Qualification For Sadhana
Sri Swami Sivananda
This article is from the book God-Realisation.
Life is the greatest of all teachers and this world is its school. Truly, the world is the best school. All its lessons are taught through the books of nature. Nature everywhere abounds with such lofty lessons which alone are quite sufficient to bestow the highest wisdom to man. Each day is a valuable page in this book and each thing and natural phenomenon embodies a lesson to one who observes and reflects. And if you carefully analyse and reflect upon every phenomenon of nature, you will find that they all speak of the glory of God, the grandeur of the inner spiritual life; a life of unalloyed peace, bliss and perennial happiness–yes; it urges you to launch upon the actual Sadhana to make you happy and to free you from grief, affliction and sorrow.
All the ancient saints and seers–the men of God who have had intuition–have been declaring to all the mankind the great bliss, the vast power and knowledge that can be experienced if only man would turn from the sensual, sinful life and strive for the higher divine life. Yet we see today that man is as much immersed–if not more–in worldliness as he was centuries ago and the state of mankind is as apathetic and lethargic towards these questions of a ‘life’ in the spirit as it was in the beginning of creation. Why is it that in spite of the clarion call of very many great seers, of the confident assurance of the scriptures, of the repeated experiences of man himself in failing miserably to attain happiness amidst external physical world, you are again and again being deceived? Because man does not have a deep and abiding faith in the admonitions of saints in the scriptures, in the words of those who have trodden the path and attained the goal. If only man did really believe in these great ones, he would certainly be induced to act up to their words. It is this basic lack of faith in man that is at the root of his failure to do Sadhana. Thus if only man has faith in spiritual course of action, he will act up to it. If man has to take up Sadhana, if he really wants to obtain this bliss which is not mixed with pain, he will certainly have to repose faith. The entire social structure and order upon which mankind smoothly runs is based upon faith and trust. And when you are prepared to put faith in mankind which is but a passing phenomenon, why should you not put faith upon the very Creator of these things? Thus you see that the first quality you have to acquire is faith.
Now comes the question that having first of all full faith in the words of the seers and realised the necessity of Sadhana, what is the procedure; what is to be done? You may have faith, but if you do not put them into practice–if you do not begin to translate them into action, they will ever remain plans in the blueprint stage. So after the faith in Sadhana comes practice. You must set about doing. No question of believing. A belief must become an act. Having reposed faith in the words of sages and scriptures, you begin doing Sadhana.
Once you commence Sadhana, the next important thing you should bear in mind that you should not give it up. Perseverance is of the utmost importance. All processes in this universe are gradual. They have got stages. If you want to go through all the stages of Sadhana and attain the goal, you must have patience and perseverance. Therefore, you should have to always persevere, exert and plod on till the goal is reached.
There is another important point that in spiritual Sadhana you should not merely be contented with the positive forces. There are active forces that oppose the Sadhaka, that actually assail him and pull him down. Herein comes the necessity of the fourth important weapon–that is fortitude. While persevering man has to have a little courage, not to be easily shaken by the obstacles that assail him. He will have to brave the storm and proceed in spite of the difficulties and adverse conditions, trying to cow him down, to push him off from the path of Sadhana. It is with fortitude he refuses to be discouraged and relying upon the inner Self he proceeds with the Sadhana, and ultimately he attains the ideal for which he has been born upon earth; and while going through the process he will have to see that he keeps in mind the necessity of giving minute attention to all the small details upon the path, because in every process all such small details of the process are to be attended to, very carefully. If any small detail is left out, thinking that it is superfluous he will find that ultimately he has lost his valuable time and labour. This delays progress. It is the conglomeration of small things that go up to achieve high ideals.
Therefore, with firm faith, practical application, perseverance, careful attention to even small details and fortitude in trials, you must set foot and proceed on the path of Sadhana.
Raise aloft the banner of Divine Life. Feel all humanity to be one and spread the message of man’s divinity, the message of brotherhood and cosmic love, to every home and broadcast them to all. Ever assert your divinity every moment of your life. Ever strive to live in the consciousness that you are essentially divine and you have been given this human birth only to recognise your essential divine nature.