The Steps To Attain Salvation
Among all living creatures, the human garb is the rare gift granted by God. More difficult than acquiring the human birth is the attainment of humaneness. However, rarer than even this is getting imbued in the hue of positivity and nobility, the Sattvik attitude or mental temperament! Even after gaining all these rare gifts and opportunities, the ability to tread steadfastly the path of spirituality, as explained in Holy Scriptures like the Vedas and the Shastras, is yet rarer. Much more difficult is to have a correct knowledge of the deep significance of scriptures. Henceforth, there dawns the discriminative power, leading to the ability to discriminate between the Real and the unreal, a personal experience of spiritual Glory, and, ultimately, the realisation that the Self in me is the Self in all… All this, then, culminates in one’s salvation.
All our holy scriptures immensely eulogise the achievement of human birth. Here too, in Vivek Chudamani, Adi Shankaracharya is glorifying the human garb, since it is the only means of attaining salvation. However, the point to be considered here is that: ‘For liberation, is it enough to achieve the human birth? Can such an exalted state of liberation be achieved without any struggle, without any effort?’ No, not at all! Further in the verse, Adi Shankaracharya elucidates that mere achievement of human garb is not sufficient! More than this, we need to become a complete human being by imbibing the virtues of humanity. What is this humanity? Are we not human beings? Are we animals?!? …Surely Not! Then, why does the saint emphasises on achieving humaneness? This is so because the mere attainment of human garb or human form does not make one a complete human being. It is necessary to develop the humane qualities in our hearts’ pastures to reach that state in real sense. Just eating, drinking, and making merry do not suffice! Without humanistic virtues and values, we are no more than animals; for then, we remain overpowered by animal instincts. So, the need is to develop the sattvik state of mind imbued with purity and nobility. However, higher than this state is the state of being utterly spiritual in accordance with scriptural injunctions. The question is how to be spiritual as per the Vedas?? How to be spiritual as per our holy texts! Dear readers, our great ones and sacred texts exhort vividly and unanimously that spirituality dawns in your life only after direct communion with your spiritual self, which is your true self, the soul or Pure Consciousness. Only after this communion can you be truly spiritual! Mind it! But this direct communion with your soul, involving the direct perception of your soul, can be established only after the achievement of Divine Knowledge or Brahm Gyan by the grace of a bonafide guru. It is only then that the profound meaning and true essence of our scriptures, the sacred texts, can be understood and assimilated. Thereupon, when one walks steadfastly on the path of spirituality as revealed by the Perfect Master, discriminative faculty is gradually awakened, enabling one to discriminate between the real and the unreal. Not only this, hereafter, there is a supreme realisation that the self in me is the same as the self in all, culminating in a fully liberated state, the zenith of evolution.