ਏਹ ਸਜਾਇ ਤਿਨਾਹ ॥

    Manḏė amal karėḏi¬ā ėh sajā¬ė ṯināh.

    This is the punishment for those who do evil deeds.-----Sheikh Farid Sloke # 49, AGGS, Page, 1380-9

    Only the good deeds and virtues carried with after death as elucidated by Guru Nanak in Siri Raag and Farid in his Slokes;

    ਅਮਲੁ ਕਰਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਬੀਜੁ ਸਬਦੋ ਕਰਿ ਸਚ ਕੀ ਆਬ ਨਿਤ ਦੇਹਿ ਪਾਣੀ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੁ ਈਮਾਨੁ ਜੰਮਾਇ ਲੈ ਭਿਸਤੁ ਦੋਜਕੁ ਮੂੜੇ ਏਵ ਜਾਣੀ ॥

    Amal kar ḏẖarṯī bīj sabḏo kar sacẖ kī āb niṯ ḏeh pāṇī, Ho¬ė kirsāṇ īmān jammā¬ė lai bẖisaṯ ḏojak mūṛė ėv jāṇī.

    Make good deeds the soil, and let the Word of the Sabd be the seed; irrigate it continually with the water of Truth. Become such a farmer, and faith will sprout. This brings knowledge of heaven and hell, you fool! -----Guru Nanak, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 24-1 & 2

    ਫਰੀਦਾ ਅਮਲ ਜਿ ਕੀਤੇ ਦੁਨੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਦਰਗਹ ਆਏ ਕੰਮਿ ॥

    Farīḏā amal je kīṯė ḏunī vicẖ ḏargeh ā¬ė kamm.

    Farid, only those good deeds done in the world will be of any use in the Court of the God. -----Sheikh Farid Sloke # 100, AGGS, Page, 1383-8

    Discipline can be internal and external:

    Internal discipline includes, acceptance with unconditional and total surrender to God’s Will. It incorporates meditation, prayer, studying religious books with deliberation. It also implies contemplation and reflection, in daily life, over the teachings given in the holy texts.

    External discipline includes humility, simplicity, selfless service, and solitude. Spiritual practices of one’s faith can be sound and helpful, but they can become the home of superstition and magic. No external icon, symbol, or body position or sequence of words or numbers, has ever made God respond any better to any prayer. Nor have they made heaven, earth or hell or anything else supernaturally bend to anyone's bidding. It is the sincerity and absolute honesty which are of prime importance for progress in spirituality. The moment one believes he has any powers or merits of his own; he begins to believe in magic. He may become a believer in idolatry. As a consequence one may also be in breach of the teachings of his faith. The Self, Universal Spirit, exists fully in all creatures. It is in the sunset, in music, in beauty, in ugliness, and in the eyes of beholder. It is the contentment felt while gazing in to the eyes of the beloved. It is in fervor, an ecstasy and rapture when time is at standstill. The Self is the knower, the observer, and the witness. It sees every thing and not seen by the seer.

    The forces and qualities of Mother Nature are not blind and unintelligent. They may appear so when viewed by our physical senses. But in the depth of the thought they are alive and conscious. All the false values in life result in human stress. They cause diseases in the organism. Spirituality makes them lose their hold on the mind, which becomes free to dwell in bliss, health and peace.

    Character is not a given. It has to be cultivated by each individual. Character is Destiny; lack of it is Doom. In order to develop a good moral character, a pre-requisite for spirituality, one has to understand the lower instincts, humans are born with. They are necessary for progeny. Thus lower self has to die to its desires and passions and rise to the higher life of spirit. The lower instincts of lust, anger, greed, attachment, and ego are known as the five enemies of spirituality.
    Lust implies a sexual desire in and of itself, an erotic arousal, wish, an intense physical or sexual attraction or craving. In this sense, it is considered a vice. It may represent an eager, passionate, or an inordinate, sinful or obsessive desire for the gratification of the sexual appetite. Some people see lust as the purest form of love. This viewpoint argues that a pure emotional wish, based upon physical attraction, frees lust from the constraints of emotional baggage, or negative inner conceptual responses. This view respects it for what it is. It is an inner instinct and desire of one person, to carnally know and be intimate with another. It is a direct emotional appeal. On the other hand, many people acknowledge that feelings of lust do not always imply feelings of love. They draw a strong distinction between the terms lust and love. Love in its pure form is said to be concerned with the well-being of the other. Lust, on the other hand, in the average person, is a product of his own libidinal urges than it is a product of a desire for the well-being of the objects of lust. Love and lust can certainly co-exist.

