How do you get started with spirituality?

All living entities are actually spiritual souls, so spirituality begins with realizing one’s spiritual self (the soul) beyond the body and its culture.

In fact, as long as one is not aware of the spiritual dimension of existence, one is not aware of oneself, and is in effect disconnected from reality.

Real knowledge manifests when one is able to distinguish between spirit and matter. The beginning of knowledge, mentioned by Krishna in Bhagavad GIta, is to know the difference between oneself and the body.

The spirit is the conscious self, so before being aware of oneself as different from one’s body and mind, there is no question of spirituality.

In reality, the spiritual soul is a minute particle of God’s consciousness. Thus, consciousness is a spiritual phenomenon.

This knowledge is basically absent in the modern world. Everybody identifies with their body and its culture. To misidentify oneself with the body and its culture, is the root cause of all suffering.

Srila Prabhupada appeared in order to deliver to the world the ancient Vedic knowledge of God and the soul. He continually called it the science of the self. He didn’t call it spiritual faith, he insisted that spirituality is a science.

To approach one’s real self, the spiritual soul, a scientific process is required. God and the soul cannot be approached on faith alone. Certainly, one can approach God on faith, like it’s the case in most religions, but it will not yield love of God. Love is based on knowledge, not faith.

Srila Prabhupada says:

"Krishna Consciousness is not a faith, such as the Hindu or Christian faith, but it is a science. When Krishna says Dehino smi yatha dehe…, the principle is that the soul is different from the body. On account of the presence of the soul we are getting different bodies. You cannot say it is Hindu. The Hindu religion may be more advanced, but Krishna Consciousness is a science. Others have only a vague idea. Krishna never said He was preaching as a Hindu or for the Hindus.

“But as a public statement you may say we are part of the Hindu dharma. It is actually Vedic culture, but they have been misinformed. We are actually Varnasrama dharma. The public doesn't understand Varnasram so sometimes we say "Hindu dharma. "It is a great science but unfortunately the name has come since the Mohammedans called the Indians Hindu because of the Indus River. The word is coming down like that, but we do not find the word Hindu in any scripture."

—Srila Prabhupada letter to Pranava, Feb. 1, 1977

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