72/9: Causes Of Confusion

Summary: Even though we are convinced of the need of doing sadhana, we are not able to practice it in our life. Our past experiences and wants are the causes of our inability. By looking at the reasons of our deviation from sadhana, we can learn a lot about our own mind.

Verse 72: Erhavi Sankalpachiye Saanjvele, Naavek Timirejati Buddhiche Dole, Mhanoni Akhanditachi Pari Zhavale, Bhootbhinna Aise Dekhe.

Translation: Otherwise, because of (our) aims (in life), the clarity of our thought gets diminished, so that we lose the sight of one God and start perceiving our world in its entire variety.

An Observation: There are quite a few amongst us who are convinced that doing sadhana should really be the aim of our life. Such people have also tried to live their life in a way that is consistent with this view of life. Many amongst such have also obtained first few `fruits’ of their sadhana. Like, peace of mind in an adverse condition, getting a deep insight into someone else’s behaviour etc. However, even with good intention and encouraging results, not all amongst these fortunate souls are able to do sadhana constantly. Why should this happen? This verse addresses this issue.

Generally we have a very short memory. Especially of things that may not show us in a good light (‘good’ according to us!) Even though right now we are convinced by self-experience about the need of doing sadhana, we should not forget that till this point we have lived our life with different priorities, different aims and hence different means. At that time, we were equally convinced that our life should be lived in that particular way. These past actions of ours cannot be wished away and in order to nullify their effects in our life, their repercussions must be fully experienced by us. The following two examples illustrate this point.

  1. Standing on the bank, if we throw a stone in the middle of a pond, then we first see the splash of stone hitting the surface of the pond and then, after some time, see the ripples coming at us. Now, a person coming to the shore at this moment will only see the ripples and would not know its precise cause. This second person is you yourself coming to scene of crime (so to speak!) after spending some time away in doing sadhana. When you had thrown the stone you knew the exact cause but not anymore.
  2. A farmer may cover a piece of land lying vacant for some time with new soil and fertilizer and plant new seeds to reap a bountiful harvest. However, each time he waters his field, unknowingly, he is also watering the seeds lying dormant in the land. Hence, he has to bear the sprouting of those unwanted seeds also. Here, the farmer doesn’t even know what kind of seeds lie hidden in his plot of land. Hence, only after its germination he can guess about the seed that was lying dormant in the soil.

Just like the farmer in the second example we do not know the seeds we have sown at different times. Now, when we are trying to develop a new attitude towards life, unknowing to us, we are also giving nourishment to these long forgotten wants or aims. Thus, when the environment is right, we are forced to face the consequences of its growth. Since each of these actions takes place in our mind, the impediment is also in our mind. Therefore the result is that we get distracted from our newfound goal and end up tending those unwanted desires. An outsider does not have access to these thought processes in your mind. In fact, most of us are not aware of even our own thought processes. We only know their results when we suddenly feel an urge to do a particular thing. Therefore, for an outsider as well as to us, it is impossible to determine the exact cause of the deviation from our chosen path. If we understand and trust this verse, we will take it as a starting point that these deviations may have occurred due to our own actions in the past and they represent an outcome of our own hidden tendencies. If we have this attitude, then each time we deviate from our sadhana, we would have a tool with which we can understand ourselves better. The way we have stopped doing sadhana would indicate to us our own latent tendencies. The moment we come to know them and accept them as a very part of our existence, they will have borne fruit and would cease to cause a major deviation from our path of sadhana. In sadhana, acceptance is everything. However, due to some prejudices, if we refuse to accept them as our own, we are behaving like a farmer who refuses to believe that the strange plant in his otherwise nice farm is a weed. Then, he would have to face a significant loss of his crop as an outcome.

Therefore, this verse is saying that the way we deviate from our sadhana can be used constructively to understand our true self. And, after all, this is what sadhana is meant for. Is it not? Therefore, if we think like this, we have actually never deviated from sadhana!!! It was just a necessary diversion from our set routine of what we call sadhana. Thus, the sadhana is always continuing for such a person.

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