Search for Truth is a Spiritual Necessity

No man can be regarded as truly fulfilled unless he is able to rise from the, doubts and difficulties of intellect and rises to a higher state of consciousness.

Radhakrishnan

By S. Radhakrishnan

Religion, or a search for truth, is a spiritual necessity. When we look at the cosmic process, we find things succeeding one another; great civilizations, great embodiments of art—great things arise, spring up and pass away. And we ask the question, ‘Is this passing away all or is there anything which does not pass away?’ Is there anything which may be regarded as unchanging in this process of incessant change is a question which every reflective individual is bound to raise. He cannot think that mere annihilation is the end of all existence, that the cosmic process arises and passes away. The question is bound to arise and that is why all the great seekers of truth have raised this question.
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If life has any significance, if it has any meaning, if it has any kind of purpose, we must have something which supersedes time, which is exempt from death, and which makes us feel there is a deathless element in all.
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The real quality of religion is brought out by our incessant search, unceasing quest, for knowing the truth of things and for increasing the objects of compassion we have in this world. Intensity of search and extension of objects to which we apply love, these constitute the two sides of a truly spiritual man. We must always keep up this pursuit of truth until we are able to see it face to face. And whatever it may be, every human individual has got the same impulse in him and so deserves our love, our consideration.
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How have religions been functioning? When you emphasize the formal aspects of religions, they divide the world. When you emphasize the inner, the deeper spiritual side of religion, they unite the world. We must try to find out what the real significance of religion is. The religious quest is not something which is supererogatory. Every human individual has the craving to find out what this world consists of. Is this cosmic panorama all? Or is there a constant presence behind, informing, animating and giving life to this whole cosmic process? It is the question which we raise. Every thoughtful person has raised it.
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By means of intellectual reflection we assert that there is some reality, something which serves as the basis of all. But intellectual speculation is different from spiritual realization. We cannot be satisfied with logical inference. There is a difference between saying, ‘There is God’ and feeling the reality of God in our nature…So we say no man can be regarded as truly fulfilled unless he is able to rise from the discords, doubts and difficulties of intellect and gets himself illumined, rises to a higher state of consciousness, when he gets pure tranquility of spirit; when he is able to say, ‘I have known the truth.’
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It is the forgetfulness of the Divine which is in us which is responsible for so much distress and disappointment which you have in this world. The work of man is to grow into something higher than himself. This world consists of minerals, plants, animals, human beings, God-possessed souls. We have to become God-possessed souls; we have to rise from our present state of imperfection, ignorance, to a state of tranquility of spirit and equanimity of mind where we look upon all human beings as our kindred, as members of one family. It is that which is the goal set to human beings.
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Knowledge of the self is the truth…That you cannot have by merely looking at the outward environment…You cannot get eternal life by mere textual learning. It will not give you true spiritual wisdom. If you once have that spiritual wisdom, you will be able to perceive the nature of Reality which is above all this phenomenal world…
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Every individual is a trustee for the future of the world…He has a sense of obligation to the whole world, to the future of humanity. He must develop a humanist vision of society, a society in which man is treated as a man and not as Greek or Barbarian, Catholic or Protestant, Arab or Jew, Hindu or Moslem; he must be treated as a human being.
(Extracted from S. Radhakrishnan’s book Search for Truth. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) served as President of India (1962-67.)

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