How Important Is the Practice of Spirituality?

Sri Sathya Sai Speaks
This entire life is extremely valuable. It is full of radiance and glory. But we are wasting such a valuable life by indulging ourselves in all kinds of bad thoughts and worldly pleasures. Human life is highly sacred. It has all friendship and character. The main responsibility of human beings is to realise the human values. Man is born without any desires, without any qualities. At the time of birth, man does not have any attributes whatsoever. But as he grows up, as he changes his food habits and because of the influence of his company, his qualities change. Owing to attachment and possessive instincts, he spends his life like that. If man has to live a human life and develop human qualities, he has to face so many difficulties and challenges throughout his life. If a man is successful in passing through all these challenges and difficulties in life, then only will he be able to uphold the human values. In life we are bound to face so many problems. They all help in directing the human life. 

Man keeps on acquiring desires right from birth till the old age. From a pauper to the king, from the ignorant to the intelligent ones, desires exist for all. Some aspire for performing great and noble actions. Some desire to be educated, while others desire to be rich. These desires are very natural to man, but there should be a limit on these desires. As man crosses these limits of desires, he loses his peace and becomes restless. Desires alone make man restless. Desires may be there but there should be a limit to them. Of the various defects in man, desires are growing like ant hills. There is no limit to desires and so man is bound by these desires. Driven by these desires, man not only changes but also imprisons his entire life. Even animals have limited desires. Desires in animals are limited by reasons and seasons. But the desire of man has no reason or season. Hence, man today faces a lot of problems and challenges. It’s not the worry of food or shelter that makes man restless. Rather it is only excessive desires that make him restless.  Therefore man must put a ceiling on desires. 

Attain the Supreme Knowledge
Less luggage leads to more comfort. Life is like a long journey. In this long journey you should not have excess luggage. This is called renunciation in Vedanta. Though man has long been reading, listening and practicing renunciation, we realise that he has not taken even a single step towards it. He has remained as he was. In spite of listening to Vedanta and other philosophies, man has not followed the path of renunciation. In spite of praying, Japa (chanting the sacred syllables) and Tapa (undertaking penance) and reading sacred texts and scriptures, man has been where he was. Only when man actually practices what he learns, will he make progress and reach noble heights. But today practice is zero. Despite being told so many things and being able to recite so many poems, man has been where he was. 

You should practice whatever is told to you. Then only will you gain experience. By simply knowing the menu, your hunger is not appeased. You should make an effort to eat. A beggar will not improve his condition by simply listening to the greatness of the economy. A very hungry person cannot get his hunger appeased by simply seeing the menu card. Darkness will never get dispelled by listening to the effects of light. Similarly man, by simply listening about spirituality, can never become a philosopher. By simply understanding the standard of the Vedic texts we can never become philosophers. This kind of superficial knowledge is only bookish knowledge. You require Supreme Knowledge and this can be obtained by practical knowledge. So, every man has to make an effort to practice. The one who does not put into practice, even after a thousand births he cannot reach the supreme state. Such a man would never deserve God’s Grace. 

Practice all Good Things in Life
What are we sacrificing? What are we following? Both of these are not happening. We are neither practicing nor sacrificing. Then what is the use of listening to all these things? In our daily lives, we watch television and videos. But what is the use of watching all these. You remember it as long as you watch. But later you forget about it. But spirituality is not like that. That which is heard and watched must be treasured in the heart. Then only will you have satisfaction and peace in life. Man considers himself very great and thinks that whatever knowledge he has is superior to the others.  

A small example. At one time Lord Krishna called Duryodhana and Dharmaja (Yudhisthira). He told Dharmaja to find out any bad person in the kingdom and bring him. Krishna then asked Duryodhana to find any good person in the kingdom and bring him. Duryodhana went around the kingdom and returned to Krishna and replied to Krishna that there was not a single good person in the kingdom. He replied that if there was any goodness it was only in him. Later Dharmaja came to the Krishna and replied that their kingdom had only good people and if there was any one bad it was only him. Then Krishna explained that because Dharmaja’s mind was good he could see only good in people. But Duryodhana’s mind was wicked and hence he considered everyone bad. The one who thinks that he knows more than others is highly egoistic. Today, man knows everything but he doesn’t practice. So he thinks that none is as great as him. Therefore, in human life, mental nature is very important. The one who claims that he knows everything doesn’t know anything. And the one who says that he doesn’t know anything, knows everything. Therefore we have to know everything and from that which is known we must practice at least one or two. 

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