Archive for the ‘Questions’ Category

Q&A 2 – About Sadhana

June 19, 2007

We continue with some more details from various Q & A sessions during last one year. This one deals with sadhana.

1. What is meant by the word sadhana?

Sadhana means concentrated efforts towards achieving a well-defined goal (called saadhya in Sanskrit). However, in practice, this word is used only in the context of efforts towards spiritual goals. Thus, any concentrated effort with a spiritual goal in mind is called sadhana.

2. Is the sadhana prescribed by the guru enough to realise God?

No. It is not enough. The sadhana prescribed by the guru forms a necessary part of your sadhana but just by itself it is not enough.

The following example may clarify this point. If you are a school student and you want to come first in an examination, it is necessary that you attend all classes and learn from your teachers by paying full attention. With this much effort you are sure to pass the examination and get decent score, but just this much effort is not enough to come first. When you do the sadhana prescribed by your guru, it is like going to the classes without fail and being attentive. However, on your own you will have to improve and modify this sadhana to suit your needs. It is like procuring last few years of question papers and studying them at night to get full marks.

Hence, by just doing the sadhana given to you by your guru you are sure to pass the examination with decent marks (meaning you may get an intuitive idea about God) but you will not come first (get first hand experience of God). For that you have to show some enterprise yourself. May be, this explains why all students of the same guru do not reach the same height despite their honest efforts.

3. What is then the importance of guru?

As I said before, guru gives the core of your sadhana and gives you an initial push towards finding your own sadhana. Finding one’s own sadhana is not easy. This can only be done by lots of trial and error attempts. Millions of these attempts may fail and at last suddenly you will know by the peace of your mind that you have are on the right track, you have found your own sadhana.

During all these tribulations, the support of your guru is indispensable and thereafter, his presence gives you a sense of peace. To give an example, you have seen in a circus trapeze artists performing various tricks high up on the air. I have not yet seen a single person falling down during their acts. And yet, they do not perform without the safety net securely fastened below them. This net was important for them while they were learning their tricks and now, just the existence of this net inspires them with confidence to do whatever they want to do without fear. The guru is like this net in our life!

4. You say that the aim of our efforts should be Self realisation, knowing our own real nature. This has nothing to do with the society at large. Yet, you say that real measure of progress can only be determined by our behaviour in the society. How is that?

There is no contradiction in seeing our spiritual progress towards Self realisation in our behaviour with others. Just as the brightness of light bulb (which is intrinsic to its existence) can be best measured by how far its light goes (its behaviour in the outside world), the success of our internal search is best seen by watching how many people have come closer to you! The more concentrated your efforts towards Self realisation become, the less time you will have for the petty squabbles of our daily life. The more tolerant you become to them, more people will feel friendly towards you, for most of our irritations are caused by inconsequential disagreements over small matters. They became important to us because of our choices. If your choice in life is to do sadhana in earnest, you can see them as they really are. Hence to see what you have held important in your life, it is necessary to see what are you tolerant to (things you are tolerant to are not that important in your life).

Secondly, to reach the goal, it is not necessary to measure our own progress. You can walk the path without wanting to know how many miles you have traveled. So you can very well proceed with your sadhana without having to see the outside world. Thus, it no way contradicts sadhana. It is a human nature to remain assured about our correctness. If you are prey to this feeling, then and only then, you are supposed to look outside and see if you are on the right track.

From these two points it is clear that our progress towards Self realisation can best measured only by our behaviour in the sensory world.

5. I believe that getting Moksha, the ultimate freedom, is an infinite thing. I can also see that all my efforts are in this world. Which is finite. How can I ever hope to reach this infinite goal by finite means?

Here is an example. In banks, there is a scheme of recurring deposit wherein, every month you pay a fixed amount (say Rs.5) and at the end of the year you will get Rs. 65 (instead of Rs.60). From where has this extra five rupees come about? The bank has given them to you on its own accord as a gesture of its gratefulness of your trust (or the bank has made profit on your money and shared some of it with you.). Exactly like that, our consistent and regular attempts to reach this infinite goal is our recurring deposit to the God. Now, we do not know what percentage interest the God is going to give us! If it is infinite, at the end we will get an infinite amount. Now the great souls (saints) who have reached the goal have an understanding with this God Bank and they know that the interest rate for Recurring deposit is infinite but for a fixed deposit (meaning you do lot of sadhana once in your life and then give up!) is very small. So they tell us to be consistent with our sadhana and then however small your individual contribution is, you will get the infinity you always wanted!!! This is the reason why none of the realised souls say that their state has come about by their own efforts. All of them thank God for putting them in this illumined state. They know that without this infinite percentage of interest, they had no chance of getting where they are now.

Cheers to this amazing deal we are getting from the God Bank.