Mental Activity Hides Your Real Nature by Swami Chidananda

Baba Times Digest© | 6 March 2014 13:53 EST | New York Edition

Practice without Remission of Effort

Divine Life Society Publication: Chapter 54: The Study and Practice of Yoga by Swami Krishnananda

The practice mentioned is for the purpose of directing the mind slowly towards its final achievement and for the attenuation of all the obstacles. One cannot see the light of day at the very commencement of the practice.

The difficulties and pains that are consequent upon one’s strenuous effort are due to the thick layer of samskaras and karmas which have been accumulated in oneself since many births. The very personality of the individual is nothing but a bundle of karmas. Only by continued practice, we can face the difficulties, problems, pains and samskaras. It is a necessary ordeal that one has to pass through for the sake of scrubbing out all the encrustations in the form of anything that goes to make up this personality of ours. The five koshas are various densities of the manifestation of desire and they are like the dense clouds which cover the bright sun and make it appear as if the sun does not exist at all. But the kleshas,or these obstacles, become attenuated gradually due to the pressure of practice, abhyasa, and the accompanied vairagya. For the purpose of generating within oneself a feeling towards the achievement of one’s goal, which is samadhi, and for the obviating of all the obstacles, practice should be continued.

The watchword of yoga is practice – abhyasa. When continued practice is resorted to, the force of the practice keeps all these impediments in check. There is first a sense of renunciation – everything is cast out, and we feel that we are directly in the face of God Himself, where we are perfectly protected from all forces that are opposed to us. It is not true that the path of yoga is a smooth movement, a continuous ascent, one step rising above another step, steadily. One step ahead of us may be visible, but the step after that cannot be seen because the path has turned.

There should be no discomfiture about our future. Everything shall be all right; one day there shall be success. We should not ask for the fruit to fall from the tree merely because we have sown the seed for the tree today. It shall have its own time for maturity and ripening.

So by the practice of yoga, which is expected to be a very strenuous all the obstacles will disperse, and the mind will tend towards the goal. The whole effort is directed in respect of not allowing the mind to go to the objects. The positive effort of the mind should be towards contemplation on the goal of life. We must stay positively strong, healthy and robust.

The confidence and the power of will that one has to manifest in this practice are almost superhuman because, while the inward tendencies of the mind towards its goal always remain submerged and never become visible outside, the problems will always be visible before the eyes. We will see only the problems, the evil, the ugliness, the pain, the sorrow, the difficulty and the almost impossibility of doing anything in this world. The positive side will be like the undercurrent of these outer waves that are dashing upon us, and it will not be felt in the beginning stages.

The reason is that we are floating on the surface. We have not gone deep into things. When we are on the surface of the ocean, we will be subject only to the onslaught of the waves. The calmness of the bottom of the ocean is not known, because we have not sunk deep. We cannot go into the bottom of the ocean because the waves will not allow us to go. The moment we try to escape being hit by one wave, we will be hit by another wave. But once we go in, we will not see the waves at all. There is a profundity, a depth, a deep silence and a grandeur whose powers are far superior to the clattering noises that the waves make on the surface; and the silence of the spirit will be realized to be more thunderous than the shattering noises of the senses and the sensuous mind.

For the purpose of directing the mind towards samadhi, to generate within oneself the feeling towards the ultimate goal, to create in oneself a confidence that one is moving in the right direction as well as to put down all the obstacles, one has to set oneself to practice, without remission of effort. We should not withdraw the effort merely on the assumption that success is not forthcoming. We should not lose hope, because if we dig twenty feet and then think that nothing has come and we give up hope – well, we are going to be the loser, because water may be there at the twenty-first foot.

There is an old story of a devotee of Lord Siva. It seems he used to carry a pot of water from a distant river for abhisheka in the temple, and he was told by his Guru, “Do abhisheka in this manner 108 times, and you will have darshan of Lord Siva.” This disciple followed the instruction of the Guru, and was indefatigably working, sweating and toiling, carrying this holy water from a distant river and doing abhisheka to the murti, the linga of Lord Siva in the temple. He did it 107 times and got fed up. He said, “107 times I have done it; nothing is coming, and is one more pot going to bring anything?” He threw the pot on the head of Siva and went away. Then it seems, a voice came, “Foolish man! You were patient enough for 107. You could not wait for one more pot? And that would have worked the miracle!”

Likewise may be the fate of many people like us. We may be working very hard. We may be spending half of our life in sincere effort towards achieving something, but at the last moment we lose hope and give up the effort altogether. The advice of Patanjali is that this should not be.

Excerpts from:

Practice Without Remission of Effort - Chapter 54: The Study and Practice of Yoga by Swami Krishnananda

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