Verse 18: The Right Attitude

Summary: It is very important to have the right motivation for starting sadhana. Only after fully realising the limitations of our current accomplishments can we hope to embark on a path towards new goals. Therefore, we need to first see the futility of our present existence to progress in sadhana.

Verse 18: Tanhayache Laagata Zhate, Tene Adhikachi Panha Phute, Roshe Prem Dunawate, Padhiyantayacheni.

Translation: Just as (the pain of) an infant sucking hard makes mother suckle her more, the (present) anger towards a beloved yields double the original affection (in future).

Last time we saw that sadhana should be done without any specific aim. But the basic question is: what prompts us to do sadhana? If you look around us, most of the people are not even aware of the notion of sadhana and they all seem to be perfectly happy with their lives. Then why should we do sadhana?

If we are really happy with our life, enjoying what we are doing now, then no further effort will be spent by us to improve our lot. We won’t feel the need. In everyone’s life, there are certain times that can be called critical. At such points we start doubting all things that we thought to be beyond doubt. In Raman Maharshi’s life, it was a near death experience, so was it in Swami Swaroopananda’s life. In Buddha’s life it was seeing someone else’s misery in life. In Arjuna’s it was the stark reality that only one of two factions of his Kula will survive after the war… The life of each of these people changed completely after that critical incident. Their sadhana really began after such an incident. In fact, I believe that the entire purpose of the first chapter of Gita is to emphasize the importance of the critical event in our life. The first chapter of Gita hardly has any spiritual message. But it was thought to be necessary, even in the days of very terse treatments on obtuse subjects, to include it in the doctrine of Gita.

Therefore, unless we face a critical event in our life, we cannot start our efforts to realize the ultimate truth of our existence. That event may be a temporary set back to our current goal, a flash of deep insight into the things happening around us (which allows us to see them as they actually are), unreasonable behavior of a beloved person etc. etc. The list is endless. In fact, it may not have been the first time you would have faced that particular difficulty. But at this time you are looking at the same problem in a different way to realize that our whole goal in life might have been wrong. Hence, unless we also have a correct attitude towards such an event, that experience would go waste (just like many others before that have been wasted!). For example, was Arjuna fighting for the first time with Duryodhana? Swami Swaroopananda must have experienced the hand of death before his experience. But the right attitude wasn’t there at that time.

This verse tells us the correct attitude. The attitude of anger or frustration or being cheated is not the right one. Even though we may progress in our efforts for some time by such an attitude, once we cool down, we will go back with double vengeance back to our earlier life (to make up for the lost time!!). The correct attitude is of acceptance.

Acceptance of what? We should accept the fact that we have never KNOWN a thing. Till now we have always believed that inferred knowledge by signs associated with things is the real knowledge. This way, we always had only an approximate understanding of everything. We go through our lives like the four proverbial blind men and an elephant. With such an understanding, a misjudgment on our part about things around us is bound to happen. And, that misjudgment is what essentially led us to our own personalized critical moment. The only way to remove this anomaly is to start knowing things as they are. This can happen only if we have an impartial observer’s attitude towards our life. This is what we have to accept.

Realizing this basic fact of life is a correct motivation for starting sadhana. Therefore, facing a totally unexpected difficult situation is a necessary condition for sadhana to begin. Further, such a situation with the correct attitude ensures that sadhana is going to last for a life time. This is its definition of success.

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3 Responses to “Verse 18: The Right Attitude”

  1. swarup kumar mohalik Says:

    I had tremendous difficulty with this page. Thanks to the proximity and our regular meetings somethings have since been clarified. Let me note that for your verification.

    You said here that Sadhana should be done without any specific aim in mind. However, for a beginner this is a big stumbling block. Of course, we do many routine things in life, like eating during a fairly established time periods, without ever thinking about it. But, Sadhana is something we want to do voluntarily and since it is not an established routine to start with, we always ask the question – what should I get out of this?

    As I understood from our discussions, we can start off with a goal in mind – any goal will do for that matter, like increasing the memory power or having a Darshan of the God or Guru – and then the process of Sadhana will then be sufficient to either make the goal higher and higher or make the goal itself nonexistent.

    Have I captured it correctly? At the least, I find this a good thread to start with.

    Swarup

  2. swarup kumar mohalik Says:

    One more thing about his page.

    Somehow, the term “success” rings the note of Aham (ego) because we attach success with “achievement (getting) some goal (object)”. But we want to do Sadhana to forget about this dualism. So when we have Siddhi in our Sadhana, we would not have the notion of success, isn’t it?

    I understand to some extend that the day-to-day notions we have will change after certain boundary. Then, do you refer to “success” as the achievement of the smaller goals we set during Sadhana? We will go on having more and more successes till at some point “success” itself will lose the normal meaning.

    How I wish to identify that point !!

  3. Shreedhar Says:

    Dear Swarup,
    Thanks for putting so much effort in trying to understand my thoughts.
    Your first comment is absloutely correct. In the beginning, we start our sadhana with a certain well defined object in mind. In my case, I was jolted by some immroal behaviour of a respected professor and thought I should spend lot of time trying to understand what prompted this person to behave in such a way (when there are so many `proper’ options available).
    Now, I do not even consider that that aim was worth thinking about! I am now more concerned about seeing where my attempts are going to lead me ultimately. This change of aim happened without a conscious effort on my part. I realised this change only when it has happened.

    About the second comment. Everyone would want to know in advance (I thought) what is the ultimate goal of sadhana is. This is our normal tendency. Therefore I said that the ultimate test of your sadhana is going in the right direction or not is the fact that you feel like doing it till your last breath. If you have such an attitude, then you cannot say that I am doing sadhana for a particular goal. Because if that was the case, there is a possibility of your stopping sadhana after attaining that goal. This is what I mean by doing sadhan without any goal. It is the sure feeling that you are not going to stop sadhana till you die. Once you have got this attitude, the sadhana has borne its fruit in your life. It has become successful, so to speak.

    Yours
    Shreedhar

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