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A Discussion With Manatita on Spiritual Philosophy - Part 4

Sean is a teacher who is writing about his spiritual adventures to help other people find balance and self-respect.


It is a mistaken idea that the spiritual life is a life of austerity and a bed of thorns. No, never! We came from the Blissful. To the Blissful we shall return with the spontaneous joy of life. It seems difficult because we cater to our ego. It looks unnatural because we cherish our doubts.

— Sri Chinmoy

An Ongoing Adventure

In the third part of this spiritual adventure, my Brother, Manatita helped me, and I hope you too, to approach the tricky term of “evil”. In this fourth part, we will continue with some questions about religion, sin and guilt. I hope you'll enjoy it as I did.



Spiritual Adventure, Part 4

Ioannis: Gratitude, my Brother! Gratitude for the Light! You gave me the most astonishing answer to use with my students, for one of the most difficult and tricky questions! And no, it was not unclear, not at all; on the contrary, it was perfectly clear!

I am happy because your answer describes all my beliefs about "evil", but I could never express them so clear and comprehensible!

There is so much knowledge we have to process, in this answer, and new questions are emerging now.

Here is one to help us avoid misunderstandings.

Is what we have chosen to call "evil", the necessary diversity of the expressions of the Light, in order to have the potentiality to chose our way of experience? The possibility to make wrong choices and learn?

Is this the alternative of Love, so that we can adopt it by free choice?

Manatita: Diversity is more to do with the myriad forms of manifestations of the Absolute. Evil rather falls within the Laws of Duality: Light and darkness, joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain ... good and evil.

It is limited freedom, so-called 'free will', which gives us the potential to choose. Evil is not an alternative to Love; it is a choice made or a path taken (an error), but still within the Love equation. The difference being that it is a lower or lesser form of Light. It is a pathfinder.


As I said before, it is an experience for the soul. Adam has chosen to eat the bad apple due to Ignorance: limitations, temptations, imperfections and bondage (inherent weaknesses).

As such he suffers the consequences. We grow or progress through experiences, just as the child first touches the fire, then learns its mistake.

Ioannis: Excellent! I believe that your answer is crystal clear, and helps me to pass on a relevant topic which is the cause for many young people to move away from the Spiritual path. Sin and guilt!

As you said - and I loved this part - sin is an impediment or obstacle, standing in the way of Love. Unfortunately, this is not the way the most religions - mainly western religions - present the idea of sin. Usually, they use it as a medium of mind control - through the fear of the eternal damnation - with the result creating confusion, depression and distress.

So you have in front of you a young student, just ready to leave his home starting a new life. He says to you:

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"I don't want to follow the way of any religion because then I feel that everything I like and do is a sin and I don't want to live my life in guilt!"

What are your helping words to him?

Manatita: I understand them. I grew up with this and it has its usefulness, but affects us as we get older and creates guilt and unworthiness.

Everyone needs a house. I live in the Christianity house and perhaps my brother Venkatachari M lives in the Hindu house. But we come together to Love God and serve mankind.

"The essence of religion is to fear God and obey God; the quintessence of Spirituality is to know God and become another God.” - Sri Chinmoy.

In Yoga Philosophy, we do not teach religion, but will point you to the Inner Pilot, which resides within.

I wish to stress, however, that the sincere God-lover is holistic. GOD AND RELIGION ARE INSEPARABLE, like a tree and its roots. All scriptures have their values.

Look closely and you will see that what's making us choose, is our level of Consciousness. Some still love the lure of mammon and will find fault where it's not, like Pharisees.

My helping words are what I say to all humans. You are very special. You are made in the image of Spirit and have a right to be here. Love yourself, as you are a unique dream of God.

I note your word 'discussion' a lot. It is the way of the mind and not the Heart. It was useful for ancient philosophers but not the modern devotees.

When someone does not understand, it is ok to walk away. They are God's children, not ours. Peace.


