The Four Parts of Sadhana
When performing bhajan, I used to be oblivious of everything except God. I want you to be so, too, when you perform bhajan; and I say this with the full confidence that you can develop this single-pointed concentration.
You should frequently introspect to find out your own faults and defects, and realizing their mountainous proportions, make strenuous efforts to eradicate them. It is common human nature quickly to notice faults in others, and to belittle, even justify and condone one's own. Two things should be done to counter this tendency. One is, to stop forthwith making any calumnious reference to others. The other is, to take stock, at bed-time every night, of the time and energy spent during the day on the effort to attain God and, conversely, that spent on maligning others. This two-pronged effort will quickly purify the mind.
Associating with the godly is another means to purify the heart. Now, it is by no means easy to spot a saint in life. An easier and surer thing is to take recourse to a saint's discourses or book, such as the Dasabodha. Shree Samartha has categorically assured the reader, that one who reads it with complete faith will get the benefit of association with him (that is, Shree Samartha himself). Saints, indeed do not truly manifest themselves in the corporeal body so much as in their teaching, the sadhana they advocate. Shree Samartha has advised four-fold sadhana. One aspect is that we should adopt saguna worship, which alone can eventually lead us to realizing nirguna; for, though it is the Ultimate Reality, nirguna cannot be directly encompassed or realized. The second aspect of sadhana is humility of spirit. Pride puts God away, while one who approaches Him with humility becomes dear to Him. The third part of sadhana is distribution of food, anna-daan, to the best of one's capacity; this is most essential in the present degenerate age. The fourth part is ceaseless remembrance of nama. This is the invaluable gift the saints have devised for us.
One who has in the true sense met a saint, a sadguru, will cease to feel that he has anything yet to achieve. He has no sadhana to perform except doing what the sadguru orders or desires. That, in fact, constitutes a pilgrimage or paramartha for him. Nothing else ever even enters his mind.
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