    In Catholicism, lust is subdivided into six categories: fornication, adultery, rape, incest, seduction, and unnatural vice.
    “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”. - Matt. v. 28.

    In Sikhism lust is foremost in the list of five lowest cardinal feelings that can block spiritual growth. Lust, along with anger, greed, attachment and vanity affect the character of an individual. Good moral character is an important ingredient of spirituality, which cannot be detached from it.

    Anger is an inability to bear the object, or the intention to cause harm to the object -- an exaggerated aversion. It is one of the normal feelings of an individual -- an emotion of displeasure. He who angers you conquers you. When your fists are clenched, clear thinking goes absent. When we work through anger, our goal is to find other interpretations or conclusions so that our feelings of anger will be diminished. Thinking through the situation often leads to its calm disposal.
    Common contributors to anger are irritability, fatigue, hunger, pain, sexual frustration, hormonal changes associated with PMS, menopause and bipolar disorders. Anger causes an increased production of adrenaline due to stimulation of hypothalamus. This increases the heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure. Anger is just another way we feel. There is nothing abnormal about an occasional anger. But anger must be released in the right way. Otherwise it will leave one like a pot of boiling water with the lid left on. If the steam of seething resentments doesn't escape, the water will finally boil over and blow the top off.

    Greed is defined as an excessive desire to acquire more material wealth or to consume more than one needs or deserves. Its origin is not a mystery. It is not a rational force. Its twin results are egotism and voracity. Fear of not having enough of a particular thing -- money, food, sex, or attention is its main cause. Being under the control of greed, one does not care about friends, teachers, parents and he acts like a shameless creature. In going top to bottom of the ladder, in greed, one is not aware of any ultimate foothold. Nothing can satisfy greed, since its goal is far beyond all it can attain. Reality seems valueless in comparison to the dreams of fevered imagination. Reality is therefore abandoned. There is a sufficiency in the world for one's need but not for his greed.

    Greed is sudden and spectacular. It demolishes equity. You cannot have unrestrained greed and equality. All the wealth and inequalities are not caused by greed but if you start with a society of complete equals, unrestrained greed will be sufficient to quickly render the society unequal. In greed, the desire for material wealth or gain, one ignores the realm of the spiritual. It is harmful to society, as the motives often disregard the welfare of the others.

    Attachment leads to a desire -- longing, coveting, craving, wanting and wishing. It is a request or a petition, feeling or passion to enjoy an object and get contentment, when one is an unsatisfied state. Attachment comes from Maya, which is defined as the material world and its entanglements. Maya creates bondage and attachment to material things in life, including personal temporary relationships caused by emotions. Mother, father, children and spouse -- all place the mortal in bondage. In the same way religious rituals and actions taken in ego also place the mortal in bondage. Love and lust both lead to attachment due to human sensual emotions. They may lead to momentary pleasure or long lasting happiness in a material sense. Desire is the key to motivation. It is the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of one’s goal, a commitment to excellence, that enable one to attain the success one seeks. A desire arises in the mind and as soon as it is fulfilled another follows suit. Man is an animal which, refuses to be satisfied by the fulfillments of animal desires. A person who desires material things rather than virtues is always poor. The desire less and quiet path leads towards a more conscious existence. A busy path leads to exaggerated materialism. Desire to own a lot of possessions do not come from God but the others that manipulate us. If one learns to live simply and to un-clutter his mind, he will find that the quality of the consciousness is more potent than any theory, technique or interpretation.

