Discovering the divine in you

Discovering the divine in you

Sooner or later, everyone of us finds himself or herself involved in search for the divine. It is a quest though that is by no means quick or easy, for who or what is the ‘divine’?
An old Indian tale puts this thorny question into good perspective.
The Divine Beings, it goes, wondered where to hide the secret of divinity, so mortals would not find it. ‘Hide it under a mountain’ said one. ‘No, they will dig it out,’ cried the others.

‘Bury it under the oceans,’ said another. ‘No, they will dive in and find out,’ countered the others. ‘Put it inside them, they will not think of looking for it there,’ said a clever one. And that is where they placed it and where it remains to this day.
All great religions tell us that the ‘Divine’ resides within us. Called by varied names—the self, soul, spirit, atman, Buddha Nature or divine image – its presence is commonly acknowledged and to reach and develop it considered the highest purpose in life.  It is what is believed to give existence meaning and which endows mortals with the peace and happiness they yearn for. Can a strict observance of religion lead us to this goal?

The answer is ‘no’ and ‘yes’. It will fail to do so if we allow ourselves to equate rituals with religion.

There are those who recite their prayers regularly but allot little attention to what they mean.

This is paying homage to form and not content and will not lead us far. Others believe in man-made images and portrayals so literally that the symbols take on the semblance of reality. Then there are those who practise the scripture more in the letter than its spirit, often developing a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Religion rightly practiced is none of these.

Rituals and observances are necessary but do not constitute the whole. They are but aids on the inward journey to the self, which is the seat of the divine. The path is not an easy one, because the inner world, much like the outer one, is filled with distractions. Any attempt to be still and quiet is made difficult by a flood of thoughts, memories, emotions and images.

But if you gradually stop evaluating them and simply observe them, a silence descends and takes you to the inmost core of your being. In this interior space, one begins to glimpse a deeper reality. Understanding, acceptance and forgiveness are all possible and the door to awe and reverence opens. It is what the truly evolved call the ‘divine’. It is clear that spirituality is not a dogma to be believed in but a road that must be travelled; that true religion is really a religious way of life.

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