The incoming of the spirit into one’s life is a novelty which cannot be adequately described. The power of meditation unfolds the potentialities of our personality and opens ourselves up to the inflow of a new strength which is super-individualistic, or we may call it supernatural.
The feelings that are usually generated in the minds of spiritual seekers, sadhakas, should act as symbols or proclamations of what is actually taking place within. It is something like a new sensation that creeps into our veins when we have a hearty meal, a very satisfying lunch. We know the difference that it makes when we have the satisfaction of having had a good meal. There is a slow opening up of strength, a welling up of energy from within, as it were, to such an extent that often it is possible to find out by merely looking at the face of a person whether he has had his meal or not. There is a difference in the expression of the face which does not come deliberately, but spontaneously.
Meditation is like a meal that is served to the spirit, the food that is provided to the hungry soul of the human being. The soul is hungry. It is asking for its daily meal. We deny the food of the spirit while we give satisfaction to the body and the senses, so while the body thrives and the senses grow in an apparent joy of having fulfilled their desire, the spirit inside is starving. It is weeping. When the spirit is dissatisfied, when the spirit is hungry, when the soul’s asking has not been provided for, no matter how much the body has been satisfied or the senses are happy, our life becomes a misery.
The misery of the life of a person has something to do with the condition of the spirit within. Now, you may have a doubt as to what this condition of the spirit means. Has the spirit also a condition? Does the spirit, or the soul, also pass through stages of development? The spirit does not pass through stages. It has no degrees of development, but there are stages of the manifestation of the spirit through what we call the layers of the human individuality. There are no stages in the manifestation of the heat and the light of the sun, but there are stages of the way in which we experience the inflow of energy from the sun, on account of which we say the sun rises, now it is midday, now the sun sets, now it is midnight, and so on. There is no midnight or midday, no sunrise or sunset from the point of view of the sun itself, but we know the difference it makes to us when the sun rises or sets, or whether it is night or midday, and so on.
There is a series of stages in the experiences that we have in relation to the spirit that we fundamentally are. The process of meditation is the uncovering of the mask which prevents our vision of the spirit, which beclouds our perception of that glory of the Atman that we really are; and as the clouds covering the sun become thinner and thinner, we feel the light and the heat of the sun in a greater and greater intensity. The thicker the clouds, the lesser is the light we have and the slower is the process of the energy impinging on our system from the sun.
The uncovering of those conditions which we call the personality of the human being in respect of the spirit, which is the essential reality within, is the process of dhyana, or meditation. Even as a gradual thinning or scudding of the clouds means a gradual increase in our reception of the light and energy of the sun, the meditative process provides to us those circumstances by which the obstruction to the spiritual reality within is slowly removed by a methodical technique by which we begin to inwardly feel a newer strength. We begin to behold a newer light, and begin to experience all those characteristics that go to form what we call the spirit.
What is the spirit? What are the characteristics that manifest themselves in meditation by which test we can say that we are progressing in our meditation? Just as the characteristics of the sun are light, heat and energy, the characteristics of the spirit are Sat-chit-ananda—Existence, Knowledge and delight, Bliss. The more we uncover the mask of the spirit through meditation, the more do we feel the sensation of Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss from within us. As the sun rises higher and higher, we begin to see the glorious light coming nearer and nearer to us and brightening us, enlivening us, energising us, and providing us the warmth that is necessary for our life. The warmth of the spirit is the vitality of our life, on account of which we are alive. We exist because of the existence of the spirit, we understand because of the intelligence of the spirit, and we feel happy and delighted on account of the bliss of the spirit. It is distorted and broken into fragments, as it were, on account of the thick clouds that are covering it, the clouds in the form of the mentations, the samskaras, the impressions of externalised perception—the desires, to put it shortly.
