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Personal Spirituality

Taken from Hindi Adhyatmvaad hi kyon?

Written by Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya


Taken from Hindi Adhyatmvaad hi kyon?

Written by Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya

Translated by:
Shivi Chandra, Anil Dadheech,
Shikha Saxena

[1998] Taken from Hindi edition

Adhyatmvaad hi kyon
[2008] Translated English edition

Personal Spirituality

Shri vedmata Gayatri Trust,
Shantikunj, Haridwar,
Uttarakhand 249411
Visit us online:
Phone: 91-133-426-0602,

Why Spirituality?










About the Author





oday's man is swamped

by problems. The rich,
the poor, the wise, the ill,
the healthyeach has his own set
of complaints. The pain of the
hungry and the overeater is
different, but both still suffer.
Likewise, there are many types of


problems abundant in the world,

each of which may be drastically
different, but while their causes
and natures may seem different,
their root cause is the same: a lack
of the spiritual perspective.
If one fully understands the
implications of this, then one
solution presents itself to an
infinite amount of problems. Like
darkness disperses with the
presence of light, problems will
disperse with the advent of


spirituality. Of course, there are

always temporary solutions.
However, spirituality is the only
permanent one.
For example, indigestion
causes blood impurity, which in
turn gives rise to other diseases.
Quick remedies can provide
immediate relief, but the only
permanent solution is to cure the
indigestion itself. After all, how
can one place a bandage on every
spot of chicken pox? The best


solution is one which both purifies

the blood and prevents
tomorrow's complications.
Flies and mosquitos are born
in dirty environments, but it is not
practical to attack each one. They
will only appear again. If the dirt is
not removed, they will keep
appearing. The only way to
remove them permanently is to
remove the conditions which
create them.

Man was placed upon the earth to
earn a great deal. Every problem is
like a red light to make him aware
that he is doing something wrong.
If he lives his life with dignity, he
will not spend it struggling with
problems, and there will only be
one goal in front of him: to
achieve his full potential.
Let us examine the various
problems that occur in day-to-day
life, why they occur, and how a
permanent remedy can be


achieved. All personal problems

can be classified into the following
five categories: health-related,
mental, financial, familial, and



an is plagued by
physical weakness
and disease. Why is
this such a problem for him?
Countless animals are born and
die without a hint of this plight;
only domesticated creatures suffer
from such problems.


Everyone must face old age

and eventually death, but each life
should be a healthy one. However,
man's indiscipline in diet and
lifestyle brazenly violates the rules
of nature.
Mindlessly consuming junk
food in the name of taste, without
regulation or discipline, taxes the
capacities of the stomach. The
resultant indigestion causes
hundreds more problems. Sage
Luqmaan was correct when he

said, "Man digs his own untimely
grave with his tongue." Indeed,
man burns his own source of
power, as easily as melting ice.
People who will continue their
bad habits such as indiscipline and
laziness cannot escape nature's
punishment. They must endure
the consequent ailments.
Such ailments cannot be
cured by the magic of medicine. If
it were possible to be healthy even
after leading such an indisciplined


life, rich people and doctors would

have obtained nearly invincible
health. However, this is not the
case. If one expects continuous
healthy life, then a natural lifestyle
is the only solution. This problem
can only be addressed by eating
and living in a disciplined fashion.
It can be said that reducing
one's sensual desires and
regulating one's lifestyle is a form
of spirituality in physical life. For
the body, spirituality is nothing

but self-restraint and selfdiscipline. If this is done with
judgment and foresight, one will
never be weak and sick. Whenever
man seeks a solution for a healthy
lifewhether now or in a
thousand yearsthis is the only
one which will present itself. He
will always have to conclude that
in order to stay healthy his daily
routine should follow this physical
spirituality, and the treasure of his
corporeal self should be used with
discipine. The day he realizes this


and implements it in his life, the

shadows of sickness will never fall
upon him again.



ental restlessness is
another problem in
human life. Most
people are restless, pessimistic,
worried, disappointed, fearful,
cowardly, or dissatisfied. There are
very few who are peaceful or
balanced. To some extent, the


behavior of others is also

responsible for this, but man must
accept that the weakness of his
own thought process is the
primary factor. He always wants to
fulfill his own immediate desires,
propagate his own rule in everything, and change circumstances
according to his own wishes.
However, the world is not made
for only oneself. Situations and
people are develop-ing at their
own pace. Man must coordinate
his own pace with this one.

