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Advice to Aspirants

by Swami Sivananda

Vanity, arrogance, self-assertive nature and Rajasic violence are great obstacles in the spiritual path. They take various forms. It is very difficult for the aspirant to detect them. The Guru only can detect them and show efficient methods to eradicate them. The aspirant vainly imagines that he is advanced in the spiritual path. He resents when these defects are pointed out by others. He never admits his defects. Such an aspirant cannot make any spiritual progress.

The aspirant claims that he is a superior Sadhaka with psychic powers and great knowledge of Yoga. He thinks that he is free from defects and that he is a perfect Yogi. He poses as a Yogi with realisation. He says that he can influence others and has a large number of disciples, devotees, and admirers. Such an aspirant cannot make an iota of spiritual progress. He is more egoistic and proud than ordinary householders.

Lower nature persists and resists. It refuses to get itself sublimated and transformed.

If the aspirant is not willing to regenerate his lower nature, he will not be benefited even if he remains for several years with his Guru.

Disobedience and indiscipline are great obstacles in spiritual path. Self-assertion stands in the way of obedience. The ego can be annihilated only by obedience, humility and service. The aspirant has his own ideas, whims, fancies and impulses. He is unwilling to accept any order or discipline, presented by his Guru. He has his own ways. He promises to be obedient and observe discipline, but the actions done or the course followed is the very opposite of his profession or promise.

He finds faults in his Guru and even superimposes defects in him. This is height of his folly. How can he improve in the spiritual path?

He who is not straightforward cannot profit by the Guru's help.

An aspirant who conceals facts, who utters falsehood, who is hypocritical cannot hope for the descent of divine light. He does things to keep up his position, to get his own way or indulges in his own habit. He clouds his own understanding and conscience.

It is impossible to correct an aspirant who has the dangerous habit of constant Self-justification. He is ready to bring any kind of clumsy argument to justify himself, to keep up his position and prestige.

If an aspirant continues out of Self-esteem and Self-will or Tamasic inertia to shut his eyes or harden his heart against the Divine Light, so long as he does that, no one can help him.

The entire being must agree for the divine change. There must be integral surrender. Then alone the light will descend. Then alone the Guru can help the aspirant.

An aspirant who is obstinate, Self-assertive or aggressive and Self-willed has his own ways of thinking and acting. He will not pay any heed to the advice of his Guru. He gets stuck up in the Self-created mind. He cannot rise up in the ladder of Yoga.

If an aspirant who is arrogant, vain, untruthful and violent says, that he is meditating for two hours nicely, he is a hypocrite, he is a deluded soul. No meditation is possible in one who has such evil traits. Do not believe this deluded man.

Obey your teacher. Follow his instructions implicitly. Be truthful. Be calm. Be serene. Be humble. Be devoted. Be disciplined. You will attain Self-realisation now and here. May Lord bless you all, O sincere seekers after Truth.

Svetasvatara Upanishad says: "He who has supreme devotion to God, and has intense devotion to the Guru as he has to God, unto him are the truths of the Upanishads revealed."

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