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The Simple Sadhana

by Swami Sivananda

Man is a mixture of three ingredients, viz., human element, brutal instinct and divine ray. He is endowed with finite intellect, a perishable body, a little knowledge and a little power. This makes him distinctly human. Lust, anger, hatred belong to his brutal nature. The reflection of cosmic intelligence is at the back of his intellect. So he is an image of God. When the brutal instincts die, when this ignorance is rent asunder, when he is able to bear insult and injury, he becomes one with the Divine.

A thirsting aspirant is one who practises self-denial. He always tries to feel that the body does not belong to him. If anyone beats him, cuts his hand or throat, he should keep quiet. He must not speak even a single harsh word to him because the body is not his. He starts his Sadhana "I am not the body. I am not the mind. Chidananda Rupah Sivoham."

One harsh or unkind word throws a man out of his balance. A little disrespect upsets him. He feels and feels for days together. How weak he has become despite his boasted intellect, high position in society, degrees and diplomas and titles?

Bear insult. Bear injury. This is the essence of all Sadhana. This is the most important Sadhana. If you succeed in this one Sadhana, you can very easily enter the illimitable domain of eternal bliss. Nirvikalpa Samadhi will come by itself. This is the most difficult Sadhana; but it is easy for those who have burning Vairagya and yearning for liberation.

You must become a block of stone. Only then will you be established in this Sadhana. Nothing can affect you. Abuses, ridicules, mockery, insults, persecutions cannot have any influence on you.

Remember the instructions of Lord Jesus: "If anyone gives you a slap on one cheek, show him the other cheek also. If anyone takes your coat, give him your cap also." How sublime is this teaching. If you follow this you will have great spiritual strength and power of endurance. It will make you divine. It will transform the nature of the offender also at once.

Study the life of the Avanti Brahmin in Bhagavata (IX Skandha). You will draw inspiration and strength. People spat at this Brahmin, threw faecal matter on him and yet he stood adamant. A Mohammedan spat on Saint Ekanath 109 times and yet the saint was not affected even a bit. All saints and prophets had this power of endurance. People pelted stones at Prophet Mohammed and threw the ovary of camel on his head and yet he was cool and serene. The Jews pierced thorns on the body of Lord Jesus. He was ill-treated in a variety of ways. He bore all these calmly and blessed the persecutors. He was nailed on the cross and yet he said, "O Lord! Forgive these people. They do not know what they are doing." Read again and again the Sermon on the Mount by Lord Jesus.

All aspirants will be tested by the Lord and a time will come for everybody to bear worst trials, adversities and persecutions. These trials will make them wonderfully strong. They must be ever prepared to bear all these trials and persecutions.

You will have to develop wonderful patience and endurance. You will have to kill your egoism, pride, Deha-abhimana or false identification with the perishable body. Then only you can bear insult and injury.

Try at first to control the physical reactions and the feelings. Do not report. Do not speak vulgar words. Do not revenge. Kill the vindictive spirit or attitude. Check the impulses of speech, thought and action. Gradually you will gain control. Regular Japa, meditation, Kirtana, prayer, enquiry, solitude, Satsanga, selfless service, Mouna, Asana, Pranayama, will pave a long way in developing your will-power and give you immense strength to bear insult and injury.

MOST IMPORTANT SADHANA

Too much salt, too much chillies, too much tamarind, make you impulsive and cause anger. Hence give up these three things entirely or take a very very small quantity.

Speak a little. Speak always sweetly. So not speak harsh or filthy words. Again and again discipline the organ of speech, keep quiet when another abuses you.

Enquire. An abuse is nothing. It is mere jugglery of words or Sabda Jaalam. He who abuses, wastes his energy and spoils his tongue and character.

Mind exaggerates things. Imagination troubles you; you simply imagine that Mr. X is trying to harm you. In reality Mr. X is innocent. He is your friend and well-wisher. Mind does havoc through exaggeration and false imagination.

The mother-in-law falsely thinks that her daughter-in-law is ill-treating her. The daughter-in-law falsely imagines that her mother-in-law is treating her very badly. So the quarrels are going on daily in every house. The manager falsely imagines that the proprietor is ill-treating him. The clerk falsely imagines that the office superintendent is not treating him properly and so bears ill-will towards his superior. This is Maya's jugglery. This is all the trick of the mind. Beware, learn the ways of the mind and become wise. Learn to discriminate. Learn to do selfless service.

Do not make parties. Do not join parties. Be neutral. Remain alone. Keep company with saints, sages and the Indweller within through prayer, Japa and meditation.

Bless the man that curses you. Pray for that man who tries to harm and persecute you. Serve that man who speaks ill of you. Love that man who wants to injure you. Embrace all. Serve all. Love all. Develop Atma Bhava, Narayana Bhava. The two currents of Raga and Dvesha will perish by themselves.

Give up respect and honour. Treat this as dung or poison. Treat disrespect, dishonour as ornaments. Do not expect high seats and kind words. Do not sit on flowery cushion seats. Sit on the floor. Lord Gouranga sat in the place where shoes were kept. Be humble and do those services which are considered as menial services in the eyes of the worldly-minded people, but which are really worship of the Lord and Yoga activities for the knower and wise man. During the Last Supper, Jesus tied the boot-lace and washed the feet of his disciples. Sri Krishna, the Lord of the three worlds, washed the feet of guests and priests in the Rajasuya Yajna performed by Yudhishthira. Remember those two incidents always. This will make you humble.

Daily watch your mind and feelings. Be on the alert. Develop patience little by little. Grow. Evolve. Expand. Become strong like the Avanti Brahmin, Eknath or Jesus and rest peacefully.

May Lord give you inner spiritual strength to bear insult and injury. May you become a Jivanmukta.


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