Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ask Asha: Spiritual Excellence is Practical

[You can ask your own question here.]


I am very much benefited from Sri Yukteshwar’s wisdom. And i strive to follow his teaching.

I could not understand his statement "The active expression of virtue gives rise to the keenest intelligence.”

What does "active expression of virtue" mean? What is "keen intelligence"?

from India


Dear Chary:

My friend Sahaja in Assisi does the great work of translating into Italian the books of Swamiji and Master. Sometimes she asks me to help her unravel some linguistic or philosophical knot, which has awakened me to the depth of meaning contained in every word of their writings.

Because their writing flows so beautifully, we don’t always notice the gems that are contained there. A good practice sometimes is to read their books very slowly.

The meaning of this sentence comes from the context. Master is telling us how perfectly balanced Sri Yuktewsar was. His consciousness soared to the infinite, but at the same time, he was practical, and clear minded even in the most mundane matters. The management of his property, the feeding of guests, the careful allotment of his financial resources, to name just a few.

By contrast, Master described himself as being vague where practical matters were concerned. And, furthermore, excusing that vagueness by saying that his attention was occupied with spiritual matters and therefore couldn’t be bothered to remember, for example, to lock the ashram gate. Chapter 15 of Autobiography of a Yogi, “The Cauliflower Robbery,” is a humorous, but deeply instructive story of how Sri Yukteswar endeavored to correct this flaw in Master.

“Active expression of virtue” in this case means the active pursuit of spiritual consciousness. In other words, trying to live in accordance with divine principles — “virtues” Master calls them in this case.

“Keen intelligence” means here the ability to function well on all levels of life. Many people think that if you are focused on high ideals you will necessarily be incompetent or at least inattentive to the practical side of things. Sri Yukteswar is saying, very strongly, that this is a misunderstanding. The more you expand your spiritual consciousness the more aware you become in every area of your life.

“Saintliness is not dumbness!” he says a sentence before. “Divine perceptions are not incapacitating!”

True spiritual development, in other words, brings excellence to all aspects of life.

Nayaswami Asha

[Questions and answers from other Ananda ministers worldwide can be found on the Ask the Experts page of]

1 comment:

  1. These thoughts came to me as I was reading this:

    I believe “active expression of virtue” (among other valid interpretations) also means actively putting out energy to behave in a virtuous (or righteous) manner even under the influence of the ego to the contrary… This practice must then purify intelligence; cause only then intelligence can become very keen. Just as only clear water can reflect the true color of any substance added to it, only pure intelligence can discriminate keenly…

    The opposite is also true.

    There is a saying in India: “Vinaash kaale vipareeth buddhi”… vinaash means end/destruction/downfall; kaal – time, vipareeth – opposite to virtue/righteousness; buddhi – intelligence… In other words, when time for a person’s destruction comes, his/her intelligence becomes muddied; muddied intelligence leads to behavior that is unrighteous.



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