The layer of the unfulfilled as well as the manifest desires gradually gets thinned out through meditation, and it is not difficult to know that progress is being made. We know that the sun has risen. There is no need to run about hither and thither asking people whether the sun has risen. Even blind people know that the sun has risen, on account of certain sensations that they feel. They know it is day although they cannot see the light. Though we do not have a direct realisation of the spiritual reality in the sense of an experience of the Absolute, the nearness to the spirit can be felt by certain sensations that creep into us, just as the blind man knows that the sun has risen.
The sensation of light gets more and more intensified. You become more and more sensitive to truth, to righteousness. Your sensitivity increases. This is one of the signs of success in meditation. Your conscience often gets blunted due to the remoteness of your personality from the spiritual reality within. The more you become near, proximate, to the spirit inside, the more you become conscious of the righteousness of life. Truthfulness becomes spontaneous; you cannot tell a lie afterwards. The moment you tell a lie, it will come as a thunderbolt on you, and you will feel miserable. The whole night you will not sleep because of having uttered one lie. That is the sign of your progress in spirituality. One lie will come like a blow. Though people may not have discovered your lie, your conscience will tell what you have done, and the whole night you will be miserable. That is the sign of your sensitivity to righteousness.
Righteousness will become a spontaneous nature of your personality. You will be good at heart, not by effort of any kind but by a spontaneity of expression. You need not try to be good; you will be good. You need not try to be sober and calm in your moods. You will automatically be sober and calm. It will be difficult for people to rouse you into rage or anger. Even trying conditions will not rouse your spirits into wrath. It will be difficult to make you angry. That is a sign of your progress in the nearness to the spirit. You will feel a tremendous pinch even if you take a needle that belongs to someone else, that does not belong to you. If you take a pencil or a pin from someone’s room without his knowledge, your heart will throb with an uneasiness, but a blunt conscience will not feel it.
The principles which are generally known as the yamas—ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, aparigraha—will come to you without your asking for them. You need not try to be nonviolent. It will be difficult for people to make you violent. That is a sign of your progress. The virtues, which are essentially what are known as the yamas, will become part and parcel of your nature. You will not tell a lie, you will not get irritated, you will not hurt others’ feelings, you will not appropriate others’ property, and you will not ask for that which you really do not need. These characteristics are a manifestation of the tendency to impersonality of nature because the highest impersonality is spiritual existence. The more you become impersonal, the more you become spiritual, and the more you become spiritual, the more you become impersonal because the highest impersonality of existence is God’s Being. The supreme Absolute is the highest of impersonality. In that condition, there cannot be any violation of the principles of righteousness. So one of the signs of progress in meditation spiritually, rightly practised, is that you will be virtuous automatically, good at heart spontaneously. The other signs of success in meditation would be the manifestation of the characteristics of the Spirit—Sat-chit-ananda—as I mentioned. You will feel a larger sense of existence in your being, in your personality, than the being you have at present felt in your bodily experience.
Our experience of existence today is a bodily existence. When you feel that you exist, you actually identify existence with a bodily existence. But the nearness to the Spirit will enlarge the scope of your being, and your being will include within its gamut the existences of more intensified forms than the existence of your individual body. It is difficult to explain what is actually meant here. These are to be experienced directly in practice. The existence of other persons and other things will give you a sensation of satisfaction. You will be wondering as to how this could be. Why should I be happy if others exist? Well, this cannot be explained. You will be happy merely because of their existence. If you see people outside, you will be happy merely because you see them, because the existence of those people becomes a part of your existence—not that you deliberately draw the personalities of others into your personality, but the spirit automatically speaks from within in its own language and makes you feel happy. The very perception of the existence of something will give you the sensation of your being that, and that being you.
It is difficult to be happy merely by the observation of the existence of something if you do not have a sensation of possessing it. Can you enjoy a flower without plucking it from the garden? Why do you pluck it from the plant? That is the manifestation of the sense of possessiveness. Unless something belongs to you, you cannot be happy. But why should you want a thing to belong to you in a psychological sense? Why should you not be happy just because it is there? Even after you pluck it, it is there in some sense, but why should you not be happy when it exists in some other sense? You can enjoy the property of another person without it being your property. This is a difficult thing for ordinary people to understand: How can I enjoy another’s property when it does not belong to me? This is because the Spirit knows that everything belongs to it.
