This content has been translated from an article written by Guru Maharaj published in Sadhan November 2020 issue.
Three things are necessary for persons who seek the ultimate reward on their spiritual journey. They are:
-instilling internal purity or virtuousness in oneself
-getting rid of pride or ego
– and Satsang; keeping the company of, or associating oneself with truth and goodness.
Purity of both body and mind is needed on this path. If we want the Almighty to visit us and stay, then we will have to get rid of what maligns us internally, as he is unlikely to visit us until the body and the mind are both immaculately clean.
In a spiritual sense, what maligns us internally are our sanskaras or subconscious impressions that we have collected over several lives that our soul has traveled through. All of us inherit this baggage of sanskaras based on our past actions and thoughts (subconscious impressions), the memory of which is passed on from one life to the next as part of our subtle body ( sukshm shareer). We have to get rid of this baggage as only then will our heart becomes fragrant and worthy of hosting the almighty.
Pride and Ego
While people who are not spiritually inclined can have pride related to their material acquisitions like wealth, prosperity, power, and fame, those who are spiritually inclined can additionally develop pride stemming from their effort and accomplishment on the spiritual path as well.
They can start feeling superior to others because of their spiritual progress. It becomes difficult for them to break this mindset as this is tough to recognize and rectify. However, it becomes an impediment to one’s own progress by preventing the enlightenment and knowledge of the soul to permeate through.
An easy way to get an audience with the Almighty is to first connect with a Guru, a person who is close to him. The Guru embodies truth and knowledge and forming an association with him is the definition of Satsang. But merely being in the physical presence of the Guru is not enough. Being with the Guru physically while our mind is wandering someplace else is not going to get anything accomplished. That does not qualify to be Satsang (the company of truth and goodness ). We will need to focus our undivided attention on the Guru. Satsang is the connection of our heart with the Guru’s heart. It can be established when we are physically in front of him as well as when we are physically at distant places. The critical thing in Satsang is for our instincts and thoughts to be constantly aligned and interacting with that of the Guru.
When we direct our undivided attention towards the Guru, he connects us to the ultimate source of truth and knowledge, and the flow of peace and bliss commences. Positioned between the seeker and the ultimate source, Guru connects a person to the source one aspires. When we want to light up our house, we hook it up to the electrical grid, which in turn connects it to the source where the electricity is generated, the power station. Once these connections are established, the bulbs in the house start glowing. Similarly, Guru acts as a transformer that connects us to the ultimate source of power, and thus enlightens our lives. Our job is to just connect with the grid or the transformer ie our Guru, who will then connect us to the ultimate powerhouse.
One more thing one needs to understand is the fact that when one remains connected to the Guru, he ensures that the path, one is trying to follow is the correct path and his efforts to succeed are in the right direction. Guru will also be able to see that in spite of one’s sincere efforts, if the obstacles in the path are too difficult to overcome on their own, Guru will step in and lend a helping hand at that point. In this way by removing the obstacles, Guru speeds up our progress and makes it possible for us to attain our goal.
The importance of Satsang cannot be overstated. The things accomplished by years of practice can be done in a few minutes or seconds by Satsang. Since it has the potential of substantially cutting down the time to get where we want to go, many wise and learned people have sung praises about the benefits of Satsang.
On this journey of ours, we need to make a sincere effort of our own and enjoy the benefits of Satsang at the same time.
Our scriptures define the hardships one endures to realize God as penance(tap), and the expenditure one incurs in this pursuit is sacrifice. Satsang provides us with an opportunity to do both. Guru is always aware of the hardships one is willing to endure and the sacrifices one is willing to make. When there is a perceived lack of these in a seeker, it is less likely that his Guru will impart the wisdom and knowledge that he seeks.
We should never forget that each one of us has a physical body and a Soul. While we make a lot of effort to protect and nourish our body we do not make similar efforts for our Soul. This is why the Soul is largely ineffective in humans today. Just like a strong body can accomplish a lot of work physically, a person who is able to harness his or her Soul’s power can achieve a lot spiritually. You get what you desire, and so if you desire for your Soul to become effective, that is what will happen. But that is not what you have ever desired. Your mind always desires things pertaining to the physical world. Can you ask yourself whether you have even once wished for your Soul to take center stage?
How do you make your soul effective? How do you make its voice heard? How do you restore it to its true glory so you can feel its power? You can do it simply by allocating a small amount of time for nurturing your soul every day. You spend all 24 hours in a day for the protection and preservation of your physical body right now. Just keeping aside half an hour and devoting it to your soul is all that is required. In that time do not do anything else, except to focus your attention towards the soul affectionately. Forget the world for this half-hour and you will see, in time, that your soul will start expressing itself.
Performed in the morning, such a practice results in peace and joy throughout the day, and additional practice in the evening extends it throughout the night. Dwelling in the same place and living under the same circumstances, you will start experiencing unparalleled joy and happiness.