    Ego is the seat of anxiety. It has the propensity to identify with one’s material condition. This guarantees failure since nothing material will keep its form forever. Superego is a social construction of rules for one’s conduct, in view of social reality. Ego is an inflated feeling of pride in one’s superiority to the others. Being in touch with the external reality, one’s psyche is conscious. It most directly controls thought and behavior. Superego has an exaggerated sense of self-importance, conceit and a sense of I-amness. They reside in the mind. Having an ego is not a matter of one’s choice. We are born with it. It is the nature of the mind to experience its individuality. All our desires, attachment, experiences in the world are due to the ego based in the mind. It is a complex within psyche, which constitutes the center of person’s field of consciousness. It possesses a high degree of continuity and identity. A human being has to suffer, face degradation and disgrace at the end due to his wasteful behavior in enjoying worldly pleasures. All of one’s acts performed while engrossed in vicious and sinful actions become useless. In a life full of greed and worldly attachments, having forsaken the support of True Word, the individual spends this human life in wasteful efforts. He loses even his capital investment. Because of misdeeds he has to face the punishment in the end.

    Mind stores conscious and unconscious processes of an organism manifested in thoughts. It is the intellectual or rational faculty that understands, remembers, conceives, thinks, feels, judges, desires. It is also the place of our entire spiritual nature. Without Consciousness and mind, thoughts do not exist. Mind is a tool of consciousness and depends for its existence on our experiences. Experiences are registered by consciousness; without consciousness we have no experiences. Mind forms thoughts and without them, mind cannot exist. Therefore we can say that mind and thoughts are the same since one without the other cannot function. Through a control over mind, one can achieve the loftiness of spirituality.

    An initial step toward spiritual growth is the subjugation of the inborn lower instincts identified above.

    Next step in one’s attempt to be a better person is the perfection of virtues. Success comes from one’s own efforts, it cannot be granted even if one prays hard for them. There are five virtues and ten perfections in the eastern thought, which are the foundation stone of spirituality. The virtues are: Truth, Contentment, Faith, Fortitude, and Compassion. Perfections are: Divine Love, Humility, Devotion, Patience, Wisdom, Forgiveness, Effort, Charity, Morality, Attitude of Gratitude.

    Truth is a comprehensive term that in all of its nuances implies accuracy and honesty. It is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence. Truth cannot be perceived unless one is clean from inside as declared by Guru Nanak in the 15th century.

    Patience is the capacity of enduring hardship or inconvenience. It incorporates calmness, self-control, and the willingness or the ability to tolerate delay. Its opposite is weakness. “Let your sense of humor give you balance, perspective, poise and patience. Patience is the key to contentment.” -----Mohammed

    Patience also implies repression, forbearance, in both mundane and spiritual matters. Patience is the ability to tolerate an insult and a distress without resentment. One must first have a lot of patience to learn to have patience. One should have patience with all things but most importantly with oneself. One should not lose courage to consider one’s own imperfections. They can be dealt one at a time. With love and patience nothing is impossible. Humility is attentive patience. Patience itself is bitter but its fruit is sweet and is accompanied by wisdom. It is the best remedy for most troubles. When combined with faith and diligence, it can move mountains. It comes with acceptance and faith. One can learn the art of patience by applying discipline to one’s anxious thoughts when fixed on a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness and a rational outlook. These eventually lead one to success.
    One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. A moment of impatience may ruin a whole life. Patience and perseverance have a magical effect in which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. It comes to those who wait. Patience does not crimp the flow of events. With patience one accepts and tolerates the different ways of seeing and acting in life. Since each of us determines his own reality, patience implies tolerating differences while remaining in a peaceful recognizing that each one of us has the right to determine our reality. They arise in us from our and relaxed state of mind. There is no greater penance than patience, no greater happiness than contentment, no greater evil than greed, no greater virtue than mercy, and no more potent weapon than forgiveness.

    Contentment is defined as a happy state of mind, of total satisfaction in one’s condition and situation in life. It is the opposite of envy, avarice, ambition, anxiety, and repining, all reflecting an inward disposition. Contentment is the offspring of humility born of one’s own unworthiness in the presence of the rectitude of divine providence.

    He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have ------Socrates

    Health is the greatest gift, CONTENTMENT the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. -----Buddha

    I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Bible, [Philippians 4:11]

    One’s acceptance and acknowledgment is at his core. It means becoming satisfied with most areas of one’s life even if they are not perfect. When one learns to better understand, better appreciate and eventually love oneself, one begins to exude a quiet confidence. These will open doors to what one wants, if one has faith in it.

