[Advaita-l] New topic for Discussion - Religion vs Spirituality

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 23 03:28:16 CDT 2016


As background for the question - Currently I am doing series of talks on HOW TO SUCCEED IN LIFE.  If you ‘Google’ the title one can get tons of information - and everybody has some recipe of how to succeed in Life or what does success means. 

One says Vedantic teacher says sky is your limit - I am not sure if the person who says that has reached the sky or not. I am reminded of many marriage counselors who can advise how to have a successful marriage - until one discovers that the marriage counselor himself does not have a successful marriage. 

Hence the first question for my talks is - Am I qualified to talk on How to Succeed in Life? - This question itself was raised in the talk series and you can have your judgement or listen to the talk and make your judgement. Obviously, listening to the talks further has no meaning, if the judgement is negative. The talks will be posted on yu-tube by the Advaita Academy in due course. 

Interestingly the talks closely follow what Shree Ramachandran wrote.

The definition of success depends on the individual. When I asked this question to my wife, she defined success simply as - Achieving what you want is success. I have to give weight to her statement since she is successful person, having established an dance/music academy called Kalamandapam, org and having trained many artists who themselves are running the academy. Her definition is simple and operating definition as it does not depend on anybody else to judge in terms of who is a successful person.  

Based on the above definition, and since success depends on individual, we classify people broadly - as Shree Ramachandran did in a way – several categories. For success, everyone should have the following: 1. Clearly defined goal, 2. Clear understanding of the means to achieve the goal (means) 3. Required Discipline to pursue the goal, 4. Faith in oneself, in the means, and in the goal itself, 5. Required efforts to achieve the set goal, 6. Vigilance and the knack required to overcome the distracting environments and people (if the reaching a goal depends on others doing their job) - which requires alternate plans to overcome the obstacles and also personal, social and leadership skills as well. 6. Persistence to pursue to achieve against all odds. Many of the above requirements are essential to be successful. Many of them are acquired by practice. Failures become lessons of learning and stepping stones for success. 

1. Materialistic non-religions people (Here we are grouping all those who think they are atheists or agnostics. 
2. Materialistic Religious people – who feels that there is a higher intelligence that provides the results for action. Hence it is better to be in good list and black list – Goes to the temples with of course big list what one wants. Krishna calls them aarthaH and arthaarthee . Their interest is materialistic success in this life.
3. Religious Materialistic people – these subset of the above – but now believes in dharma – they also want artha and kaama but recognize the moral laws besides the local legal laws governing the means and the goal of success. They are not only interested in this life seek better life perhaps in higher lokas where the standard of living is better. These are karma kaandiies or who are more into the first part of the Vedas. 
4. Religious Spiritual People - those who understand the essence of the sloka – pareekshan lokaan karma chitaan brahmana… In essence they understand that Materialistic success is not everlasting and want to have eternal happiness. These are mumukshus and define success not in terms of fulfilling desires but god realization or self-realization.
4b. Spiritual seekers – This is a subset of the above where one is involved more on obligatory duties than selfish desires and are in the process of purification of the mind. Their success depends to what extent they can surrender their ego and still involved in the daily activities. Karma – upaasna yoga – for purification of the mind – yoginaH karma kurvanti sangam tyaktvaa aatmasuddhaye – they perform the daily obligatory actions with detachments for purification of the mind.
5. Jignaasus- or seeker of knowledge. The approach a teacher who is shotriya and who is well established in the knowledge and seek knowledge.
6. Sthitaprajna – the most successful people who do not depend on anything other than themselves for their happiness – Hence any action they do is only for loka kalayanam.

The classification is extension of simple classification - 1. dehaatma vadi, 2. Jeevaatma vaadi, 3. Paramaatma vaadi 4.brahmaatmavaadi. 

Yes, Religious person need not be spiritual, but spiritual persons have to be religions since mental disciple and purity are primary requirements for spiritual growth. 

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