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Do Not Slacken Your Sadhana

by Swami Jyotirmayananda

Blessed Self in all, adorations!

Greetings for the New Year!

The advent of a new year should serve as a reminder  of the fleeting nature of time and thus, an aspirant must renew his or her resolution to attain Self realization. Within this renewal of one’s aspirations and reconfirmation of the purpose of life, the secret of welcoming the new year with a joyous heart lies hidden.

In the short duration of life, you must accomplish the central purpose for which you were born. Never forget the spiritual goal of your existence. You are not born to find a permanent abode in the world of fleeting objects, but were born to outgrow the world, and transcend the limits of the senses, mind, intellect, and ego, in order to experience your unity with the Divine Self.

Do not continue to live the same life of constant involvement in egoistic illusions. The mind of an unthinking man continues to sustain the impressions of attachment, hatred, and the manifold aspects of selfishness. If you are overcome by the same hatred and irritability, the same impatience and outbursts of anger, the same stupor of infatuation, the same hankering for the objects of the world, then you are not sensitive to the message of life. A transformation is both necessary and vital. Therefore, resolve to renew your efforts for attaining the central goal of life – freedom from the confines of matter.

You are not born to pursue the desires of your unenlightened ego. Therefore, why do you grieve when your desires are frustrated? Surrender to God. Understand the subtle teachings that are hidden in all adversities of life. Similarly, you should not be elated when prosperous conditions develop. When enjoying good health, harmony in human relationships, and generally pleasant conditions in life, you should not slacken your sadhana.

Take advantage of the opportunity that God has given you. If you continue to procrastinate, the clear firmament of your life will soon be overcast with the rumbling clouds of confusion. The reins of adversity will shake the very roots of your patience and endurance. Further, you must realize that even adverse conditions have Divine meaning, and thus, you should not exaggerate your adversity. With spiritual insight, endeavor to convert every moment of your life into a grand opportunity for progressing on the path of yoga.

Cast an objective look at your past errors and mistakes, as well as at your positive efforts and accomplishments. Resolve to correct your errors and intensify your effort for spiritual advancement. Never despair about your past errors. You have the infinite resources of the Self deep within you. Why waste time grieving? You can rebuild your entire personality and construct a brilliant future for yourself. You are verily the author of your destiny. Therefore, endeavor like a hero and do not slip into cowardliness by sinking in grief and dejection.

The secret of spiritual sadhana lies in sustained effort. An aspirant should not develop an effervescent spirit, which, like soda water, is noisy and enthusiastic to begin with, but spiritless and dull in a short time. Irrespective of the aspect of yoga adopted for sadhana, or the form of teaching chosen to follow, it is very important that you follow it day by day with a sustained, artistic rhythm of life.

Lord Krishna says in the Gita: “ Yoga is not possible for one who eats too much, nor for one who does not eat at all; for one who sleeps too much, nor for one who does not sleep at all. Yoga is the destroyer of pain for one who is moderate in food, recreation, exertion and actions, in sleep, and in waking.“ Resolutions to better oneself should also not be sustained by tension. You cannot advance on the path of yoga with tight fists. Rather, it is by a relaxed and joyous plan of rhythmic moderation in day-to-day life that allows an aspirant to ascend the staggering heights of yoga in a short time.

When you combine action with meditation, devotion with selfless service, pursuit of your duties with increasing insight into the purpose of life, then you convert the mechanized boredom of your life into a glorious process of spiritual recreation. Practice the important aspects of yogic discipline each and every day. Bring about a happy balance and moderation in all that you do;moreover strive to practice these disciplines daily: hatha yoga exercises, meditation, repetition of mantra, study of yogic texts and scriptures, service of guru or of a spiritual cause, and creative activity for the advancement of your mental horizons. You are bound to succeed!

Neither slacken your sadhana nor allow the flame of your aspiration to be dimmed by the increasing soot of inertia. Furthermore, do not let your blooming ideas wither due to the frost of time. Cast aside the thick blankets of attachment, tear the veils of illusion asunder, wake up from the slumber of ignorance, and walk out of the prison of egoistic consciousness. You are not this perishable personality. You are the immortal, non-dual, universal Self. May the Lord bless you with increasing aspiration for attaining Self- realization!

Hari OM Tat Sat!


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