In the pursuit to betterment in life a seeker will adopt the Jnana Marga (Path of Knowledge). The knowledge got from various sources does help him overcome many questions that were lingering in my mind. Unfortunately for some this Jnana Marga induces Aham (Ego) in the mind. In fact knowledge should have been the fuel to burn out the ego, but in most of the cases it becomes fuel to ignite it and keep it alive. This is spiritual materialism. That ego can cleverly twist a well intended higher desire of enlightenment to make a u-turn and hit the seeker where it hurts. Rather than making the seeker a humbler, that ego can turn the desire for spiritual growth to pride and vanity. Spirituality can be distorted into a means for material gains, intellectual status, or also to escape from reality.
While an individual who would crave for worldly materialism is like a bird imprisoned in an iron cage, a spiritual materialist is one in a golden cage and for both the bondage surely exists. An individual might focus much on self and become an obsessed self-improved seeker, forgetting or least bothered about others around him. He never realizes that in the venture to excel himself he has to play the part of trying his bit to see that other also excel along with him.
The incident in the life of King Kaushika who later on becomes Vishwamitra (friend of world) stands as an evidence. When the king decides to acquire the wish fulfilling cow Sabala, forcefully from sage Vashistha, he gets to know the unmatched powers, gained out of austerity. Desired to obtain that power he forsakes his kingdom and does tapas (austerity) and obtains it. Then with the so got spiritual powers he designs a parallel world to King Trishanku when the later wishes to ascend the heaven with the physical body, merely to show off his powers and loses them. There are numerous such occasions where he loses the spiritual powers on triviality.
Kaushika again resort to austerity to regain the power, it takes him enormous time and effort to evolve as a Rajarishi. In the silence of his heart he forgets the material world as well as the spiritual materialism and its mesmerism. Gradually his heart gets embellished by love and compassion. It was at that time “Gayatri Mantra” the mother of all mantras blossomed in him and he presented it to the entire world. He was called VISHWAMITRA, (friend of world) from then on.
Srimad Ramanuja, the exponent of Vishishtadvaita was initiated with the “Ashtakshara Maha Mantra” by Guru Thirukoshtiyur Nambi. Further the guru informs that contemplating on the mantra would release him from earthly ills and take him to Vishnuloka, but warns if revealed to others he will go to Yamaloka. Ramanuja climbs up the temple tower and in the top of his voice announce the mantra to all the villagers. When his furious guru question about his action he simply says, “If this act of mine delivers thousands to heaven, I do not mind going to hell.” Thrilled, the guru hugged his disciple.
It is important for me to realize that though I am just a speck of dust in the midst of this enormous universe, my individuality is spacious enough to inspire others. If I am a grain of sand in this universe the entire space is for my accommodation because I neither possess nor obstruct anything. I just share this universe with others and this tremendous openness comes to not by knowledge but only if I belittle the Aham (Ego) in me...................Am I Right???