By: Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
Book: Namah Shiva'ya Sha'nta'ya
How should people conduct themselves. in the world? The only aim of life is spiritual practice--the realisation of the Supreme. But the body, composed of the five fundamental factors, and the mind, which is related to this body, are in this physical world. So spiritual practice can- not be sustained by ignoring this physical world. People will have to conduct their lives in such a way that their mundane duties are properly discharged without disturbing their spiritual practice, which is the primary goal of life. Thus people will have to continue their spiritual practice as the primary mission in life, and at the same time fulfil their worldly responsibilities, considering them to be allotted by God.
But human psychology is such that after performing worldly duties for a while, people deviate from the main goal of life, sometimes so far that they tend to look upon their worldly duties only as a means of self-aggrandisement. This is the moment of their downfall--the black curtain of total annihilation falls on their lives.
Then what is the solution? On ordinary days people continue their spiritual practice as their mission in life and at the same time discharge their worldly duties considering them to be allotted by God. But on certain special days (the days should be fixed according to the almanac lest people forget them), people should give greater importance to spiritual practice than to mundane responsibilities; that is, their time and energy during those few days should be devoted more to spiritual practice than to worldly activities. These fixed days are called upava'sa* or fasting days, since during these days people, keeping their minds engaged in spiritual matters, "live closer" to God, and any possibility of mental degradation is averted.
*"To live near"
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