There are two aspects of human life : one that relates to the physical body – materialism; and the other that relates to the inner self (the soul) – spirituality. Materialism means an inclination towards acquiring material possessions and comforts; in short, it is a tendency to lead a life in which pleasures of the body are given preference above anything else. Spirituality means, “ centered and established on the soul”, that is, activities in life are decided keeping in mind the welfare of the soul.
Looking after the soul results in eternal peace, satisfaction, bliss and the acquisition of both material and spiritual benefits. Here, priority is given to the soul compared to the body. Therefore bodily requirements are kept to a minimum and the principle of “simple life, high thinking” is adopted. This means, a person who takes care of his soul has to practice restraint over the senses and remain satisfied with minimum resources. If, for example, the food intake is kept low, it has the double benefit of longevity and protection from diseases. On the other hand the consumption of too much sugar, salt and fat can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis respectively. An excess usage of other senses also causes problems. For example, watching too much television or too much exposure to computers damages the eyesight. Youngsters today listen to loud pop music, which severely affects their hearing ability. Overindulgence in sexual activities decreases the vitality of a person.
People who practice restraint never experience financial crisis or remain in debt. They maintain a healthy body and healthy mind. They are called people of character; they receive respect from the society.
Thinking about the welfare of the soul protects a person’s wealth, time and efforts from unnecessary wastage, which can then be directed towards charitable causes. This has been the path adopted by great personalities. It was the reason why they were continuously occupied in the works of welfare. Because of their righteous deeds, they remained satisfied and achieved fame. Everyone around them became their friends, admirers or supporters due to the high quality of their qualities, deeds and nature. They receive the blessings of God and always remain blissful. Nothing remains to be achieved by a person who follows the path of the welfare of the soul
A comparison of the lives of great personalities (who adopted the soul as their true guide in life) with ordinary people (who remained focussed on their body) shows that real joy and happiness lie in looking after the soul. Although it is necessary to look after the body for survival, the point being made here is that one should not get engrossed too much in satisfying the bodily requirements. Giving priority to bodily requirements causes frustration. Conversely, taking care of the soul primarily and also meeting the minimum needs of the body results in permanent joy. It is this joy (physical or sensory) people are after today but seldom succeed in finding it.