Piety when boosted by purity paves the way to spirituality

Many people do some pious activities regularly, thinking that it will provide them both material happiness in this world and better material happiness in the next world.

The Bhagavad-gita (02.43) indicates that such people believe that there’s nothing more to life or to scripture than such piety and the better material enjoyment that it provides. Such people are undiscerning – they can’t get the determination necessary to stay fixed in any process for spiritual growth (02.44).

Purity refers to the desire to serve our beloved Lord simply for pleasing him and delighting in the reciprocation of love thereof. Such pure love alone satisfies the heart’s innermost longing for love and joy.

Piety itself is not purity. Certainly, the pious are free from the gross impurities that characterize the demoniac. But they are impure in the sense that they are still self-interested and materially self-interested at that.

And piety is not spirituality either. Genuine spirituality centers on understanding that we are at our core souls, different from the bodies we temporarily possess. The purpose of life, specifically of life in the human body which offers the capacity for metaphysical inquiry, is to rise beyond our bodily misidentification and to realize our spiritual identity as parts of Krishna, the all-attractive supreme.

Piety is good, far better than impiety. But piety can sometimes become an obstacle to spirituality, just as the good can become the enemy of the best. By realizing that even the most pious life still perpetuates our bodily misidentification and sentences us to the repeated miseries of old age, disease and death, we can strive to rise from piety to spirituality by the diligent practice of yogic purification (06.45). Then, we can experience and enjoy our spiritual essence as beloved parts of Krishna meant for a life of eternal love with him.


Think it over:

  1. What is the difference between piety and spirituality?
  2. How are the pious still not pure?
  3. How can we rise from piety to spirituality?

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