For most, dissatisfaction with
circumstances indicates a problem
with the thought process. If one
compares himself with rich
people, he will feel poor, and the
pain will continue. But if he
compares himself with the poor,
he will feel that his situation is
better than that of hundreds of
people. Wealth and poverty are
relative. With the right
perspective, one can escape from
the dissatisfaction these labels


cause and concentrate on his own

The same principle applies to
one's relationships with others.
Everyone is composed of good
and bad. What one sees is
dependent on his outlook. If he
looks for the bad, he will find it,
even in the sun. If he looks for the
good, he will not find one person
without good in him. Thinking
only of unkindness will produce


lists of enemies, but likewise,

thinking of kindness will produce
endless lists of friends.
Both plenty and scarcity have
their own importance. It is well
known that abundant resources
ease one's progress, but the value
of struggling without resources
should not be underestimated. By
passing through the fire of
hardship one becomes strong.
Gold and diamond pass through
such tests, and they have no value


without this. Vigilance develops

in such times, and many important
experiences are also accumulated.
Man becomes aware and comes to
treasure his valuable experiences.
Some break under such
circumstances, but those who can
endure can be seen to grow a
hundredfold. Both prosperity and
poverty have their importance. If
both are understood properly,
they can aid one greatly in moving
along the path of progress. Salt
and sugar are opposites, but


together create a balanced taste.

Threads may cross one another
but together they create a woven
cloth. Day and night are the
contrasting faces of time. The
world is a union of opposites, and
man must understand the
usefulness of each one.
A great deal can be learned
by giving bad souls a chance to
change. One can use the
opportunity to develop kindness
and a service-minded nature.


Instead of becoming frustrated by

this bipolar world he should
treasure all its experiences and
strive to benefit from changing
circumstances instead of
becoming unsettled by them.
Mental balance lessens the
effects of loss, sadness, opposition,
and even poverty. The
revolutionary martyrs were
smiling when they were hanged.
There was no pain on the faces of
those who made the great

sacrifices in history. If situations
had such power, they would affect
everyone the same way. But one
can see that in the same situation
one person may be frustrated, and
another continue without any
effect. This is because of individual
people's different levels of mental
A spiritual perspective
requires one to adopt mental
balance. It is impossible to achieve
happiness in life by creating


conditions which are to one's

liking. Desires are endlesswhen
one is fulfilled, another pops up,
even more painful than the
previous one. If it were possible to
be satisfied by material
possessions, the rich would be the
happiest people one earth.
When man will try to find
eternal happiness, he will discover
only one way: to adopt a spiritual
outlook, and this requires mental



an is plagued by
financial problems.
There are very few
people who consider themselves
satisfied from a financial
standpoint. Money never seems to
conform to one's needs and


desires. This universal 'poverty'

afflicts everyone.
Yet, what is wealth? When
human power and intellect is used
to accomplish great things, what is
earned can be considered wealth.
This is the true meaning of money,
and economics begins here. Many
people receive effortless money in
the form of gambling, lotteries,
interest, inheritance, etc., but
these are not true wealth. People's
perceptions towards this sort of

wealth must change, or this
dissatisfaction will continue. If not
today, then tomorrowbut
eventually the spiritual principle
behind economics will prevail.
Wealth will only be gained as a
result of hard work. If one desires
more wealth and conveniences,
one should simply work harder,
increasing the capabilities of his
body and mind. The more he puts
forth effort in this, the wealthier he
will become. It is unfortunate that
man shies away from hard work


and thinks he can steal wealth with

laziness. Disrespect for hard work
is a great problem in society.
Those who earn money through
little work are considered lucky
men, and laborers are considered
lower-class citizens. This
perception must change.
The mind, like the body, is a
tool to become wealthy. Through
education, craftsmanship, artistic
ability, and refined behavior, the
its capacities can be advanced.

