Years Ago in 1956

Paramahamsa Satyananda

The mind is like an ocean. Thoughts are like waves arising therefrom. Your duty is to calm down these thoughts by japa, concentration and meditation on your Ishtam. Concentration will lead you to meditation, where there is only one thought of Ishtam. Faith, self-control, awareness, intense practice, surrender and absence of experienced sensations of all types enhance the success in concentration.

It is essential that the meditational object (dhyeya) is one, constant and lovely. You should remember it well, that you should believe in the divinity of your Ishtam.

No thought should interfere with rupa (form) sadhana and nam (name) sadhana. The entire attention is to be concentrated on japa and dhyana; when this is practised unceasingly, then the real steadiness comes. You should neither lose courage, nor should you be unpunctual.

Attraction towards painful and pleasure some experiences should be abandoned in toto. Every work is to be done by the body, indriyas and the routine mental mechanism. Every perception is to be limited to indriyas and manas alone. When one separates one's atma from the mind and indriyas, one attains real vairagya. Vairagya is not physical inactivity, nor is it absent-mindedness. It is just a topsy-turvy change in one's own altitude towards repulsive and attractive experiences and their bases. Just remain a witness. Then see, work and think.

Normal duties need neither be minimised, nor stopped. They do not come into the picture at all. When the atma is separated, then actions and mental workings do not bird the sadhak. When the sadhak brings in the bhav of instrumentality, his mind is not at all affected. It is for Him, and at His will and pleasure that the sadhak should consider himself working, thinking and seeing. Thus he will be able to maintain himself even while working, thinking and seeing, and thus he will be able to sustain normal interest, intelligence and efficiency.

What one needs, for cultivating vairagya is to consider oneself working at His orders, and remain overbalanced in thought, word and action. This type of vairagya is essential in order to strengthen the power of sadhana. This is the only way for a man to work for his spiritual enlightenment.

Physical illness, slavery to the senses and mental disturbances form the first obstacle.

Losing interest in sadhana is the second obstacle.

Carelessness and hurry-burry in sadhana is the third obstacle.

Heaviness in body and mind due to sleep and lethargy is the fourth obstacle.

Attraction towards and awareness of enjoyments and sense experiences form the fifth obstacle.

Considering one's own method of sadhana as improper is the sixth obstacle.

Non-attainment of even elementary progress, even after a long term of sadhana, is the seventh obstacle.

Instability of mind in any starve of sadhana is the eighth obstacle. Apart from these few obstacles, there are those factors which one should know to be impediments, disturbing the peace and bliss of one's mind.

The greatest among the obstacles is to consider one's present condition as unfavourable, one's progress as doubtful, one's sadhana as defective, one's life as hellish, and one's normal advocation as being opposed to one's progress.