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Are you becoming a Better Person?

Spiritual perfection follows ethical perfection. Where there is dharma (righteousness) there is adhyatma (spirituality), and where there is adhyatma there is bound to be true dharma. If there is adhyatma, but true dharma is lacking, then the adhyatma is imperfect and incomplete. These truths must be very clearly understood and grasped. They should be made the basis of our spiritual life. Dharma is the foundation, sadhana is the structure, adhyatma is the completion. Even if the structure is complete but no roof has been put on it, no one can live in it. Adhyatma then is that which completes, but both the structure of sadhana as well as the completing roof of adhyatma can only be raised upon the foundation of dharma.

No one is perfect in this created phenomenal world, but all have the potential for perfection. Life is a means for rising beyond imperfection into a state of perfection. That is why life has been given. Sadhana is the scientific system for attaining that perfection. An unripe fruit in a garden is imperfect; it is neither sweet nor satisfying. One cannot enjoy it because it is imperfect. An unripe fruit has to utilise all of nature around it in order to gradually rise above its state of imperfection and become a juicy, ripe fruit that gives joy to all. So, the whole process is a gradual transformation from imperfection to perfection, from incompleteness to completeness, from a defective human nature into a beautiful, all perfect and divine nature. The potential for this transformation is within each human individual. God dwells in all beings, but all beings cannot become aware of His indwelling divinity. It is only given to man who can think, reason and expand his understanding of himself. To this unique being alone is open the ability to recognise his mission and engage in purposeful endeavour to become perfect.

One of the unfailing touchstones of a truly spiritual life is, "What is my sadhana doing to me?" Quite apart from its connection with God or our eternal Reality, spiritual life has also to be tested upon the basis of your relationship to God's creation. As you proceed in your spiritual life, are you becoming more and more compassionate towards God's creatures? Are you becoming a more truthful person in your dealings, are you becoming more a person of sublime and pure thoughts and actions; is this taking place? Is the unripeness of an imperfect human nature gradually giving place to maturity, to a ripeness of spiritual nature? Is it ultimately moving towards perfection in a divine manner? Day by day one should test oneself: "What is my sadhana doing to me? What process is taking place within me, within my mind, heart and in my approach to life?"

This is the touchstone: are you becoming a better neighbour to your neighbour; are you becoming a better disciple to your guru, a better seeker to other fellow seekers? Are you becoming a positive, creative factor of inspiration and adoration in your contemporary human society? It is very important that you keep a tab on what is happening to you, because they say that sadhana is a sort of alchemy where base metal is turned to gold. That alchemy must take place within your personality; any authentic sadhana must inevitably bring about this inner transformation. In spiritual life, this inner process of becoming transformed must invariably follow all sadhana that is rightly engaged in, that is correctly oriented, that is being done with an in-depth understanding of what it is supposed to do to one's life and personality. This here-and-now inner transformation is as equally important as the ultimate goal of God-realisation. I want to say that it is even more important. If it is not taking place, you will have to wait long, because there is something blocking the needed inner transformation.

Sadhana makes a person a good person-a truthful, tolerant, compassionate person. Sadhana creates a person of noble character, pure conduct and holy life. Thus it becomes the gradual process of the ascent of the spirit towards God-consciousness. Imperfection is not to be kept forever. Though we may be born imperfect, it is not to be tolerated or maintained. That is the meaning of life, the value of life.

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