Discarding Doership Constitutes Spirituality
One who takes a piece of rope for a snake is baddha (tied, illusioned) while he who correctly perceives it for what it is, is a mukta (free from illusion, 'realized'). One who realizes that he is the soul and not the body, is a mukta. A mukta has perfect, doubt-free knowledge of the absolute truth; he is one who is happy under any circumstances, one who has woken up from the dream of 'illusion'. The state of illusion is created by ourselves by ignorance of the truth, by the belief that 'the body am I', and it is this that gives rise to anxiety, yearning, and misery. Because I forget God I consider myself as the body. It is obvious that I am not the body, in as much as I do not have absolute control over it. We take credit of doership, and naturally then, subject ourselves to resulting feelings of pleasure and pain. One who holds himself aloof from both these feelings is truly mukta.
The sense of doership is undoubtedly very harmful. A worldly man feels proud for having built a grand mansion and maintained his family in dignity; the sannyasin may feel equally proud of his monastery. Neither is free from the pride of doership; it is so difficult to escape it. It can only be mitigated by conviction of the existence and supremacy of God. So one should live in ceaseless recollection of God and in contentment in the situation He pleases to keep us in. What makes us happy despite forgetfulness of God is mundane, non-divine. To live in forgetfulness of God is prapancha, whereas leading worldly life in full awareness of God is spirituality.
Whatever act we perform in the way of the world, that is with a particular expectation, becomes karma, whereas whatever is done without any expectation of anything whatsoever is pure duty. To keep doing such acts of duty is spirituality. To maintain awareness of God all the while is anusandhan. Suppose an ant bites a toe while we are engrossed in reading, we immediately feel it; an awareness pervades the body. Similarly, an awareness of God's presence should pervade our being while going through the business of life. We should studiously achieve such awareness and maintain it with firm determination.* * * * *