36/9: Sadhak’s Behaviour

Summary: It is confusing for a sadhak to know how to behave in the world at large without harming his sadhana. Following the way given by Guru in letter shows the sadhak the correct way to harmonize every day life with sadhana.

Verse 36: Tari Pariyesi Ga Pradnya, Tu Aasthechich Samdnya, Boliliye Goshtichi Avadnya, Nenasi Karu.

Translation: So listen carefully (Arjuna), you have the full respect towards my teaching and also you are blessed with a discriminating intelligence, do not stray (in your life) from the path that I told you about.

Now the stage is right to know how to do sadhana while living our day-to-day life. The stage is right because in the previous verses we have seen the beauty in trying to make sadhana the goal of our life.

The question that now arises is: how do we live our life with this goal in mind? In particular: Do our mundane aims (earning more money, buying a better house etc.) restrict the scope of our sadhana?

The honest answer to this question is: Yes, they do. However, this is an ultimate answer. It is like saying to a person, who is standing in some filth next to a skyscraper, that the city is beautiful. The city does look beautiful, but for that you must get in the building and go to the top floor and see the panoramic view of the whole city. Then, even after knowing that the part right under this building is dirty, the whole city indeed looks beautiful to you. Just like that, we are now caught up in the whirlpool of our every day life that is right next to the royal road of sadhana. We must start our journey on it. At the end of it, you may say that life is beautiful even without practical aims like building a house! But how should we start our journey?

We went to Pandharpur by walking about 110 Kilometers. But this did not mean that we started by taking big steps to reduce this large distance in a hurry. From beginning to end, our steps were as if we were going to the grocery shop next to our house. Similarly, at the beginning, the road of sadhana may look very long and unending. But we should not give in to the temptation of trying to do something that is too ambitious. Some examples of ambititious aims are: I am doing sadhana, so I should not feel angry OR I am doing sadhana so I should not find faults with others OR I should be above the possessive feelings towards my belongings etc. The state of mind where you are free from anger, jealousy, lust etc. are 110Km. away from you! You would have to walk for a long time in small steps towards it. Hopefully, if we do not feel like resting forever in the shadow of a beautiful tree on the way, we will reach this goal. It is something like this: even though we start going to gym with the aim of having a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger, we still start off by lifting a dumbbell of 5Lb and expect only a small improvement in our muscles. We do not start with one having weight of 100Lb.

Just like that, having set a certain goal in spiritual life, like trying to understand what Dnyaneshwari or Swami Vivekananda or Raman Maharshi says, we should start with very little steps and expect very little gains. Since our aim is not in the jurisdiction of everyday life, we should not expect guidance in our quest from people whose intent is only to live day-to-day life to its maximum enjoyment. We should look for people who have already walked the path you are going to tread.

Case 1. Some of us are fortunate enough to have guru. We should try to follow his/her instructions ABOUT THIS PATH. Last three words are important because it is easier to follow his example in other respects. For example: he used to like a particular perfume, I also use the same one. He consulted almanac before embarking on a journey so I must do the same. He liked to sing a certain devotional song; I must sing the same etc. etc. Your Guru has lived his life in a certain way. His external behaviour is very much an outcome of his past experiences. It may or may not be applicable to you. However, the advice the Guru has given to you are meant for you to follow. He has taken into consideration your past and the present and seen a need for you to follow certain path and asked you to do so. Therefore, it is essential that we should follow the Guru’s advice to the letter. The advice may be something simple like remembering god before going to bed, or to chant certain shlokas at certain time of the day or meditate on certain form/mantra at a certain time every day etc. However, you will note that all these do not tell you how to behave in public. It is therefore expected of you to lead a morally right life along with following the instructions of Guru. In old days the Guru would have said `live your life according to the shashtras.’ Of course we do not know what shashtras tell us. It is no more a part of our education. However, we all know what morally right behaviour is. We can thus try to behave as per our understanding of what is morally right or wrong. Its like: If someone gives you a seed to sow, without waiting for further instructions, we first clear the ground, dig a hole and after sowing the seed water it regularly. Just like that our moral behaviour in the society will bring out the desired effects of our sadhana more efficiently.

It is also important for us to be in touch with Guru regarding our status. Even though Guru in essence knows a sadhak’s progress, his job becomes easy when we approach him on our own for further instructions. Then, depending upon your progress or regress, he may change the course of action for you to follow. We will then have a better instrument to progress in our path.

Thus, the course of action of the fortunate souls with Guru is: Listen carefully to the Guru for one’s own way of sadhana, Implement the instructions as per the letter (not just in spirit), Keep in touch with Guru about sadhana (with the intent of learning more ways of improvement, not for boasting to him about your attempts!) and all the while be a reasonable person in the society at large.

Case 2. If you have not found your Guru yet, it is imperative that you should find someone you can trust in spiritual matters. This is important, because sadhana is essentially done in our mind. If a third person tells you what to do with our mind, we will have more faith in those instructions than consulting our own mind. We often feel that our mind may mislead us to avoid its own destruction. This germ of doubt greatly reduces the efficacy of our sadhana. Thus, we should try our best to find a trustworthy soul mate first. If you cannot find any person, you should look to God for instructions.

Usually, we all believe in some form of God. Either as a form with a body or as a force that determines what is right and what is wrong in our life. A sadhak without a soul mate should start praying to his/her chosen form with the clear intent of progressing in sadhana. He should say, `I know that the constant hankering after worldly desires is not good for me. I have come to believe that the goal of life is different than fulfilling every craving of my mind/body. But I do not know how to proceed in the spiritual domain. Please help me in finding a soul mate to show me the way.’ Again the sadhak should live his life in a morally right way and wait for the God to send him the instructions. If one is sincere in our prayers, the instructions will surely come. Then, such a sadhak can follow the path outlined in case 1.

Finally, it can be seen that in both the cases, we do not go right away in finding the truth behind everything. We are doing something like meditation on a form/mantra or praying to god for help. Thus, our efforts do not seem to be directed in using our intellect to analyse things around us till we see them as false. Is it right? Here, we should remember the game of Chess. Even though our aim is to capture the King of the opponent, quite often we had to move our pieces to gain advantage over pieces of the opponent so that the King is forced to come out in the open and then we can try to capture it. Our attempts of understanding Truth (the King) is just like that. The Truth is always obscured by the six deadly sins (Dnyaneshwar Maharaj says: Like a fire is enveloped by smoke, or a seed by husk or a Sandalwood tree by snakes or the hidden treasure by ghosts). By above sadhana, our forces (mental strength, capacity to withstand setbacks in life etc.) are becoming stronger and therefore we are making the negative forces more ineffective. Then, when the time is right, the Truth comes out in the open for us to capture it with ease.

Hence, we should not stray from this path till we win our game and see the Truth in our every day life!

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