Does Spirituality teach to escape worldly affairs?

Live or Leave

'Misunderstanding' is a very common error, we often do in our life, and it is venial and permissible as what we will pay, will not be more than our life. Misunderstanding is also very common on the path of spirituality, but here it is not excusable because on this path what we pay for misunderstanding is precious. On the path of spirituality, any type of misunderstanding takes us away from the destination. Misunderstandings on the path of spirituality claim the knowledge of ultimate truth one can achieve.

Out of many misunderstandings, one, which is very common and precarious is when we think that, spirituality teach to escape from the worldly responsibility due to its discouragement towards materialistic approach in life. Many of us develop this thought from early childhood, and most of us die with such belief. Those who believe can never think about it to be a myth or misunderstanding; but who dare to quest and, is ready to burn his ignorance to light the path will be amazed to know that, it is a myth about spirituality. Throughout our life, we believe some kind of myths, until we learn the truth about them. This can be called a universal myth. What force people to make this myth believe?

Answer is life of ancient saints, whom people think synonymous to spirituality. There are many examples of great saints leaving their family and worldly affairs in search of higher realities like Buddha who left behind their family in pursuit of enlightenment and salvation. Not only these two, but most of eastern spiritual teachers maintain no worldly affairs of any type.

This led common people to believe that spirituality means escaping responsibilities. However, it is our mistake to look one side of coin. The other pages of the same book are full of examples of 'spiritual masters' who were not only masters of spiritual field but also of worldly affairs. They maintained family and were householders. For example, the renowned mystic 'Kabir' led spiritual life with family and 'King Janaka' who remained king even after attaining enlightenment. Most of western saints have their families.

In fact, Spirituality never teaches to escape worldly responsibilities rather it appreciates if someone could achieve spiritual success with obeying and fulfilling worldly responsibilities. Most of eastern scriptures prefer enlightenment with obeying worldly responsibilities, "Karma yoga" and total philosophy of "Geeta" is about appreciating it. Stories and parables are simplest methods, intellectuals used to describe complex philosophy. One of the stories, which values enlightenment with responsibility more than escaped enlightenment says that-

Representatives of all the various kinds of birds decided to find out which species was able to fly highest. They formed a council to judge, and experiments were started. One by one, they dropped out, until only the Eagle was left. He continued his upward flight higher and higher until, when he was at his maximum, he exclaimed-

'See I have reached the highest point, leaving everyone else behind!'

At that moment a tiny Sparrow, which had been riding on his back, leapt off his wing and flew even higher, because he had conserved his strength.

The Council met to decide the winner. 'The Sparrow', they declared, 'gets a prize for being the cleverest, but the recognition for attainment must still go to the Eagle. And in addition, he gets a prize for endurance, for he outdid all the other competitors with the Sparrow on his back.'

Reward must go to him, who flies high with burden. People who succeed after living in comfort have no comparison with people who succeeded in adverse condition.

Spirituality is not about escaping rather it is teaching of skills, which helps to perform our responsibilities more efficiently. Spirituality is not about ignoring world but it teaches to tackle with world. Even none of the saints who left their families and responsibility has preached to leave these things. There is not a single line, which supports escaping, but there are many lines from these saint’s, who value more enlightenment with obeying responsibilities. Swami Vivekananda, a famous Indian mystic has told many times that,

"This world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong."

"Work and worship are necessary to take away the veil, to lift off the bondage and illusion."

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