Worldly | and “Worldliness”

Worldly | and “Worldliness”

Persuasions primarily deal with three factors — God( īśvara), the world( jagat), and the existent( jīva), and try to understand how these three are mutually related. Some of the questions regarding each of these were addressed in earlier posts. 


 Regarding the world, I had raised two questions “ What do we really mean by ‘ world ’? ” and “ Is this world real? ” If you have n’t seen that post, then's the link to it. 

The terms “ worldly ” and “ worldliness ” come up frequently in religious literature and conversations. Look at the following words of Swami Vivekananda, taken aimlessly from his Complete Works 


 “ That religion which is only a means to worldly well- being isn't religion, whatever differently it may be; and it's sheer sacrilege against God and mortal beings to hold that we've no other end than the free and full enjoyment of all the pleasure of our senses. ”( CW, 4. 279) 

“ Worldliness and consummation of God can not go together. ”( CW, 5. 81) 


 “ This life comes and goes — wealth, fame, enjoyments are only of a many days. It's better, far better to die on the field of duty, sermonizing the verity, than to die like a worldly worm. ”( CW, 5. 114- 115) 

I want to dig a little deeper into the meaning of “ the world ” in order to understand what worldliness is. Swami Vivekananda’s incisive words go to the very heart of what “ the world ” really means. He begins by saying, “ Where God is, there's no other. Where the world is, there's no God. These two will noway unite. ” In order to see God, the world has to be given up. Swamiji, again 


 “ What's the world that's to be given up? It's then. I'm carrying it all with me. My own body. It's all for this body that I put my hand freely upon my fellow beings, just to keep it nice and give it a little pleasure;( all for this body) that I injure others and make miscalculations. ”( CW 4. 244) 

Swamiji brings this up again in a different lecture 


 “ What's the world but a combination of stomach and coitus? Look at millions of men and women — that is what they're living for. Take these down from them and they will find their life empty, pointless, and intolerable. similar are we. And similar is our mind. ”( CW 8. 118) 

It's clear from these important compliances that the world isn't really “ out there ” but “ in then. ” To be worldly means to be linked not simply with the effects in the world but also with one’s own body/ mind. After all, we're connected with everything in the world through the body/ mind. In deep sleep, when the body/ mind vanish, the world disappears too. Our identification with the body/ mind is primary( they are “ me ”), while the identification with the effects in the world is secondary( they are “ mine ”). 


 still, also being linked with the spirit( Ātman) makes us spiritual, If being linked with the world makes us worldly. Since we can not be linked with both at the same time — that would be as insolvable as being in light and darkness at the same time either we're spiritual or we're worldly, noway both. 

This leads to a kindly

 disheartening conclusion, and that is, every one of us who isn't spiritually illumined is worldly. We may not want to suppose of ourselves that way, but that's the plain simple verity. 


 It may well be the verity that saves us from spiritual pride, which is the worst and the most insidious form of pride. The “ holier- than- thou ” station is a surefire way to hell. A serious redefining of the word “ spiritual ” is called for then. We need to restore the saintship of the word and help it from being used carelessly anywhere and far and wide. 

There's a difference between “ being ” and “ wanting to be. ” Being spiritual and aspiring to be spiritual( or seeking the spirit) are two different effects. Spiritual campaigners are worldly beings( still linked with the body/ mind) but aspiring for church. 


 Being a sucker is different from aspiring for devotion. passing God’s love is different from seeking to witness God’s love. Those on the path of bhakti are therefore worldly beings but aspiring for true bhakti, or devotion. 

 Also, a nondualist is one who experiences the nondualreality.However, we may be aspiring for nonduality but have n’t come nondualists yet, If we find the nondualistic approach intellectually stimulating or if it resonates with our head and heart. We still identify with the diversity around us and are thus worldly, indeed if we appreciate nonduality. 


 What this kind of tone- evaluation does is to keep us humble. occasionally there's a tendency in religious and spiritual circles to look down upon “ worldly ” people. Those on the path of devotion turn up their tips at those who aren't on the path. The nondualists tend to patronize the dualists. There's no need to do any of that. The difference between “ us ” and “ them ” is one of degree, not of kind. Everyone, including ourselves, is worldly to a lower or lesser degree. 

It's only a spiritually illuminated person who isn't worldly and such a person noway looks down upon anyone. An illuminated person sees that God alone exists. There's no over and down, high or low, in that state of being. As long we carry all similar impulses and prejudices, and save the distinction between “ my own ” and “ those others, ” we're worldly. 


 Until we exclude the fog of worldliness from our hearts, we've no right to call ourselves spiritual

 Source:Vedanta society,Wikipedia


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