Being spiritual or becoming spiritual is a way of life in India.  We have thousands of temples and thousands of festivals.  We have so many languages and there are mantras in just about any language. There are religious practices that enable the people to become religious or have some peace of mind.

In fact, the reach of spiritualism is always part of us.  It literally envelops our collective consciousness and makes us humble human beings.  It makes us realize that there is a much larger purpose to our lives, than just making money.  There is a big realization that we need to do much more than what we are doing, for social causes.  It helps to keep negative thoughts out of our minds, and also makes us to seek peace in whatever we do.

Spiritualism opens up many doors, most of them new.  For instance, there are instances of people giving generous donations to rebuild a temple in their own native place.  Such people are normally non-resident Indians.  Their act of generosity immediately makes others follow suit, and the temple becomes a brand new one, and then there is what is called the "Kumbabhisekhgam" that takes place, particularly in Tamil Nadu.  This is a big function, which is supervised by hundreds of priests, who recite all Sanskrit mantras, and make people take part in the religious festivities.  Such functions are sponsored by the very rich people, and thousands are fed with the best of dishes.  The entire function makes thousands of people rejoice and soak in the festival atmosphere. 

It does not mean that spiritualism comes from visiting temples and also taking part in as many religious festivals as possible.  In fact, this author does know so many people who do all that and then get back to their corrupt ways, cheating others and so on. Such spiritualism does not help anyone at all.  However, there are others who follow up the spiritualism with excellent social work, making a significant impact on so many people.

What really matters in the ultimate analysis is that spiritualism brings to us humility, respect for elders, respect for the poor, empathy in terms of understanding the suffering of others, makes us realize the futility of doing anything wrong and so on.  When this happens, we are much better human beings.

Somewhere down the line, in Tamil Nadu, elders remind young people " you do not carry anything on your head, when you are gone from this world".  This philosophical line of thought, which has a generous tinge of spiritualism, is meant to tone down the destructive tendencies in people.  It is meant to make people more realistic in terms of achieving whatever they want to achieve.  In other words, the means to an end are as important as the means.  

A very intelligent cinema director picked this up, and inserted a song with the same theme.  The film, starring the Superstar Rajnikant, became such a craze throughout the State, that people of all ages enjoyed the meaning conveyed by the song.  In fact, there is always a relatively better amount of peace in most of Tamil Nadu, and one reason is that spiritualism is very widespread in the State.

We need to take spiritualism forward in terms of bringing about transformation in a larger number of people, than ever before.  Different schools of thought have now emerged and they are also doing some good work in the same direction.  For example, there is a movement called the "Art of Living" which is piloted by a famous spiritual guru. 

The same thoughts converge at some point.  Similarly, there are certain yoga centered movements which also try to bring about some transformation in people.  Ultimately peace of mind is something that money cannot buy, anywhere in the world, at any point in time.  

Only spiritualism can bring some good amount of peace of mind.  This is exactly why India is a world leader in spiritualism.  It is to India that most nations turn, to learn from spiritualism.  It is to India that many credit the world's many good things -- miracles, learning from the scriptures and so on.

For example, volumes have been written on how the Mahabharata has many great lessons on Management --- on planning, on delegation, mentoring and so on.  In fact, in some B schools, an entire paper on business ethics is devoted to many such topics, and the future managers learn all the intricacies of all that is spiritual in such great scriptures of India.

We thus need to appreciate the wide reach of spiritualism in our lives.  We need to examine how deep such influences take us.  We need to understand how spiritualism can make a vital difference to the formation of very good values in each of us.

We also need to understand how to put to good use, those values, for the common good of all, and go far beyond just rhetoric.  If the world can look to India for spiritualism, we can as well market certain things, and this is already happening.  For example, during festival times, thousands of foreigners come to Tamil Nadu and happily take part in the festivals, particularly,Pongal, which signifies the harvesting time in the month of January every year.

Our children should also learn a lot about spiritualism.  In fact, such emphasis on spiritualism can indeed help us to make our children appreciate the wider context of good values and how they need to be put into practice.  We can at least wean them away from Western influences that are basically harmful == feasting on junk food, for example.  Of course, only to the extent possible, as the environmental influences are now so big, that we cannot do much about it.

In conclusion, a lot more needs to be comprehensively written about the Indian brand of spiritualism, and how values can be shaped, very successfully, around spiritualism.  Once the books on spiritualism multiply, hopefully, there will be much more emphasis on learning of a tall order, which in turn, will multiply the good side of spiritualism, as it were.

In fact, this is an urgent priority, given the fact that India is now part of the rat race, and every Indian, is part of it, without any choice.  

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