In my previous article, I wrote about how I felt spiritually rejuvenated by my visit to India. A country with all its seeming outward blemishes, India and my Hindu faith has bestowed upon me boundless spiritual thoughts, scriptures of great depth to learn from, and a faith tradition that has instilled in me from a young age the universal concept that “all the different paths (faith traditions) in the world lead to the same summit of salvation”. That is the kind of inspiration that we need to navigate this life, fraught with unexpected journeys to the edges of precipices, its uncertainties, its roller coaster ups and downs.
Inspiration that comes from great scriptures such as Bhagavad Gita is not easy to acquire. Because the scripture is written in the archaic language of Sanskrit; and secondly because the verses are so pithy and dense that it takes scholars to not only translate the verses, but to interpret the deep meaning, and convey the message in a manner that can be easily understood by a common man like me.
On top of that, Hinduism has many scriptures; and then there are interpretations by great scholars and saints; and there are mythologies with stories conveying morals; and there are many sects or followings, each with its own focus and peculiarities. All this can send one’s mind spinning wildly.
Well, you start reading excerpts from the Vedas – whose breadth, from worship of the natural elements to lessons on being human is vast; then you dip your toes into Upanishads, seeking an understanding of self and “God” (or “Supreme Being”); and still further you encounter Vedantas (which contain deep philosophical discourses trying to bring an understanding); and you may end up trying to grasp Bhagavad Gita and its teachings on who you are and what your role is in this existence…
This is where we turn to some of the most revered spiritual leaders of Hinduism to inspire us with messages from scriptural texts put into language that is simple to understand, and straightforward to put into practice. For, what use is a message if we can not implement it in our daily lives?
As an example of a simple spiritual teaching, here is a quote from the great scholar and spiritual teacher Swami Vivekananda: “Everything in the universe is yours; stretch out your arms and embrace it with love. If you ever felt you wanted to do that, you have felt God.”
The great saint and teacher Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa said: “The sun can give light and heat to the whole world, but he can not do so when the clouds shut out his rays. Similarly, as long as egotism veils the heart, God can not shine upon it.” Another simple teaching of his: “The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail.”
Relevant to us every day is Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa’s teaching: “It is true that God is even in the tiger, but we must not try and befriend the animal. So it is true that God dwells even in the most wicked, but that does not mean we should associate with the wicked.”
These are but a few examples of the inspirational spiritual and moral teachings of great Hindu spiritual leaders.
This is the kind of inspiration that I can use at the start of each and every day. Wouldn’t you agree?
Suresh Basrur practises the Hindu faith, participates in inter-faith activities in Victoria, and speaks to audiences about Hindu religion, philosophy and practices.
You can read more articles from our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking, HERE