There is no such thing as my property and another’s property for the Spirit. It is a distinction that we have created by social differences, which are artificially contrived. Physical possession is different from spiritual possession. The existence of the Spirit is different from empirical existence of a perceptional character. So when you grow in meditation in a spiritual nature, your concept of existence gets enlarged automatically without your knowing it; without even trying, you are achieving such a fulfilment. When you gaze at the world, you will feel satisfaction. That is an enlargement of existence. If another person is happy, you will be happy. How could you be happy if another person is happy? It is because the existence of the joy of that person becomes a part of your existence by an entry of your spirit into that situation and a spontaneous drawing-in of that aspect of existence into your existence, which all takes place automatically, without your effort. After a certain stage in meditation, effort ceases. You need not have to do anything. Things take place spontaneously. Your effort is only until you sow the seed on the fertile soil and manure and water it; then nature takes possession of it, and you need not do anything afterwards. Spontaneity works wonders, and there is the harvest for you. In the beginning there is a need for effort—sowing the seed, putting the manure and watering it; afterwards, effort ceases. The Spirit, when it takes possession of you, does not call upon you to do anything. The Spirit is not an action. The Spirit is a being and a spontaneity. While action calls for effort and tedium of some kind, the Spirit does not call for any effort or tedium or sweating on your part. The nature of the Spirit is spontaneity.
So another sign of meditation successfully practised is spontaneity of expression. When you speak, you will speak spontaneously. You will not say, “Oh, what do you call it? I am sorry.” This is speaking with effort, but when you speak with spontaneity of the Spirit you will not be uncertain. You will speak as if somebody else is speaking. That is what is called spontaneity. The spirit is spontaneity, and you will spontaneously speak facts, not contrived truths. That is why there is spontaneity. When fact or truth manifests itself, naturally there is spontaneity because there is no difficulty in expressing it. When a child speaks, it speaks spontaneously. It does not have to create facts.
Therefore, largeness of existence, the inclusion of other existences in one’s own existence, and a natural spontaneity of expression in mind, in action and in speech, are all characteristics of successfully practised meditation. When you think, you think spontaneously, naturally. There is no difficulty in thinking. “Give me some time. Let me think.” You will not say that. You will think spontaneously, speak spontaneously, and also act spontaneously, like a child. You become a child in one sense. You will know what it is when you get it, when you become it, when you experience it. These are the characteristics of the Spirit—expanded existence, and an intensification of knowledge in a new sense altogether. When you grow in meditation, you will have a new kind of knowledge and sensation, and an inkling of the presence of things. That is another kind of sensitivity altogether. You will have the feel of things, as they say.
These three properties of the spirit, Sat-chit-ananda, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss, come together instantaneously as when the sun rises you have light, heat and energy all together. You do not have light first, heat afterwards, and so on, but everything at once. The growth of the Spirit’s consciousness of the largeness of existence, the intensification of knowledge and the feeling of satisfaction and delight within all come together so that there is an inward growth from all sides. You grow from within. This is entry into a new kind of life. You begin to touch the vital spot of things, and they begin to reveal their truths, as it were, and speak to you in their own languages, which you will be able to feel.
The universe is full of mysteries, miracles, and undiscovered truths. These undiscovered facts and realities gradually unfold themselves to us even when we are not in a mood of meditation, because the enlightenment that is gained in the session of meditation produces such an impact upon the daily activities of a person that its presence and operation will be felt in a manner which can be equated only with a new kind of satisfaction. There is no other word for it. You will feel happy; that is all. You will not know why you are happy. You are just free. Why are children happy? Why do they jump about? What have they possessed? They are happy because of the fullness of their nature. There is no other reason behind it. Children jump about, while we cannot do that. Why do they jump? It is merely because of fullness, spontaneity, and freedom from tension of every kind in their nature. So these are characteristics of spirituality. Some of the characteristics of the Spirit are found in children for a different reason altogether. The egolessnesss of their nature becomes responsible for the manifestation of this character. You become egoless, and therefore childlike.
