Why is Spiritual Element Necessary in the society?

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“When did spiritual element become necessary to the society? Go ask a beggar on the street if he needs that,” said one of my acquaintances. Those were wise words. Even Ramakrishna Paramahansa stated that religion (spirituality) cannot be taught to an empty stomach.
 
Let me share the context. Last year, the government declared tax benefits on donations towards the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya. Donations to religious institutions with a trust are eligible for income tax benefits. But, his rant was a more fundamental one. He said, “Why to provide benefits to religious organisation donations at all?”
 
Although this is a communist argument and deserves no answer, I said, “The answer lies in the fundamentals of economics. By donating to causes (religious/non-religious) you are making cash flow in the economy. Do consider the many great religious leaders doing monumental work who don’t have any mainstream jobs. You support them so that they can bring that necessary spiritual element to society. Also, remember that these religious organisations do a lot of social work. Example being Iskcon/Isha/Sai trust/ which feed thousands of underprivileged and educate hundreds. There is no problem in supporting such causes.”
After a few frivolous arguments, came the retort, “When did spiritual element become necessary to the society?

Why is Spiritual Element Necessary?

History gives us enough instances when a great change was brought about by the inspiration of a great spiritual master. For instance, Adi Shankaracharya created four mathas by mentoring his four principal disciples. These mathas then formed a bedrock of Hinduism.

Later on, from Adi Shankara’s spiritual lineage,  Shri Vidyaranya Swami inspired his disciples, Hari Hara and Bukka Raya, to establish the very affluent Vijayanagara empire.

Chatrapati Shivaji once admitted that saints like Tukaram provided a necessary spiritual element to society. His mother Jijabai taught him nuggets of wisdom from Ramayana and Mahabharata to inspire him. Further, Samarth Ramdas, the great poet of the Dasbodh guided him on his political journey, helping him establish the legendary Maratha empire.

A great spiritual master, Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, mentored his disciple Swami Vivekananda, thus taking the wisdom of Hinduism to the west in its purest form. How many of us know it was Swami Vivekananda who inspired the creation of the eminent Indian Institute of Science?

Conclusion

The entire world adores India for its spirituality, and some semi-literates want to take it away from us? However, the key question is that how can we marry two seemingly opposite ideas viz. material affluence and spiritual growth? India is one of the nations that has demonstrated this in the past. We are a land of Raja rishis, like Janaka, Rama and Shivaji. This land has seen rishis with immense contributions to mathematics and sciences like medicine, astronomy, and physics.

Nevertheless, our kings were not hegemonic, unlike some “affluent” nations these days. This came from a certain inner balance that spirituality brings. Lastly, before bringing in the rubbish argument that India was occupied, please read some history.

Also read: Guru Purnima: When great Gurus inspired great transformations



Prasad Kulkarni is a Data and Analytics professional. At work, he analyses historical data and ponders over historical events otherwise.


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