In the modern-day world, the study of spiritual science has been confused with certain religions or sects that are prevalent. A major myth about spirituality is that it is actually a part of a religion. Religion is a code of conduct prescribed by certain highly evolved souls who have taken birth in the physical world at a time when they were needed for the benefit of mankind. A particular group of people following a specific religion is actually following a way of life or a code of conduct and certain practices for its upliftment. No religion can be judged or commented upon by a human being. This domain belongs to the Almighty. Spirituality and religion can not be equated or compared.
Just listening to a few discourses will not take you towards salvation
Another major myth about spirituality is that listening to discourses of evolved people and spending time with them would have the result of giving us salvation. In the world of the spirit, it means to take us to the subtlest layer of our ‘ether’. It is definitely possible but the possibility is a very remote one. Because how do we know that the person we are going to is not just another money maker. The newspapers are full of stories of supposedly evolved people indulging in acts, which are considered not so pure and pious by the law of our country! (Are we not law–abiding citizens?) Depending on the law of probability, it is a little risky here. To walk on this path, you need a Guru to guide you through this journey. It is a long process. Just listening to a few discourses will not take you towards salvation. Remember how shishyas spent years in gurukuls to learn this science.
Spirituality is not the proprietorship of the recluse
Often people equate spirituality with being a sanyasi or use it as a way to escape everyday responsibilities. But spirituality is not the proprietorship of the recluse. When the knowledge was given, you were never supposed to give up everything and go and sit in the mountains. As a human being you are expected to evolve stage by stage. There are levels of dhyan for all the four ashrams prescribed. You start from step one and slowly master each level and then progress, from brahmacharya to grihastha to vanprastha to sanyas.
It is well known that when Buddha came back to his palace to visit his wife and child after attaining nirvana, he had commented that for what he had achieved, there was no need to have abandoned his family. He said that it would have been possible to do it while being with his family. The Vedic Masters proved this in their daily lives. Majority of them had families and the duties towards the families and society were discharged in a much finer way compared to the modern kalyug man.
The Puranas and the Upanishads are full of stories of rishis and maharishis who were happily married and attained salvation while being grihasthas. Rishi Kashyap, rishi Dhadhichi, rishi Gautam, etc. are examples. So there is no recommendation for any kind of escapism. Do not forget that a man and a woman both are individually incomplete (concept of Shiva and Shakti); there is the need for a union between them for creation to take place, and once you create you have the responsibility to nurture it also; so escape how, to whom, and from where? We do not find in any book the Great Lord Shiva, who is also called Mahadeva, at any point letting go of his responsibilities towards Mata Shakti or his family. So what escapism are we talking about?
It is unfortunate that in the modern-day world, misguided people think that to enter into the spiritual realm, you have to leave your family and responsibilities. I remember here a song from the hindi movie of the early seventies, Chitralekha, which is appropriate to describe the fallacy of such claims: “Sansar se bhage phirte ho bhagwaan ko tum kya paooge, is lok ko tum apna na sake us lok ko kya apnaoge….” (You try to escape the world, how do you expect to find the Divine; you could not embrace this world, how do you hope to embrace that one).
By Yogi Ashwini, Dhyan Ashram