The surrender of the personality to the spirit is an essential precondition in meditation. You do not meditate there. It is not Mr. So-and-so, Mrs. So-and-so, this person or that person who is meditating. This idea should be dropped. The meditating consciousness is free from the consciousness of ‘I’ or ‘my’ being there as a meditator. The surrender of personality is of this nature. When you surrender your personality to the mood of meditation, you do not exist there as a meditating person. When your surrender is complete, you are taken by the hand, as it were, through the expression of a new power which is already there, which has always been there, but which you have confronted only now. Newer and newer experiences are only newer and newer contacts with greater and greater expressions of the Spirit.
When you go from Rishikesh to Delhi, for example, you see newer and newer locations, newer and newer personalities, and newer and newer circumstances and situations. Gaudapadacharya, in his Karikas on the Mandukya Upanishad, says that these are the characters of certain locations through which you have to pass in your meditative consciousness. When you move from one place to another, you have different experiences of different personalities and localities. Though your intention is not to concentrate on these localities or personalities because your destination is something else; nevertheless, they come upon your way. Similarly, the rise of consciousness into its destined goal involves a series of experiences which are not necessarily the intention of the meditator, just as your intention is to reach Delhi and not to see other places along the way, notwithstanding the fact they come to you.
When consciousness gets deepened by a dissociation of it from perception of objects, it begins to feel the reality of these objects in a more concrete form, and then it is that these objects become real helpers in our march to perfection. The so-called Devas who put obstacles in our meditations, as we hear in the Puranas, for example, become our guides and aids after a certain time. Even Indra, who will obstruct our meditation through temptations of various kinds, will be our friend a little later.
In the beginning, natural forces revolt against us. Later on, they become our friends. The revolt from natural forces is called the obstacles from Indra, etc. What are all these obstacles? Indra is the mind, the lord of the senses. The mind is Indra, and it also has a counterpart in the external universe. I do not mean that there is no Indra outside; he is there, but he is represented by the mind inside, of which the counterpart is the external cosmos, so there is a mind inside and a mind outside. As we have senses within, there are also sense powers outside, which are called the deities presiding over the senses. These powers get roused in meditation, and when they get stimulated into action they become like snakes roused in their spirit. If a snake is lying coiled up in a corner and we touch it with a stick, what does it do? Immediately it raises its head and hisses. It is not that this attitude will continue for long; it will go its way after some time, but immediately its wrath is aroused.
Meditation interferes to some extent with the normal activities of the senses and the desireful mind. It is like waking up sleeping dogs. The senses are sleeping, and they are satisfied with their usual action in respect of objects. Now they are stirred into a new kind of activity by meditation, and they immediately revolt. This revolt is what is called the temptation and the opposition, and so on, which we hear of in the epics and the Puranas. All spiritual seekers, such as Pralada, Dhruva, and later on Buddha and others, at first have only temptations. Nachiketas himself had temptation. In the beginning you do not have opposition; delicacies of nature present themselves in a more intensified form so that the aspirations of the Spirit are clouded once again. The indriyas, or the senses, get activated, and here it is that the sadhaka is in a kind of danger. Your appetites will get increased; you will have greater hunger, and you will eat more afterwards. A person who used to eat only two pieces of bread will eat ten pieces afterwards. You will not know what is happening to you. You will start eating more, and sometimes you will also sleep more. They are all reactions set up by the powers generated through meditation, at which time you have to be very cautious. When the ocean was churned for nectar, poison came up first. Nectar did not come in the beginning. Difficulties come in the beginning, but later on you will have the satisfactions of realisation.
