Essence of Spiritual Life
By Swami Rama
One objective of the sadhana [spiritual practices] of all believers in God is to be somewhat godlike. As God’s universe, which is both his garment and Self-expression, is not a dreary desert, the life and externals of a godlike person need not always be the imitation of a desert.
As bare deserts are, however, a phase of God’s creation, asceticism may be a phase of God-seeking and Self-realization, but not the whole of it. Genuine asceticism for finding one’s own soul and for the good of humanity is worthy of reverence.
Equally worthy of reverence, if not more, is the treading of the fuller and more difficult path of sadhana of those who are in the world, but remain above it.
The lotus is often used as a symbol in Indian culture and mythology because the lotus grows in the mud, yet remains above, untouched and unaffected by the mud and water.
You can live in the world and yet be spiritual. It is not necessary for you to renounce the world. Wherever you are, stay there. Simply follow two formulas. One formula is for living in the external world:
All the things of the world that are given to me are given to me by the Lord. They are meant for me and I have the right to use them, but I don’t have the right to possess them, for they are not mine.
All things will become means in life if you have this attitude, instead of, “This is mine, this is mine.” You are afraid of losing what you have; you are afraid it will decay and go to decomposition. You should learn to use the things of the world without being possessive. As St. Bernard said, “Love the Lord alone. Use the things of the world as your means.”
In addition, you should do your actions selflessly, lovingly, and skillfully. Nothing more than that is needed—one formula for the external world.
What to do for the inner self? God is everywhere. The Lord is in me; I am his shrine. As a shrine is kept neat and clean, I will try my best to keep my body, breath, and mind pure and orderly.
For a person of wisdom who knows the Truth, internal and external are one and the same. Inner freedom is born of self-sacrifice, self-purification, and self-control. This freedom releases the spirit and gives it wings to soar to the boundless sphere of the unfathomable levels of being.
Freedom is truth. Why then do we live in a cage with no sky beyond it—in a closed world of hard facts? We are like seeds with hard outer coverings, crying from within for liberation. Millions of people die like seeds that have lost the urge for generation.
The resources for living and being successful on the earth that are offered by Mother Earth for her children are immense, but those who are not aware of the real and limitless resources lying dormant within human life are deprived, and this self-deprivation is the cause of suffering.
Shall there be a day when the consciousness of the large multitude will be illumined? Only then will human beings and society understand the profound meaning of the Reality that offers us love and emancipation.
The joys received through prayer, meditation, and contemplation are the highest of all joys. I am one living witness who confirms that the highest of joys cannot be given by the world. All the joys in the world give you but a taste. That taste can never be satisfied. A momentary joy is called vishaya ananda. It is ananda (bliss), but it lasts only for a short time.
Sages say there is another ananda—paramananda—that is something higher, something everlasting, something that can never be snatched, and that is liberating and emancipating.
What is unique in the human being is the awareness of consciousness. The burning desire to attain immortality, the perfect, and the eternal, makes the human being superior to all other creatures.
Sadhana is prescribed for the attainment of a happy life on the earth, in heaven thereafter, and at length, liberation. Spiritual practices lead the aspirant toward divinity or inner experiences that further help to attain the final goal of life.
Entire life is sadhana.
You ask, “Is it possible for me to know God? Is it possible for me to be a spiritual person? Is it possible for me to do this?”
Patanjali, the codifier of yoga science, says, “O aspirant, learn to practice until the last breath of your life.”
Let the heavens shower all the blessings upon you, so that you can grow and unfold yourself, and accomplish the purpose of life. My prayers are always with you.
This website is devoted to sharing the teachings
of Swami Rama of the Himalayas