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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spiritual hunger for knowing the TRUTH

Along with the birth of this body, hunger and thirst are also born. During first few years, this hunger is limited to physical in nature – hunger for food, thirst for water. But as we grow older, this hunger begins to expand and start running in different directions – hunger for wealth, hunger for power, hunger for fame and a lot more. Eventually, it is this hunger and the desire for more, that becomes the root cause of all the sorrow, stress and restlessness in human life. 

The hunger described so far is natural and arises without any effort. However, the spiritual hunger for knowing the Truth or realizing the Self or the God arises only to the fortunate ones with pious discrimination (Viveka). It only arises in a pure heart having love for God. Everyone around us has hunger for the worldly objects, but blessed is the one with the divine hunger for knowing the Truth – The Truth about the Aatma (Self) and about the omnipresent Paramatma (God).

More the hunger more is the taste and gratification. This is everyone’s experience when we talk about food. However, this is true for all kinds of human desires. A couple was praying for past twelve years, visiting holy places, taking blessings of Saints – all with a desire of having a baby. Today, a baby boy is born and the couple is floating in the air with happiness while hardly touching the ground. The more the hunger, more is the associated happiness. Coincidentally, their neighbor also had a baby boy, but they were just OK with the news because this baby boy was the 5th one in the family. Without hunger there is no taste, no enjoyment, no happiness.

Similarly, without that spiritual hunger for knowing the Truth, there is no taste in performing all the seeking – be it in the form of reciting the holy name (Naam Japa), performing selfless service, listening to discourses, reading holy scriptures or doing meditation. The seeker won’t relish these in the absence of a pious hunger of knowing the God. Once that virtuous hunger arose, the seeker begins to relish all the activities that lead to exploration of inner world.

Worldly hunger gives rise to all the restlessness, whereas the spiritual hunger calms down your mind. Because of the worldly hunger you perform all the activities in the outer world and remain unsatisfied, but the spiritual hunger encourages you to calm the mind and seek inner peace and inner happiness. The result of satisfying the worldly hunger is mostly in the form of momentary pleasure, whereas the result of satisfying the spiritual hunger is long lasting inner peace and inner happiness.

Ayurvedic Doctors considers absence of hunger as a symptom of illness. Similarly, spiritual Masters considers absence of spiritual hunger as a sign of spiritual ignorance or spiritual illness. Without treating this spiritual illness, one cannot attain a long lasting inner peace. Don’t think all the people who are regular to the temples and Churches have spiritual hunger. Many a times, you just eat even without any hunger too.     

Various Saints of the Vedic culture asserts the importance of divine spiritual hunger. As you begin to eat for satisfying your physical hunger, it continues to shrink and once your stomach is full, you don’t fell like eating any more. However, the case of spiritual hunger is different.  Once a devotee asked Shri Guru Nanak, “Dear Master, how much thirst for the holy name do you have?” The devout Saint replied, “Son, please go and ask this question to fire about how much hunger it has for the oil and wood. Please go and ask this question to the desert about how much thirst it has for the water. Please go and ask a King about how much thirst he has for wealth. My answer would be the same.”

Once a devotee begins to enjoy the remembrance of the Holy Name (Naam Japa) or meditation, his thirst for that divine and pious delight also expands. It becomes difficult for him to stay away from those moments of inner peace and inner happiness even for a minute. Or you can say that his thirst for the remembrance of the God becomes infinite and hence the associated taste is also of a higher nature. Waking up such a true divine hunger is the goal of a true seeker. 

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