Pitfalls in Sadhana
- I. Meditation — Work — Reading
- II. Rituals — Emotions — Psychic
- III. Obsessions — Defects — Desires
Author: M.P. Pandit
Print Length: 16 pages
Publisher: Lotus Press
Sold by: Amazon.com
Book format: Kindle
I. Meditation — Work — Reading
All of us are admittedly interested in sadhana which for us means a dedicated pursuit of the Divine in our daily life. You might ask why there should be pitfalls, let alone downfalls, in a quest of this type. After all, it is something very sacred, a purposeful moving towards God, and there is no reason why there should be pitfalls. A very legitimate question, but the facts are that this world, the whole universe in fact, is organised at present on a basis of ignorance and its extreme consequence, falsehood. We are in the mid-stage of the evolutionary movement and emerging as we have done from Inconscience, Unconsciousness, there is a great hold of Ignorance and its brood over us. And Nature, by which we mean Nature in Ignorance, takes good care to see that her creatures do not go beyond her.
Nature has implanted in everyone certain qualities, habits, which stand in the way of exceeding her, going beyond her reign as it stands. These are called sentinels of Nature. All around us there are these sentinels guarding this territory for the forces of Ignorance, blocking the onward, upward movement. For instance, take conservatism.
Whether it is individual life or social or political life, whenever any measure of lasting benefit is proposed, there is always a resistance from some quarter or other, resistance to change, resistance to progress. We always want to hold back under the plea of the stability of the society, not going too fast and stumbling. There will be specious reasons. Similarly, among individual seekers doubts will arise. Great experiences come, new truths are presented, but the mind asks, “How do you know that they are true? This could be imagination, or even hallucination.” So, there is a doubt and doubt is, as you know, a very corroding element. It will allow you to accept nothing, even concrete proofs. It will always raise a question, a note of skepticism. Take any progressive measure, any discipline that seeks to improve the lot of man; there will always be skeptics who will say, ‘let us see, it is not going to work’. Now this kind of unintelligent blind resistance to progress is seen not only in the wide world outside, but, as you would have seen, even in our individual spheres. For any ameliorating measure there are always doubters, skeptics and even ill-wishers. These are the sentinels of Nature to guard this kingdom for the lower gods. That is why you will find everywhere traps, pits, and the Mother points out that the greatest tests are not on big occasions, they are hidden in small details. We are always prepared, — at any rate those of us who are well endowed, — to meet the tests on a larger scale, but when these tests hide behind daily circumstances, apparently insignificant turns of life, we are caught unawares. And they are the pitfalls we tend to ignore. They are the pitfalls into which we find ourselves when we least expect it to happen, because they do not draw our attention. We take many things for granted. When temptations arise, we know. We know also what are unspiritual things, we are prepared for them. But when things are hidden around us, we trip.
To begin with, there is a great confusion between means and ends. Means are measures we adopt in order to reach a definite objective. So, means is one thing, end is another. In this effort everybody starts well, but a stage comes when we are so much lost in the process, in the means, that we forget the purpose for which we engage ourselves in it.
For instance, meditation. Meditation is not an end in itself. Meditation is a means to put yourself in tune with a higher or a deeper consciousness. You withdraw your attention from outside and turn it inwards so that you are for the time being freed from external compulsions and you get an opportunity to experience what goes on about you on a higher or a deeper plane. So, meditation is a technique, a very healthy one, to arrive at a state where you are perfectly in tune with the higher consciousness and you no longer need to meditate. There is a state in the life of the seeker, where meditation becomes so natural that he does not need to sit for meditation. The attitude of meditation is in-built in the being, in the outlook, and things go on within a meditative frame. Meditation has served its purpose. Thereafter one does not need to sit for meditation. But it is common to see persons giving undue importance to meditation, even exclusive importance, and meditating for hours and hours together. Mother always warned one not to meditate for hours unless one could not help it, one were captured by a higher movement and had to let oneself go. Be vigilant, never allow yourself to be lost. With many people who meditate for hours, four hours, five hours, nothing changes outside; they luxuriate within themselves, indulge in what is called rasāsuāda, taste of bliss, but there is no effect on their nature. Particularly in a yoga like this where change of nature is of prime importance, a stagnant meditation where you just sit and allow things to happen has no meaning. So many lose themselves, lose the direction, but they do not know it. They live under an illusion. Mother calls for brief periods of dynamic meditation in which aspiration and vigilance are active.