Ioannis: One more question about guilt.

I believe that forgiveness is significant for someone to walk the Spiritual path. To give and take forgiveness.

I use to say to my students that if they want to learn to Love, they have to learn to forgive. And first of all, they have to learn to forgive themselves. They have to face their mistakes, to learn from them, to take on the responsibility, but not to let guilt domineer their lives.

How can I forgive others if I can't forgive myself?

I would like to hear your opinion about this.

Manatita: Well Sean,

We all know this. To thine own self be true. A remarkable statement.

There are enough motivators and life-coaches on the net reminding us. Loving oneself is essentially to walk towards the Light... to do what gives us joy. Difficult for many!

Guilt, in its totality, is quintessentially our own inherent weaknesses, although perhaps it's fair to say that the concept of sin does not help. I have felt guilt many times!

That is why the foundation of Yoga Philosophy remains greater than anything else: First we transform our lower nature by the Grace of God, then see what happens next. If we wish to swim, we have to jump into the water. Peace!

"The age-old discovery --

Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness.

Is the only way to real happiness." - Sri Chinmoy

Ioannis: How easy is for young people to be true with themselves when they grow up in a world full of lies?

Manatita: Teach then the basics ... the foundation. The rest is God's work. Do not get caught up. If it makes no sense to them, they are either not ready or having a necessary experience.

Nothing is haphazard in God’s creation. Do your part, but do not get drawn in the why things happen.

Are they self-giving, empathetic praying, wanting to serve? The rest is in God's hands. Teach the foundation of Yoga: goodness, love, mercy ... it is up to them and God how it works out.

Attachment is a negative quality. Being sucked in will weaken you. To work you are entitled, but the results are God's.


Ioannis: How wise is that! If you let yourself to be absorbed by the negativity of your brother's problem, then you can't really help him.

We can light the path, but we cannot walk the steps of the ones we want to help.

I have been caught in this trap many times, you know. The trap "I have to help and not let go".

How do you know when it's time to leave and let go?

Manatita: When it becomes obvious that you see things one way and others another. There is a comment on one of your hubs like that right now.

A short, guarded response or one like Tim's is good. Then you leave it alone. Life is energy. You do not want to drain yours or that of others.

See the potential problem five minutes before it happens.

But again, prayer and meditation will teach you that.

Knowing when to let go relates to so many things! If you stand at a traffic light with a fundamentalist crusader and 'discuss', it may please the mind but ultimately wear you down.


The trick is not to change the world. Better it! That is why I return to the foundation time and time again. You are actually saying it in your writings:

Be, like Paul says, an imitator of Christ. Know when to be silent or walk away. Never do what makes you weak ... give, but only from a position of strength. Watch your own nafs. (Nature or inherent weaknesses)

End of part 4.

To be continued… (link to part 5)

The Book

© 2018 Ioannis Arvanitis


Ioannis Arvanitis (author) from Greece, Almyros on September 12, 2018:

"The essence of religion is to fear God and obey God; the quintessence of Spirituality is to know God and become another God.” - Sri Chinmoy.

My dear Li-Jen, I believe that in this sublime quote of Master Sri Chinmoy you will find the answer you seek! My religion is Love, and my Soul is the temple! My Master is Jesus, and His path of Love is the path I try to walk, not always successfully though! But I know that there are many other paths which they are lead back Home where all we'll meet some blessed day. And yes, working together with your brothers and sisters and serving in any positive way you can is the true religion and it always has the best results for all.

My dear "daughter," thank you for your participation in this discussion!

Follow your Heart!


Li-Jen Hew on September 11, 2018:

Hey Sean and Manatita. Thanks for sharing the discussion. I am a youngster and I could relate to ""I don't want to follow the way of any religion" because I, too, don't want to pretend and feel like a liar..but I heard that acceptance of a religion's teachings is the key to believing in the religion?