    The term “Faith” must be understood in its original metaphysical context. It means conforming to a Divine or Creative Principle at work in an individual. It represents the individual's internal "law," to which obedience must be given if that individual life is to live in accordance with the Divine Will. It is the natural and rightful order and the foundation of everyone and everything. It is both why things are as they are and a path to awakening the underlying Truth. Equal importance is given to the cultivations of values. These values include universal principles of self-control, decent and dignified behavior toward fellow beings. It also includes performing one’s duty at work, to the family and the society, not harming the others, keeping environment clean and not abusing the nature and earning an honest living.
    Fortitude is defined as a moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good, as discussed above.

    Humility signifies lowliness or submissiveness. It is derived from the Latin humilitas or, from humus, i.e. the earth that is beneath us and lies under our feet. Water is even humbler, since it rests below the earth and low lands. Under pressure it rises as in the fountains. Those with a humble mind mount to God's highest pinnacle. Humility perceives one’s place in the world, not according to one’s own accomplishments but according to the intrinsic value of all individuals. It is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.

    Devotion is defined as an ardent, pious, selfless affection and dedication, as to a person or a principle. It can be a love of religious observance and zeal. The Divine metaphysical transcendence and the Divine immanence, omnipotence are two complimentary conceptions of life. Devotion is an addiction of bringing eager feelings towards God and is expressed by acts of worship with devoutness. It is one of the necessary perfections required for growth in spirituality. It requires real dedication in rigorous honesty, willingness, and its reflection in daily day to day life. It needs to be accompanied by humility from the core of the heart, with a desire to be blessed by God’s Grace. Devotion is the key to an individual’s attempt to be successful in spiritual life or any other project. It is an ardent selfless affection, hope, faith and dedication filled with God’s love for a spiritual boost to a principle. It is a dedication of oneself in a personal and private religious supplication to God of his/her understanding.

    Divine Love, is long lasting bliss or happiness that causes a longing for Divine wisdom, realized through transcendental senses. One never departs from the truth. His faith is never shaken even in the midst of greatest difficulties. This is the actual freedom from the miseries arising from material contact. Love of God has nothing to do with what one is expecting to get, it is more about what one is expected to give -- which is everything. It is the immortal flow of energy that nourishes, extends and preserves. Its eternal goal is the progress in spiritual life. Hatred is not overcome by hatred but with love -- eternal law.

    Spiritual Wisdom is the awareness and understanding of facts, truths or information gained in the form of learning. God is completely beyond our abilities of comparison and conception. One can only acquire a partial knowledge of Him, not of Its Divine Essence but rather of Its Attributes and Names. It is attained by meditating on and studying His acts and creations. Such transference of Knowledge into our own world takes place within the limits of time and space.
    Only the wise seers and perfect masters who have known and seen the Divine Light, the elemental or metaphysical form of God, in their consciousness can impart this knowledge. Divine knowledge is comprised of instant and immediate practical experience of divine light, the holy name, inner unstrung music and the holy nectar. An individual discovers the totality of and completeness of life through Spiritually Divine Knowledge. One learns that His laws may seem blind but justice is evenhanded.
    Divine Knowledge alone removes ignorance. Once the ignorance is dispelled, or once the mind is purified of egoism and is illumined with the Spiritual Wisdom, all its misapprehensions end. Upon attaining this state of direct Vision or apprehension of the Self, ignorance about Reality will not rise again. When the True Wisdom arises, the unreality vanishes and true selfless self is experienced. Only the One Pure, All-pervading Consciousness remains.

    One learns to forgive freely. He no longer harms or punishes himself. He does not curtail his overflowing love, joy, vitality because of real or imagined wrongs done to him. He no longer begrudges others’ conduct or unfair outer circumstances. He overcomes wrong doings and moral injustice by doing well and creating goodwill.
    Kabir an Eastern sage proclaimed that where there is forgiveness, there is God Himself. It is easier to forgive an enemy than a friend. A weak person seldom forgives. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong. The secret of forgiving is to understand nothing. There is no revenge as complete as forgiveness. There is no weapon more potent than forgiveness. As per an ever lasting proverb, to err is human, to forgive is Divine. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It is not something you do for someone else. It is not complicated. It is simple. Simply identify the situation to be forgiven and ask yourself: "Am I willing to waste my energy further on this matter?" If the answer is "No," then that's it!

