Spiritual sadhana is practiced to attain self-awakening. The starting point of any sadhana is self - introspection. Understanding the falsity of our egocentric identity through introspection is the first essential prerequisite on the path of self-realization. It enables the sadhak to pinpoint the ignorance-bred negativities lodged in the depths of our psyche.
The second step is to cleanse our inner being of all the accumulated debris and weeds of ignorance and simultaneously sowing the seeds of self-elevating virtues in the cleansed and fertilized soil of our inner being; and vigilantly nurture these divine attributes of selflessness, humility, altruism, loving kindness, compassion, etc. Mechanically performing religious rituals and mistaking them as spiritual sadhana is a mere self-deception.
In order to accomplish siddhi or success, sadhana has been considered a must. It is a proverbial saying that sadhak accomplishes siddhi. Those who work to achieve siddhi but shirk the endeavor of sadhana, have to remain unsuccessful, even though they might accuse some persons, circumstances or stars etc for their failures. In this world, everything is purchased after paying its cost. One can collect only garbage lying on the road free of cost. In order to pick up precious pearls, one has to dive deep into the sea. That too, in order to become a successful diver, that is, to understand the minute aspects of this art and mastering it, takes a very long time.
It is said that sadhana is completed in twelve years and then its becomes worthy of giving the desired success.
This is true not only for the spiritual sadhana but also for those done for the fulfillment of materialistic objectives. Those people are mistaken who think that duration of a month or fortnight is enough for becoming an artist, musician, singer etc. Sadhak has to cross several milestones. Of these, the first one is - overcoming the boredom arising out of monotony of the task. The childs mind remains unstable. It doesn't stay long, on any job. While playing, they start making a mansion of sand. It is not complete yet and their minds change. Now they start playing garden. Before it is completed, they start the third game, and so the sequence goes on. The impatience of mind wants the tasks in hand too, to be completed in haste. The bubbles in water can be formed quickly but they are short lived. From the point of view of fun and frolic, it is all right, but keeping in view the time and energy required for important tasks, impatience or haste has no place in sadhana.
Everyone must have heard the story of Shekhchilli (a typical nitwit ever living in fools paradise). He was carrying a pot of oil on his head. While going he sank in the fantasy. He started thinking that he will buy a hen from the wages of carrying this oil. When the hens multiply, he will purchase goats. He then thought of buying buffaloes and then a mansion and finally he thought that that he will marry and the wife will give birth to children etc. The impatience was so much that the pot of oil fell down; with the result that instead of getting the wages he received the fist blows of his master. This story may be or may not be true, but it resembles the fantasies of most of us. Generally, people make big and attractive plans, but lack the concentration, assiduousness and patience required for the purpose and still want success. At the same time, they are also eager not to practice continuously and not to wait till they master the needed skills through hard work. In this haste, many people undertake one task enthusiastically and when it not completed in a short span of time, they get impatient. The resulting frustration leads to discontinuance of the project in hand and start of some other newer project. When it is not felt easy, it is also discontinued.
Thus they go on leaving the tasks incomplete one after the other. For the failures they label the charge on others and curse the fate. In this way the morale is shaken and even the easier tasks, which can be done in the normal course, are not completed.
In order to achieve success in any important task, it is necessary to develop the necessary skills, collect desired resources and do hard work. In spite of this, sometimes unexpected problems crop up and it appears that they may lead to failures. Some people become nervous simply by this fear of failure.
Every failure demonstrates that there was deficiency of effort and resources needed for the task. Therefore, it should be continued with still greater determination and enthusiasm. Warriors like Rana Pratap and Shivaji were confronted with gigantic problems and failures throughout their lives. But they never gave up and did achieve their goals.
Jesus Christ dedicated his entire life to fulfill his mission of mercy, compassion and universal brotherhood. Even then he got no success during his short span of life, and was crucified by the dogmatic and ritualistic priests of the day. In spite of all the disgrace and torture that was heaped on him and the seeming failure of his mission during his lifetime, the history of the past two millenniums testifies to the success of his mission. He is worshipped and adored as one of the greatest saviors and path-showers of mankind.
The spiritual masters advise their disciples to go on moving along the chosen path life after life. If the target is not achieved during the span of one life then one should not get disheartened. The Divine Teacher assures in Gita:
Bahuna janmanamante jnanvanmam prapdyat |
Vasudeva sarvamiti sa mahatma surdurlabha |
---Gita VII / 19
"At the end of many births the man of knowledge attains to me; and sees that Vasudev, the Omnipresent Being, is all that is. Such a great soul is very rare."
So, a sincere and serious Sadhak must continue his pilgrimage towards his Heavenly Home unmindful of the time it takes. There is assurance from the Divine Teacher Himself of the ultimate success of the effort.