Guest contribution: Changes in the spiritual life of a Hindu blogger Hinduism

Today I have a guest post from Mukul Shri Goel for all of you. Enjoy!

When Ms. Ambaa Choate suggested that I write about the changes that I have had in my spiritual life, I was a little surprised at the proposed topic because I am not a famous person and I have no credible contributions to spirituality. Nevertheless, I liked the topic because it gave me the opportunity to think about how my spiritual life has developed over the years.

I was born in New Delhi (India) and spent the first years of my life in New York State. I later finished most of my schooling in Rajasthan, India. During those years I was basically a good science student, but routine spiritual practice was practically absent from my life. As far as I remember, I always believed in God – both Lord Rama and Lord Shiva – and managed to read the Bhagavad Gita and Ramacharitamanasa when I was in high school. My upbringing as a traditional Hindu taught me to respect religious-spiritual views that are different from my own.

I was probably in 11th grade when I met my spiritual guru Sri Sitaram Das Ji, a saint who lives in the city of Jaipur (Rajasthan). I consider his blessing to be one of the strongest reasons for my attraction to devotional spirituality. He initiated me to worship Lord Rama, who is regarded by many Hindus as the supreme god and is an incarnation of Vishnu for others. During these years in Jaipur, my classical Indian music education also brought me into contact with people who could think outside of money. My music mentor, who trained me in percussion (tabla), was a follower of Shakti, the mother goddess, and one of his older students who accompanied me from time to time on the harmonium followed Vaishnava Devotional tradition of Saint Dadu Dayal, a famous Bhakti saint who lived in Rajasthan in the 16th century.

When I moved to New Jersey for my college engineering degree, I didn’t feel like attending Hindu spirituality regularly, but wanted to get a career-oriented education in an area that I found interesting and that could lead me to a decent job. During my years at Penn, where my doctoral thesis focused on areas relevant to cardiovascular disease, I studied religious scriptures independently on the weekend. One of my favorite books that I read at the time was The Gospel of Ramakrishna, I also developed a superficial interest in reading books on Vedic astrology.

After graduating when I moved back to India, the first thing I thought of was getting a faculty position at a respected university. But something in me prevented me from dedicating my whole life to a professional direction that my mind had already labeled as such perishable, If God is real, shouldn’t I spend some time finding him? For the first time, I spent weeks trying to figure out what I really wanted to do, and my inner voice replied, “I want to … think more about God and my connection with him.” Writing became a way of taking this newly discovered interest in something To transform more tangible.

Spiritual writing as a career choice was a difficult decision because it could mean less financial gain in life. it also meant that I would no longer contribute to science and technology. Maybe people who are selflessly contributing to science and technology can first develop aptitude in those areas that I hadn’t developed. The good thing about it was that through my education in science, I was able to occasionally do some freelance science writing projects to support myself.

I think I became a spiritual writer because God didn’t allow me to do anything else. Unfortunately, I also had some health concerns that needed to be addressed and that temporarily limited my career opportunities. Perhaps we humans are not very free to make the choices we make in our lives. Our environment, circumstances, and interactions with every single person we meet in life determine how we approach life. Above all, God – the real doer – ultimately decides what we do with our lives. He supposedly has a plan for every being.

Once I started writing my Hindu spirituality blogI realized that over time I had gathered some data on Hindu spirituality from my observations and interactions with others. These experiences could be put into words. I found that I liked sharing my personal spiritual beliefs with the readers of my blog. When I write about culture, I have often focused on how people approach the divine through memory and dedication. I enjoyed drawing spiritual lessons from the works of dedicated Hindu saints and writing down my interpretations of their messages in simple words.

To date, my routine spiritual practice has included singing the name of Lord Rama (God), remembering God (prayers and visualization), supporting nonviolence, and reading devotional scriptures. Sometimes I also listen to devotional music. A main goal of Bhakti yoga is to develop trust in God that enables us to give ourselves to God; The main goal is to achieve lasting closeness to God.

Although temples are established places for spiritual connectivity and can transmit positive energies and blessings from priests and saints who visit them regularly, I rarely visit temples. I believe that God is omnipresent and should therefore be easily accessible from home. At the same time, for supporters who like more expressive activities, I support participation in everyday activities such as offering prayers in temples, celebrating a festival and visiting one Yagna (Fire offering) ceremony and offering food to a deity at home – all these devoted activities of the Hindu way of life focus on building an eternal connection with God.

I still feel like a beginner on my spiritual path – it could be a long journey ahead of me. Hopefully God will make it easier for me over time.

Mukul Shri Goel is an American spiritual writer and blogger who lives in India. Follow him on Twitter at @mukulshrigoel

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