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Scripture or spiritual slavery?

The first and last obstacle to a real spiritual experience is to find out whether we really are part of the whole or separate from it. Are we an island; are we to struggle to find our destiny, work hard to survive or be doomed, as people have forecast, with the end of this beautiful planet coming in the very near future?

This planet is our only earthly home, at least in our limited vision. Though scientists say that there are at least 5,000 such habitable planets in our vast, endless existence and universe.

In our whole known existence, apart from humans, all species, trees, birds and animals are taken care of without any egoistic stress and strain of life. How can this same providence ignore us — or is it that we have no trust in this whole due to our inflated ego and ignorance?

We definitely have to work and want to make progress, but this madness of more and more has given us insomnia and illnesses. As a result, we are starved of inner and outer peace. We are detached from the whole, just as if each hand started planning to survive individually, totally detached or severed from the body. How can it be possible? But that is the case for us and all this confusion is caused by blind faith and following unconsciously various scriptures, which have a minimum bearing on our present daily life. Scriptures do have hidden truth, but who has time to read the whole to find the essence of it, which is like finding a certain diamond in a huge diamond mine? Where is that patience and perseverance to search out the truth of a pure spiritual path?

Spirituality is the subtle science of inner peace like other known sciences — physics or chemistry. One can't get it or experience it by just reading about it, but one has to do sincere practice and put forth energies, intelligence and enormous effort into learning and then at the end it becomes absolutely effortless, easy and endlessly enjoyable. But one has to work hard in the beginning to get to this ultimate realization or truth. But what are we doing in our practice of true spirituality or spiritual journey? Just reading, reciting, repeating or chanting the same scripture or mantra for ages without asking intelligently, what is the outcome or inference for a whole life of sweating and sitting? Or perhaps a pilgrimage to the holy place, like a machine or robot, without being aware or conscious of our hard task. We have to become the scientist of the real inner world, without any shortcut or stopping. This may seem funny, but one has to be brave to take on this rewarding challenge until one experiences the satisfaction and salvation.

But we are oblivious and unaware of what we are truly searching for in the name of spirituality and not just follow someone or some idea blindly and moving in circles and never reaching anywhere near the goal or God. It is like when one starts to go to primary school to learn the subjects and never progresses or passes to the next level and without the realization that one is continuing in the same class forever but thinking, "I am going regularly to the class, school, church, temple, ashram!"

It requires one to be bit more aware, intelligent and honest with oneself or take daily, monthly, and yearly stock of one's progress in the desired direction to have real inner peace.

Gokul Gokani lives in Ashland and has regular free meditation classes Tuesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. For information see www.aumawakeningcnter.com, email dr_gokani@hotmail.com, or call 541-488-0575 or 541-864-9620

The Ashland Daily Tidings invites residents of the Rogue Valley to submit articles on all aspects of inner peace. In sharing, lives are touched in ways seen and unseen, and community spirit is enhanced. Send an article of 600 to 700 words and a short bio to Sally McKirgan at innerpeaceforyou@live.com.