The gods of the senses, the presiding deities, the senses themselves and the mind, join together to create a situation which is difficult to confront, at which time, at which moment, viveka-shakti should come to our aid. Many sadhakas had a fall. The reason is that they had not maintained a sense of vigilance. There was vigilance in the beginning, but afterwards it was covered over because unexpected experiences come. You should not imagine that only normal experiences should follow in meditation. Unexpected and unforeseen experiences will come, and they do not come merely from within. Experiences also come from without, so that all your experiences may be regarded as experiences in meditation.
You do not know why a fly is sitting on your nose or a cat is running in front of you, or why people come and irritate you. The cosmos is one integral whole, and everything that takes place within it is a part of your experience. The meditational experience is not something quite cut off from normal experience. They are identical, one and the same, only they get more intensified. A man who is a little angry will get more angry afterwards, at which time viveka should work. All the powers will get intensified, both good and bad. Then it is that the Nachiketas spirit should come to us and shreyas should be chosen instead of preyas. Both preyas and shreyas will rise up, like a god rising with two axes, one golden and one iron. Which is your axe, sir? You must choose your axe, though you do not know which is gold and which is iron. The shreyas and the preyas will present themselves in an intensified form before you, and it is up to you to choose what is good for us.
Thus, the powers roused in meditation become a complex situation. You do not know what to do at that time because you do not know what is happening to you. All the vital spots in your nature get manifest, the weaknesses of your nature get intensified, and your desires become more active. They become more active only to exhaust themselves, not to trouble you. But if you yield to them and try to fulfil these intense desires, they will become even more intense, and then you will have a fall. The original aspiration has to be kept up. This is a great word of caution that can be given to all sadhakas.
When you go to a Guru or to an institution, you come with a feeling in your mind, an aspiration in your heart and a longing in your spirit. This has to be kept up throughout until the end; but it cannot be kept up. The spiritual aspiration with which you came from your house gets clouded a little later, and afterwards it can even become extinct. Your weaknesses get the upper hand, and then the aspiration goes down.
One of the touchstones of your practice, the ways in which you can test yourself daily, would be to put a question to your own mind as to whether you are keeping up the very same spirit with which you first came, or whether it has gone. If it has gone, you are not progressing; you are retrograding. Recollect the first day when you came to a Guru or to an institution. What did you think at that time, and why did you come? Is that spirit maintained today? I do not think that anyone, at least 99.9%, can maintain that spirit. It has gone. If it has gone, so much the worse for you. Who is going to be the loser? Not somebody else, but you yourself are the loser. You have lost the world, and now you have lost God also. You will be like Trishanku hanging in the middle, which many of us are; a very unfortunate and pitiable condition it is. You have to test yourself every day. When did you come from your house—on which day, at what time, on what date? Whom did you meet—which Guru, which institution? What was your feeling at that time? What is the condition of that feeling today? This will tell you whether you are progressing or not. While this is one of the tests, you can also apply the test of positive achievement, about which I mentioned a few words just now—the manifestation of the characteristics of the Spirit within you. You have to read a lot to get sufficient information on the complexities of this life of the Spirit. Unless you have a very experienced and powerful Guru, in which case much of a study is not necessary, a vast extensive knowledge is essential in order to know what is going to be expected in the future. When you are suddenly confronted by a new situation, you must be able to meet it. You should not say that it came unforeseen and unexpected. All experiences will be unexpected. They will never come with previous notice to you. What will happen to you tomorrow, you cannot know today, but you must be prepared for any eventuality. If the worst comes first, you should be prepared for it—prepared for it in a positive manner and not negatively in the sense of a defeatist attitude. The spirit comes from all sides, even as troubles come from all sides. When you are in trouble, it will come from all sides. Everybody will dislike you. Also, when you grow in spirituality, friends will come to you from all sides.
