Study of Spirituality

Study of Spirituality

Ideally the books we read should give clear instructions on the way forward in spiritual practice. The guidance given in the books should conform to the six basic principles of spirituality.

From the perspective of reading spiritual texts for our spiritual growth, we should preferably read literature written by Saints or Guru. But when reading spiritual texts written by Saints, even when reading we get Divine Consciousness Chaitanya, which is the objective behind doing spiritual practice.

When reading Holy texts we should take care not to limit our understanding to a myopic sectarian viewpoint. We should try to reconcile it with the all encompassing science of Spirituality.

When reading Holy Scriptures we must understand that there is an implied meaning to the text. It is important that we understand the implied meaning and put it into practice. Else no matter how many hundreds of periodic readings of Holy Scriptures we undertake it has little benefit with regards to our spiritual growth.

We should ask ourselves questions at every step to check whether we have understood every line of the text. If we are not clear on any point, then we should get it clarified from our spiritual guide or the conductor of the satsang spiritual meeting we attend.

Once a particular section of the text is clear, we should explain it to someone in our own words. Explaining a concept to another person and encouraging him to ask questions is a good way to know how well we have understood the particular concept.

We should check whether we have experienced at any time what we are studying and ask our self that if not, then why not. If we have not experienced a certain Truth in the Holy text it means that we need to do more spiritual practice.

5. We should make specific plans to put into practice what is understood and review from time to time whether we are experiencing the signs of expected progress.

We should study the same text from time to time. This is because with increase in spiritual level the ability to understand the text, the capacity to put it into practice, etc., increases.

How long should we study?

Seekers in the primary stage: In this stage, we should read just for the sake of reading, that is, in order to develop some belief in Spirituality and its practice. We should read those Holy texts which have minimal or no discrepancy between the literal and implied meaning.

Later on, when we begin to get spiritual experiences after practicing Spirituality, this reading proves useful for their confirmation. For instance, if we experience the fragrance of an incense stick without an incense stick being lit, we neither feel surprised nor ponder over it, if we have already read about it and realize that it is a spiritual experience. There is no substitute to practicing spirituality and all our study should be geared toward achieving higher levels of spiritual practice.