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What are the obstacles to spiritual growth?

spiritual hurdles

Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan warns the spiritual seekers regarding the three most dangerous habits in life (spiritual dangers), which will eventually impede our spiritual growth. These habits are the obstacles for living a spiritual life, which are as follows:

  1. Eating non-vegetarian food
  2. Consuming intoxicants such as alcohol and drugs
  3. Indulging in illicit sex

A grave danger exists in these! It is because the organisms that die in these activities bind revenge with us. To settle those karmic accounts, we are compelled to go along with those beings to the lower life-forms! Now, let us understand each of these obstacles in detail:

1. Eating Non-Vegetarian Food

Non-veg and spirituality can never go together. Just imagine how would you feel if a new-born baby were to be killed in front of our eyes? We would call it a ruthlessly cruel act, wouldn’t we? It is hard to see the little one, having fully-developed five senses, crying out in severe pain and fear. Seeing this, even the mother would be in immense pain. In short, it is simply not a humane act.

Similarly, it is not humane to kill a chicken, fish, cow, or any other animal because they too are living beings. They experience enormous fear and, therefore, run helter-skelter in search of shelter to save themselves. How can we enjoy killing someone just for our food then? This beastly pleasure is a big obstacle to spiritual growth.

How is this like? Do we ever try cutting our finger purposely with a knife? How miserable do we feel if we ever do? So, when that living being’s head is cut, how miserable it must be feeling? It feels torturous and it becomes fearful; it is in great pain and there’s a lot of suffering while it dies. Later, as we consume them, their atoms full of suffering, fear and pain enter into our body, and consequently, suffering arises in us too. No one can ever become happy by giving pain to others. Therefore, not hurting others is a vital key for growing spiritually.

Eat vegetarian dishes. There is less risk in it. In non-vegetarian, it involves violence of a five-sensed living being.

Living beings in this world exist with different number of senses having developed. For instance, plants, fruits and vegetables have only one developed sense. However, birds and animals possess more than one sense. So, when we eat plants, herbs or vegetables; our liability is minimal as they are one-sensed, dormant beings. At the time of death, the suffering that such beings feel is very nominal, as compared to what slaughtered animals feel.

Accordingly, when one eats non-vegetarian food, one comes under much more liability for causing fear and pain, and ultimately, taking away the life of the developed living being. Even though we do not directly kill, someone is killing for us (for our food and fulfilling our demand), and hence, we become equally responsible for this violence. Thus, the sin committed or the bad karma charged while eating non-vegetarian food brings forward much more suffering in our life than what comes forth by eating plants as food.

Meat, eggs, fish – all are non-vegetarian items because you are killing a living being that is a five-sensed creature. Fish, birds and animals have five senses. You cannot eat from two-sensed to five-sensed creature; you can only eat one-sensed creatures, such as in vegetables, if you wish to progress spiritually.

Thus, when you eat non-vegetarian food, you accumulate two losses:

  • The animal that is slaughtered will have a claim on you; it will take revenge (as a result of which you will have to suffer)
  • If you are eating meat, the Lord says that you take birth in the lower life-form of animal, or even hell (where again you have to greatly suffer). It is because you are killing somebody. It is like murdering some creature.

Moreover, eating non-vegetarian food is harmful for our spiritual development, as it leads to coverings on our Soul. So, our spiritual grasping will reduce.

Suppose there is light and if you put some coverings such as hiding it with a piece of dark-colored cloth, will the rays of light come out? No, because of the coverings, the light does not come out. Likewise, eating this non-vegetarian item increases coverings on the Soul, which means it veils even its light, vision and knowledge.

So, we are concealing our vision and knowledge of the Soul by eating non-vegetarian items. Thus, we should not eat them, as we want to reach the Absolute stage of liberation.

2. Consuming wine, alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicant

Alcohol and spiritual development cannot go together. In alcohol too, there is a lot of harm. To prepare alcohol, makers implement the process of fermentation, which gives rise to a lot of organisms. They then die as they are squeezed at the time of processing. As that juice is what we drink in the form of alcohol, the nerves in our brain get adversely affected. The same effect occurs when we take drugs. Therefore, we should consciously avoid these two things for our spiritual growth.

Being on the spiritual path, our perseverance and pursuit are towards coming out of unconsciousness and achieving a state of full awareness. We want to remain in the real awareness of “I am a Pure Soul.” However, when you take alcohol or drugs, then you even forget that ‘I am John.’ So, that is being even more unconscious. All these intoxicating things cover our awareness. In the end, they totally ruin our awareness.

If you put your hand in the power switch of 440V and switch it ON with the belief that “I am just watching. It is John who is doing wrong.” Is that ok? What will happen to you if you do so? Forget about spiritual growth but you will die immediately. So, likewise, by consuming these things, you are killing yourself, you are dying spiritually! Such a grave danger lingers by consuming them!

3. Do not indulge in illicit Sex

Param Pujya Dadashri assures with guarantee that in this day and age, sexual relation only with the spouse is considered brahmacharya (celibacy), One who upholds fidelity to one’s own wife in this era of the time cycle, will attain final liberation (Moksha); such is the guarantee that ‘we’ are giving! The Lord says that there is liberation for the one who indulges in rightful sex but there is no liberation for the one who indulges in illicit sex.

Illicit sexuality and spirituality are like foes. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan explicitly explains how horrorsome illicit sex is! If you are living a married life, you may indulge in sex that is rightfully yours and never even think about that which is not yours, because the consequences of illicit sex are very grave.

By disregarding what is rightfully yours, if you engage in sex with another person, you will have to take birth wherever that person goes in the next life. If one goes to a lower life form, you too, will have to go there. The rule is that the person with whom you have interacted sexually that was not rightfully yours will, in lives to come, become your mother or your daughter. However, if repentance is done for all illicit sex, one can be freed!

However, people who happily enjoy sex that is not rightfully theirs bind a very strong knot of suffering of many lives, and hence, have to suffer painful miseries in future lives. Even their children would become characterless. Illicit sex is a violation of all the five major vows given by the Lord. In that, you commit violence, you tell lies, and you are openly stealing. It is a day light robbery. Then, abrahmacharya (illicit sex) is definitely there and the fifth violation is parigraha (possession). Abrahmacharya is the biggest parigraha.

Thus, these are the three main obstacles to your spiritual growth. We all are eligible for Moksha, provided we want it! Until today, you may have been eating non-vegetarian food or consuming alcohol without knowing the consequences of it with regards to your spiritual upliftment. However, if you now agree that it is not right to have this kind of lifestyle, you can get rid of the effects in this life itself. For that, you need to:

  1. Make a firm determination of not indulging in these three vices.
  2. Repent and ask for forgiveness for whatever vice you have supported until now.
  3. Ask for strength daily for 10 minutes by saying, “Oh Dada Bhagwan (or whichever God you believe in), please bless me so that I can get rid of these bad habits.” 
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