Clear up your doubts: Can I reach spiritual perfection by leading a normal life?

In this section Javier Ruiz Calderón offers answers to our doubts about yoga, its philosophy and its techniques from an updated and critical view of the yophytic tradition. We are all invited to write to Javier info@yogaenred.com raising our doubts or uncertainties.

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Question: Can I reach spiritual perfection without my priority/delivery being spiritual practice, but family, or music, or caring for sick...?

Answer: Amma was once asked if liberation could be achieved through service to others, without formal spiritual practice, and said yes. This is confirmed by a traditional story: Vítthala (a form of Krishna, also called Panduranga or Vithoba) was delighted that Púndalika, one of his devotees, served his elderly parents with great affection and dedication. So, in a reward for his kindness, he decided to grant him his darshan, that is, to manifest himself before him.

Let us remember that the vision of God is the goal of bhakti yoga (yoga of devotion), equivalent to the consciousness of the Absolute of jñana yoga (yoga of knowledge), samadhi (mental absorption) of raja yoga, etc. So Vítthala appeared to Púndalika. When he saw it, he was very excited; But, as he was attending to his parents at the time, he told God to wait a moment and that he would be back as soon as he was done. Vítthala stood by him standing on a brick and arms in jugs. Admired in the spirit of service of Púndalika, who put before the fulfillment of his dharma (duty) even the vision of the Divinity, he promised that he would stay in Pandharpur in that position to bless all the devotees who came to him. Since then the temple of Vítthala in Pandharpur is maharashtra's main pilgrimage center, a wonderful place where many great teachers—such as Namdev, Tukáram, or Khñanéshwar—have focused on their shada (spiritual practice) and recommend visiting many great teachers—such as Namdev, Tukáram, or Khñanéshwar—and recommend visiting many great teachers—such as Namdev, Tukáram, or Khñanéshwar—and recommend visiting many great teachers—such as Namdev, Tukáram, or Khñanéshwar—and recommend visiting many great teachers—such as Namdev, Tukáram, or Khñanéshwar—and recommend visiting many great teachers—such as Namdev, Tukáram, or Khñanéshwar—and i recommend visitinging everyone who pass by.

Legends symbolically and narratively express very profound teachings. Here we are confirmed that, as Amma said, it is enough to fully fulfill one's own dharma or vocation to reach liberation. That's karma yoga, action yoga. But let's remember that karma yoga usually only works when it relies on concentration, devotion and/or wisdom from other yogas.

The general advice of teachers is that we practice a balanced, comprehensive yoga. Some extraordinary people, endowed with an understanding, a devotion, a spirit of service, a musical capacity... out of the ordinary, they can turn that one activity into their way of salvation, into their yoga. As Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj once said, anything done thoroughly, with exclusive dedication, can lead us to the Goal. But 99.99% of the aspirants are recommended to fulfill our dharma with detachment while performing a formal spiritual practice that provides us with that desaperated (and full of love) attitude necessary to be able to turn the action (karma) into karma yoga.

Javier Ruiz Calderón (Shankara) He holds a phD in philosophy specializing in Asian thought and philosophy of religion, subjects taught at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Madrid). He has been studying and practicing yoga, vedanta and meditation for forty years. He teaches these disciplines, as well as Sanskrit and Vedic singing, and has published six books and dozens of articles on those subjects.

Upcoming activities: On weekdays, in the centre of Madrid: classes of Yoga and Philosophy and meditation (elvira_lakshmi@yahoo.com). 5-6 October, Donostia: «Mysticism, Buddhism and contemporary yoga» (http://www.yogamaitri.com/shankara-octubre.pdf). October 2019 – June 2020: Madrid and remotely, some Saturdays: «Study of the scriptures of yoga and vedānta: The Bhagavadgītā» (www.ashtanga-yoga-alcobendas.es) and 'Introduction to the Advaita vedānta. The yoga of knowledge» (www.ashtangaciudadjardin.es).

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By • 19 Sep, 2019 • Sección: Javier Ruiz Calderón