Spirituality and Materialism: are they really opposites? Author Interview with Dipa Sanatani

“What’s life without a little conflict?” – Planet Rahu from Dipa Sanatani’s The Little Light

The moment one hears the word “Spirituality”, they think about the saints and hermits who meditate amid the huge mountains enduring the extreme cold and harsh conditions. But what one doesn’t know is that the people we see everyday on their journey to earn their livelihood, working hard towards their dreams and to live a productive life, can also practice spirituality while sitting on their desk with a cup of tea and a book in hand.

Welcome to another exclusive interview with author Dipa Sanatani on “Spirituality and Materialism” where she reveals how spirituality can coexist with materialism, unlike the common belief. Like many other modern philosophers, Dipa Sanatani too believes that the spiritual world can walk hand in hand with the material world, if one can establish a tricky balance between the two.

Beginning with an anecdotal narration of how a sudden awakening of spirituality made her realise her higher purpose and how the story of “The Little Light” actually chose her, Dipa Sanatani quickly progresses towards breaking the false belief of people about spirituality being in complete opposition to the material world.

Read on to know author Dipa Sanatani’s approach to spirituality through the material world and her view on “Spirituality and Materialism”.

“Keep one foot in this world and one foot in the other world. Believe me, neither will disappoint.”

Q. Can you throw some light on your journey with spirituality?

A: I lived my younger years trying to do well at school and then figuring out how to build a career with that foundation. I was on my way to becoming an accountant. I got good grades and landed some nice jobs. But still, there was this nagging sense that something was missing and that I wasn’t doing what I was meant to be doing. That I wasn’t living my life aligned with my higher purpose.

I decided to change my university major. I switched from accounting to media and communications. It was a seemingly small decision. Little did I know that I had thrown a pebble into the ocean of life – one that would leave its ripples for the next decade to come.

The next thing I knew, I was a student in Jerusalem on a study abroad program. There was something mystical and magical about being in that old city and seeing thousands of years of history wrapped up in the present moment.

It was an awakening that happened when my soul was ready to evolve and grow. I can’t really describe it with words because it is something that shifts inside you when you’ve had enough and you can’t find the answers that you’re looking for in conventional wisdom anymore.

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Q. According to you, what is the true essence of spirituality?

A: That we are a part of something greater than us and it is a part of us. We are all Little Lights that come from The Great Light… and we will all one day have to return.

Q. What inspired you to take up spirituality as one of the key themes of your story?

A: I have no idea.

When I read The Little Light, a part of me still doesn’t believe I wrote it. I didn’t choose the story.

It chose me.

Q. In your book the planets are shown to enlighten the Little Light with spirituality. Can your elaborate a little about the spiritual link with the planets?

A: I started with the premise that the planets have been watching over mankind since time began. They are the timekeepers of the universe. Although they influence our affairs, our free will ultimately decides the choices we make and the life path we will choose for ourselves.

In my book, the planets are the great cosmic teachers. They’ve seen it all and then some. They instil in the Little Light the teachings it needs to survive in the world once it is born. But what the soul does with this knowledge and wisdom is up to the soul.

“That is humanity’s destiny; to evolve and grow with the cycles of time.” –Dipa Sanatani’s The Little Light

Q. If a Little Light accomplishes its purpose in one life, then what is the need for its rebirth?

A: You can always pick a new life task and a new soul purpose. If you’re done being a home maker, you can be an entrepreneur next time. Life is full of second chances, third chances and fourth chances.

What will you do with the chances life offers you?

“With death, there is always rebirth.” –Dipa Sanatani’s The Little Light

Q. Do you find science and spirituality to be inter-related in any way?

A: Spirituality is faith and experience based whereas science is fact and observation based. I don’t see why the two can’t coexist.

We humans have a great capacity for imagination and compassion. We’re also incredibly analytical and rational. It’s how our brains are wired – to live with these two contradictions and still function.

I explored this conundrum with Mercury from The Little Light. He’s clearly intelligent and gifted – but you get the sense that he’s missing the plot somewhere in his head. An intellectual understanding of the universe simply isn’t enough to fully comprehend our place in it.

“Growing up is never easy.” –Dipa Sanatani’s The Little Light

Q. What do you think one false belief regarding spirituality that ought to be changed?

A: There’s a commonly held belief that being spiritual means one has to let go of all ties to the material world. I don’t think that at all.

At the end of the day, we still need to take care of our livelihoods and lead productive lives. I don’t believe in being a hermit. We each have a contribution to make to society.

Q. Material world deals with profit and loss while spirituality believes in the art of detachment. How, then, can the two co-exist?

A: I think incurring losses is an inevitable part of life. I also think that any successes we enjoy are also temporary. It is in being detached from this cyclical ups and downs that we find meaning in spirituality.

It’s a tricky balance.

Q: What do you think is the trick to balancing materialistic life with spiritual awareness?

A: To me, spiritual awareness is the understanding that there is a world out there beyond that which we can know, understand and comprehend. This world exists in a different dimension to the world that we can perceive with our physical senses. My novel – The Little Light – is set in the Cosmic Womb, a vortex before time. Our material existence is a part of that world. Since we chose to incarnate as physical beings in a particular time and space, we have a responsibility to this physical vessel and the soul task that we have chosen to incarnate for. At the same time, if we think that the material world is all that there is, we’re living our lives completely unconscious of a vast vast world that is out there.

I think the trick is to keep one foot in this world and one foot in the other world. Believe me, neither will disappoint.

Then again, I’m a Piscean, so that comes easy to me. (laughs)

Q. Spirituality is the path of finding peace in life. What’s your thought on this belief?

A: In The Carpenter by Jon Gordon, he writes, “I know that I’m not a human being having a spiritual experience. I’m a spiritual being having a human experience.”

I believe that about my own life.

What do you believe?

“I know that I’m not a human being having a spiritual experience. I’m a spiritual being having a human experience.”

We wish Dipa Sanatani all the best for her novel “The Little Light” and all the books in the series where the Little Light will explore the material world with a spiritual approach and realise that she too is a spiritual being having a human experience.

“An intellectual understanding of the universe simply isn’t enough to fully comprehend our place in it.”

About the Author 

Sanchari Das devotes her free time to writing, painting, singing and enhancing her photography skills. The author of three books, Sanchari dreams to inspire millions through her writing. Born with a Piscean heart beaming with creativity, she is ever ready to embark upon new ventures and discover all the hidden sides to her personality. 

Author: Mith Books

Mith Books | The Merchant of Stories | Timeless Tales from Around the World

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