Tradition tells us that all human beings are spiritual by nature. This is a given since it is assumed that humans are essentially Spirit, and have a corporeal form, the body. But sages of various traditions and times also sought to understand people from the perspective of their spiritual potential and inclinations. While it is true that all of us are spiritual beings, it is not entirely true that all of us are equally spiritually motivated. Spiritual teachers have understood this subtle difference and created a system whereby to understand one’s spiritual nature
As a rule of thumb, it could be said that the unfolding of one’s spiritual potential is directly proportionate to the inclination or desire one feels towards fulfilling one’s spiritual aspiration. This spiritual desire is called Mumukshutva in Sanskrit and refers to the intensity or yearning towards the spiritual goal. If this desire is sincere and true, it follows that the individual will take concrete steps to fulfill it, and this is most clearly brought out in the amount of spiritual practice one is engaged in. Our research shows that experts in various spiritual traditions considered that a minimum of two hours daily was the baseline for true spiritual seeking!
Based on this, we can understand one’s spiritual type as Tree, Monkey, Tortoise, or Bird.
Note that this typology is entirely focused on one’s spiritual nature, and should not be confused with personality types even though some overlap is possible. Would you like to find out your spiritual type? We suggest you take our quiz, it barely takes five minutes to complete and can give you useful insights and directions in your spiritual journey. Another way to find out about your spiritual nature and potential is through the esoteric study of the stars, also called, Jyotish (Indian Astrology). For a free consultation, check out our Jyotish page.
The Tree can be understood as one who is firmly planted in the ground and has little ambition towards spiritual movement. Such people are often content to let the spiritual remain in the realm of the fantastic and impractical. However, this does not prevent them from attaining great spiritual heights, after all, once firmly planted, trees (more than any other type) have a tendency to grow towards the heavens! The danger lies in the tendency to be rather firmly planted about one’s views about spirituality, which restricts outgrowth.
Monkeys display a tremendous sense of curiosity, which is a strength because only the curious are truly deserving of knowledge. Unchecked, this curiosity can also be the monkey’s downfall for the monkey tends to jump from place to place, seemingly engaged in great activity without actually moving purposefully towards the destination. Curiosity for its own sake, adds little value. Such people may sound very clever and engage in intellectual cogitation, but spiritual insight can be elusive if this tendency is not honed with discipline and focus. With focus, the monkey mind can achieve sublime spiritual states. The perfect example being that of Shri Hanuman in the Ramayana, who squandered his potential as a child only to become the spiritual hero of the story.
The Tortoise as symbolized in the famous fable is determined albeit, slow. A methodical and purposeful nature is the highlight of this type. Once set on the path, such a person will get to the destination, one way or another! His danger lies in inertia, rigidity, and a lack of flexibility on the path. Unlike the tree, this inflexibility takes a different form. The rigidity of the tortoise is not so much about whether spirituality has much value or not. It is more likely to be a strong and opinionated idea about what spirituality is. A staunchly religious person can often fall into this trap.
Finally, we have the Bird. The quintessential symbol of speed, freedom, and great heights. Such persons tend to fly towards their destination because they realize deep down that it is their spiritual nature that allows them true freedom, and they will do everything within their capacity to realize this. Nevertheless, dangers loom for birds as well – for the bird is wont to look down at everything and everyone. The possibility of developing a spiritual ego and pride is a real and present danger that can cause the high flyer to come down to earth!