Sri Swami Atmaswarupananda
Early Morning Meditation Talk given in the Sacred Samadhi Hall of Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh
In the Gita, Lord Krishna warns us that lust, anger and greed are the gateways to hell. And in his Universal Prayer, Gurudev prays that we may be freed from egoism, lust, greed, hatred, anger and jealousy. And so it is in most religions. These are the sort of things that we consider to be our worst enemies from a spiritual point of view.
However, perhaps from the point of view of a spiritual teacher, these types of sins can be secondary to habits and ways of living that we don’t consider to be a problem. As an analogy, a progressive enterprise can stand almost anything in a person except their desire to find a comfort level. The one thing that is most difficult to fight is inertia–people being satisfied where they are and no longer being willing to improve and advance.
Sometimes spiritual teachers can be confusing in that they preach against the well-known sins, yet surrounding them they tolerate people who are not living up to the virtues that they are preaching. But perhaps those people are not suffering from the worst sin of all from a spiritual point of view which is inertia. If a person is willing to change then there is always hope, but if they are self-satisfied, if they have found a comfort level, if there is inertia, then even if their normal sins are at a minimum, from a higher point of view they are hopeless because they are not willing to move. In addition, they may be suffering from spiritual pride, thinking that they are better than most others because they are not committing the same sins.
Our spiritual teachers, gurus, and the scriptures are calling us to an entirely different view of life. We are basing our life on an identity with a body and mind; our only concern is that we get what we want. From their higher point of view, that is the ultimate sin. The thing that counts is that we be flexible enough to move, that we surrender ourselves to that one Spirit that is the Indweller of all of us.
Therefore, each one of us must constantly examine our lives. Have we found a comfort level? Are we no longer willing to change? Have we lost interest in a new angle of vision? This is the real test of our spiritual life. As long as we are willing to move, anything is possible. All goals are possible. If we have reached a comfort level, if inertia has set in, then we can dream as much as we want about spiritual progress, but it is not likely to happen. We must be willing to change, and that is what all the scriptures and all our gurus are calling us to. That has always been their central message. Have another angle of vision. Change now!