Religion may be of a Book, but Spirituality has nothing to do with Books

Religion may be of a Book, but Spirituality has nothing to do with Books August 6, 2013

The Existence – the Universe (or the Multi-verse, maybe?), the Solar System, the planets, the species and the human beings on Earth and everything else in between, function in an amazing harmony.  Harmony has nothing to do with “Peace”.  Just as the Galaxies are eating each other – violent bunch them!; tremendous purging and killing is happening within the bodies and cells of every living creature.  In Human body for example, many bacterial cells are fought and killed.  There is tremendous “bloodshed” at the galactic level and at the level of microcosm.  Yet all has worked clockwork for many millions and billions of years

From an unknown beginning – about which many scientists are still undecided – to the present, things have worked at various levels and dimensions.  With no one leading the orchestra, somehow everything has performed rather well.  We are learning that there are not just 4 but 11 dimensions to the existence (String theory).  At its most fundamental level, creation is not matter, but Vibration in the cosmic primordial energy (Creation is a Vibration).  Also that the reality is not really objective but subjective, as the Observer creates his own Reality – when Observer questions, Existence answers. [Eternal Illusion and How Observer Creates his own Reality].

And yet, at the gross and physical level, such assertions and realities seem too fantastic.

That there is an existential dichotomy – between the Primordial (foundational) and the Gross (physical) – is now known to the scientists.  The inference and understanding is indirect, not a direct experience however.  For example, no one was really “looking” for Higgs Boson – the particle which was the “missing link” between the Primordial nothing-ness and Matter – they were instead looking for ways to speculate with some degree of certainty that the Boson is there.  It was a derivation, not an experiential conclusion. [Higgs Boson or God’s Particle: What is it and Why is it Important]

Strangely, the entire mathematics and the empirical evidence that confirmed all other characteristics of the elementary particles added a strange constraint – the elementary form of existence could not have mass.  That is, although it was clear as to how the Universes existed at the sub-atomic level, it wasn’t clear how it manifested the way it did at the gross level! The theory that was forwarded was the impact of “Higgs Field”, which if were to permeate the space and interact with the elementary particles in a certain way, it would lead to what was called the “Higgs Mechanism”.  This interaction would end up creating the phenomenon of “Mass”. However, for all this – Higgs mechanism – to work, there had to be a boson which was the counterpart of the Higgs field.  This unknown and undiscovered but theorized boson was called the “Higgs Boson”.

The question remains in all this – Can the Gross experience the Primordial?  Or are these two dimensions forever apart and “never the twain shall they meet”?  That has been the purview Spiritual Pursuit in the Dharmic world.

It is unmistakable that there is an intelligence functioning at so many different levels and dimensions in this Creation.  Stephen Hawking used the concept of Gravity to explain away what this Intelligence manifests.  The Religious use their imagination rather interestingly.  They have invented an old man, with all sorts of duties to perform, who somehow is also the owner of that primordial intelligence.

Whether one personifies or uses scientific jargon to explain the intelligence, it’s existence can not be denied.

Spirituality is Experiencing the Existential Intelligence

The central precept and goal of Spirituality is in experiencing the Primordial intelligence.  Not talking about it.  Not hypothesizing.  Not arguing.  Not deriving it.  Just living it the way it is.

That is why, even though everyone, infact everything is unique in this existence – the concept of Oneness which is entrenched in “Nothingness” has come about.  It has originated from the Spiritual parlance and experiences.

When the world was Newtonian in its scientific understanding, such talk was dismissed as witch-craft quackery.  In fact, unlike all the “New Ageys” in the West dishing out tomes and discussing endlessly in meaningless seminars about this “Oneness” – it was always the Eastern Mystics – the Dharmic and Hindu Sages who maintained – in that time and age – that this “Oneness” is the reality and not mere “superstition”.  It took many decades for even this concept to become cool.

And if one were to follow the progress of its ratings in the seminar circles, one can see very clearly that it became a viable topic after the Quantum Physics had made enough progress to make people stop in their tracks and exclaim “Damn!!  There is no matter there!  Only energy”.

So, how come something that was not in anyone’s experience or education was always talked about for thousands of years amongst the Hindus?

Because Spirituality of the Indian Sages was experiential in nature.  They had experienced it in many ways.  And it was repeatable.  It was something that could be produced if certain methods and certain ways were used.  The Truth of this Primordial Oneness that was intelligent was scientifically approached and repeated for many generations of Sages.