Many people ignore this and
strongly believe that they can
become wealthy by inheritance,
lotteries, prayers, and other
matters of luck. They believe that
they can remain lazy and money
will shower upon them anyway.
This mindset is the opposite of
spirituality, and remains the root
cause of most financial problems
A spiritual outlook shows
one the only reliable and


reasonable way to wealth. Man

must awaken zeal for hard work.
He should consider shirking and
slacking to be moral crimes. In
order to broaden his expertise, he
should always remain open to
learning new skills and knowledge.
This increased expertise will
certainly enable him to earn more
money, and this is the only true
method of financial progress.
Desiring fast money without
complying with this is the first step
to developing unethical

tendencies. This is the motivation
behind crimes such as cheating,
dishonesty, theft, bribery,
swindling, tax evasion, and
smuggling. The stronger the man
is by nature, the worse crimes he
will commit. It is the same in the
grand-scale thief as it is in the
petty swindler; the only difference
is in its magnitude. This tendency
eventually leads to the destruction
of human character. Man's dignity
and status loses its authenticity.
Even if he becomes rich through


these unethical means, his

character keeps on declining. One
who has fallen in his own esteem
cannot rise in anyone else's. If one
truly evaluates the cost of suchly
earned wealth, he will realize how
grave his crime has been and never
even work up the courage to
commit it. This desire for
unearned money spawns countless
problems. He who acquires such
money will generally waste it in
addictions, luxury, and
exploitation, and these in turn will


give rise to even more problems,

both for him, and those around
Aside from developing one's
own skills to earn money, he can
also improve his financial situation
by budgeting the wealth he does
have. He should live with
simplicity, in the manner that
sensible people of his means are
also living. If he cannot increase
his income, he should restrain his
expenses and certainly not take on


new ones. Increasing one's

number of children is as bad as
increasing one's financial burden.
This places the entire family under
the burden of financial
uncertainty, and the children are
also not able to grow properly.
Children also resent parents who
were unable to provision for them
before their birth and are unable
to provide for them after it.
Increasing the active workers
in a family can still alleviate its

financial problems in accordance
with spiritual principles. In most
houses, it is traditional that one
person earns, and the others reap
the fruits of that labor. To avoid
this philosophy, families can even
progress by using their spare time
to operate small businesses from
home. A habit of taking loans
should also be considered a minor
crime. However, in some
situations it is appropriate to take
loans in capital, for business and
other ventures. But to raise one's


standard of living and sink deeper

into debt is unwise. One will
become bankrupt and lose all
sense of self-respect.
A person who follows
spiritual ideals knows how to keep
his needs in check and hates to put
himself in debt. He is safe from
such problems.
Some traditions in society,
such as extravagant weddings and
birthday parties, also require one

to waste large amounts of money.
In such cases, one should not pay
attention to what others think, and
stand against them! Unwise
people always want to earn money
through unfair shortcuts, but this
cannot go on forever, as these lazy
and dishonest people can never
progress to their full potential. A
person can only be genuine by
following the path of honesty. He
can only reach his full worth and
earn respect by working hard and
employing honesty.


Focus, simplicity, enthusiasm

for hard work, frugality,
honestythese qualities are
expressions of spirituality in the
financial world. Integrating these
into one's life is the only way to
attain financial equilibrium. In
addition, spending without any
judgment and earning money
unfairly only exacerbate most
financial problems, but a person
with a spiritual outlook easily
evades both these concerns.
Inefficiency and hoarding are also

like poison to financial stability.
When a great amount of money is
earned, an equal amount of money
must also be given back to society.
This is another tenet of
spirituality. Satisfaction is actually
harmful when in it, a person loses
the will to be productive and work
hard. A person should work to
advance the fortunes of others as
well as his own. As the saying goes,
one who earns for himself and eats
it all himself is nothing but a
crook. This type of spiritual


outlook is the only thing that can

help the individual and societal
financial situation and eventually
solve such problems.



