This article is by Revered Gurumaharaj Sri. Swami Chidanandaji
Maharaj, whose 88th birthday is Sept 24. Much more about Swamiji, who
is the spiritual successor of Swami Sivananda as President of the
Divine Life Society, can be found at http://www.divyajivan.org
Happy birthday Swamiji!
Blessed Immortal Atman! Spiritual life is an earnest endeavor to
transcend sense-perceived, temporary appearances, unrealities, and
attain to a vision and an experience of the super sensuous Divine
Reality. It is an attempt to transcend changeful and passing sense
appearances and to rise up and become established in the Reality that
is ever-present amidst these ever-changing, temporary appearances as
their very source, their support and their substratum.
That Reality is present as thread is present in cloth, as earth is
present in pots made of clay, as gold is present in diverse gold
ornaments. Even as thread pervades all cloth, even as earth pervades
all clay pots, even as gold pervades all golden ornaments, even so is
the invisible support, centre and source, our goal, ever-present in
the midst of passing appearances.
That Reality is present even as oil is present in oil seeds. Though
the seeds are dry, there is occult oil hidden within. Even as butter
is present in milk, as silence is present in the midst of sound which
is only superimposed over it, even so, invisibly, the Reality is
present in the midst of unrealities. A painting is possible only
because there is a canvas behind it. A painting cannot be painted on
an empty frame, a canvas is required. A movie can be seen only because
there is a screen present.
Eko devah sarvabhuteshu gudhah (God, Who is one only, is hidden in all
beings). It is hidden because of Its subtlety. It is hidden because It
is by nature a principle, an essence, beyond and devoid of name and
form, whereas the human mind and intellect are conditioned only to
think on the basis of names and forms. The only things the eyes can
see are size, shape and colour. But behind and beyond the names and
forms there is the nameless and formless Being, a Being Who exists, a
Being Who is of the nature of luminous consciousness, a Being Who is
endowed with the quality of pure blisssat-chit-ananda Brahman.
And to attain this ever-present Reality, hidden behind the outer
screen of ever-changing and passing names and forms, to perceive this
ever-present Reality, you must develop subtle vision. And subtle
vision is only acquired by purification of your heart and mind: the
greater the purity, the greater the subtlety of mind; the greater the
subtlety of mind, the deeper the perception. And to grow in purity so
that the vision is purified, the mind becomes subtle, one should do
sadhana (spiritual practice).
The objective of all human effort is to attain supreme happiness,
peace and satisfaction. These the world cannot give. But being in the
world, one can achieve peace, happiness and satisfaction in God. One
attains the supreme peace and joy of God only by knowing God, only by
worshipping God. But to approach and to enter into God, to have vision
of God, one has to acquire the same state of subtle consciousness as
God. The more you become godly in nature, the more you begin to become
aware of God's presence in His universe. God experience comes when you
grow in godliness.
Spiritual life means growing in godliness. Sadhana in its various
forms such as japa, kirtan, puja, svadhyaya, asana, pranayama and
meditation is a process of purifying and transforming your normal
human nature into godly divine nature. And to ensure that your outer
life of day-to-day livingspeaking, acting, interacting with others
and all life around youto ensure that it supports your inner sadhana,
you are admonished by Gurudev to transform your present outer life
into a divine process, a divine life, not the life that you have been
leading in the past, but a divine life. You have to make your life a
divine life by bringing into it ingredients and qualities that belong
to God, incorporating into it divinity, godliness, qualities that we
do not normally associate with man, that we do not normally associate
with this world, this earth plane.
So, on earth you have to be creatures of a realm beyond earth.
Appearing as human beings you have to inwardly grow into the very form
of a divine being, godly being. This is the secret of success in
sadhana. This is the crucial test of the depth of your understanding
of sadhanagrasping the quintessence of this inner process. It is to
deeply understand the necessity of supporting one's sadhana, the
process of life transformation, by a divinely lived daily life. Unless
this is understood, unless this task is undertaken, one's sadhana will
fail to bring about the necessary transformation.
Therefore, with full knowledge and understanding, you should proceed
upon the spiritual path. It is no more or no less than a process of
total transformation of the human individual personality, a total
transformation into divinity. Understanding is the first thing
needful; second is the will power and wisdom to translate
understanding into actual life; and third is a persistent
perseverance, which is the only guarantee of success in this
determined pursuit of the divine life, this determined pursuit of
godliness in daily life. These are vital facts for you to ponder, for
you to reflect upon. God bless you!