Paths to God, Spiritual Traditions, Understanding Self

Absolute TRUTH : A Multitude of Paths

Although the Indian traditions are riddled with a multitude of apparently self-conflicting rituals, they have stood the test of time because they are grounded to the absolute Truth as revealed by the ancient yogis and seers, and as experienced even in modern times by a diligent seeker.

Rightfully, the religion of the land had been referred to as Sanatan Dharma, or the Eternal Nature of Life, since it is based on the eternal and absolute Truth as under.

Our true identity is same as that of the Supreme Consciousness, permeating each and everything in the Existence.

A previous post details the different aspects of this absolute Truth that goes on to form the basis of Indian spirituality.

There is no question of believing the above Truth on faith, because it can be experienced by one and all. Before that, the above statement remains nothing but some esoteric or philosophic good-to-tell-others catch phrase.

The scriptures, hence, encourage us to realize this Truth through direct experience.

All Roads lead to Rome

However, the course of realizing the Truth begins from the present body-mind makeup of an individual. The path to absolute Truth, therefore, is unique and distinct to each one of us.

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

This is the reason behind the myriad of religions and spiritual traditions all over the world. Essentially, there are as many paths to God as many are the seekers.

Infinite are the paths and infinite the opinions.

Sri Ramakrishna

On a broader horizon, the traditions become different with changing cultural and ethnic identities. Thus, even though Hinduism is the religion followed largely across India, each of its states or even the districts and small localities have their own distinct tradition and religious festivities. The binding Truth behind all such apparently divergent expressions is the pursuit of being united with God or the Supreme Consciousness. This same pursuit underlies all major religions of the world.

What is important for qualification as a path is its orientation towards realizing this ultimate Truth. A path which does not lead to this Truth must be abandoned by the seeker. A true seeker, therefore, will diligently verify whether a spiritual tradition or a religious custom is binding to this Truth or not, and decide whether to embrace or forsake it.

Though in reality, God realization is basically ‘to each his own path’, the learned sages of the past had identified several broad categories under which these paths fall. Each such category is referred as a Yoga, literally meaning union, and in spiritual context Union with God.

The most well-known of these are the four Yogas or paths to God – Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. A brief on these can be found in this post.

Original Image from FITSRI

Unity in Diversity

When you experience oneness with the Supreme Consciousness, or are in an advanced stage in the path to Union, you realize that each human being is potentially divine.

When you start seeing the world through this new lens, you start seeing your own self mirrored in others. Even though different in body-mind complex and separate in religious or cultural or ethnic identities, you recognize that at the spiritual core we all are but the same, connected to the one infinite source – the Supreme Consciousness.

Then a deep and unconditional love blossoms in your heart for everyone as though they are not apart from you but connected through an unbroken spiritual thread.

You then start interacting with the world from this core value of unconditional love. Freed from the entrapment of prejudice and judgment, the world becomes a better place for you and people around you to live.




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