1. About spiritual level
The Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF) uses the term ‘spiritual level’ to describe a person’s spiritual maturity or spiritual capacity. It acts as a scale to define spiritual growth and gives perspective on where we are in our spiritual journey. The higher one’s spiritual level the greater is the amount of God principle manifest in that individual.
2. The scale of spiritual level
The SSRF uses a scale between 1 and 100% to describe someone spiritual level. 1% would refer to the spiritual level of an inanimate object, while 100% would refer to the pinnacle of spiritual growth for a person, which is Self-Realisation or being one with God.
The majority of people in the current era, which is Kaliyuga, also known as the Era of Strife, fall in the 20% spiritual level category. According to the science of Spirituality, a person who is above the 70% spiritual level is known as a Saint. Just as we have people who are at the top of their fields in the material world, so also, in Spirituality, the Saints who live on Earth are the authorities. They are not just scholars, but practitioners of the science of Spirituality in day-to-day life and are God-realised souls.
Those Saints active in teaching Spirituality and nurturing seekers to grow spiritually are known as Gurus. Less than 10% of the Saints living on Earth are Gurus. Gurus are the physical form of the Teaching aspect of God and they act as beacons of spiritual knowledge in our highly materialistic world.
3. Spiritual level and spiritual practice
4. How can spiritual level be measured?
Spiritual level cannot be measured by any modern scientific equipment, nor can it be ascertained intellectually by any person. Only a Saint or a Guru can ascertain the spiritual level of a person with the help of His highly activated sixth sense or subtle perception ability.
Quite often the question is asked, “How can a Saint accurately measure a person’s spiritual level?”
Just as the eye due to its intrinsic ability can easily differentiate between a blue object and a red object with 100% accuracy, so also a Saint with His sixth sense ability can accurately estimate a person’s spiritual level. The sixth sense enables one to be acutely aware and accurately measure the unseen world.
As a rule of thumb, we have provided a scale below which will give an intellectual understanding of one’s spiritual level.
With increase in one’s spiritual level, one’s attitude and perspective to life changes dramatically. For example, a person at 30% spiritual level may find it very difficult to find time in his busy schedule to attend even one spiritual discourse. The same person having the same worldly commitments, after attaining the 40% spiritual level will easily find time on a regular basis to attend spiritual discourses and regularly study spiritual texts.
A person at a certain spiritual level, e.g. 30% spiritual level can only relate to a person within a few percentage points from him. For example it is very difficult for a person at the 30% spiritual level to relate to a person at the 40% spiritual level and vice versa.
By the use of the intellect, it is somewhat possible to estimate that another person is slightly ahead of one spiritually; however the estimation would at best be vague.
By use of the intellect it is impossible to identify whether a person is a Saint.
Spiritual level is defined by a number of contributing factors. In the following points we have discussed some of the more important parameters that contribute to a person’s spiritual level and how they vary with spiritual growth.
4.1 Ego and spiritual level
- One of the important parameters of the spiritual level of a person is the amount of ego or darkness around the Soul that has been removed and how much he identifies himself, with the Soul within.
- By darkness around the Soul or ego, we mean the tendency of man to perceive himself only as his five senses, mind and intellect. This ego is also known as the spiritual ignorance of our true state of existence, that is the Soul. Our modern education system and society teaches us to identify with our body, mind and intellect little knowing that we are actually the Soul within.
- After studying the science of Spirituality even though we may intellectually understand that there is a Soul within us, we cannot perceive or experience it. As we do spiritual practice, this darkness or ego begins to reduce until we reach the highest spiritual level where we are able to fully identify with the Soul within.
- With spiritual practice our ego starts reducing, which is directly related to the increase in our spiritual level. The chart below shows how there is a reduction in ego with an increasing spiritual level.
At the 20% spiritual level one is very self-centred, self-conscious and only thinks about oneself. As we do spiritual practice our body awareness reduces. We are not only able to withstand discomfort and suffering but are also able to take praise without letting it go to our head.
For example, an indication of high ego would be if a woman is told that she has put on weight or is looking old and she gets depressed for an elongated period of time. Another variation of ego is when one does not publicly acknowledge doing spiritual practice as it may alienate him from his peers. In most cases we get a negative reaction if others point out our mistakes. Not being able to accept mistakes is a sign of ego.
