Guruji on Spiritual Process and Progress
Spirituality can be achieved only through intense self-effort.A person may have achieved great heights in learning, a high position in place of work, wealth, social status, etc., but he or she may be as ignorant as a new-born baby as far as matters about spirituality are concerned. As we are aware, very few people are home-educated, almost all of them study under the guidance of a teacher at school. So also, almost all need the guidance of a Guru, on the path of spirituality. Spiritual knowledge has to be directly received from the Guru. The initiation and instructions given by the Guru should serve as guidelines for the spiritual process undertaken by a devotee. It should be adhered to, with sincerity and dedication. If so, then you are sure to achieve success in your spiritual life.
Once you undertake the path towards spirituality, then spiritual growth becomes an ongoing process as you conduct your ‘sadhana’ under your Guru’s discipline When this is done with complete faith and dedication, then you are sure to rise higher and higher on the spiritual scale. Never lose faith in your Guru. The doubting self can be drowned even when the water level is shallow. Have faith, and you will observe wonders happening in your life. The right way to revere your Guru is to practise his teachings to the ‘T’. Never let even a day go by without carrying out your Guru’s instructions. Until your devotion towards God and Guru grows, you will never understand how temporary and shallow this material world is. Gurus need not be physically present to guide you from day to day, or from year to year. If the Guru’s instructions are followed in spirit, spiritual transformation of the disciple will happen automatically. Do not think that if you are initiated by an enlightened Guru, all your troubles will be over once you seek the intervention of the Guru. It is childish to think so. Initially, the Guru may cater to the wishes of the disciple by getting rid of his or her perceived problems, so that the disciple becomes free to take up the path of spirituality. But continuously approaching the Guru only to solve one’s worldly troubles is wrong. That is not spirituality. The relationship between the Guru and disciple should be restricted to spiritual matters only. In order to realise God in this lifetime, it is necessary to do ‘sadhana’ with devotion and dedication. Go on doing your ‘sadhana’ as taught by your Guru, to the best of your ability. The grace of God and Guru is bestowed only upon those who have strived hard on the spiritual path, and have never allowed the weaknesses or temptations to become obstacles on the path towards Self-realisation.
Strive hard and push on, no matter what struggles you encounter in your life. Never give up. As you continue to carry out your ‘sadhana’ you will find your troubles getting fewer and fewer. You will start observing that material things no longer hold the same attraction as they did before. When this happens, then you can safely think that you are on the path of spiritual progress. As you progress, you will also notice a dislike for worldly associations. You will observe an increase in your love for your fellow beings, which was not present earlier. You will find yourself getting more and more compassionate towards others. However, you must take care to consistently follow your spiritual practices with discipline and sincerity, for it is very easy to fall from the spiritual path.
As you watch yourself, you will find that your consciousness towards the ‘outward’ gets shifted towards the ‘inward’. You will notice that in most activities, there operates a superior intelligence and you will find yourself depending more and more upon the Divine Will. You will observe that your ability to handle problems for yourself and for others, becomes strong and efficient. When you find yourself becoming more peaceful and contented, when things that used to irritate you in the past no longer irritate you, when you find yourself becoming more fearless and more loving, when you change from being egocentric to all-encompassing, then you may be sure that you are progressing well on the path of spirituality.
As you go on, you will be filled with a spirit of service and sacrifice, you will develop qualities of patience and forgiveness, love for all, non-attachment, dispassion, discrimination and self-restraint. You will observe that physical pleasures no longer interest you. Also, pain or pleasure, success or failure, gain or loss, no longer appear to matter to you. You will find yourself meditating upon God and Guru, more and more, until your entire being is completely filled with God-consciousness. When this happens, continue with your ‘sadhana’ but do not allow any sense of ‘spiritual achievement’ to arise in you.
Meditation is the sure path that will ultimately lead to Self-realisation. As you meditate more and more, you will observe yourself becoming joyful, and your body getting lighter and lighter. You will also notice that you are free from the negative traits such as greed, anger, jealousy, pride, lust and all such qualities that afflict human beings. You will find yourself remaining peaceful even under difficult circumstances, and painful situations will no longer affect your mind or spirit. As you go on, you will find yourself increasing your period of meditation, without being aware of the passing time, or of the sounds that surround you. Gradually you will be able to move into a samadhi-like situation, where you will be able to experience and enjoy a blissful state.