he fourth problem is
family-related. People
are often restless as a
result of family quarrels. There are
very few households in which one
can observe peace, love, and
cooperation, and in which the
environment is a happy one. No


matter how a household may seem

from the outside, inside hatred,
inconsideration, and disobedience
may be festering, and these give
rise to indiscipline and eventually
chaos. Because of these, the
institution of family is gradually
The institution of the family
must be recognized for its
importance. The family is the link
between the individual and
society. It is a kind of mine, in

which if the environment is a
conducive one people can emerge
as gems. Such individuals will not
only be a credit to themselves, but
will add to the glory of their
society. After all, society is nothing
but a group of families. Schooling
can increase one's knowledge, but
a strong character can only be
developed in the school of the
home. Personality is also molded
through practice in the home.
Families that do not recognize this


are the ones which encounter

These days, the financial
aspect is considered the only
responsibility associated with
raising a family. People feed their
children well. They clothe them.
They educate them. They marry
them off. In the end, they leave
them a little money. In this, they
consider their familial obligations
complete. This implies that a
member of a family is a machine

whose needs are merely physical
ones. If this were true, all of this
would be sufficient. But man is not
a machine; he also has life and
consciousness. The potential
inside him is like the mythical tree
which provides whatever one
desires, but it can only flourish
when nourished with positive
emotions and habits. With these,
even a family in poverty can
produce upstanding citizens and
people of excellent character.


A spiritual outlook is the only

way a family's creation and growth
can produce a good environment,
one in which the members can
come to appreciate their lives and
good fortune. If both sides strive
to bring about closeness,
friendship and cooperation
between their two souls, then it is
certain that they will share the
highest affinity for each other.
Whatever the situation, they will
remain satisfied with each other,
and understanding their duties

and responsibilities, will also make
efforts to uplift their entire family.
Such people are never satisfied
with merely birthing children, but
will consider both their
responsibilities towards other
family members, and their
resources (of both money and
time) before increasing their
family size.
In many families there is an
atmosphere of ill-will, conflict,
hurriedness, and ugliness. People


in such environments suffer from a

twisted mindset. This should be
replaced with goodwill and good
habits, and a daily routine that is
formed on these foundations.
Every member of the household
should abide by the rules of hard
work, cleanliness, courtesy, and
thrift. The plant that is raised in
such a nursery will spread its
fragrance and bounty wherever it
is planted. The creation and
development of families, if it is
undertaken with a spiritual

outlook, will result in positive
emotions and traditions, and the
members of the family will feel
blessed to be a part of it. If a
marriage is made for reasons of
lust, infatuation, desire for
children, greed, or societal status,
then the environment in the home
will be hellish, and each member
of the family will become twisted.
This superficial mindset eats away
at the foundation of the family
ideal. Couples also may become
uncertain and distrustful.


If the institution of the family

is given new life, families can begin
to experience heaven on earth.
This cannot be done by taking
classesfamilies must adopt a
spiritual outlook in depth. The
home should be treated as a place
where one experiments with and
practices these ideals. From food
to entertainment, every daily
activity and behavior should
follow these principles. Every
member of the family should be
enthusiastic in complying with


these and elevating their thought

Wealth has its own use, as
does organization and cleanliness,
but it must be remembered that
neither of these can give a family
life. It is all right to give a child
ample conveniences. However, if
he does not also receive positive
qualities and cultivate a good
nature, he will always encounter
problems. Such people are not


able to live peacefully, nor do they

allow anyone else to live
peacefully. Parents are often
falsely proud of such children on
account of their positions, but
they can never be truly satisfied.
A refined family can only
grow in an atmosphere where a
spiritual outlook is given the
utmost consideration. If a family is
unwilling to devote time to this,
then it cannot ever experience


heaven on earth. The members of

a family should consider
themselves to be limbs of the
household body, and pay careful
attention to their responsibilities.




