Q) Why do you say that our journey to the higher worlds is individual?
Shiva) The soul will take eons to move through many cycles of evolution to ascend to the highest dimension to become one with God. The awakened-soul will experience God as an infinite energy-consciousness field of never-ending bliss and joy. This energy-consciousness field has an unconditional love for all and relates to the souls in the form of the loving father-mother God.
All through his journey, the individual soul takes various roles determined by his karma and lesson plans; all the identities and relationships will provide him the stage and support to work out his karma and to continue his evolution. Some relationships and identities will remain with him for many lives and some will not go beyond one lifetime.
There are no permanent relationships or identity of the soul except his eternal oneness with God and, therefore, your journey to the higher world is always individual.
Q) What will happen to our families, friends, social and religious identities and relationships? Do they remain with us in all our future incarnations?
Shiva) All your relationships and identities are temporary and the only permanent relationship is your eternal oneness with God. In the final analysis, unless you get rid of all your attachments you cannot evolve to the higher dimensions.
Therefore, accept your present identity with humility and responsibility. Fulfill all your duties and obligations with love and care and keep the knowledge at the core of your heart that all will fall apart in the course of your evolution.
Q) Should we not worry about our family members who will not be with us permanently on our long journey?
Shiva) You need to keep the core idea in your heart that God is the only permanent reality and everything is temporary; there is no death but only the change of identities and all will evolve to become one with God.
Once you root your growth in the permanent reality, you will learn to see everything as expressions of God; including your family members. With better clarity and awakening, you will love and take care of your family members and take it as your most pertinent responsibility to give them support and guidance for their proper evolution.
Instead of worrying about your dear ones, you will feel happy that you have done your bit to help your family members in their journey to their eternal home of never-ending joy and bliss.
Q) You said that spiritual journey is individual. How do we practice spirituality in a family environment?
Shiva) This is similar to your education in the family. In the growing years, all the children are under the parental guideline. As the children grow, they learn to take independent decisions and, in the mature years, all become independent and are at different levels of growth.
Similarly, in the family, there should be discipline and culture for spiritual development of the children. If the children are taught in the right manner, in their adult life, they will remain steady in their spiritual growth. Finally, they will walk on the spiritual path independently and make God as their most personal guide. In the advanced level, everybody will realize that spiritual growth is very personal and all are on his or her own; this is how it should be.
Q) Why do you say that everybody is on his or her own?
Shiva) No power on earth or in the heaven can take over the final authority of God in your life. God is the only permanent reality and it should be your goal to make God the core of your life. Therefore, make your bond with God so deep that nobody or no power can substitute it. Now you can be on your own and walk independently on your spiritual path because the grace and guidance of God are always there with you.
Q) Our religious and spiritual practices do not teach us to become independent on our spiritual journey or to become personal with God. In fact, our religious teachings are the control mechanisms of various intermediaries, rituals, and doctrines. In this scenario, how do we walk independently on our spiritual journeys?
Shiva) The God-realised masters liberate the seekers of truth and make them independent in their spiritual journey; only the power-mongering individuals will try to control the devotees of God for ego gratification. Having said this let me share with you the true nature of a God-realised master who can guide you towards your spiritual goals.
The God-realised souls and masters are very humble, simple and have a lot of patience and silence in their behavior. They show exemplary courage in all the difficult situations and have unconditional love for all. Some of them will play the public role and many of them will work behind the curtain.
You should practice their teachings and stay away from all the rituals. Keep God at the center of all your thoughts, words and deeds. Finally, do your householder duties with full responsibility and make God your main goal in life.
Always remember that you are inside the energy-consciousness field of God; every space is filled with the divine power. If you want, you can awaken to the higher realities by practicing meditation and living a spiritual life; you do not have to go to any master or join any group. Therefore, the choice of being independent in your spiritual journey is in your hands; your karma and determination will open the paths for you.
Q) In this context, what is the role of the gurus and the God-realised masters?
Shiva) The gurus have to play the role of the catalysts to spread the correct knowledge about God and His creation, our true relationship with God and how to become one with Him. Instead of pushing the numbers of followers and disciples, the gurus should teach others how to become independent and find God within.
Understand, that the old energies of control and domination are being replaced by the higher energy-consciousness vibration of love and compassion; this is the language of the new paradigm. You have to wake up to the truth that we all are one and have to become one with our Higher Self by making an inner journey that has to be walked alone.