Principles of Growth & Spiritual Perception


In the sacred Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna asks us to understand that we are nimitta matram; we have only an instrumental role to play in life, which is one of the most important principles of growth. We are only instruments in God’s unfolding plans. You say your son is yours, but can you claim exclusive ownership over him? Our off-springs are a blessing from God.

It is again God’s blessing that your son continues to be with you. You keep him according to His pleasure. That is why, when an off-spring is born, the Hindus perform what is called jatakarma, which asserts that the off-spring is the heir of the Vedas. Then some chants attribute the off-spring to the Lord.

If you listen superficially, if you use only your external ears, you will only be able to get words and their sounds. You have to use your inner ears to get the meaning coded into the words and hence you go further deep. Only a still deeper person will get the significance of what he or she hears. Hence, there are three levels of listening.

If you start living life at the deepest level, suddenly something opens up. Light dawns on areas of darkness. Sacred individuals realize that they don’t possess anything at all. This realization is a typical characteristic of the sacred individual.

The superficial perception of the principles of growth and development is different: according to that, growth equals the acquisition of more and more objects that one can call one’s own. They say, “Last year I had an income of ten million rupees, but this year it has grown to 50 million rupees. As my income grew, so did I”. I would call such an increase expansion, as it does not adhere to the principles of growth and development. It is horizontal growth. Let us call this the X-axis.

But the value of Satsang is that it facilitates growth in a different dimension altogether, i.e., the vertical dimension. It is an increase in stature and depth, not in girth and spread.

How deep is my love? How noble am I in forgiveness? How deep-rooted is my willingness to serve? How robust is my detachment, my ability to come to terms with both sorrow and happiness with equanimity? Am I able to overcome my bitterness towards my husband for his infidelity? Can I forget and forgive my mother-in-law’s heartless behavior towards me in the early days of my marriage?

The score of your answers to such questions constitutes the index of your vertical principle of growth and development. Let us call this the Y-axis. Satsangs contribute to growth on the Y-axis. This is not just the spiritual principle of growth and development in the conventional sense of the term. It has attitudinal and intellectual aspects relevant to practical life as well.

The principle of growth and development on X-Axis is purely worldly. I am not at all against growth in the materialistic sphere. Let there be materialistic prosperity. What you need to keep in mind is that it is purely transitory. It is also subject to erosion, devaluation, and snatch-able by thieves and criminals. Since our physical life has to be lived in a materialistic world, we need to have worldly goods for the sustenance of our life. So there is nothing inherently wrong with a concern for worldly well-being. You only need to be aware of its limitations.

When you die, you cannot take with you anything that is materialistic. So while you are in this world, you need to be concerned also with wealth that is not perishable, cannot be stolen, and keeps increasing as you use it, for example, compassion, love, and knowledge. As you grow in these qualities, you increase your stature. Satsangs help you achieve this growth.


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