The meaning of spiritual practice is to look upon every human being, every object of this universe as one integral entity. To jeopardize the unity of the human race by creating factions is not the purpose of spirituality (dharma). Those who encourage vested interests survive on the mental weakness of humanity and its dissensions, and that is why they become afraid at the wide spread of the ideals of spirituality and oppose it by all immoral means, such as abuse, wrong propaganda and falsehood. Humanity must not be cowed down by this; it has to march ahead. It is to be borne in mind that hindrances are numerous in the path of righteousness and to continue the fight against them is spiritual practice.
“Brahmabháva and Human Life”
War is the black spot of human character. In individual or collective life one can struggle, but war is based on hatred and on divisive tendencies. Is it not black?
Struggle and war are not synonymous. While war springs from hatred, struggle is a part and parcel of life. War blackens everything; it darkens the future. Let life be bright both individually and collectively. Let us fight these divisive tendencies which want to make our life dark. Light is beautiful because it is luminous. When there was no creation, there was only one colour – black. Lack of life is black. After creation we see this beautiful play of colours. Why shall we be lost in darkness? All human beings want light. One individual human is more luminous and more throbbing than that universal darkness. So human beings should always be optimistic. The cimmerian darkness cannot retard your progress, cannot cover the light of the human heart. The spirit of your heart must move on and on against obstacles. Kick away your obstacles like pebbles from your feet – you are stronger than your obstacles.
Ánanda Váńii, May 1957
Superstitions of any kind – social, psychic or spiritual - influence the mind to such an extent that the mind, due to its anxiety, leads a person into harmful actions. Spiritual superstitions of hell and heaven and fear of God make people lose their mental balance. In our Ananda Marga, spiritual practices are scientific and systematic and based on rationality. Fear and superstition have no part in it.
Heaven is the state of mind of a person engaged in virtuous acts, and a sinner’s mind, racing about in wild frenzy, is hell.
Human Society I, 135
Satan does not have the attributes of the Absolute; he is nothing but the human mind propelled by depraving tendencies. If these tendencies are diverted properly, they no longer exist. It is within your power to kill that Satan.
Great Universe, 229
There are many who resort to rituals, offer sacrifices, seek the advice of astrologers and try to mitigate what they believe to be the evil influence of the planets on their destiny, or wear various kinds of stones for that purpose. Such persons are blinded by ignorance and superstition. Their belief is fallacious because no agency, human or extra-human, can change the laws of nature and stop the course of action and reaction.
Supreme Expression I, 94
Prayer is also a mockery of the Ultimate Being or God. Prayer is a solemn petition addressed to the Supreme Being for certain benefits. On rational thinking, does not one’s attempt to rouse the wish of God to fulfill one’s needs appear to be a reminder to God to give one something which God had deprived one of? This, in fact, casts aspersion on Him and His law and His sense of distribution of His gifts and blessings. It is an insinuation, asking Him to reverse His law, to stop the process of reaction to one’s action, which must have kept one deprived of what one now wants. God’s law is unchangeable and praying to Him to change it, is a waste of one’s time.
Hymns in praise of God fall in the same category. They are equally ineffective and are a mere waste of time. Eulogy of God is tantamount to flattery, and prayer to begging.
Devotion to God falls in a different category altogether. It is contemplation of the omnipresent Cosmic Consciousness, and helps the devotee in the attainment of liberation from bondage and merger with the Ultimate Reality. The purpose of devotion is to condition the mind to think that it is subtle and not crude, that it is a reflection of the Cosmic Consciousness. Those who have read psychoanalysis and understand the efficacy of auto-suggestion will appreciate the inner motivation and efficacy of contemplation. The true devotees do not flatter the Supreme Being; they do not ask for any favours. The devotees’ tendency is merely to remind their minds of the ultimate goal so that their whole body, mind and soul strive for emancipation from the degrading influences which surround them.
Supreme Expression I, 94
The best prayer is, therefore, “O Lord! Do whatever you think fit and best for me. I do not know in which way lies my good - You know.” There was once a demon who prayed that he would die neither during the day nor at night. God granted the prayer and he was killed at sunset! Do not be foolish like this. As long as you pray, you are not surrendering, for you are requesting something for yourself – you are looking after yourself.
Baba’s Grace, 190