The Quotient Question
There is no pause in the miracles being played out every second in God’s creation – the creation we live in. Floating in the vast nothingness, countless celestial bodies move around each other in a faultless and unending dance, untethered to anything. Life on our planet – including nearly eight and a half million species – miraculously propagates itself, without pause, to perfection. A tiny seed contains a whole tree. Two living beings give birth to life in their own image, complete with faculties of sight, sound, smell, taste, instinct and emotion to live out their own existence. And we take all this for granted, almost as a right owed to us.
The wondrous nature of God’s universe doesn’t stop here. The miracle of diversity in his creation is spellbinding. No two living things are alike, be they human, animal, or plant life. The scale is beyond calculation. Unique in itself, each individual living particle is different from the others, just as no two fingerprints of the nearly seven and a half billion humans match, or no two blades of grass are the same.
If all forms of life were uniform in their appearance, character and aptitude, it would be impossible to differentiate one from the other. It is diversity that lends each individual its distinct and separate identity.
The human species has engaged itself in not only recognizing these differences, but also grading them according to assumed levels of importance. Placing the intelligence quotient centre stage, and the emotional and creative quotients in the flanks, those of adversity, jobs and everything else, including spirituality, have been consigned to backstage.
The quotient parameters were designed to identify the talent best able to catapult us to a better, brighter future. That happened, but not in a balanced way. The current condition of our planet is witness to that. The world we have nurtured is one of division, competition, inequality, distrust, and hatred. We have damaged the very environment that sustains us. We seem to have erred somewhere, perhaps in granting undue importance to the intelligence quotient at the expense of all the rest.
When it comes to love and marriage, matchmaking is a challenging task in which we don’t give weight to just one or two qualities such as wealth and fame. We also weigh aspects of goodness, respect, compassion, generosity, and background to achieve a balanced view of the intended liaison, ensuring that a relationship will survive the test of time.
Where the rest of life is concerned, we falter in giving far too much weight to the quotient of intelligence. Individually, attributes of intelligence can tip us either way, towards the positive or the negative. It’s the same for anything we view in isolation. It’s only when we view all attributes collectively that we get a balanced and favourable outcome.
The quotient question explores the need to identify the one quotient which balances all others – a sieve of deeper understanding, of soul-searching, not just mind-searching; one that looks inward, not only outward; one that applies to all equally, not singularly. This is the spiritual quotient, the one that has never received the importance it deserves.
Spirituality is at the core of all life. It is the base without which nothing can exist, animate or inanimate. As we move away from our core into the mind’s arena, we weaken the association with our spiritual reality. The mind, a formidable foe of spirituality, is a wanderer by nature. Never constant, it is always restless and on the move, jumping from one thing to another, never fulfilled.
Had the mind been an agreeable companion of the soul, and if it had placed the spirituality quotient at the forefront, the world would have witnessed progress in peace, equality, trust and unity. Just a single quotient would put everything in balance, giving respect to all life, irrespective of its level.
The spiritual quotient is well represented in the theory of dharm (responsibility) and adharm (lawlessness), as well as maryada (decorum or decency). Keeper of our conscience, principles, morals and values, it educates us on our responsibilities and duties towards God’s creation. It presents us with a guide for how to live life in a grateful and balanced way, with restraint and respect towards all that has come into existence. It offers a boundary drawn to ensure decorum, decency and equilibrium in our relationship with the creation.
We live in an ever-changing world where nothing is constant. Such is the nature of life. Social and cultural landscapes are struggling to adapt to the frantic pace of change the world is going through; in just a century, our experience has spanned from travel in bullock carts to space flights and artificial intelligence. The world may become very different in the next half century. Probabilities on that horizon may present us with robots as an integral part of family life, sharing our emotions and giving us advice. Artificial wombs to nurture life in labs might become commonplace along with genetic modifications to produce life with predetermined attributes.
The quotient parameters, as we see them now, will be beyond recognition by then – unless we wake up and start applying our spiritual quotient to the future, in every action and every thought. Unlike other quotients, spirituality is plural; it applies to all equally. It is not selfish, it does not place anyone at a disadvantage, it does not harm anyone. It is a blessing, without which we won’t be human.
Let us keep the balance in all that we pursue. Let us not make ourselves less human. Let us not lose our spiritual core.