Contrary to popular belief, the youth of today is eagerly seeking comfort in spirituality and trying to give back to society holistically and wholesomely, says Muskaan Sharma.
“When a man has developed a high state of spirituality he can understand that
the kingdom of heaven is within him”—Swami Vivekananda
For the longest time, it was believed that spiritual seeking was the domain of those who have lived upto a ripe old age and have moved on from the material mundane life. The elderly or the middle-aged sought refuge in the study of scriptures or at the feet of a Master who promised deliverance from sins and a place in heaven after death. It was also believed that just like everything, spiritual pursuits too have a right time and age, which is mostly the sunset years of an individual’s life. However, as spirituality and the notions related to it underwent a massive change in the new age, gradually, the youth started getting drawn to it, tantalised by its promise of transforming their lives and helping them achieve their goals.
Modern spirituality has a broader canvas which is associated with ensuring personal growth, having a blissful experience, or finding the purpose and meaning of life. It envisions an inner path, enabling a person to discover his true essence.
The youth of today have chosen this form of spirituality in the wake of the current competitive times, which require professionals to go beyond the call of duty to achieve their targets. This, paired with the need to fulfil their inner potential, has led young individuals to seek solace in spirituality. However, their pursuit is not guided strictly by traditional definitions. They want it to be conducive to their chosen lifestyle while helping them cultivate inner peace and calm. Their focus is their inner selves, developing good self-esteem, as well as attaining self-actualisation.
The need to adopt a new spirituality
Apart from this, the youth of today take recourse to spirituality to forge meaningful relationships with others, channelize their fears and inhibitions, and resolve childhood repressions and turmoil.
“We, as a generation, are more adaptable to change. Being born in the late 80s and 90s, our generation was introduced to technology on a scale that was never seen before. Today, it is an integral part of our lives. Growing up and progressing with something that unique, has left us quite open-minded to accept new changes. Hence, spiritual guidance can also be easily instilled in our lives,” says Vinay Paryani, a 21-year-old student who has been an ardent disciple of Dadashreeji of ShantiKshetra Premgiri Ashram since 2015.
“I have had a very rough childhood filled with family disputes and fights over alcoholism. I was left with scarred childhood memories. As a result, I was unable to focus on my education. I did not realise that these memories hampered my relationships, and a feeling of dejection always loomed over me. I was borderline suicidal. After meeting my Guru, Dadashreeji, I have grown and transformed into a calmer person. His core teaching of ‘living with love’ has helped me maintain peace within me.”
27-year-old Vishal Lahoti, a faculty at the Art of Living Foundation, reiterates the same need when talking about his initiation to the path. “I had crippling stage fright, and having studied in a Hindi medium school, had developed an inferiority complex due to my halting English. After practising my Guru’s spiritual teachings regularly, my fears, slowly but surely, subsided. I have witnessed a great change in myself and I am able to improve upon myself every day with a positive frame of mind.”
While some seek spiritual guidance to heal past wounds, others follow the path to explore ways to connect with other souls and find positivity within themselves.
Anupama Sharma, an energy healer at the Yoga Prana Vidya organisation, says her spirituality manifested when she met her teacher. “I was never a wanderer. I was not looking for ways to heal. When I started, I was just a 23-year-old. Like any other young girl, I was ambitious and focussed only on myself. Then the shift happened.
My outlook shifted from outwards to inwards, and the realisation crept in that we already have everything that we need in abundance; it is all about sharing and nurturing. I witnessed the healing. I learned how to practise it and now enjoy doing it every day.”
Spirituality in daily life
Incorporating spirituality into daily life as students or working professionals can be quite difficult. The young generation, therefore, makes use of technology to facilitate a spiritual shift in their lifestyle.
“I watch recorded lectures of spiritual teachers in my spare time to gain different perspectives on spirituality. I read books on mythology as well. Information is important to move forward on any path, and I believe in widening the horizon of my spiritual knowledge,” says Vinay Paryani.
Bharti, a 22-year-old ardent follower of Brahma Kumari, Sister Shivani, uses the video-sharing platform, YouTube, for her daily meditation sessions. “My spiritual school is situated far away from my home, so I use meditation videos uploaded to their YouTube channel to practise my morning meditation.
“Social media has been a boon for our generation. We can find stories of people who have healed or of those seeking help. This wide connectedness has brought people seeking spiritual awakening, together,” she adds.
Spirituality and religion
Sukhamrit Singh, a 23-year-old entrepreneur, prefers the idea of spirituality being open-ended.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. I believe in learning and then sharing it with others. People read religious scriptures but only a handful of them imbibe the teachings in their lives. It is necessary to understand that no two human experiences are alike. Hence, it is important to have flexibility in your form of belief,” he says.
Religion and spirituality are considered to go hand-in-hand. The basis of any religion reiterates the essential definition of spirituality—of finding solace in a Divine power and living a life guided by values like truth, goodness, love, and compassion. The youth does not relate as easily to ritualistic religious beliefs as it does to flexible spiritual practices like meditation. Many of them feel a deep disconnect with their respective religions, especially while aiming for spiritual healing.
Vinay Paryani considers himself an atheist by the standards of religion. He says, “People confuse spirituality and religion because they both worship a Divine power. I worship the internal consciousness as Divinity. I do not want to give that consciousness a form or a shape. Love is my guiding force. My definition of spirituality is not rigid. It flows through my every action. I would argue with my parents about religion and religious rituals as I disapproved of them. However, I have gradually learnt to accept and respect other people’s beliefs. This is something my Guru has taught me and is a form of co-existence, much needed today.”
Jagrati Rakheja, a 25-year-old pranic healing meditator, voices the same feeling. “I was a religious person who prayed regularly. Gradually, I realised that the way to heal was through kindness and love. I discovered that no rigid form of prayer was required if you could feel the Divine within yourself. Temples and places of worship are centres of positive energy. But you can create positivity inside you as well. If you feel it within yourself, all you need is to project it outwards.”
Giving back through spirituality
Each period of modernity creates its own traditions. The young minds of today have expanded the definition of their spiritual growth to include the people around them as well their environment. Keeping in mind the traditional ethos of spirituality, they have inculcated the needs of today’s world while attempting to find ways to help with society’s growth.
21-year-old Umang Agarwal resonates this idea with his company, Soul Blossom. An online marketplace, Soul Blossom is a one-of-a-kind, positive clothing brand in India. The brand features clothing with graphic designs based on joyful living and spreading positivity.
“The way we dress can affect our vibrations. Positive clothing can energise us in our day-to-day life and also emit good vibes to everyone around. We believe that every fashion store in the world should have a section of positive clothing to encourage people towards a positive society. We plan to introduce designer organic clothing and make our products eco-friendlier. Part of our profits go back to society. We are therefore planning to fund the Gift-A-Smile campaign for the education of poor and needy children.
Besides being an entrepreneur, Sukhamrit Singh also runs a school for underprivileged children.
“Apart from managing the school, I also organise blood donation camps. I believe that spirituality has to be authentic. Each step you take in your spiritual journey must bring you joy. Helping people in need allows me to achieve peace within myself. I believe that even one act of kindness is worth hours of meditation.”
“Spirituality is all encompassing. The world needs to heal from the wounds created by hatred. The only balm that we can use on the indelible pain caused by hatred is love. The problem does not lie outside; it lies within, as does the solution. Go within, find out who you truly are, and the storm will cease.”
The youth has always wanted to change the world for the better. But this change would become a reality only if they realise en masse that all change has to begin from oneself. Seeing their inclination towards spirituality to affect this shift has filled me with the hope that the golden age shall arrive on the shoulders of our awakened youth.
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