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Pseudo-Spiritualism: A Rendezvous With Spirituality

05/06/2014 13:54 BST | Updated 04/08/2014 10:59 BST

We drink instant coffee and eat instant-noodles. The mobile phone has morphed from being a mere phone-on-the-move to our office-on-the-move. We seek instant results and gratification. Patience levels are running thin. The noise pollution due to blaring horns in our traffic-ridden days is testimony to that. Our approach to spirituality is the same as our approach to modern life - fast and furious. We need instant peace. We need 2-minute stress relievers. We look for modern variants to ancient yoga (read power yoga). And there is no dearth of modern day Gurus to cater to the needs of the modern day man with his infinite number of self-created problems. The astrologer who always has an answer to what is going to happen tomorrow to the intellectual speaker who interprets ancient scriptures according to modern needs are bane of the spiritual society today.

Trying to give a quick-fix spiritual solution for everything is pseudo-spiritualism. Trying to create a revenue model out of dishing out quick fix solutions is pseudo-spiritualism. Conning people into believing that traditional spiritual approaches that have withstood the ravages of time are useless in modern day and inventing new age practices just to cater to the market is pseudo-spiritualism.

The ancient scriptures defined the qualifications of the disciples - and Gurus alike! The spiritual seeker should have a controlled mind and senses. The Guru should be a 'Knower' of the Truth and well versed to guide the seeker. Neither the modern day disciples nor the new age Gurus seem to fit the bill. Religion is the path to spirituality. Religion deals with the path and spirituality is the goal, a state of being. However, we seek shorter and easier paths. Religion, with its set of defined rigors and rituals, helps us prepare for living a higher life. There are many Do's and Don't's that help a person gradually climb up the ladder of peace. However, we "Do" all the "Don'ts" and "Don't do" all the "Do's"! We live paradoxical lives.

Religious organizations making money is not pseudo-spiritualism. Monks in ancient times renounced everything and walked about spreading the teachings but today you find monks traveling in expensive cars. That too is not the problem. If they sit in caves enjoying their inner bliss, we complain that they don't contribute to society. If they move around, we find faults in their ways. A religious organization is after all an organization. It needs funds to survive. It needs money to reach out to thousands of followers. There is nothing wrong in that. But using that money to pretend what it is not is the problem.

So what is the solution? The problem is not outside. We are the problem. We have to reduce the frenetic pace at which we are running daily. And when the calmness settles in, we have to become genuine seekers. We need to seek the answers to life, to the paradoxes that we have become. And as the saying goes, when the student is ready, the true master arrives.