Updated on: Saturday, December 11, 2021, 08:30 AM IST

Guiding Light: Is materialism at odds with spirituality?


We exist in a time where instant gratification is the norm, living vicariously through social media, where followers, likes and comments are the new currency. Money, as we know it, is also on the verge of a digital revolution with the advent of cryptocurrencies. All of this reinforces the concept of the world being Maya, transient, fleeting, and almost imaginary.

Whilst the means may be becoming virtual, the trappings are still very real, whether it’s that exotic holiday or the latest designer bag. So can one be spiritual when one can’t even comprehend anything lesser than designer yoga pants or insist on a beachside resort for spiritual retreats? Well, yes and no.

If your mind remains bound in the material plane, strutting spirituality because it’s the latest fad and mindfulness is in, then no. But if these comforts help you step out of the mundane, and take the first step towards experiencing an elevated state of consciousness, then sure, yes. After all, as Swami Vivekanand once famously said, “Spirituality is no good on an empty stomach.”

Centuries of foreign occupation and the systematic impoverishment of Sanatan Dharma have left us burdened with the corrupted notion that spiritual teachers and gurus should be in rags with no financial means to sustain their livelihood. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Lakshmi is a prerequisite for all welfare projects, whether it is providing the basic necessities in villages or passing down the knowledge of the scriptures to the next generation.

Spirituality is like the soil that we, as a collective, seek nourishment from. So, when we don’t bat an eyelid paying thousands for three hours of mindless entertainment or purchasing merch by a spoilt teenage pop-brat, why do we question every rupee a spiritual organisation might request for their services?

We are at an inflection point, a time for introspection, where we challenge the deep-rooted association of spirituality and lack that we have been harbouring for centuries. And it’s only when we dare to step out of the shadow of this transgenerational trauma and embrace the luxurious abundance of our temples in the same breath as our five-star hotels that Sanatana Dharma has any hope of making it to the next millennium.

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Published on: Saturday, December 11, 2021, 08:30 AM IST