Sadhana is the most essential thing and has to be done regularly, but sadhana too has its level. For some people the pooja path is sadhana, someone else considers dhyana to be sadhana. For others service, seva, is sadhana. Some consider even suffering to be sadhana, and for a few indulgence or bhoga is sadhana. Then what is the meaning of sadhana after all?
In this world, you are living in grihastha ashram. Unless you acknowledge the experiences of your mind you will not be able to make progress. Kama, krodha, lobha, moha, ahamkara, mada and matsarya, desire, anger, greed, attachment, ego, arrogance, and envy or jealousy are characteristics of the mind. Unless you experience it, how will you acknowledge the presence of maya and realize that it is unnecessary? Everyone tells you not to be angry. Everyone tells you to shun all desire. All religions and all masters will tell this, I am also telling you the same, but have you experienced it?
Unless you experience the behaviour of your own mind, unless you experience the manifestations and fluctuations of your own mind personally, you do not have any right to say that it is all unnecessary and you have no right to condemn anyone. How do you know that anger, desire and attachment are useless things? Have you suffered at any time because of them? Have you ever suffered any loss because of your anger? Have you suffered because of desire? Have you endured any pain, frustrations, loss, disillusionment or sorrows because of desires and lust? Did you gain any knowledge through it? That has not happened at any time, then why and how can you renounce them?
You cannot renounce anything which you consider insignificant but about which you have no experience at all. If you get knocks and blows in the daily pattern of life on account of your anger, greed, passion, ego and so on, you have experience. That is why the life of a householder is known as a place where you are making certain positive efforts in order to clear the passage for self-realization.
Grihastha ashrama is a way to self-realization, atmajnana. In grihastha ashram you feel and experience desires, anger, greed, attachments, ego and all the vikaras of the mind. When you are frustrated with them, you try to overcome them. Every time, you get a bitter experience because of your anger, you think you will leave anger, “I will not get angry anymore, it leads to loss.” Then the next time you feel anger again and you decide not to be angry again. In this manner, you keep feeling angry fifty times, and fifty times you decide not to be angry again.
You realize that anger destroys relationships. In the relation of mother and son, brother and sister, small conflicts and small quarrels keep on happening throughout the day. This is not good and this should be realized, then only you will try to improve on it. In the same manner, you should realize that lust, desires and greed are unnecessary and lead to trouble. There are many things like that. You have to realize them all, and you have to realize that these things are not good, and you do not have peace in life because of them. You do not feel happiness because them. Most of the time they are the reasons for your trouble. Only then will you be able to leave them or overcome them in your life.
On top of all that when you try to leave them or overcome them, it is not an easy task, it is really very difficult to live without them or leave them completely. Especially desires, you cannot leave all your desires so easily. That is why every man should live life within the framework of his own dharma. You can have desires and also fulfil them, but within the framework of your dharma. Do not go out of the framework designed. Whatever your desires are, you can only fulfil them within the limits of your framework of dharma. If some desires take you beyond the framework of dharma, leave them. Dharma means righteousness, sadachara or good conduct. Only within the limits of the framework of dharma can you fulfil and manage your desires, lust, anger, attachments, greed, ego, etc.
If you go beyond that framework, then the garbage of anger, lust, desire, greed, ego, attachment, which was in you will spill over into the outside world. Today you will spill your garbage, tomorrow someone else will spill their garbage, and everyone will spill their garbage in the world. This is what has happened in the world today, and this is what is happening. By managing, fulfilling and expressing your desires, greed, lust, anger, attachments, ego etc. within the framework of dharma, the framework of virtues, this can be made better.