|October 04, 2002 |
A truth seeker's spiritual journey consists of various stages. At each step of the way, the aspirant is confronted with countless choices, philosophies, and methodologies. By understanding the spiritual process, one can identify potential pitfalls, and keep sight of the aim of reaching the true "spiritual end" which is offering perfect, loving service to God. Kakaji explains this in Patra Sanjivani, letter 48.
In the beginning, there will be many questions, but as we find answers and progress spiritually, we reach a "resting place" or platform. However, the seeker in the resting place should not think he has reached the end of the journey, but realize that he always must continue to grow. And on the way, problems or hurdles should be seen as stepping-stones or our true teachers. At the end of spiritual progress, devotion to God remains. This is important because unless we are attached to God at all times, there is potential to fall. The end is not an attainment of supernatural power, but rather to be wholly in the service of God.
One way to look at the journey is in terms of the relationship between the soul and the body. Shareeree-bhaava is living in body-consciousness and a-shareeree-bhaava is living in soul-consciousness. After a-shareeree-bhaava is divya-chetnaa in which the aspirant is devoted to God.
Another perspective on spiritual progress is going from the maanseeka (mind level), to the aadhyaatmeeka (spirit level), to siddhadashaa (state of attainment), and finally to divya-ekataa and moorti-siddha (oneness with devotees and continuously linked with God). Beyond the dualities of the mind (a-mana), we enter the aadhyaatmeeka state. Now the journey is from within. But this internal height is also not the ultimate. For example, the ego of being at an elevated state will not allow us to progress further. (For this, Kakaji showed the technique of keeping two friends of opposing nature. This way, we never feel that we have reached an end where no one can elucidate our mistakes. Dinkar Uncle gave the analogy of ice and water: trying to remove impurities from liquid water is relatively easy, but trying to filter out impurities from ice is very difficult. Thus, we should always remain humble and progressive. Otherwise, at the siddha level, we become fixed to the attainment rather than fixed to God.) The final stage is divya ekataa which means we only do what comes from moorti or God. By keeping true oneness with devotees, one offers true devotion to God, and reaches the spiritual end.