Religion may be of Books, but Spirituality cannot be

Abrahamic Religions are also called the “Religions of the Book”.  And that is where their Spiritual significance ends.  What is confined in a book, a prose, or words, cannot be Experientially Useful.  It is good for Ideological conditioning of the people who memorize and follow the book, but beyond that it is a meaningless exercise – in an Existential sense!

If Spiritual Truth – the Primordial Existential Truth – has to be experienced, then it has to be a Living Experience.  Not a discussion point!

It is one thing to write a book or do a PhD on the topic of Joy; but quite another to be Joyful!

Religion debates the nuances of Joy, has theories and hypotheses on it, arguments and beliefs (as well as non-beliefs) – so believers and non-believers – of Joy.  Those who argue, hypothesize, discuss, talk, write on Joy don’t care whether they have experienced Joy for even one 24 hour day in their lives.  They may as well be the most miserable human beings.  But they have written enough words on Joy to drown the world!

The writing down of Scriptures in India is a very recent phenomenon (and a forced one at that due to impact of the invasions).  And these Hindu scriptures are often fantastic and dialectic.  Never direct.  Yet, those who get the core of it, and have the necessary understanding of the process being laid out in them, have created a whole lineage of phenomenally Spiritual Beings.  It is the experiences of these beings that the scriptures lived.  That is why the words were never just simply read.  But used.

For Spiritual seekers, even the idols and Gods were tools.  The rituals, the devotion were not prayers in the Western sense.  No one was really asking for “goodies”.  But creating a experience of a dimension beyond one’s known.

That is why there is no one book.  Because no book can contain the way to experience that which is infinite and One.  And, conversely, if a book is what you have to brandish as your sole Spiritual heritage, then you have nothing worth much helping you experience the proverbial Joy!

Photo Credit: Robert Bejil / Antoinettes Yoga Garden

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  • Shaas

    Excellent title that says it all.

  • xavier

    “With no one leading the orchestra, somehow everything has performed rather well.” This has always been an assumption of atheists and quite a few spiritualists. Yet, I’ve always felt that this flies in the face of common sense, in fact, the only way that many have been able to account for this harmony and precision in the face of unsurmountable odds has been to include this concept that the universe is infinite (even though several bits show it isn’t) and thus the improbable HAS to occur. That’s kind of like going for a walk and stumbling upon a building, but because you have not personally met the maker, you conjecture that it must be naturally made, and for this impossible thing to happen and even be remotely mathematically viable, you suggest that the world is infinite. as a theory, possible yes, but it lacks common sense. If anyone made that argument, they would be laughed at. The universe, and particularly life, holds this complexity and is obviously fine-tuned with checks and balances, yet those who say it is designed are laughed at.

    I find it interesting that you can make the above statement without any sort of question to its truthfulness. Do we have reason to assume that no-one is orchestrating? Do we have reason to believe that this universe is the product of randomness as opposed to design?

    The Spirituality you speak of is a sort of ground up theory (which is also why it doesn’t require god to exist), something that is experienced for the good or bad, but it is a basic form of existence. “We” are a collection of chemical and physical reactions that have this amazing ability to experience and perceive the world around them. “We” are self aware allowing us to to ponder (and argue) these incredible abstract concepts. You say that we should experience this without “talking about it”, but I think you fail to appreciate just how big a role language plays in our ability to perceive ourselves and the world around us. Without it, many concepts and abilities we have would be impossible. Why dumb down our existence to experiencing reactions in a raw form when we have the language to perceive life far beyond simple existence? It’s one thing the experience the emotions and feelings that come from and euphoria and connectedness with things around us and it is another to make a connection and a plan of action in relation to those things. I imagine it’s the difference between painting a wall and making art.

    Take for instance the question of morality. Biblical morality calls on a person to follow certain rules whether you like it or understand it or not. Spirituality calls on you to feel it out, workout for yourself what is right or wrong based on your experiences. One treats you like a child, the other assumes you have sufficient wisdom to work it out. Yet, when we raise children, we tend to take the biblical formula. never mind that the child doesn’t understand the stove is hot, don’t touch it because “i said so”. we hope that as the child grows in intelligence and understanding that they will one day understand why the restriction was necessary. The spirituality formula would be frankly disastrous in this scenario. It would require the child (or another child) to get burned and assess what to do in the future. the lesson is learned quicker but not with out consequences (some that don’t heal even).