If you read the revelations of the Upanishads, especially the larger Upanishads such as the Chhandogya, the Brihadaranyaka, etc., and if you read them with a sense as to the inner meaning of those declarations, not merely like a scholar reading or a pundit studying, you will see clues given in short sentences as to what you can expect in your meditation. There are many vidyas described in the Upanishads. They are all meditations. The vidyas of the Upanishads are methods of meditation. You are free to choose any of those methods prescribed. The upasanas or the vidyas of the Upanishads are methodologies or techniques of meditation prescribed for the seeking soul, and what you can expect as a consequence of these meditations is also mentioned there. You grow in every way. The Upanishads are the evidence for this experience.
When you grow in the path of Truth or Reality, you grow in your vital and positive relationship with every stage of reality—material, vital, psychological, intellectual, moral and spiritual, even social. You begin to grow in your relationship with all these levels so that you gain mastery and control over these situations. Materially you will not be in need of anything when you grow in your nearness to the Spirit. You will not be starving and dying just because you are a spiritual seeker. There are many people who imagine, “What will happen to me? What will I eat if I start meditating?” These questions are silly because such situations will not arise.
When you grow in spirit, you grow in every level of reality—as I mentioned, materially, psychologically, intellectually, morally, spiritually, and in every other manner of expression. You will be taken care of even materially so that you will not starve and die. That situation will not happen. Some other power will take possession of you and take care of you in a way you will not understand.
You will grow in vital energy also. You will not get fatigued or exhausted so easily when you grow in spirit. Work will not tire you. You will not say, “I have so much work. I am exhausted.” You will get new strength, from where you will not know. Your intellectual capacities will also increase, and you will be able to receive truths quickly even if they are said only once. You will be an intellectual genius when you approach the Spirit. And morally, as I have already said, you will be an example spontaneously manifest. You will have good relationships even in society. You will not make enemies of people. Good nature will be your speciality. Such is the growth of the spirit.
There are mistakes that you are likely to commit in your concepts of meditation, and why you generally do not seem to progress in meditation at all. You make a mistake in the very concept of meditation. In the very beginning itself you make a blunder, and so you do not succeed. So there should be clarity in the concept of it in the beginning, and if you do not have clarity, then go to a spiritual mentor, a guide who knows it and in whom you have faith and confidence.
You will not grow spiritually merely by a study of books. The ancient tradition of the service of the Guru is very essential. The more I think of it, the more reality I feel there is. You will not get vital contact with the Spirit by a study of books, though you will get information, which is very essential in some way. Though it is very necessary, it is not the whole truth of it. You have to live with a spiritual guide. Personal contact with a spiritual teacher is very necessary. You have to serve that spiritual teacher. You may be wondering, “Why should I serve? I am an intelligent person with a PhD,” but all this will not cut ice. You will get nothing. You will go as you came. All these titles of yours will not work in the realm of the Spirit. They are nothing. Service of the teacher is essential. Service of the teacher is absolutely essential, not merely the study of books. There is what is called the grace of the teacher. Do not think it is not there. It is really there. A person may not be verbally blessing you, “May God bless you, may God bless you.” He may not be saying that, but the very satisfaction that you give to him by your service will be a blessing. He will feel a satisfaction. He need not say anything, but he will feel happy and relieved. That relief that you give to him itself is a blessing which will work a wonder in you. So do not be under the impression that Gurus are not necessary, that service of the Guru is not necessary. It is very essential, and if you want real success, this is important.
Do not say, “I have no Guru.” There are Gurus in the world still, even today, and for your purpose your immediate superior is sufficient for you. You need not search for the omnipresent Ishvara himself for your Guru just now. He will also come; a day will come for it, but there are times and there are stages. For every stage there is a Guru, and that Guru is one who is immediately above that particular stage. You will not be in dearth of such persons. You must be friendly with them, you must learn from them, you must observe their conduct, serve them and obtain their grace, as I mentioned. This is essential.
