Everyone in today’s capitalist world knows about SIP. Systematic Investment Plan – That is, investing a fixed sum every week/month/quarter from salary/earnings to be invested in a mutual fund/stock for a fixed period of 1,5,10,20 yrs. The idea is to compound the money over time in which case it can have phenomenal exponential returns that can be used for one’s own retirement, college or marriage to kids. The longer one invests the better the returns. There’s a famous quote in the investment world ‘your kith and kin may not take care of you in old age but your SIP will’.
Well this post is not about Systematic Investment plan but about Spiritual Investment plan.
Fifteen years ago, when I attended a Satsang in Sri Ramakrishna math, Chennai. Swami Gautamanadaji – the Adhyaksha of Chennai math gave a discourse. He said “Young people spend their time in so many external pursuits and have little time to do sadhana. They think that sadhana can be done after sixty. Do you think you will be able to tame your subconscious mind at 60? More than anything, your mind will be constantly worried about who will be there to take care of you, your health might be a hindrance, the possibility that your body can sit in one place without shaking for 5 min might be questionable. You are all young now, spend 5min to one hour everyday early morning or alternate days in spiritual sadhana. After that you go about your pursuit for education, wealth etc throughout the day. Why I am saying this, as you grow older your sadhana also will grow and your mind will become steady towards spiritual sadhana. When you reach 60, your kids will be busy with their kids, even when nobody is there, the sadhana you did with the initiated mantra would have grown into a huge tree and will start yielding fruits. your body might be fragile and weak but your mind will be immersed in bliss with god consciousness. You can see most of the old people filled with boredom and they become the cause of chaos in the family trying to seek attention which they had when they were the breadwinners. So, even when there is no one with you in your old age, your sadhana will uplift you, accompany you and fill you with delight. you can sit in one place reading the ‘Bhagavatam’ or ‘The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna’ or chant the mantra and be filled with bliss. Your spiritual energy will fill your home with peace and love and you can be an inspiration for the younger generation to do spiritual sadhana. So start your sadhana as early as possible”.
What the swami said struck a chord somewhere deep inside me and also it made a lot of sense. Who will be there with me in my old age? what if one is bed ridden. So, I made it a point to do the sadhana everyday. I never knew that it would be an uphill task to tame the subconscious mind.
1. In the first five to six years, to sit and complete one mala of japa would take almost an hour. Sometimes I never did complete it. I would have fallen asleep or felt so restless, I discontinued midway. The mind would run amok with thoughts as if I am sitting amidst a storm. Most often, I finished with a headache or mental fatigue trying hard to calm the mind. To sit inside a temple for a few minutes felt like sitting on a thorn bush, the mind would invariably find one reason or other to escape confinement.
2.After five to six years, I was able to sit for an hour or so and complete a few mala of japa with lot of strain. It still wasn’t easy. I could feel that the mind which I was trying to control would try to break free by indulging in sense gratification at the slightest opportunity of carelessness or being less mindful. Be it ice cream, snacks or anything else, I would eat so much that for the next two days I would not be able to sit in meditation at all. It was cyclical,kept repeating again and again. To visualize the deity and do japam simultaneously was impossible and painful as well.
3.It’s been eighteen years since I received my initiation (03.05.2003). I haven’t yet mastered mind control. But, there’s one marked change which is clearly perceptible to me. Somehow the subconscious mind has ingrained the mantra into itself. Whether I am walking, driving, eating, watching a movie or listening to a song. Every now and then the mantra will pop into my conscious mind reminding me, “hello, I am there, I am there”. Even while performing a dental procedure where I had to focus with maximum concentration, the moment I take a pause to assess the procedure, the mantra will be the first thing to jump into my mind. It’s as if it’s in auto-pilot mode, chanting on it’s own even without me trying to do it. What started as a sprint (to finish fast and escape) has become a marathon. At present doing mantra japa is the most blissful experience. I take a few minutes to complete one mala, I don’t keep count of how many malas I chant. Instead I try to delay the completion of one mala by giving space after each chant of the mantra, in between the space from one chant to another the mind being totally blank, bliss starts dripping in and visualizing the deity is crystal clear in the mind.
4.Whenever an outburst of anger or any other vices occur, it wreaks havoc to my emotional state of mind that I would not be able to do any sadhana for minimum 3 days to 7 days. All I would do is become mindful “Ok, I should not have done this, What’s happened has happened, now let’s be mindful and wait for the dirty vicious dust to settle and the mantra to take over”. I stopped feeling guilty or blaming myself which only strengthens the vices to commit more mistakes. Invariably within a few days the emotional low gets an uplift, like how one feels when a flight takes off in the first few minutes, the mind is back to sadhana mode and all the bliss and peace comes back. I could also sense that if I am mindful while doing my work , I feel glimpses of peace and bliss which I experience while doing my sadhana.
To conclude, Sri Ramakrishna initiated Swami Vijnanandaji, who initiated Swami Athmashanandaji, who initiated me and many more. I am a third generation disciple who received the mantra 150 years after Sri Ramakrishna left the world. I could feel the power and the presence of the mantra alive within me after 18yrs of sadhana. Now, all of you, who are having OM after your name, it’s not even a decade since you got initiated and the guru is living in the abode called Badrika Ashram looking after each one of you. He sings with you, dances, lovingly says bye in zoom call and is ever ready to protect you. what more can anyone ask for? you are the most fortunate and blessed souls to receive initiation from the one who got initiated by Mother Divine herself.
our kith or kin may not take care of us but the mantra will, not only in this life but beyond as well. Adi Sankara in his commentary on ‘Brahma sutra’ says, when the Atma exits the body, the Ishta devata or the Kula devata with which the Atma had associated with, guides the soul along the lunar or solar path according to the merits of the soul.
There’s a famous quote in the investment world, “The chance of loss in SIP ( Systematic Investment Plan) for ten years or more is almost Zero”, Similarly, The chance of not making progress in spiritual investment plan for ten years or more is almost Zero.
What are you waiting for? Start your sadhana!!!
Start your Spiritual Investment Plan along with your Systematic Investment Plan!!!
JUST DO IT!