Regarding the last part of the article, if the brother's problem is also our problem, we can work together to solve the problem and so I think in that case, it's safe to say it's positive and we are not weak..especially if the outcome is positive?

Ioannis Arvanitis (author) from Greece, Almyros on July 08, 2018:

Indeed, my dear Brother, Manatita, indeed Christ's teachings are maybe the most misunderstood!

Your wishes are blessings for me. Thank you!

“God takes away the minds of poets, and uses them as his ministers, as he also uses diviners and holy prophets, in order that we who hear them may know them to be speaking not of themselves who utter these priceless words in a state of unconsciousness, but that God himself is the speaker, and that through them he is conversing with us. ”

― Socrates

manatita44 from london on July 08, 2018:

Yes, Sean.

Spiritual Masters - and here I mean God-realised souls - are never wrong. So the Christ was right, but let's say the Philosophy was misunderstood.

You went straight to my Heart with your approach and support for the kid. God continue to shower His Grace upon you, now and always.

Ioannis Arvanitis (author) from Greece, Almyros on July 08, 2018:

It is mutual, my Brother, Venkatachari M!

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on July 08, 2018:

Loannis, I like your nice nature. I will be waiting for your next episode eagerly. My blessings.

Ioannis Arvanitis (author) from Greece, Almyros on July 08, 2018:

My dear Brother, Venkatachari M, the wisdom of your comment is apparent evidence why, we both, consider you as a significant partner in our Spiritual adventure. Though it is a great honour for me when you say "two Lantern Carriers" - and I know that it springs from your Gold Heart's goodness - I am just a learner. I want to learn how to let my Inner Light shine to the world, as Manatita does! I am grateful for all of you, the Glowing Souls, I have found here.

Thank you, my Brother, for being here and for your encouragement.

Om Shanti!


Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on July 07, 2018:

Loannis, My Bro, this discussion here is growing into a wonderful, interesting, and enlightening wisdom of two Lantern Carriers (Manatita and yourself) sharing their spiritual thoughts in a nice appealing way.

Manatita is a great soul who included my name also while sharing his thoughts above, thereby humbling me who am only a babbling child in your company.

I appreciate this wise quote of Sri Chinmoy pointed out by Manatita "The essence of religion is to fear God and obey God; the quintessence of Spirituality is to know God and become another God.” - Sri Chinmoy.

It may not necessarily mean another God; at least we try to be able to reach the company of God through spirituality to be at his feet always.

And, this line of yours, Loannis, "We can light the path, but we cannot walk the steps of the ones we want to help" is quite right. We can show the light but can't walk with them unless they are ready to follow with faith and confidence.

Ioannis Arvanitis (author) from Greece, Almyros on July 05, 2018:

My dear Brother and Teacher, Manatita, you are not just eloquent, but also helpful, insightful, enlightening and eye-opening in a beautiful way. You know it.

Ok, Vivekananda is more eloquent than you, but he is not with us now, you are, and I believe he is happy about this!

Let me give you an example.

One of my students achieved the highest set of scores in the latest National Exams here in Greece, he came first among over 100,000 students! Surely Einstein and Newton are far better Physicists than me, but I was here to help my student to achieve his goal.

As I said to Stathis - his name -, is God's Love that gave him the exceptional abilities to manage this feat and the hard work he has done. He told me that without my help he couldn't have accomplished this and I answered that I was a medium of God's Love and that I am proud to have participated in this great achievement.

I feel that is a blessing to become such a medium and we have to accept the thanksgiving on behalf of Him. I believe that we please Him when we do so with humility.

So, this Thanksgiving from all of us who are blessed by your presence here, you have to accept, my dear Brother!

The Gratitude is mine! I pray to God to give you health and strength to help more people every day with your Lantern!


PS: About the parable of Jesus, I think that He said the same as you, but He had to tell this to unsophisticated people and make them understand. So He had to be simple-speaking and allegoric. About this, and the great story with the snake, we will discuss furthermore soon enough.