4.2 Attention to one’s own happiness and spiritual level
A clear sign of a higher spiritual level than the average person is a reduced attention to one’s own happiness. As you can see in the chart below, the attention to one’s own well-being by a person who has reached the level of a Saint is only 10%. One of the reasons for the reduced attention is that with spiritual growth, identifying oneself with one’s body, mind and intellect steadily starts declining.
Examples of attention to their own happiness are replete in an average person’s life. They include:
1. Irritation at having to nurse a family member because it means discomfort to oneself.
2. Readiness to attend a spiritual discourse only if it is in the immediate vicinity.
3. Readiness to contribute monetarily to a protest against injustice, but not ready to volunteer one’s time and effort due to fear of discomfort.
Another positive outcome of reduced attention to one’s own happiness is one becomes more expansive. One whole-heartedly looks for the happiness of others and society.
Paradoxically even though we attend less to our happiness as we grow spiritually, one of the benefits of growing spiritually is that we get access to greater amounts of happiness in our lives. The following chart shows the increase in happiness in life experienced both qualitatively and quantitatively as our spiritual maturity increases. A Saint experiences Bliss (Ānand), a superlative state which is far above and beyond happiness.
4.3 Spiritual practice and spiritual level
As our spiritual level increases, our capacity to do spiritual practice both qualitatively and quantitatively increases. Our capacity to do more spiritual practice is like growing ‘spiritual muscles’. The more we stretch ourselves to do spiritual practice, the more we grow our ‘spiritual muscles’.
Spiritual practice really starts in the true sense at the spiritual level of 35%. By this we mean, when one truly seeks spiritual growth and practices Spirituality on a daily basis, according to the basic principles of Spirituality. One of the criteria of spiritual growth is going beyond sectarian spiritual practice (that is belonging to any one religion) and taking up progressively higher and subtle spiritual practice. For example, a person previously worshipping God through the medium of his body – ritualistic worship, moves on to a higher and subtler medium, that is worshiping God mentally. An example of this is doing the spiritual practice of chanting the Name of God.
Here are a few examples that explain the difference in attitude towards spiritual practice.
- At the 20% spiritual level, there is very little or no spiritual practice. If people go to places of worship it is merely out of force of habit or as a pastime.
- At the 30% spiritual level, there would be a general interest in going to a place of pilgrimage or worshipping God in a ritualistic manner.
- At the 40% spiritual level one would have a keen interest in obtaining spiritual knowledge and putting it into practice. They would spend a fair amount of their free time in spiritual pursuits.
- At the 50% spiritual level one generally goes beyond their own religion to pure Spirituality. One’s primary focus in life is to grow spiritually rather than indulging in any worldly attachments and achievements. Accordingly, the majority of their time is spent in practising Spirituality irrespective of their life’s situation, that is, whether they are businessmen, housewives etc. It does not automatically follow that those at 50% spiritual level give up material or worldly life or profession, only that, the focus shifts from one of achieving worldly progress to that of achieving spiritual progress. So the person, who previously cared very much about what he earned and what others thought of him, now would be more interested in what God thinks about him.
4.4 Psychological emotion and spiritual level
In today’s selfish and ruthless world to have positive emotions, especially concerning others is commendable. But after attaining this level, which is superior to that of the average ruthless, unemotional person, one has to keep in mind that this is not the ultimate state. In fact, psychological emotion is a function of the mind which is part of the dark covering around our Soul as explained in the picture above. Thus it keeps us away from experiencing the God (Soul) within us. God is beyond psychological emotion and is in a state of superlative happiness which is Bliss. As one grows spiritually, one is less likely to act out of emotion. One achieves a more balanced state of mind and no longer does one oscillate between highs and lows due to events around us.
A young woman at 20% spiritual level may throw a tantrum because her fringe is cut a centimetre shorter than desired and be immersed in misery for days. The same young woman after attaining a level of 50% may be stoic even at the news of being diagnosed with an incurable illness like cancer or AIDS.
4.5 Spiritual emotion and spiritual level
Spiritual emotion (bhāv) towards God is experiencing an intense awareness of the existence of God in everything, that is feeling God’s presence while carrying out day-to-day life activities and experiencing life based on this awareness.
