Practical Spirituality: The regulative principles – Part 2
This article is in continuation of the Practical Spirituality: The regulative principles, in case you have missed it, read it HERE
It has been several months, since I got any time to sit down and type an article. It seems like it was just yesterday that I started going on my trips, but a year has already passed. So many things have been happened, time has flown past… and yet I remain.
Have any of you ever wondered on the futility of things that we do? We work so hard… set targets, measure ourselves or get measured, compared to other people… we boast about a certain % of economic growth, crib about a certain % of inflation… rejoice in the face of some good news, sulk in the face of not-so-good news… I keep wondering why we do all that we are doing or made to do. Do we even have a choice in deciding that? Or is it that we do not ‘want’ to have a choice to decide otherwise?
Anyway, I wanted to start from where I left in my last article. To summarize, the 4 regulatory principles that any serious spiritualist must follow are as below:
1) No meat eating (meat, fish eggs etc.)
2) No intoxication (smoking, drinking liquor, coffee, tea, drugs etc.)
3) No gambling
4) No illicit sex
I had covered the first principle alone in my previous article. Let’s see what the next 3 are about.
There is big scene being created by some people and the media on the new law being proposed by the Maharashtra Government on increasing the allowed age for drinking liquor to 25. These ‘modern’ freethinkers question like this: “We are allowed to vote when we turn 18, why not drink?”, “The government should look inwards and then preach morality” and so on. Another comment was on the ‘maturity’ aspect… “If the people are matured enough to vote then they are matured enough to understand whether or not they should drink.” Another article in Times of India states that, “even in those countries (referring to Pakistan and China) the governments display a more mature attitude when setting a legal drinking age than some states in India”. Well, I don’t know about the people who are reading my article… but that comment on maturity seems pretty lame to me. But I am not going to spend time on dissecting the logical fallacies of the above arguments.
The second regulative principle is pretty explicit by itself, but let me put it in a different manner. The essence of the principle is that a person must not use any material that will cause him/her to perceive reality differently, or give a false sense of happiness and such. I think most people will not have a problem with my reference to drugs, liquor or smoking, but I believe the mention of coffee and tea (and associated products by extension) would ruffle a few feathers. But take it from me, an ex-coffee addict… I stopped drinking coffee almost 11 years ago… life is much better without dependence on it. Such an addiction not only degrades our consciousness, but also permeates a culture of easy going attitude where people cross boundaries, both civil and spiritual, and go to extent of points of no return to normal existence.
The third regulative principle is on gambling. Any activity where one puts his/her mind and aspires for material benefit disproportionate to one’s capability, including dishonest or illicit business dealings and such, come under this category. The simpler version is to be truthful in all activities and not to engage in speculative or entertainment betting and things like that. The main reason to avoid such things is that these kinds of activities increase anxiety, material attachment, envy and anger arising from helplessness, all of which are detrimental to physical, mental and spiritual well being.
The last regulative principle is and has been the most difficult one for a majority of people to digest. Again, many would draw the line of illicit sex at any such activity outside of marriage. But spiritual science requires a level of control beyond such mundane definitions. Vedic scriptures forbid sexual union which is purely for sensual and purposeless. This principle is validated by the point that sexual pleasure, which is actually endorsed by the Vedas as the ‘highest form of material pleasure’, is the most prevalent single point of failure for people, while trying to assimilate the fact that they should not be identifying themselves as their body. And this principle does not cover just the physical aspect, but also the mental urges which create the desire (sometimes uncontrollable) to experience such pleasures.
The last principle is also probably the most difficult one to accept and follow, but any serious spiritualist would accept and do what is best possible.
I am sure there will be so many varied opinions on these principles, but it does require faith to follow them, and ultimately realize that we get only elevated in our consciousness by doing so. We can either keep to our routine questioning on the why’s and how’s or take the plunge and see the results for ourselves.
Thus, we have covered a lot of fundamentals in the last 4 articles. I am kind of divided on what topic I should cover in my next article. Let’s see how it goes.
As a side note… in the first article of this series, I had mentioned about the scandal involving Nithyananda and Ranjitha, as well as the Kalki group… it is obvious that Nithyananda clearly broke the illicit sex rule. His act is even worse since he is a disgrace to the station of Sanyaasa, which he claims to belong. Nithyananda’s action is as disgusting as a person eating his own vomit. The Kalki guy and his so-called shishyas are clearly breaking the principle of intoxication.
It is a shame that times have become so bad that spirituality has been made as a cheap commodity. We have no one to blame but ourselves.