Ioannis Arvanitis (author) from Greece, Almyros on July 05, 2018:

My Brother in Love, Tim, your comment is the best reward for my work. Thank you from my Heart.

I loved Jesus not only because I grew up as a Christian, but because for me He is my brother, my friend, my Savior! So I will always be a Christian, His follower. But something that I realized early in my life, and I am happy to find it here with Manatita, you and all the Light seekers, is that the Love of God is over religions. Love is my path, and I am blessed to have all you in my Heart.

My Love embraces you and your wife!


Ioannis Arvanitis (author) from Greece, Almyros on July 05, 2018:

You are so right, Eric, so right! There is an ancient Greek saying:

"Γιράσκω αεί διδασκόμενος." (Yirasko aei didaskomenos)

that means:

"I am aging always learning."

Thank you for your wise feedback!


manatita44 from london on July 05, 2018:

Vivekananda is so much more eloquent than me. He was very crucial in my early life of spiritual sadhana. Again, since I was already a disciple of Guruji, I feel that Guruji was directing him to serve me in this way.

I absolutely Love and adore the Christ and forgiveness is an essential virtue. Still, the spirit of the message is significant. As Vivekanada would say: 'Never do what makes you weak.'

If you offer yourself to the ignorant 70 times and they kill you, then you are not helping God. On the contrary, God will feel sad that you have opted out of His beautiful game. It is better to be firm but wise.

Do not allow the person or persons to wallow in the dance of ignorance. if you can, by all means protect yourself, but with Love in your Heart. This is the way of the devotee. There is a spirit behind all spiritual messages that we have to unravel.

Sri Ramakrishna told a story of a snake which was creating havoc in a village. The spiritual Master who passed by spoke to it, asking it not to hurt anyone. The village soon realised that the snake had become good and starting beating and harming it.

One day, the spiritual Master came back and looked for the snake, calling it out of its hole. The snake was almost dead and dying.

"What happened to you?" said the Master.

" I became good as to told me", said the snake.

"I told you not to bite', said the Master, 'but I did not say that you could not hiss."

I believe the last chapter in Sayings of Ramakrishna, is called 'Dangers of misunderstood Philosophy. Always use your Heart. Sometimes, on the spiritual path, one even has to hold the Truth, as it may create serious problems to speak it out.

"Speak the truth, but never tell a cruel truth." -Sri Chinmoy

Another very special and significant Hub and I'm so glad that you are attracting all our good brothers and soon to be sisters. All my Gratitude and the Grace of the One be with you all and those you Love. -Manatita

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on July 04, 2018:

Sean, Eric, Chris, and Manatita,

This is great writing.

As a person who has befriended those from different religions, the one thing I found helpful - recognize those who carry "light" in their hearts and wish to confront darkness with love.

Of course, our brother Manatita said that more eloquently.

There's a reason why the great spiritual leaders surrounded themselves with those who sought light - light begets light.

My brother, Sean, fabulous work.

My brother, Eric, I will be reading your articles tomorrow.

Brother Chris, the same.

Now I know more people who carry the light because of your work, Brother Sean.

Thanks again.



Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 04, 2018:

This just made me think that I have never met a 22 year old with inner peace. But I have seen 4 years olds and 80 year olds.

Ioannis Arvanitis (author) from Greece, Almyros on July 04, 2018:

Thank you, my brother, Eric, for reading and for your kind comment!

Is Manatita's talent that makes it easy!

My Love to your family.


Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 04, 2018:

Very well done.somewhat complicated made easy

Ioannis Arvanitis (author) from Greece, Almyros on July 04, 2018:

Thank you, my brother, Chris, for your very wise comment! It's so true, I've been there too.



Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on July 04, 2018:

There is a lot of wisdom here regarding how and why to avoid negativity. In my past, I was a lightning rod for negativity, debates, and "discussions". It only serves to disturb the inner peace of both parties. Thanks for another insightful hub.

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