Another caution which can be mentioned is that spiritual seekers are likely to fall into the groove of luxury and enjoyment without their knowing what is happening to them. They will have diversions of every kind which they think is a necessity, while it is not a necessity. The devil can come to you in any form. Ravana came as a sannyasi. He did not as a Ravana to dupe poor Sita. The unholy spirit always comes to dupe us in the garb of holiness. Unrighteous attitudes will manifest in ourselves and take the form of righteousness. We will behave untowardly and imagine that it is a very praiseworthy attitude. This is how the spirit of evil takes possession of us. You have to be very strict in the observance of your own conduct in respect of the sadhana you are practising. The more strict you are in respect of your own self, the better it is for you. While you should be kind and good and lenient towards others, you should be very strict in regard to your own self.
Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj used to say that you should be always satisfied with what you have but be dissatisfied with what you are. With what you are, you have to be dissatisfied every day, but with what you have, be satisfied. But you are the opposite of it. You are satisfied with what you are but dissatisfied with what you have. “Oh, I have not got this, I have not got that.” Well, life is precious, life is a lesson, life is a serious trial, and life is not a joke. You should not play with it as ignorant babies do—especially elderly sadhakas. There is an old adage: There is no fooling with life after forty. After forty at least, do not be a fool in this world. Before that, all right, you are pardoned because you are a small boy and do not know what life is. After forty it is a serious matter. Any day the notice may come to you, so be prepared.
Do not slip into luxuries. Every day, enter into your private diary what your needs are, and whether you are subjecting yourself only to needs or are you slipping into enjoyments. If there are enjoyments and luxuries of any kind which cannot be strictly called the needs of your personality, those luxuries should be cut off because luxury is like theft. Somebody else’s need you take, and it becomes your luxury. It is a kind of theft. You are a thief only. Therefore, do not have luxuries.
What are your needs? Your needs are those without which you cannot live. You cannot exist without them; they are the needs. What are those things, without which you cannot exist at all? Tell me. They are the only things that you should be satisfied with. Be a simple soul. Be a humble, simple, childlike person, a child of God, trusting the power of God, and trusting the word of the scripture, and not depending too much on these objects of the world which may tantalise today but may desert you tomorrow. They are not good friends.
The spiritual seeker is asked again and again to be very cautious. Read the lives of saints. Study the hardships through which they passed, the obstacles which they had to encounter, and the condition in which you are today. Be a sadhaka all 24 hours of the day. You have to be that. At least inmates of the Sivananda Ashram are sadhakas all 24 hours of the day. Well, if you do not want to include deep sleep, all right, you can deduct it because you cannot call yourself a sadhaka in deep sleep. But any other time of the day when you are conscious, during your conscious period, you are a sadhaka. And what is it to be a sadhaka? You know it very well. There is no harm in being a very poor soul. Be a poor soul. Be a simple man. Let the world not want you; it does not matter. You will be provided with all the might of the world.
In the Yoga Vasishtha, Vasishtha speaks to Rama, “The more simple you become, the poorer you appear to the people of the world, the lower you are in your spirits and the simpler you are in every respect, the greater is the protection that you receive from the gods in the heavens. ‘Oh, here is a person whom we have to take care of.’ Because he does not take care of himself, so naturally it is their duty to take care of him. When you do not take care of yourself, God will take care of you. It is His duty to do that. God does not take care of you because you take care of yourself, so why should He worry about you?” This is Vasishtha speaking to Rama in the Yoga Vasishtha. All the gods of the ten quarters will be at your beck and call, and they will serve you. It is not merely an image that is spoken or an epic that is told. When you actually meditate honestly, you will know what this is. It will come to you as a reality. The experiences in meditation, the methods of meditation, the complexities of meditation cannot be explained in ordinary language. However much you may discourse upon them, they cannot be adequately clarified. They become automatically clarified when you actually enter into the deep waters. You know the depth of the ocean only when you enter into it. Otherwise, from outside it seems only two feet, three feet. What it is to be in the ocean, you will know when you go into it.
Thus is spiritual life in its conspectus, and it is pinpointed in the art of meditation. Life is spiritual. It cannot be anything but that, and the concentrated form of spiritual aspiration is the practice of meditation.