Question: I am a Mother, Wife, Daughter (in-law), Sister (in-law), Teacher, Friend and a human being. I believe in the Almighty, especially in the form of Lord Vishnu. I believe that He listens to me and guides me spiritually.
However, I have all throughout my life attributed great importance to the service I tender to my near and dear ones. By serving them I have always derived extreme happiness and satisfaction. I have no complaints whatsoever. It is true that we attribute all around us (people, things etc.) to be in the so called “material world” class. We all know for a fact that someday everything and everybody disappear leaving us sad and circumspect of the permanency of the world. We all seek refuge in philosophy and it does help us to get over the grief significantly.
My question is: “What is the essence of spirituality? Should it not assist us in conducting ourselves in our day to day life?”
Answer by Romapada Swami: The essence of spiritual life is to re-establish one’s constitutional relationship with God, and to learn to fully function in that relationship in all aspects of one’s life.
Pious persons have natural faith and attraction to God – they look to Him when in distress, when in need, or when inquisitive. (BG 7.16) Such beginning spiritualists also generally lack complete understanding about the nature of God and how exactly everyone and everything is related to Him. Authorized spiritual practices along with their authorized teachings are meant to carry us beyond these limitations and, likely, our multiple misconceptions. Perfect understanding of these truths (sambandha-jnana, or factual understanding how all things are connected to their energetic Source) enables one to function properly, without duplicity, within this material world.
Thinking of spiritual life as something utilitarian – meant to better one’s life in this realm and the next – is both common as well as conceptually misleading and insufficient in perspective. Spiritual life is truly other-worldly, living one’s life with Krishna or Vishnu both now and always, eternally, beyond this temporal realm. However, ironically, the fact is that a spiritually well-situated person alone is able to properly execute all his or her duties towards others satisfactorily – to their satisfaction, and his/her own too!
A realized spiritualist is in fact the most earnest servant to everyone – but he does it with perfect vision of how everyone is related to the Lord. Those who lack spiritual foundation are left frustrated at some point sooner or later, despite their most strenuous efforts for perfectly fulfilling their obligations – like one watering the disconnected branches of a tree.
By performing daily spiritual practices carried out under the guidance of a qualified vaishnava teacher, together with proper training in the principles of Bhagavad-gita, you will come to realize all of the above. In that condition your day-to-day activities will become palpably spiritualized.