In my conversations with scores of people, many have asked about the starting point and feasibility of self-realization for householders. A reader posted the following questions. It has also given me the opportunity to document my response for the benefit of others. As follows:
Prabhu Ji, Pranam. Glad to have you back to help guide us through the challenges that weak minded people like us face in our daily lives. Swamiji, what are the prerequisites of achieving bliss or a pure state of mind? where does the starting point lie? How can people with worldly commitments and responsibilities keep that focus and stay committed to it? How is it possible after going through so many impurities in one’s life? Jai Mata Di
A burning desire to experience your true nature and an unwavering commitment to your chosen path are the prerequisites. Please reread Nature and You, especially the last section listing the ten points.
Commit to the practice of meditating daily, even twice a day if you are on the path of meditation.
If you want a vision of your deity, you need to develop a bond first. Start crying for your deity while chanting the holy names. Sounds unreasonable, if not outright silly? Try it to see the results. Offer whatever you are doing to your Ishta. Eat, breathe, live, sleep for your personal god. It is a slow and steady path but one that can purify you quickly.
It is a question of priority. Can you give me an hour of your time daily? If not, can you start thinking about what I tell you when you are driving, or bathing, for example? If not, can you give up watching TV or reading newspapers and devote that time to the path? If not, can you set aside a certain number of days in a year exclusively dedicated to the practice, almost like a meditation retreat?
I am happy to offer you direct supervision and guidance. If not, can you start practicing compassion and non-violence under all circumstances, and, truth under all possible circumstances? If not, for every emotion or sentiment offered to you, can you return love? Imagine where you will end up if you adopted all of the above.
If you carry out an initially intense effort, the flux of purified energy will automatically bring about the required changes. If you tread the path slowly, steadily, and correctly, the urge to increase the intensity will emerge automatically. So, either way, you can get to the destination. At some point, a dedicated effort will be required if you want to get to that state of permanent bliss. Do not ponder over matters of the future in regards to taking time out; it is a lot more important to get started.
Choose one, many, or all of the aforesaid points. From my point of view, I would like to offer the complete system — the system of self-transformation. A piecemeal introduction will be of little use. And to document the whole system, I require some time.
The riddance of impurities
Imagine a glass full of salty water. Your goal is to get rid of the salt. There are many methods such as distillation etc. to choose from, all of which lead to the same outcome. However, all of them require certain apparatus and paraphernalia. The easiest way is to start pouring fresh water into the glass. Soon, it will start to overflow. If you continue pouring the fresh water, eventually not a trace of impurity will remain and the glass will be full of pure water.
Such is the state of your mind. If you cannot afford the system of dhyana (comparable to processes requiring apparatus), you can start pouring in devotional sentiments of moral thoughts. All impurities will flow out of your system leaving you pristine and unblemished.
We cannot change the past, so give yourself a clean slate with resolve and do not be too hard on yourself. Regardless of all that has been done in the past, if you want to go through self-purification leading to self-transformation, you can do it. I doubt there has ever been a saint who never sinned. And even if there were, it still does not change the life of those sinners who became sages.
The primary difference between a sage and a sinner is the former’s ability to exercise morality and return all emotions with love and love alone. The sinner reacts but the saint only ever acts, unconditionally if you will. Nobody can stop you from acting with compassion other than you alone.
Art of Meditation
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If you do not change what you do, how can Nature change what you get! After all, we only ever reap, in multifold, what we sow!