Garden of Spirituality by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Nature is not simply a wonderful world. It is rather an amazing garden of spirituality.

Just visit a place of natural beauty, a place where there are mountains, flowing rivers, tall, lush green trees, birds on the wing, small white clouds floating in the sky, the sun shining, and so on. In such a spot, you will feel like exclaiming: “How wonderful nature is!” But nature is not simply a wonderful world. It is rather an amazing garden of spirituality. Indeed, everything in nature gives you a taste of spirituality. For example, when you see a honeybee hovering over a flower, you suddenly realize that it has a lesson to impart, for every part of nature is like a flower for you. In each part resides the nectar of spirituality. Take out this spiritual nectar and you will be motivated to turn yourself into a spiritual personality.

It should be borne in mind that spirituality is not a state of ecstasy. Ecstasy is a trance-like state, a state of bliss or a semi-conscious condition. That is, it is like a kind of drowsiness which causes blurriness in the conscious mind. But spirituality is very different from this, being marked by a high level of acute intellectual development. It is a form of intellectual awakening, rather than a semi-somnolent state of mind.

During the pre-scientific age, the notion had become current that the heart was the source of spirituality. This was taken for granted and lead to spirituality becoming a subject for meditation, that is, heart-based spirituality. Since the heart was devoid of any thinking capacity, spirituality could not, therefore, become an advanced discipline. It was reduced rather to being an array of ill-defined assumptions.

Now that we live in the age of science, it is possible to place spirituality within the framework of a mind-based discipline. Being a science just like other sciences, spirituality should be associated not with meditation but rather with contemplation. Since the domain of the physical sciences encompasses the exploration of the quantitative aspects of nature, what is discovered therein is necessarily of a material nature. The domain of spiritual science, on the other hand, encompasses the contemplation of the qualitative aspects of nature, so that, within its scope, it is things of a spiritual nature which are brought to light, just as the honeybee extracts honey from flowers.

Flowers are the greatest concern of the honeybee. For a honeybee, its whole world is a world of flowers. It never wastes its time on other things. It concentrates on flowers, takes the nectar from them and returns to its hive. The same is true of an awakened mind. For an awakened mind, the whole world is a world of spirituality. It extracts the spiritual content from everything. The awakened person thus enhances his spirituality until he grows to be a spiritual giant.

Spiritual science, in developing the mind, enables one to analyze matters in an objective manner. In complex issues, it is an aid to the making of right judgements. It helps one to view things in such a way that one’s mental confusion is dispelled and one can think with total clarity. If heart-based spirituality was no more than thoughtless ecstasy, mind-based spirituality has emerged as a fine-tuned form of high thinking.

Spiritual science has evolved in the same way as the science of the solar system. In the early centuries man had given credence to the geocentric theory. As a result, no development in this science was possible. In modern times, however, man’s thinking altered sufficiently for the heliocentric theory to be formulated, as a result of which solar science became a developed discipline. The same change in thinking took place in the case of spiritual science. In the pre-scientific period, people believed in heart-based spirituality, so that there could be no furtherance of the imparting of spiritual discipline. The post-scientific age being an age of mind-based spirituality, endless scope for spiritual advancement has opened up.

Our world is like a garden of all good things, and spirituality enables the individual to live in and benefit from this garden.

Excerpts from Leading A Spiritual Life