Whenever people speak of spiritual life, they entertain ideas of renunciation, dispassion (vairag-ya), sacrifice and sanyas. We may not like the word, but no growth or accomplishment is possible without renunciation or sacrifice. If you hold on to your childhood, will you become a youth? To gain maturity you have to renounce your childishness. If the knowledge you want is not available in your country, you may have to travel abroad.
Following their search for spiritual knowledge, foreigners leave their countries and come to India. It is not possible to gain anything without giving up something. To give up higher values and ideals for lower gains is a compromise, and to renounce lower gains for higher goals is sacrifice. The appearance of corrupt people being successful is very short-lived.
They give up all the higher urges or values of life for lower gains. In sacrifice, one holds on to one’s ideals, bracing oneself against privation, poverty or even starvation. We may applaud people for achievement, but we respect only men/women of renunciation and sacrifice. Who do we respect? Those who cling onto power or those who sacrifice, refuse to compromise and uphold higher ideals?
Spirituality is neither running away from life nor is it very difficult. Spirituality is a complete vision of life. It is not a particular, special activity, but when every action is done in a special way. In order to avoid ad hoc or impulsive actions, we should act with an understanding of the totality of life. In this spiritual adventure, importance lies in gaining a vision and doing every action with that inspiration. Swami Vivekananda said that just by doing one great action, a man does not become great; a great man is one who is great in every little action.