Spiritual Experience
(Vinod Anand)

There are five aspects of spirituality—the objective, the why of spirituality, the means for attaining the objective, who pursues spirituality and when.

Objective of spirituality is to transcend the limited bodily identity and experience the oneness of the single whole that this creation is.

Why should, or rather, why does, one pursue spirituality? We can start by saying that one gets a desire to pursue spirituality and hence goes ahead with it.

Then comes the question, why does one person get that desire and why don’t thousands of others get it? The only answer to this question can be that the Creator wants it that way.

The means of attaining the objective can vary from one person to another. But they must essentially serve the purpose of transcending the physical world. And physical world and our bodily identity are two sides of the same coin.

Many tend to argue that spirituality cannot be divorced from worldly living as spirituality basically entails living normally, albeit with an attitude that I am something more than the physical body While this may make sense to most spiritual seekers, there is a danger that it will amount to nothing more than hypocrisy One may continue to merrily indulge in worldly I pursuits and simply keep telling himself now and then that there is a soul beyond the body That will be self-deception.

It is unlikely to bring any spiritual experiences to such a person. Many believe that spirituality, means living in a noble way — by practicing holy, integrity, charity selflessness and other such noble qualities.

These are, no doubt, an important preparation towards attaining the ultimate objective. As gurus say, such ‘satkarmas’ lead to accumulation of shuddha punya, credit for good deeds. However, this is not the be-all- end-all of spirituality for it would confuse means with the end. If one falls into that trap, it may amount to walking on a treadmill when, in fact, one wants to reach a destination!

Yes, he will get the side benefit of shedding some unnecessary fat. But he won’t he progressing towards the ultimate goal. Without vairagya or detachment, it might not lead to the ultimate goal of self-realization. Now about the who part? Satkarmas leading to accumulation of shuddha punya are like a walk towards the gate to the ultimate destination.

However, for the ultimate experience, one has to enter the other side through the gate. Now, it is here an element of divine grace is required. The reason to bring in the aspect of divine grace is because how the selection is made is not known to us, nor can it be understood,

That is why even Jesus Christ said that the gate is narrow and many will jostle to enter; but only a few will manage to get in. However, a seeker desirous of attaining the ultimate goal must put in his best efforts.

That is the only thing within his capacity. When does one go on to the spiritual path? It may depend on many complex factors, including past karma. So, an easy answer would be that it depends on the sovereign plan of the Creator.

Spiritual experiences cannot be had through one or more of our five bodily senses. They are the kind that can be perceived directly from inside in one’s consciousness. For this to be possible, one has to have a really intense desire for it.

He has to switch the physical world off completely for as long as possible. Only then can he make himself eligible for receiving spiritual experience.

Author's Bio: 


Born in 1939, and holding Master’s Degree both in Mathematics (1959) and Economics (1961), and Doctorate Degree in Economics (1970), Dr. Vinod K.Anand has about forty five years of teaching, research, and project work experience in Economic Theory (both micro and macro), Quantitative Economics, Public Economics, New Political Economy, and Development Economics with a special focus on economic and social provisions revolving around poverty, inequality, and unemployment issues, and also on informal sector studies. His last assignment was at the National University of Lesotho (Southern Africa) from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that he was placed as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of North-West in the Republic of South Africa, and University of Allahabad in India, Professor at the National University of Lesotho, Associate Professor at the University of Botswana, Gaborone in Botswana, and at Gezira University in Wad Medani, Sudan, Head, Department of Arts and Social Sciences, Yola in Nigeria, Principal Lecturer in Economics at Maiduguri University in Nigeria, and as Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria. Professor Anand has by now published more than 80 research papers in standard academic journals, authored 11 books, supervised a number of doctoral theses, was examiner for more than twenty Ph.D. theses, and has wide consultancy experience both in India and abroad, essentially in the African continent. This includes holding the position of Primary Researcher, Principal Consultant etc. in a number of Research Projects sponsored and funded by Universities, Governments, and International Bodies like, USAID, IDRC, and AERC. His publications include a variety of themes revolving around Economic Theory, New Political Economy, Quantitative Economics, Development Economics, and Informal Sector Studies. His consultancy assignments in India, Nigeria, Sudan, Botswana, and the Republic of South Africa include Non-Directory Enterprises in Allahabad, India, Small Scale Enterprises in the Northern States of Nigeria, The Absolute Poverty Line in Sudan, The Small Scale Enterprises in Wad Medani, Sudan, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in Botswana, The Place of Non-Formal Micro-Enterprises in Botswana, Resettlement of a Squatter Community in the Vryburg District of North West Province in the Republic of South Africa, Trade and Investment Development Programme for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises: Support for NTSIKA in the Republic of South Africa, and Development of the Manufacturing Sector in the Republic of South Africa’s North West Province: An Approach Based on Firm Level Surveys. Professor Anand has also extensively participated in a number of conferences, offered many seminars, participated in a number of workshops, and delivered a variety of Refresher Lectures at different venues both in India and abroad. Dr. Anand was placed at the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla in the State Himachal Pradesh, India as a Fellow from 2001 to 2003, and had completed a theoretical and qualitative research project/monograph on the Employment Profile of Micro Enterprises in the State of Himachal Pradseh, India.