The qualifications of a true spiritual seeker

Each field of working has its own set of qualifications. An individual needs to struggle to achieve those qualifications before entering in the field. Any spiritual discipline is no exception. In ancient scriptures you find detailed discussion about the qualifications a spiritual seeker must posses. We all have some strengths and weaknesses. We may not meet all these qualifications immediately. However, with constant efforts and dedication we can make our self suitable to attain self-realization.

It is said that every spiritual seeker must posses the following four qualifications:

  • Ability to distinguish between what is permanent and what is not permanent
  • Dispassion towards the enjoyment of fruits of action
  • Desire for liberation
  • The six inner accomplishments (explained later)

We use the intellect to discriminate things of our life. Using the intellect we decide what is good and what is bad, who is friend and who is foe. However, for most of us the intellect is covered by maya or cosmic delusion. We use it only at material level. We can not use intellect for higher discrimination.

For a spiritual seeker it is important to distinguish between mortal and immortal things. The only constant thing in life is change. We see change in every sphere of our life. Our body undergoes change, we change jobs, we change our cloths, we change our habits, we change houses. All the things around change and it is happening constantly. The aim of any true Yoga seeker is to find the non changing thing. This thing is called as Bramhan in scriptures. We may give it different names - Bramhan, God, supreme soul - but it is the only constant in this universe.

Talking or writing that everything is maya is easy however getting truly convinced of the fact that Brahman is the only permanent thing is not. The true seeker first, therefore, should convince himself about this reality.

Man thinks that the happiness and joy comes from objects, people and environment around him. People are discouraged by the word dispassion. They think that they need to give up everything to demonstrate the dispassion. Dispassion means not to indulge in the fruits of one's actions. It is important to understand the false or temporary dispassion. Let's say somebody does not have his own car. He desperately wants it but because of his financial situations can not afford it. In front of his friends if he tells that "I am not interested in a car" that would not be true dispassion. Similarly we loose interest in material pleasures if someone close to our family dies. This also is not a true dispassion because it is temporary. True dispassion is achieved when we understand that the real happiness comes from within and not from any external source. Once we understand this our craving for material pleasures stop and we progress quickly on the spiritual path. One who acquires dispassion becomes fearless as his joy does not depend on any external factor.

One desire gives rise to the another. This unending chain of material desires binds the man firmly to this mortal world. When the seeker understand that these material desires are taking him nowhere he throws them away. He wants to liberate himself from this bondage and set the soul free. The desire for liberation varies according to the quality of the practitioner. It can be classified as very mild, mild, reasonable or strong.

A person with very mild desire for liberation says - "If I am liberated that's great else I will continue to enjoy material pleasures of my life". A person with mild desire for liberation says - "Well...let me get liberated once I finish my worldly duties". A person from reasonable category says - "I wan to get freedom as soon as possible". Finally, a true seeker says - "Oh God! I want liberation right now."

The "six accomplishments" are the subject of my next article. Till then stay tuned!

Bipin Joshi is an independent software consultant and trainer by profession specializing in Microsoft web development technologies. Having embraced the Yoga way of life he is also a yoga mentor, meditation teacher, and spiritual guide to his students. He is a prolific author and writes regularly about software development and yoga on his websites. He is programming, meditating, writing, and teaching for over 27 years. To read more about him go here. More details about his Kriya and Meditation online course are available here.

Posted On : 21 April 2006

Tags : Upanishads Vedanta Spirituality