The Misunderstood Side of Spirituality: Past the Pleasantries

The Misunderstood Side of Spirituality: Past the Pleasantries

Introduction: Many of us equate spirituality with being calm, gentle, and perpetually agreeable. However, my personal journey has taught me that true spirituality involves embracing righteousness, even if it means standing against the tide. This was a transformation that began when I decided no longer to conform meekly to expectations that did not resonate with my understanding of what is right.

The Misconception of Being “Goody Goody”: It’s a common belief that to be spiritual is to be ‘goody-goody,’ always gentle and accommodating, avoiding conflicts at any cost. This perception, however, overlooks the essence of spiritual strength and integrity. Spirituality is not just about peace—it’s about standing firm in the face of adversity and making tough choices that align with higher principles.

A Lesson from the Bhagavad Gita: The pivotal moments of my spiritual awakening echo the profound narrative of the Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna faces a great moral and spiritual dilemma. On the battlefield, Arjuna is torn between his affections for his kin and his duty as a warrior. Lord Krishna’s counsel is pivotal here: true duty (dharma) is to uphold righteousness and justice, even if it means waging war against one’s own. He emphasizes action based on duty, untainted by personal gain or emotional entanglements.

Personal Reflections: Each time I stood up for what I believed was right, despite it being against the norm or expectation, I felt an internal conflict. Was I deviating from my spiritual path by engaging in conflict? Post-2020, as the world grappled with unprecedented challenges, this internal conflict grew stronger. However, I gradually realized that standing up for justice, even if it appears combative or makes you an outlier, is a profound spiritual practice.

The Power of Righteous Resistance: Choosing to act righteously can sometimes be misconstrued as rudeness or non-conformity. But embracing this discomfort is essential. Spirituality involves discernment—the ability to see beyond the immediate perceptions of others and align with a higher moral compass. This does not mean lacking compassion; rather, it’s about integrating compassion with principled resistance against wrongs.

The Rich Tapestry of Hindu Deities: In Hinduism, the diversity of gods and goddesses illustrates the complexity of spiritual expressions. Each deity embodies specific aspects of life and spirituality, guiding adherents along varied paths of righteousness. For instance, Goddess Saraswati represents wisdom and education, Goddess Lakshmi symbolizes wealth and prosperity, and Goddess Kali exemplifies strength and the destruction of evil. This vast array of forms teaches us that spirituality is not one-dimensional but a multi-faceted pursuit toward the right path, regardless of which form of the divine resonates with us.

Embracing All Facets of Divine Expression: In the context of Hindu spirituality, no path—whether it involves the pursuit of wealth, wisdom, or justice—is inherently wrong. Each form of the divine reflects essential aspects of the broader cosmic plan. In many societies, especially within the middle class, there can be a tendency to view wealth with skepticism. However, Hinduism presents an example where wealth, like wisdom, is seen as a legitimate and important pursuit when approached with detachment and righteousness. This topic deserves deeper exploration, which I plan to address in a future article, focusing on how one can be wealthy yet detached, a complex but vital spiritual balance.

Conclusion: The spiritual journey is not a path of least resistance. It is a rigorous discipline of constantly choosing what is right over what is easy. Like Arjuna, who had to decide between fighting for justice or retreating for personal peace, each of us faces our battlegrounds. And in these battles, the true essence of spirituality is revealed—not through passive compliance but through the courageous affirmation of our values.

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