    Is mankind really more than a child? I disagree with the notion that somehow we are capable or wise enough to be part of this harmony you speak of. Sure the earth turns and days go by but we have consistently been a force of disruption to nature. To dismiss “books” as spiritually insignificant I feel is premature, especially if judgment of those books are based on the organizations that supposedly follow them. And it is true, spirituality is required with these books. It may be sufficient to follow certain laws because you have to in the beginning, but eventually, just like the child with the stove, your understanding has to grow, but our understanding is not dependent on experience. One does not have to experience a fall to be careful on a ladder, just as a wise person does not have to act on something to perceive the consequences. But this requires thinking, something many people fail to do. It requires making connections between laws and principles.

    when asked what the most important law was, Jesus replied with 2 laws, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

    Both statements are very deep things to say. Why put god first? Is god a person? Does he even care? What does loving him even mean? Does loving god affect loving my neighbor and vice versa? Who counts as my neighbor? Do I still love him if he hurts me? What if I don’t like myself? What is love? Not many who read these passages ask these types of questions and even less take time to research them and even less take time to practice them. Yet, even though for many, these passages not affect them, you can hardly call them insignificant. neither can you call them insignificant because they exist in the realm of “talking”, on the contrary, talking and thinking and arguing about things such as this would enhance any primordial spiritual experience of love you may have.

    • Xavier – I am saying that there is an inherent intelligence in this whole Existence.

      As for this Finite vs Infinite – well, even if one goes within an Atom, one can experience the infinite. As for the cosmic proportions, we haven’t fully seem to have gotten a handle on its completeness. A Universe that we somehow find expanding (is it expanding or is our experience of it expanding?); the many dimensions that we have now found, where many Universes could be fitted in to a small area. The concept of Finite in terms of Universe and the Atomic has been made redundant.

      As for the morality – well morality is at best a pretense. If the ONLY reason why you have to be told to love your neighbor is because he isn’t your own son – then it is not morality, it is sickness. To be compassionate is a human quality. To Love is a human quality. To be compassionate and loving to someone – anyone, for that matter – ONLY because s/he is related to you, is nothing to be proud of. To be told to come out of your narrow parochial love is not a divine message – it is something very basic. It is reminding you that you are human after all!

      So, while Jesus was a beautiful being, his message can only be seen in context of the rather sick society that he found himself in, and the utter frustration that he felt at the utter lack of humanity.

      As far as words and experience is concerned – I challenge you – find the most morose man on the street and buy him some book on Joy. Ask that person to thoroughly read the book and become joyful by the next day.

      People suffer from Depression in millions. If reading and debating on the reason for this person’s depression could get him out, then the Pharma companies would have been really poor!

      Something fundamental has to be transformed for Spiritual experience to be real. And Words cannot do that job. If they did, then it would have been pretty simple! Right?

  • john

    Nonsense all of it. Spirituality is such a vague concept, you can make up your own God and your own heaven and hell for all the good it will do you. I prefer the sort of God who can communicate with His creation. One who was interested enough to become a man himself and tell us about the way the truth and the life.

    • John – To understand the issue with a dichotomy between Creator and Creation, you need to see that such a Creator will be a limited entity. For, if Creator is different from the Creation – then the Creator begins where Creation ends. RIght? And that is a pretty sad thing. For such a “God” is not independent – but defined by the limits of the Creation!

      And, if this Creator is Infinite – for what use is a Finite Creator?? – then what is that which is not it?

      And He? Is this gender specification because the Religious stuff has been conjured up by men? Had religion been done up in a woman’s world – which was built “ground-up” by women.. are you willing to bet that God would have been a He? And what use is a God, who has no idea of the complexity and beauty of femininity?

      We are making a whole lot of assumptions about this Dude without even getting the basics right. And if it was the Truth, then it would be correct at any time, in any context, and in any area of the Universe.

  • Archana Chaurasia

    beautifully written and explained…I love the picture that you have used too..Well done Mr. Kapoor! .


    @ Desh

    I agree to some degree with you on what you said in the article ( we will have chat about this next time), but if women were in-charge of God as it is said by my Mrs. a man would be replaced by roses smelling chocolate flavour dildo, that hurts man and I thought I was her god. What can I say!