First of all, there should be a clear
conception of the Aim of one's life.
The Aim should
be such that it should not be subject to subsequent
change of opinion or transcendence by some other
thought, feeling or experience. It means, the Aim
should be ultimate, and there should be nothing beyond
It will be clear that, since the ultimate
Aim is single, and set clearly before one's mind,
everything else in the world becomes an instrument,
an auxiliary or an accessory to the fulfilment of
It is possible to make the mistake that
only certain things in the world are aids in the
realisation of one's Aim of
life, and that others are obstacles. But this is
not true, because everything in the world is interconnected
and it is not possible to divide the necessary from
the unnecessary, the good from the bad, etc., except
in a purely relative sense. The so-called unnecessary
items or the useless ones are those whose subtle
connection with our central purpose in life is not
clear to our minds. This happens, when our minds
are carried away by sudden emotions or spurts of
All this would mean that it is not advisable
or practicable to ignore any aspect of life totally,
as if it is completely irrelevant to the purpose
of one's life. But here begins the
difficulty in the practice of sadhana, because
it is not humanly possible to consider every aspect
of a situation when one tries to understand it.
solution is the training which one has to receive
under a competent Teacher, who alone can suggest
methods of entertaining such a comprehensive vision
of things, which is the precondition of a true spiritual
life, or a life of higher meditation.
There are economic
and material needs as well as vital longings of the
human nature which have to be paid their due, at
the proper time and in the proper proportions, not
with the intention of acquiring comfort and satisfaction
to one's self, but with a view to the
sublimation of all personal desires or urges, whether
physical, vital or psychological. An utter ignorance
of this fact may prove to be a sort of hindrance
to one's further practice on the path of Sadhana.
is, of course, necessary that one should live a life
of reasonable seclusion under the guidance of a master
until such time when one can stand on one's own legs
and think independently without help from anyone.
one should, now and then, test one's
ability to counteract one's reactions to the atmosphere
even when one is in the midst of intractable and
irreconcilable surroundings. Seclusion should not
mean a kind of self-hypnotism or hibernation and
an incapacity to face the atmosphere around.
also not mean that one should be incapable of living
in seclusion alone to oneself, when the occasion
for it comes. In short, the ideal should be achievement
of an equanimous attitude to circumstances, whether
one is alone to oneself, or one is in the midst of
an irreconcilable social atmosphere.
While in seclusion
the mind should not be allowed to go back to the
circumstances of one's family life, official career
or to problems which are likely to disturb the concentration
of the mind on God, because the pressure of these
earlier experiences may sometimes prove itself to
be greater in intensity than one's love of God.
is impossible to concentrate on God unless one has
a firm conviction and faith that whatever one expects
in this world can also be had from God; nay, much
more than all these things which the world has as
its treasures and values.
It is difficult to have
the vision of one's
Aim of Life, when the mind goes out of meditation
to whatever it longs for in the world. Hence, a deep
study of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, the
Srimad-Bhagavata and such other scriptures is necessary
to drive into the mind the conviction about the Supremacy
Study or svadhyaya, japa of mantras,
and meditation are the three main aspects of spiritual
Svadhyaya does not mean study of any book
that one may find anywhere at any time. It means
a continued and regular study, daily, of selected
holy texts, or even a single text, from among those
that have been suggested above. A study in this manner,
done at a fixed time, every day, for a fixed duration,
will bring the expected result.
The japa of
the mantra should, in the beginning, be done
with a little sound in the mouth so that the mind
may not go here and there towards different things.
The loud chant of the mantra will bring the
mind back to the point of concentration. Later on,
the japa can be only with movement of lips,
but without making any sound. In the end, the japa can
be only mental, provided that the mind does not wander
during the mental japa.
A convenient duration,
say, half an hour, or one hour, should be set up
at different times, so that the daily sadhana should
be at least for three hours a day. It can be increased
according to one's
capacity, as days pass.
During japa, the mind
should think of the meaning of the mantra,
the surrender of oneself to the Deity of the mantra,
and finally, the communion of oneself with that Great
Deity. Effort should be put forth to entertain this
deep feeling during japa,
Meditation can be either combined with japa,
or it can be independent of japa. Meditation
with japa means the
mental repetition of the mantra and, also,
at the same time, meditating deeply on the meaning
of the mantra, as mentioned above.
without japa is t higher
stage where the mind gets so much absorbed in the
thought of God, surrender to God and union with God,
that in this meditation japa automatically
stops. This is the highest state of Meditation.
one's sadhana, it is
necessary to feel the oneness of oneself and the
universe with God.