    Forgiveness is an act of imagination. It challenges one to give up his destructive thoughts about a situation and to believe in the possibility of a better future. It is not necessary for forgiveness to begin the process that heals the hurt. Forgiveness has little or nothing to do with another person because forgiveness is an internal matter. One does not have to forgive, but there are consequences of not doing so. Refusing to forgive by holding on to the anger, resentment and a sense of betrayal continues making life miserable.

    There is nothing so bad that cannot be forgiven. Nothing! When you forgive you do it for yourself, not for the others. The person you have never forgiven owns you. The choice to forgive is yours and yours only. The hurt won't heal until you forgive!

    Effort or action is the key to all existence. Without action, there is only stasis and the emptiness of nonexistence. Where there is action, there is life and creation. The most important thing to realize is that it is your actions that determine the outcome. Your actions as an individual are important. All the things that can be thought of will never be more than a dream, unless acted upon. To end evil, you must act. To cure disease, you must act. To end starvation, you must act. It does not matter what it is, if you want it changed, you must act. Your words and prayers are nothing compared to the power of a single action. It all begins with you. There are two kinds of actions you can do -- right and wrong. Right action creates and wrong action destroys. The final stage of spiritual evolvement is reached when all of one’s actions are the right actions and when they become a second nature.

    Inside each of us is a small and independent form of thought process. It's called our conscience. It is the little voice that tells us that we have been bad, and when we have been good. This part of energy of consciousness could be called soul in layman’s terms. All eternal laws of Mother Nature are energy oriented. There is a constant to and fro exchange of energy with perfect accounting system in the Universe. The source of all creation is pure consciousness, which is our spiritual essence. As our conscience begins to feel more assured that we can handle the job of determining right from wrong, it will start to take over this function. It will begin to automatically eliminate wrong thoughts, which lead to wrong actions from even being generated. We will then begin to channel our energy towards right action. One can see the consequences of his actions with his inner vision.

    Charity: Guru Nanak proclaimed that he who earns honestly and then give some of it in charity has found the right path towards spiritual growth. Charity is the quality or state of being generous with a spirit of unselfish giving. It becomes evident as kindness and willingness to give freely to the unfortunate.
    Barrow proclaimed that “Generosity is nothing more than a candid estimation of other men's virtues and good qualities.”

    Winston Churchill said that “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

    It is the virtue which elevates us to do actions worthy of our kind nature, befitting the human nature. A truly generous person shows by his actions that he possesses perfections and virtues. These are difficult to practice and are not encountered in common souls. A generous person must respect without exception certain maxims suited for regulating his conduct. We must respect the dignity of our nature, whose excellence consists in the perfection of the mind, the highest virtue. We must partake in the happiness of those around us, as in our own, seeking neither a pleasure nor an interest in what is contrary to common happiness.
    Attitude of Gratitude: Gratitude creates happiness because it makes us feel full and, complete. It is the realization that we have every thing we need, at least in this moment. Gratitude births only positive feelings -- love, compassion joy and hope. They melt away fear, anger and, bitterness. Gratitude is the state of being appreciative of the benefits received. As we experience the mental sunshine of gratitude; we begin to glow. We become a magnet to those who want to be around us because we exude peacefulness, happiness and joy.

    Positive emotions like gratitude and love are beneficial to health. They release endorphins in the blood stream. Conversely, negative emotions such as worry, anger and, hopelessness contribute to high levels of adrenaline. These can cause a stroke or a heart disease.

    Gratitude brings you back at the present moment in the Now. We begin to see the glass as half full rather than as half empty. We notice what is there rather than dwelling on what is not there.

    Gratitude is an inner light we can use to illuminate our souls. When we feel the fullness of gratitude, we accept life as it is. One cannot experience gratitude with a closed heart. The more you feel grateful, the stronger is the impulse toward giving. And the more you give, the more you get love, friendship, and a sense of purpose and accomplishment -- some times even material wealth. Gratitude can also give birth to a fiercely loving environmentalism. Some people find moments of transcendence trough meditation, others in nature, still others when making love.

    In many ways our attitude determines everything. It colors the glasses through which we see the world. Our attitudes empower us or enfeeble us.
    Gratitude makes us feel like we have enough. He, who knows that enough is enough, will always have enough. Gratitude is the response of the receiver of a gift, through which one becomes worthy of all one receives.

