How do the misconceptions regarding Spirituality arise?
Most people specially the younger generation, have a lot of misconceptions about Spirituality. So let us first understand what these misconceptions are, that is what is not Spirituality.
30% of the population feels that if God and saints get enraged with them, they will be harmed. Many people as directed in letters which they have received in the name of saints or God, send twenty-five to fifty copies of them, with the fear that if they do not comply then they will incur a great loss. Similarly, people give alms with the fear that if a person in the garb of a mendicant is hurt, then he may wish one ill and may even curse. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to harbour such fears. However, due to the fear that if one errs, a sin shall be committed and one will be punished by God for it, at least 30% people from society refrain from making mistakes. This is an indirect benefit of this school of thought.
There is no connection whatsoever between education which gives worldly pleasures and ignorance about Spirituality. Approximately 80% of the people from each of the following groups - illiterate, those with primary education, those with secondary education, graduates and post-graduates are ignorant about Spirituality, as they have no formal education in it. An example of such ignorance can be seen in the article, ‘The Ganesh idol from the aesthetic point of view’ which appeared in a local daily. In this article a famous artist writes, ‘The traditional Ganesh idol is considered as one of the most beautiful sculptures. I feel like congratulating the anonymous sculptor, the first to materialise this innovative idea into reality’. That Ganapati (Lord Ganesh) is an idea, is ignorance by itself. Deities like Ganapati are not imaginary, they really exist and even have a form. This is what that poor writer does not know.
A. Dr. Athavale was once invited to deliver a discourse on Spirituality at Mumbai. The organisers asked Him whether they should provide Him with a chaurang (a small square stool used during ritualistic worship) instead of a chair, whether the table should be covered with a saffron cloth and if an oil lamp (samai) was required beside Him. They were unaware that Spirituality does not lie in external decoration but in painting one’s inner self saffron [with detachment (vairagya)].
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1. Misconceptions about Spirituality
- 1.1 Fear
- 1.2 Ignorance
- 1.3 Blind faith
- 1.4 Misuse
- 1.5 Cheating
- 1.6 Inflated ego
- 1.7 ‘Of what use is it to us?’
- 1.8 Secrecy
- 1.9 Misconceptions about spiritual practice
- 1.10 Misconceptions about priests
- 1.11 Misconceptions about seekers
- 1.12 Misconceptions about ascetics (sadhus)
- 1.13 Misconceptions about those teaching Spirituality
- 1.14 Misconceptions about the Guru
2. Reasons for misconceptions regarding Spirituality
- 2.1 Misguidance by ‘prominent’ members of society
- 2.2 Spread of ignorance through the media
- 2.3 Opposition to the spread of spiritual knowledge by universities
- 2.4 Spread of ignorance by universities
- 2.5 Indirect resistance from the government
- 2.6 Expression of unilateral opinions
- 2.7 Ignorance and blind faith of rationalists
- 2.8 Pessimism
- 2.9 Unscientific superficial literature
- 2.10 Unrealistic claims
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