Perseverance and Aspiration Leads to Success
Sri Swami Chidananda
Early Morning Meditation Talk given in the sacred Samadhi Hall of Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh.
When spiritual aspirants, seekers and sadhaks are looking for guidance, when they are seeking clarification and some advice about their difficulties and doubts, the ultimate advice that is usually given is, “Whatever you are engaged in doing, continue to do it, but make it gradually progressive. Do more and more of it. Increase your sadhana, and persevere in your sadhana. This is the way.”
Impatience does not help in any way. In any journey you have to cover the distance between where you are and your destination. If you are eager to reach the destination early, then increase your pace and speed a little more. In addition, cover a comparatively greater distance each day than you have been doing hitherto. That may mean walk more hours than you have been doing. If you have been walking six hours a day, walk seven, maybe eight hours. It is thus that a traveller will be able to fulfil his desire to reach the destination earlier.
Even so, a sadhaka in the spiritual life, on the path of sadhana, should gradually increase and persevere in his sadhana, be it japa, be it meditation, be it study, be it praying to the Lord, be it remembering Him in the midst of your duties and work. Do not let any doubt become an obstacle in your path. Let the doubt be there, you carry on your sadhana with greater vigour. This very act itself sometimes helps in clearing up doubts. What we could not understand a little while before, we begin to understand as we continue our sadhana and make it more progressive.
All want to succeed in the spiritual life. This is but natural, and success is achieved by adhering to our spiritual sadhana and enhancing it. Continue to do what you are doing and do more and more of it. This is the one sure way of ultimately succeeding in attaining the goal of life–continuous, unceasing movement towards the great goal. Persevere and augment your sadhana day by day, and you have the key to sure attainment of the great goal.
By analogy, it is this continuity and onward progress that makes each river ultimately attain the ocean. No matter what the obstacles that come in its way, it circumvents them and goes onward. Our ancients also compared this continuity to the flow of oil from one vessel to another. Just as the oil flows in an unbroken, continuous stream, so should one’s inner spiritual life and sadhana be.
In addition, keep your aspiration alive and blazing. Mystics and saints have spoken about this great longing by giving human analogies from everyday society and life. If your longing for God, if your desire for meeting the Lord is as keen, as intense, as that of an unfaithful wife longing to secretly meet her lover, if your longing for God is like that of a miser constantly thinking of ways and means to accumulate more wealth, if your longing for God is like the longing of a sensuous person hankering day and night after sense enjoyments of various kinds, then surely you will attain God-experience, you will attain God, you will come face to face with the Supreme Being.
One mystic came forward with this assurance: “If you have the intensity of longing for God of these three–the secret longing of the unfaithful wife, the longing of the miser and the longing of the sensual person thirsting after sensual pleasure–and do not attain the Lord, I stand responsible. I give my guarantee.” Many of the mystics of both East and West embodied in themselves such longing.
It all adds up to saying that we should not be lukewarm. We should become the very personification of that longing. We should become in our total nature that longing personified. This is the inner truth of all spiritual life and sadhana. This should be the inner content of the sadhaka‘s heart.
We should ponder deeply and become benefited by dwelling upon these truths about the life mystical–a life of devotion, perseverance and aspiration. May the grace of the Divine and the blessings of Holy Master enable us to become such an aspirant and seeker and enable us to keep this before us as a touchstone and ideal.