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Orient life to God

CHENNAI, JUNE 19 . The scriptures state that a person who remembers God during the last moments of his life will be liberated from bondage. Does it mean that one can wait for that moment without making any effort to progress spiritually? No; unless one thinks of the Almighty in daily life the mind will not dwell on God when it is distracted by the afflictions of the body and failing faculties when the end is nearing. It is thus imperative to make it a practice till it becomes one's second nature to turn to God in prayer. How can one develop this habit? Instead of planning for the whole life it will be more practical to start on a day-to-day basis and structure the day's activities so that the body, mind and the intellect are attuned to the Lord. One should reflect on what one did daily to check whether the day had been lived well.

In his discourse, Swami Gautamananda said a person who was ambitious about achieving any goal in life must make every effort to realise it. This is all the more true with regard to spiritual life where the outcome of one's effort will not be tangible immediately. Even before one realises it the best part of one's life will be over. Just as a river in spate wipes out everything in its course so also when the hour of reckoning comes all that one held dear in life would be rendered insignificant.

Why are even the spiritually inclined attached to the world? It is because of Maya that human beings forget that except God all are ephemeral. Another human tendency is to postpone spiritual pursuits to old age without realising that worldly attachments and fear of death will distract the mind then. So, one must consciously try to overcome Maya by remembering God and orienting all actions to Him. The Bhagavad Gita compares Maya to a merry-go-round from which there is no escape till it stops. Maya is God's potency and hence it can be surmounted only by His grace and prayer is the only way to elicit His grace. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to tell his devotees that a mere intellectual understanding of spiritual life is not enough; it is necessary to put it into practice because our worldly attachments are deep-rooted and hence scriptural teachings and spiritual guidelines given by saints will not register easily. For instance, the scriptures say that the world is transitory; but in experience it seems lasting. Only spiritual experience will validate these truths for which one has to practise spiritual exercises.

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