In his book ‘Sadhana ke Anubhav’ Guru Maharaj has stressed the importance of remembering one’s Guru or God as an effective tool for achieving spiritual progress. Ruminating on his presence complements and supplements our daily meditation which we practice at stipulated times. He has suggested of four unique times during the day, that promote rapid spiritual progress.
Guru Maharaj writes, “There is special importance of remembering our Guru or God at the following times during the day. These include during our meals the time, just before falling asleep, during morning and evening walks/workouts and whenever we have some time to spare.
There is no doubt that spiritual progress becomes much easier for a person who has mastered the use of these times. Such devotees experience connection with their Guru and purification of their hearts without too much effort and hardship. Consequently, they are sure to reach great spiritual heights.
Our Upanishads tell us that food itself is all pervasive Brahma, the ultimate reality, and the supreme cosmic spirit. In the Gita, Lord Krishna has said that ‘I am what is edible in foods’.
Based on these instructions, as soon as food is presented to you, imagine that each item is filled with divinity and consciousness of your God or Guru. Imagine that He is seated in front of you, offer him the food first and then peacefully begin your meal. If you are not alone, and are in a group that is conversing, then imagine that your God or Guru is present in each one of them and are speaking to you and entertaining you in different forms. In the end conclude your meal by respectfully thanking your Guru from the depths of your heart.
Consumption of food in such a way enlightens each and every particle of your body, drives away inner darkness, and instills peace and bliss in you. It leads to an effortless unwinding of the chakras, channelises the internal energy upwards and changes your thought process. It helps you to control your senses and focuses the mind. Following this thought process during meals goes a long way towards controlling the mind. Food is a key determinant of success on the spiritual path. If the food is procured by righteous and honest means, made and served with pure thoughts and love, and consumed with a peaceful mind in remembrance of the God or Guru, such food is of great help to us in achieving our ultimate spiritual goal.
The day you will truly remember your Guru while you eat, you will experience amazing peace and happiness throughout the day, be able to concentrate easily during meditation, and your mind will be filled with pure thoughts.
In addition to meal times, your thoughts at the time you are about to fall asleep are also very important. When you are laying down to sleep, close your eyes, physically relax your body, and focus your mind on thinking that your God or Guru is seated on the head of the bed and you are sleeping with your head at his feet. Imagine that your mind and body is getting illuminated and enlightened with his divine light and the whole room and its occupants are also getting illuminated.
You should fall asleep holding this thought and try to ensure that no other thought enters your mind at this time. In other words, just like a carefree child sleeps peacefully in his mother’s lap you should also establish your tired mind and body in your Guru’s lap and sleep peacefully, without worry. Following these instructions is like going into meditation and you will start seeing the benefits of such peaceful sleep in the not very distant future.
This proper thought process before sleeping will ensure sound sleep without disturbing dreams. And also until you get up, your mind will be engaged in constant remembrance of your Guru, and even as you rest your body in physical sleep, your sadhana will continue at the same time. This helps you develop the control of being able to be conscious while sleeping, and being asleep when awake, which is a very advanced stage in spiritual progress. It will also enable you to attain a constant unchanging level of contemplation both while you are awake and asleep.
Contemplation during morning and evening walks is also beneficial for you. As far as possible try to walk alone and in peaceful surroundings. Even if you meet an acquaintance or friend along the way, try not to talk to them and imagine that your Guru or God is walking side by side with you. If you like, and if you want, you can communicate with him. You can talk to him in complete belief that he is listening to whatever you are saying. In doing so, a common man can even utilize these walks effectively for achieving spiritual progress.”
Guru Maharaj further mentions that we should make it a habit to divert our thoughts towards our God or Guru whenever we have some free time to spare and to ruminate on his presence. This will be further helpful in our spiritual progress.
Translated from Sadhana ke Anubhav written by Guru Maharaj, Dr. Chaturbhuj Sahay Ji by Dr. Ajay Bhardwaj.