A Sermon on Sadhana
SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
The life of a spiritual aspirant in the world is verily like a fierce struggle and fight with deadly serpent. Samsara or worldly life is a terrible and deadly serpent. Man must keep constant and alert watchfulness lest the Samsara-sarpa take you unawares. Keep the twin eyes of Viveka (discrimination) and Vichara (enquiry) wide open. At time the man becomes poisoned in the course of his Vyavahara (worldly activities). He must retire periodically from the worldly atmosphere and take recourse to Satsanga (association with the wise), Sadhana, seclusion and silent meditation. This is the spiritual Sanjivini (a herb) for you to revive yourself and enter the daily spiritual life again without fear. Satsanga and seclusion are the magic herbs which remove completely all poison of worldliness from you. With their help you will keep yourself safe.
The Supreme Lord of all creations gives to the Jiva this precious human body in which to cultivate all the good things of life. The Jiva listening to the promptings of its lower nature allows the body to get into the possession of innumerable evil Gunas (qualities). They dominate the person and make the Jiva helpless. The evil qualities take such strong hold upon him that later on when he tries to acquire virtues and to develop Yama and Niyama, there commences a regular challenge. The old vicious Vrittis (thought waves) and Samskaras (impressions in the subconscious mind) do not allow virtues to gain entry. They revolt and push them out, but when the aspirant in this helpless condition prays sincerely to the Lord for strength, then the Grace of the Lord gives him the necessary inner force which enables him to throw out his old viciousness and to obtain the fruits of Sadhana.
Desire is a great obstacle, a great barrier in the path of Self-realisation. Control of mind means really abandoning desires. If one wants to discipline the mind perfectly well, one must give up all desires without reserve, all longings for worldly objects and building castles in the air. The monkey-like mind will always be restless, desiring something or other. Just as the fish taken out of water tries to get into water by some means or other, so also the mind will always entertain evil thoughts. Killing all the desires ruthlessly, controlling the mind, freeing it from the surging emotions and bubbling thoughts one can attain the one-pointedness of mind. Such a mind will be as calm as a lamp in a windless place. One who attains such a state of mind can meditate for a long time. Meditation will come by itself.
If one allows one’s mind to run towards the worldly things as per its own wish and to entertain unholy thoughts and evil desires one will surely meet with destruction in the end.
Therefore give up desire. Have always that one idea to attain that supreme abode, the abode of joy, peace, bliss and immortality. Practice Sadhana. Be regular in your Yogic practices. Strive to attain that Goal. You will rejoice for ever.