    Bernard Shaw has written that people always blame their circumstances for what they are. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for circumstances that they want. If they cannot find them, they create them.

    If you have not got all the things you want, be grateful for the things you do not have, and the fact that you do not want. Counting blessings by virtue of their not having struck us is a great mood elevator. Sometimes we need to look at what has not befallen us to wake ourselves up to the joys of our ordinary lives. They are blessings because of their absence.

    He who has no spiritual peace, contentment, loves and devotion cannot impart these gifts and virtues to the others. He, who sees the eternal in both the imperishable and the perishable things alike, indeed sees that God is everywhere. He realizes that God is in every atom of the visible and invisible Cosmos, and has power of evolution and involution. Thus the Universe itself is unfolding out of its own essence. This is beyond the reach of our limited senses.
    Time is needed for just about anything one chooses to accomplish in life. Modern man can not be persuaded to accept the values of ancient spirituality, until and unless these are proved to be scientifically valid for the welfare of the individual and the society. This is indeed a Herculean task, given the intellectual and scientific progress during the past millennium. There has been an almost simultaneous deterioration of religion and culture. This has resulted in a near total neglect of spirituality human life and the emergence of blind faiths, misconceptions, and prejudices. Until and unless the principles of the faith are truly explained and reasoned out, devotion would be difficult to accomplish by an individual in modern times.


    Our awareness of being is consciousness. The body has no awareness of its own. If it were not for consciousness, body would be just a lump of flesh. The mind also has no awareness of its own and does not even have intelligence. The mind can only think and doubt. It has beliefs, opinions, likes, dislikes but it is not aware of anything. Awareness and true intelligence exist within the SELF. The inner consciousness is aware of what mind thinks. The ego appropriates the thought to itself. The individual experiences the effects or consequences of what the mind thinks. The thought determines the experience. The ego thinks circumstances or other people cause unhappiness. Unhappiness is due to the ignorance of our true nature, which is SELF. The SELF, Metaphysical Energy cannot be affected by death or by passage of time or by any other phenomenon. The Self, Universal Spirit, exists fully in all creatures, and everywhere.

    But as each of us is unique, with our own personal histories, our own sense of right and wrong, and our own way of experiencing the world that defines our realities, looking to others for our answers is only partially helpful. The answers to our personal questions can be most often found by looking within. When you realize that you always have access to the part of you that always knows what you need and are meant to act as your inner compass, you can stop searching outside of yourself. If you can learn to hear, trust, and embrace the wisdom that lives within you, you will be able to confidently navigate your life. On controlling the mind by Lord’s grace and looking inside, one can find the answers to one’s life's questions, and thus you are consulting your best guide. Moreover, this self is the agent responsible for the thoughts and actions of an individual to which they are ascribed. It is a substance, which therefore endures through time; thus, the thoughts and actions at different moments of time may pertain to the same self. We are all part of the One Universal Spirit.

    Moral courage or fortitude, one of the 5 virtues is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in humans. The only difference between a saint and a sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future if he follows the teachings of Sabd Guru earnestly, truthfully and honestly to the word and spirit. It is noble to be good but still nobler to teach others to be good. Conscience is the inner voice to warn that some one may be looking.

    It is strangely absurd to suppose that millions of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately. Moral excellence comes from right thoughts leading to right habits. One should remember that we all are children of God and each has a right to be here. Each has the same Divine light in him as us and hurting some one in any way is against that Absolute Divine Principle.
    Kabir elucidates the last reference in his Slokes as a satire;

    ਜਉ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਏਕੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ਕਹਤ ਹਉ ਤਉ ਕਿਉ ਮੁਰਗੀ ਮਾਰੈ ॥

    Ja¬o sabẖ meh ėk kẖuḏā¬ė kahaṯ ha¬o ṯa¬o ki¬o murgī mārai.

    You say that the One God is in all, so why do you kill chickens? -----Kabir, Raag Parbhati, AGGS, Page, 1350-5

    The answers that you seek can be found when you start answering your own questions by the enlightened self. Spirituality educates us out of self into something far finer; into a selflessness which links us with all humanity. It is the quest of our self that drives us along the eternal and never-ending journey we must all make. Braver is he who overcomes his desires than he who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.

    Virinder S. Grewal
    Williamston, MI
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