n the life of the soul, attaining

peace is considered the sign
of success. One can observe
paranormal capacities in people
who have reached such a level.
These are the people who are
known as great men. Lasting
happiness is directly linked to this


progress. To attain this goal, the

strength of the soul must be
Some people depend on
prayer and rituals for this, which
have their own use, but it must be
remembered these are a means to
an end, not an end in themselves.
Their function is simply to provide
a foundation for later spiritual
development. Flattering God,
however, is not a legitimate
pursuit. The power that runs the


entire universe cannot be extorted

from with such childish matters.
To receive its grace, the soul must
only ensure that its qualities are
similar, because only similar things
can combine.
When one progresses
towards spiritual peace and
strength, he is said to be truly
gifted. The wall between the atma
and paramatma is built up of
negative emotions, and demonic
tendencies accumulated by the self


only place larger obstacles in the

way. Without ending these, the
union is not possible. Embers may
become covered by ashes, which
make them seem dull and warm,
but when the ash is removed they
regain their original light and heat.
The atma possesses all the
qualities of the paramatma, but the
covering of illusion and ignorance
over it makes it impossible to see
its true nature. The point of
prayer, yoga, and tap is essentially
to remove this covering by


bettering the self. If one goes into

it with this in mind, he will reap
the most benefit from it. However,
if this is not the goal and one is
engaged only in flattery and
begging, he will receive nothing.
There are four walls in the
palace of progress: self-reflection,
self-betterment, self-construction,
and self-growth. Anyone can build
castles in the air, but to make a
proper palace, one must lay down
a solid foundation. Discipline is


needed for this, and there is no

other way to go about it. Negative
actions, thoughts, and emotions
will only weaken this foundation,
and one's character will decline.
Those who succumb to these will
fall so far that their union with
paramatma becomes impossible.
A rock will never be able to grow
anything, no matter how much it
rains, so imploring the clouds to
give it more rain is futile. It cannot
grow anything until it changes its
own nature.

The science of spirituality is
based on the principle of selfbetterment. Most spiritual
practices are also based on
uplifting the self. There is only one
way to become great: by leaving
bad tendencies behind, and
soaring into the field of spiritual
excellence. In a dirty mirror or
dirty water, a person cannot see
himself clearly. In the same way,
the paramatma cannot see the true
atma. The chains of greed, lust,
superficial attachment, and


excessive desire hold the atma

down. If they are removed, a
person can begin to think more
clearly. This state of mind is what
is known as heaven. The universe
a garden into which man has been
sent as the gardener, and the
sooner he understands this
purpose the faster he will reap the
benefits. Judgment and farsight are
the greatest aids to this kind of
thinking and are also known as

There are certain types of
people who both took care of
themselves and also ferried
countless others across the
threshold to a better life. If one
studies their lives, he will find only
one guiding principlethat they
left their negative qualities behind
and fully embraced greatness. It is
such people who can truly be said
to shine with divine light, and their
powers are such that they possess
their own type of golden touch.


Even if one finds such a person

and wishes to accept his guidance,
he will not receive help unless he
studies and adopts spiritual
principles. Spiritual success lies in
removing the obstacles in the way
of growth. Because of these
obstacles, a person remains
confused and unable to follow a
noble way of living. This can only
happen when one adopts a higher
way of thinking, which will then be
reflected in one's personality.

Emerson once said that if he
was sent to hell, he would make it
into heaven. His statement was
not incorrect. For a person who
has accepted excellence, the worst
of situations can be transformed
into peaceful, pleasant, heavenly
ones, and it is very easily done. If
he fully integrates spiritual
thinking into every aspect of his
life, then he is truly capable of
surmounting any problem, any





the Author
Shriram Sharma was a scholar,
philosopher and a visionary. He
believed that the problems of the
world stemmed from our lack of
spiritual outlook, and that all of
them could be solved by changing
our individual mindset. To this
end, he authored many books

relating to topics such as scientific

spirituality, anti-consumerism,
social service, and other subjects
for which he saw a prominent
need in today's world.
What Am I, written in 1940, was
his first book. It was intended to


give his readers a sense of their

own identity, based on the Vedic
idea of the soul and its potential.
He explained that each spiritual
activity is based on the science of
auto-suggestion, creating
necessary changes in one's
personality and thinking.
He established several institutions,
including a unique Research
Institute for scientific spirituality,
the Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya


(Divine Culture University), and

Shantikunj, a spiritual guidance
center and headquarters for All
World Gayatri Pariwar (AWGP).
His organization, the Gayatri
Pariwar, is composed of millions
of members worldwide and runs
like a family.