SADHANA

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SADHANA

For most persons, spiritual sadhana (practice) consists in the external observance of the rituals and the ceremonies prescribed by their own religion. Such observance has, at the initial stages, its own value as a factor which contributes towards self-purification and mental discipline. But ultimately the aspirant has to transcend the phase of external conformity, and get initiated into the deeper aspects of spiritual sadhana. When this happens, the external aspect of religion falls into the background, and the aspirant gets interested in the essentials revealed in all the great religions. True sadhana consists in a life which is based upon spiritual understanding; and it comes to a person who is really keen about spiritual realities.
Sadhana must never be regarded as consisting in the application of rigid laws. In life there cannot be, and need not be, strict and unrelieved uniformity. In the spiritual field there is ample room for the diversity of sadhanas. The sadhana which is useful for a particular aspirant is bound to be relative to his sanskaras (impressions) and temperament, and so, although the spiritual goal for all is the same, the sadhana of the aspirant may be peculiar to himself. However, since the goal is the same for all, the differences with regard to sadhana are not of vital importance; and the deeper aspects of sadhana have importance for all the aspirants, in spite of their differences...
In its deeper aspects, spiritual sadhana consists in treading the Path of Knowledge (Dnyana Marga), the Path of Action (Karma Marga), and the Path of Love or Devotion (Bhakti Marga)...
There is a beautiful story of a Kasturi-mriga which brings out the nature of all spiritual sadhana:
Once, while roaming about and frolicking among hills and dales, the Kasturi-mriga was suddenly aware of an exquisitely beautiful scent, the like of which it had never known. The scent stirred the inner depths of its soul so profoundly that it determined to find the source.
So keen was its longing that, notwithstanding the severity of cold or the intensity of scorching heat, by day as well as by night, it carried on its desperate search for the source of the sweet scent. It knew no fear or hesitation, but undaunted went on its elusive search, until at last, happening to lose its foothold on a cliff, it had a precipitous fall, resulting in a fatal injury.
While breathing its last, the deer found that the scent which had ravished its heart and inspired all these efforts came from its own navel. This last moment of the deer's life was the happiest, and there was on its face inexpressible peace.
All spiritual sadhana of the aspirant is like the efforts of the Kasturi-mriga.
The final fructification of sadhana involves the termination of the ego-life of the aspirant. But at that moment there is the realisation that he himself has, in a sense, been the object of all his search and endeavour, and that all that he suffered and enjoyed, all his risks and adventures, all his sacrifices and desperate strivings, were intended for having true self-knowledge, in which he loses his limited individuality, only to discover that he is really identical with God, who is in everything.
1943?
India?
Di v5 p36-44