As one’s spiritual emotion increases one is more and more able to experience God’s hand in every aspect of life and hence is able to surrender more to God. Once one attains the state of surrender, the God principle can then work through him. This principle becomes progressively more and more manifest in the person and he as well as those around him, experience the flow of God’s divine energy through him.
A person at the 20% spiritual level may be full of himself and his intellectual skills after sealing a big and prestigious deal. A person at a 50% spiritual level in similar circumstances will be overwhelmed with spiritual emotion and full of gratitude to God for His kindness in gracing him with the deal.
If the person at the 20% spiritual level was to lose the deal, he would be full of irritation, jealousy and unhappiness. However the person at the 50% spiritual level in similar circumstances would still be able to see God’s hand in the situation and understand that the deal has gone to the deserving and he would be thankful to the Almighty for gracing him with this point of view.
5. Some aspects of spiritual level
The spiritual level that we are at, is a key function in how we live our life and how we are impacted by life’s situations and destiny. The following are some aspects about the concept of spiritual level and how it affects our lives.
5.1 Spiritual level and birth
We are all born at a certain spiritual level. This is based on the spiritual level achieved in the previous life time. So suppose a person does spiritual practice and grows to the 50% spiritual level, then in the next lifetime he will be born at the 50% spiritual level. Basically in Spirituality we take off from where we left, in a previous birth or lifetime. This is unlike worldly knowledge where we have to start all over again once we are born.
5.2 Can atheists have a higher spiritual level?
Absolutely, even atheists can have a higher spiritual level even though they do not believe in God. Sometimes atheists start spiritual practice later in their life – this is due to destiny.
5.3 Spiritual level and compatibility
As we have seen earlier a difference in spiritual level can dramatically influence the outlook of two people towards life. Therefore compatibility reduces as the spiritual level gap increases between any two people. This factor accounts for 5% of the incompatibility between two people.
Even if two people are at the same spiritual level differences in desire for spiritual growth could cause incompatibility.
Another reason for incompatibility between two seekers of God is if one seeker focuses on individual spiritual practice while the other focuses on the spiritual practice for the sake of uplifting society. This can contribute up to 8% of the incompatibility between two people who are seekers of God.
5.4 Spiritual level and access to power in the universe
As we grow spiritually, we get access to higher levels of power in the universe. To put things into perspective, the following come under the lowest level of power, that is physical power. Majority of the world spend their entire lifetime trying to attain some aspect of this power.
- Medicines to cure an illness – for example, antibiotics to kill germs
- A physical weapon used to kill
- Financial power
- Political power
For example, one of the reasons for Adolf Hitler’s dramatic rise to power was because he was backed by a powerful subtle sorcerer (mantrik) from the lower regions of Hell (Pātāl). This sorcerer who possessed Hitler through his years in power made him invincible against any physical power.
The people who actually stopped the subtle sorcerer (in the spiritual dimension) possessing Hitler were twoSaints from India – Holy Mataji and Yogi Arvind (Sri Aurobindo) through their spiritual strength. Once the two Saints reduced the spiritual strength of the subtle sorcerer in the subtle (spiritual dimension), the armies defending their countries against the onslaught of Hitler’s evil, were able to turn the tide of war in their own favour and win the war. (Ref: searchforlight.org, lightendlesslight.org, aurobindo.ru )
5.5 Spiritual level as a protection from ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.)
The only sure and sustainable way to insulate ourselves from ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.)is to grow spiritually. At the 20-30% spiritual level, we are very vulnerable to an attack from all types of ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.). At this level, any ghost can possess us as they please as we are not in a position to benefit from the protection by God.
5.6 Spiritual level of a mentally challenged person
Spiritual level of a mentally challenged person is 19% as compared to the majority of human beings who are at the 20% spiritual level. The reason for this is that the mentally challenged person lacks in intellect. Intellect is a function of basic subtle Sattva component that enhances our spiritual level. Hence his spiritual level is less than that of an average person.
5.7 Spiritual level of an evil person
The spiritual level of an evil person who harms society such as corrupt politicians, gangsters, terrorists, etc. are often below 20% and can dip to as low as 10%.
Thank you for reading.
Steve Ramsey, PhD. Calgary- Alberta – Canada.