The human life is precious. Not only it has got the most developed intellect, but it is also equipped with the tools for the spiritual growth of the soul. Growth means progress hence the spiritual growth would relate to the progress in the spiritual path. Any progress can be understood only with respect to the goal of the journey. What is the final destiny of spirituality? It is to attain perpetual peace and bliss. In another word, it is to unite with God who is the peace and bliss incarnate. The union of two conscious entities- that of soul and God means that the soul acquires the properties of God who has infinite knowledge and everlasting bliss. In the practice of spirituality, our progress or growth is determined by the extent we move closer to the union or Yog with God. This also implies that the spiritual progress cannot be attained without the practice of Yog in its true nature. What type of practices is called true Yog? Sadgurudeo says in Swarved about Yog:
Yog Yog sab koi kahe, yog na jaana koi |
Ardha dhaar uradh chale, yog kahaawe soi ||
Sadgurudeo clarifies here that Yog of soul with supreme soul happens only when the consciousness of the soul is reversed from outward to inward. Only the technique that helps us achieve the reversal of the consciousness, can lead us towards the spiritual growth not by the practices of modern yoga based on the movements of body and prana. Spiritual growth is outside the domain of Karma, it relates to the true spiritual devotion.
Since the Almighty is in the conscious form, only another conscious entity can acquire his properties. The true spiritual growth will therefore depend upon the basis of practice. If the practices are based over mind and other organs of the body, it may lead us to the accumulation of Karma but not to the desired union. Sadgurudeo clarifies in Swarved:
Mann Sanyukt kriya karma hai, bhakti hai aatam dhaar |
Surati nirati dhwani gagan mein, bhakti param tatwa saar || 5-2-37
Sadgurudeo says that we should watch our foundation of spiritual practices. If the basis of our practice is the body and mind, our effort of worship is in reality an accumulation of auspicious Karma which results into the physical, mental and material growth in life but not into the spiritual growth. The true devotion through which we acquire the desired bliss and peace requires the base of the pure consciousness where the consciousness of the soul called Surati refines further to become Nirati in the meditative journey and unites with the consciousness of the supreme being. Spiritual growth is achieved through the journey of consciousness in meditation and not through the body, mind and other organs.
During the course of a spiritual discussion, a friend mentioned-“I chant a few mantras from the “Guru Gita” every day, and this is my contribution towards my own spiritual development.”
Regular reading of “Guru Gita” and the scriptures alike is good, because it helps generate more respect towards the guru, and facilitates easy internalization of His body of knowledge. However, it may not be enough from the point of view of spiritual progress. In “Guru Gita”, Lord Shankar hints at the greatness of the guru, by way of the following verse: –
Dhyan Moolam Gururmurtih, pooja moolam guroh padam |
Mantra moolam gurorvakyam, moksha moolam guroh kripa ||
We would need to absorb the essence of the aforesaid Mahamantra (verses of wisdom) in our hearts. We would imbibe the relevance of this mahamantra only when we realize deep down within our inner self that- the guru’s image is the essence of meditation, the guru’s lotus feet is the essence of worship, the guru’s utterances are the essence of mantras and the guru’s benevolence is the essence of salvation. Unflinching faith and devotion towards the guru and development of eligibility within self are essential prerequisites for being able to imbibe the divine spiritual consciousness of the guru within ourselves.
Guru is not a mortal body but an infinite ocean of spiritual energy; it stays within a mortal body but yet it is immortal. It is the duty of the disciple to genuinely surrender before such a guru, and honestly follow the path shown by him; just chanting of mantras is not sufficient.
Maharshi Sadguru Sadafaldeo Ji Maharaj (swamiji) writes in Swarved: –
Satya gyaan satya dharma sab, Sadguru ashrit hoy |
Jyon samudra nadiyaan mili, brahma gyaan gun soy ||
True knowledge and righteousness are embodied within Sadguru, and it is Sadguru who reveals it before the eligible disciples. Sadguru naturally possesses several divine powers, all knowledge and sciences, riches and luxuries, courage and valor, brilliance and effervescence. The disciple immensely benefits by surrendering before such an endowed Sadguru. Swamiji further says:
Sadguru niyaman dheervar, shaant dridha aaseen|
Prem virah anooraagrat, aarat deen adheen||
The humble, completely surrendered disciple, overflowing with a feeling of love and respect for the sadguru’s instructions, attains ultimate peace and bliss.
Regular reading of spiritual literature and chanting of mantras can definitely help in the purification of the human mind, but the worship should not end here. It should move ahead and beyond this, into regular meditation under the guidance of the sadguru. The process of worship is incomplete without meditation.
Knowingly or unknowingly, we are conditioned from childhood to follow certain rituals as worship, which integrates so well into our routine that we never think of looking for any alternative unless there is someone to knock our door of intellect. In the preliminary stages of worship, this is natural, but if this continues even after we have been fortunate to get the platform of knowledge of the sadguru, then it is not appropriate to make do with mere external rituals; it is essential to embrace the practical experimentation of meditation for spiritual development.
It is also not appropriate to find lame excuses for not keeping up with the practical meditation process. It is essential to sit for meditation for the prescribed time period, according to the instructions given during initiation; only then will the Sadguru shower his benevolence upon us. Meditation also has to be complemented by Seva and Satsang for the spiritual growth. In this context, Swamiji says in Swarved: –
Seva Sadguru hari bhajan, aru satsang vichaar |
Yah sanyam nit keejiye, tin saar sansaar ||
Service, meditation and spiritual discourses are the three most important tools for the seeker to continue in the spiritual path and each one of these is equally important. One complements the other. What is also required is purity of the mind, purity of deeds, controlled speech and utmost devotion towards the Sadguru. Only then will we move ahead on the path of meditation and achieve spiritual success. These good qualities will feed upon each other and will grow as we move forward in the spiritual journey in this way.
Regular meditation definitely starts reflecting in our attitude and in our behavior. A true seeker can never stoop to low levels. Our spiritual attainments clearly reflect in our behavior.
To sum up, mantra chanting, reading of spiritual literature, prayers etc are good for the initial phases of spirituality and worship, as they help in purifying the mind and in promoting the feeling of love and devotion. However, it is also essential to supplement it with the actual practical experimentation of meditation. Meditation, service and spiritual discourses are the three pillars of the spiritual growth and hence the true seeker of spirituality should find shelter in the feet of Sadgurudeo for strengthening these foundations.