As one of my spiritual teachers sat on a rock meditating in the middle of the mighty Ganges,with the current swarming around him, he noticed an eagle circling the sun. Within seconds the bird, with its herculean wingspan, nose-dived into the rapids to claim its prize: a feast of fish. The prey had no chance. If only it had been swimming deeper, hidden from the claws of fate.
Can we learn from this? We spiritual practitioners tend to immediately condemn the glitz and glamour that materialists strive for. Perceiving them as deluded, trapped or under illusion, it’s easy to denounce their lifestyle, without noticing our own superiority complex swelling within. A great con is to think that berating others for their faults is beneficial. It really helps no one. With this pride, we often fail to realise that we are aping hedonistic ideals but, in a subtle manner, under the guise of following divinity. Is it not that dirt in a five-star hotel and dirt in a one-star hotel are of the same filthy nature? Similarly, are activities done for one’s own gain spiritual or are they worldly and coated with a spiritual sheen?
The only way we can rid ourselves of this pride — and grow — is to learn from the fish’s mistake. Instead of swimming near the surface, the Gita teaches that sincerely diving deep in our core practices, with humility, tolerance and selflessness, will ensure progress. Meditating on mantras, gaining spiritual wisdom and forming loving relationships with fellow spiritualists allows us to avoid the claws of illusion that are quick to snatch us from our path.[ materialism ]