by Swami Rama

Reviewed by KV Veloo

vel1“Spirituality” is, probably, the best book written by Swami Rama. It is didactic in tone. I suppose that was his aim- to “teach”, not so much as “share” the quintessence of the Vedas as they apply to spiritualism. In that he succeeds admirably. The book brings out the best in Vedantic precepts and practices for self-realisation. These are explained in simple and clear manner as Swami Rama brings the reader systematically from the introductory chapter on “The Existence of God” to various aspects on transformation within and without in the following chapters. I have taken the liberty to comment on chapter one which is given to the existence of God. This does not mean that the other chapters are of lesser value. Each chapter deserves a place in better understanding of spirituality and its transformation of a person within and without.

The terms “spirituality” and “religion” are often used synonymously. One can be spiritual imbibed with human values and “dharma” and yet not religious. I am not caught up with religious rituals and dogma and the intricacies of temple traditions.  As Swami Rama says: “, religion survives on the basis of fear and blind faith” ( p 35). Jiddu Krishnamurti, the philosopher, is also wary of organised religion which leads to a path of no understanding and fixation, a path that leads away from spiritual freedom and understanding.

I try to grow into and experience the Divine consciousness. Swami Rama cautions that unless one operates one’s spirituality or religion with a heart, one cannot be considered to be closer to God.”

The first chapter of the book which sets the tone for the subsequent chapters, probably, is the most important. It argues ably the existence of God.  Religious people believe in God in some form or other but whether they are the embodiment of Love is another question.  Others are agnostic or atheists. Dr Richard Dawkins, the noted biologist, also argues admirably against the existence of God in his book “God Delusion”. Other non -believers will argue that if there is God then someone must have made God himself- a very sensible poser. One can stretch this argument to infinity and never find an answer.

The belief in GOD is something personal and must be experienced. Swami Rama says: “One cannot refute the existence of God by intellectual analysis or logical deduction” (p 31). We, as humans, are still in infancy to understand such metaphysical subjects. Indeed, we live within our human vocabulary.

Those who are spiritual may be atheists or agnostics but as Swami Rama observes: “A person who does not know God as such, but who practises truthfulness, non-violence, self-discipline and non-possessiveness in his thoughts, speech, and actions is a genuine theist.”

I have elected to be spiritual as I have defined it. As a spiritual person, I value the beliefs and teachings of all religions but I do not want to be constrained by any religious dogmas or forms.