The Easy Sadhana
Sri Swami Chidananda
Worshipful homage to the supreme, universal Spirit Divine, the at once all-pervading and all-transcending Cosmic Being. It is the one reality behind and beyond all religions, the Brahman of the Upanishads as well as the personal God taking many forms to meet the requirements, tastes and temperaments of devotees. To that Reality, the Supreme Reality of all religions, all faiths, all creeds, we offer worshipful homage!
Loving adorations to revered and beloved Holy Master Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj who proclaimed the essential underlying oneness of all religions in spite of their apparent surface differences. May the message of this prophet of the unity of all religions be a factor to bring peace and harmony and oneness in today’s divided world of warring factions–where religions, instead of becoming the source of peace, harmony, goodwill, friendship, oneness, have themselves been made the basis of violent wars, destruction and killing.
Referring to this ethically-polluted age, the great Maharashtrian saint Tukaram, who was a contemporary of Shivaji, the great Maharashtrian prince and warrior, and his Guru, the great tapasvi, virakta, jnani and bhakta, Samartha Ramdas, has something significant and hopeful to say: “Never fear. Our ancients have proclaimed that this iron age, Kali Yuga, is an age full of contrary conditions and adverse factors that makes it almost impossible to lead a good life, a spiritual life, a life of goodness, dharma and sadhana. But at the same time they have said, “In this great ocean of adverse factors and conditions, there is one wonderful redeeming feature, and that is the chanting of the Divine Name of God. Done with devotion it brings about a severance of all ties binding the individual soul to samsara and confers upon it liberation.”
Addressing a king, an ancient sage had this to say: “Kalau dosha nidhau rajan asti eka mahan gunah, kirtanat eva kesavasya mukta sango bhavet puman.” Puman means the human individual, man. “Chanting the Divine Name of God, he becomes freed from his connection to this mundane, all-deluding samsaric world.”
Fully believing this truth, Tukaram followed this path as his main sadhana. Praising the Lord, chanting His Name, glorifying Him, he attained the indescribable bliss of communion with God. And having established the truth of this great ancient saying by his own living experience, in his own personal life, Tukaram called upon his contemporary human brethren and said, “Listen, O ye brothers of mine! Why do you not avail of this easy sadhana?”
Gurudev used to say, “Chanting the Name of God, repeating His Name, is an easy, simple path to attain liberation.” These are his words. “It is an easy, simple path to attain liberation.”
Tukaram said, “This is an easy sadhana, O my brothers–Nama sankirtan, chanting of the Divine Name, singing of the Divine Name. It will burn up the accumulated sins of all your previous births–Jalatila pape janmantacha. Na kari sayas jaye vanantara–You don’t have to exert yourself, take great troubles or renounce hearth and home and family to perform this sadhana. Where you are, in your own place, at your own home, you can practise this. You can live where you are, do what you are doing and practise this sadhana. God will come to you in your own home and give darshan to you. You don’t have to go somewhere. He will come to you.”
Thus Tukaram sings: “Nama sankirtana sadhana pai sope.” In Marathi, sope means easy. It is a sadhana that is very easy. “Sukhayeto ghara narayana–Narayana will come to your own home, happily, and give you darshan.” And once you get darshan of God you are liberated.
“Therefore, O man, avail of this easy path. Have faith in God’s Name. Chant the Lord’s Name. Sing the Lord’s Name. Don’t shy away from spiritual life saying, ‘It is very difficult.’ God has made it easy, specially for this age. The penance, austerities, denials and mortification that one had to do in previous ages, yugas, are no more binding or demanded of the seeker in this age. The Name overcomes everything, it is so powerful.”
Thus too the Bavarian mystic, Jakob Bohme, said about the indescribable power of the Lord’s Divine Name: “If you have sinned in your olden days–before taking to the spiritual life and dedicating yourself to chanting of the Lord’s Name and these sins drive you to hell, then the power of the Lord’s Name will enter into hell and break hell to pieces in order to liberate you.” Such is the power of the Divine Name!