The world has been up in flames. Chaos has always been a part and parcel of the lives our ancestors lived. Sadly even in contemporary times, it is not very different. From interpersonal difficulties to intrapersonal difficulties, we are always constantly stressed and one can surmise that one’s material pursuits are obstructing us from realising the beautiful spontaneity of life. Our lives are not some random collision of molecules and atoms; we have a divine purpose that we have to become aware of. There is something magical about our existence. While this may seem very obvious, getting the marvellous opportunity to listen to Sadhvi Bhagwati’s discourse on spirituality with Ashali Verma will enhance your understanding of your divine purpose and get you commencing on your spiritual journey.
Ashali Verma began the discussion with a question on the time when she visited India for the first time and what moved her to start her spiritual journey. Sadhvi took a long sigh and took a moment to appreciate Sanjeev Chopra for his efforts in getting this to work out because “uske Bina ye Nahi ho sakega”. She spoke of how it was a love at first sight when she stood at the corners of the Ganga River at Rishikesh, when she felt an intense surge of passion and belonging. This, she says made her feel at home and the void in her soul was filled. She compared it to the feeling of satisfaction you get when you enter a hot bath after a stressful day (Moans when saying that) She cogs us to remember that the grace of the divine is so abundant that she doesn’t take into account how much Dyan, how much effort you put in et cetera to reveal the inherent beauty of her world.
Nextly, Ashali questioned her as to the irony of Westerners travelling to India for spiritual reasons and Indians migrating to the West for material pursuits. Sadhvi called this a very tragic irony where Indians, who have inherited such a rich spiritual culture in their genes, have been unable to find satisfaction because they’re preoccupied with the things they don’t have. She takes a slightly different point in the conversation, one of socio-psychological significance: when she talks of how Indians are obsessed with fair skin whereas Westerners are obsessed with tans. She says the double tragedy is that in the West, that obsession is associated with a sense of beauty but in India with a sense of worth as well.
The discussion got very interesting towards the end when asked by Ashali about the negative perceptions of Hinduism that Westerners have. Hinduism is always wrongly credited with giving rise to the inhumane caste system, Sati et cetera. When someone takes the time out to read the history books, one starts to get a more nuanced perspective of what Hinduism is and the shaky relations between Hinduism and the rigid practices it is associated with. Sadhvi vehemently cogged Indians to leave aside the “Koi baat Nahi, chalta Hain” attitude as certain neo-atheistic and skeptical attitudes towards religion in general, left Hinduism particularly with a bag reputation while other religions weren’t as affected owing to the organised way in which they responded. She said that there was an urgent need for Hindus to organise themselves with the same cohesiveness of other religions. Organisations like the Hindu-American Foundation have been set up but more work is needed.
While spirituality and real life politics may seem to not converge at all, they do. Common in this is the search for truth. She talks about vasudeva kutumbakm and how we need to realise the importance of this philosophy in these contemporary times. Interspersed with Sadhvi speaking Hindi and English, the audience too reciprocated her views and must’ve indeed taken a pledge to imbibe all the values that were outlined in the discourse.