The transition from physical to spiritual

We have transitioned from books to e-books, from writing on paper to scribbling on iPads, from meeting in person to meeting via Zoom, haven’t we? So clearly, the Sadhana App was an inevitable transition into infinite possibilities of worship and turning inwards. 

The Sadhana App is a boon; an incredible gift. I think due to our ingrained beliefs it may take time for us to realise its beauty and how much ease it has brought into our lives. The transition from physical to spiritual may be hard for some but not for me and I will tell you why. 

Imagine a time when you were in deep trouble or you can even imagine a movie scene where a child is trying to reach God. What does she do? She closes her eyes, falls on her knees, clasps her hands and prays from the deepest corner of her heart. You may have done the same, and numerous times too. If you have, you’d agree that reaching God is an internal affair, it is all about turning inward. Yet we have this ingrained, rigid belief that we need physical ingredients to pray. Yes it helps us feel devotional, yes, it gives us a sense of purpose. Yes, the air gets filled with beautiful fragrances, but how many times did you get so engrossed in organising  a ritual that you forgot the whole purpose of why you were doing it in first place? 

It definitely happened to me. When our kind Swami announced and shared the Nav Durga Sadhana steps on in March 2020, I had no intention of doing the Yagna. Oh dear Lord. No, No! Not in the UK! If anyone spots a little smoke and the fire brigade would be at your door within minutes. But then a close friend convinced me to do it. I think she just wanted to witness some drama. (Just kidding)

My personal story from the Pre-Sadhana App era.

I still remember when Boris Johnson announced the National lockdown in the UK and due to the pandemic, we’d have to stay home as from that evening to stop the spread of the virus. Even though these were still early days of the pandemic and we weren’t aware of the extent of damage it would cause yet, it wasn’t wise to venture out. However I was determined to do this. As a natural OCD (hygiene-wise), I took my precautions and went for it.

The post which Swami had painstakingly written with clear instructions became my shopping list. The amount of effort and love He put in that post, still amazes me. It’s all unimaginable and yet, I believe that the Sadhana App required multifold more hard work.

Anyway, I’ll sing His glories in (an)other post(s). For now, let’s go back to March 2020. It was one day before the Navratras began, around 24th March to be exact and I went on an adventure to find all the ingredients required, including some sort of havan kund ( BTW, I couldn’t find any, so I just bought a brand new pan for that. Yep:) Talk about struggles). 

The search involved driving to an Indian grocery in London, an hour away from home, and running around to find items which I had never heard of before.

“Lotus seeds?! What’s that? Wait, what? Black sesame seeds exist? Woah, red sandalwood? Let me Google this. Oh it’s an expensive wood but Swami says even 1cm of it is enough.

Further Google searches and apparently they include some of it in the Havan samagri.

“If I’m lucky I can dig a piece of red sandalwood out of the mixture, maybe. But … Oh dear! Havan samagri? Do they even sell that in the UK?”
Dry coconuts? Wait! Those brown coconuts are always dry, aren’t they? Eh!? There are some without water in them? Talk about learning new things everyday! Do they sell this here? What the heck am I thinking? Will I be able to find all of this? In the midst of COVID?! Let’s see.”

So, off I went to different shops. Like a clueless little puppy, I asked around. But with some Divine grace, lo and behold, indeed they had most of the ingredients. And dry coconuts too!

“Okay, let’s see! So, I need dry coconuts for Purnahuti. One yagna a day, for 9 days, let me get 10 coconuts, just in case.”

Yep. You heard that right! I had absolutely no clue or perhaps I didn’t read the instructions in the post properly, because I came back home with 10 dry coconuts. Yes my friend. TEN. Ten dry coconuts. And the next day, after watching the live streaming of Day 1, I realised that I would only need one coconut, and that too for the final day’s yagna. No more, no less.

Now, of course, I also needed wood. Woos which wouldn’t create too much smoke. The ones I bought from London seemed too bulky and I’d be inviting trouble home in the form of an unruly fire. With some more luck, I found some more wood (fireplace wood) in a nearby supermarket. But ain’t I smart? I also bought some long matches as I remembered that Om Swami had done a mini Yagna with matchsticks after His Gayatri Sadhana, as He shared in His book. “If things go wrong, maybe I could do the same”, I thought to myself.

Phew! Now I was ready for the yagna. Or so I thought! After all this effort and going through the struggle to find everything I needed, including making the arrangements of where I’d do the Yagna, I felt quite some relief. To tell you the truth, it already felt like an achievement. 

Now it was time to attempt the yagna and I had no idea how to do one. Other than attending a few pujas as a child and the priest giving me some ahutis and telling me to throw them in the fire and say ‘Swaha’, I really didn’t know much. I knew we had to use ghee and some powdered stuff along with crushed sweet offerings. And I knew there would be smoke, and uh fire.

But I wasn’t worried, Swami would instruct us virtually and too right, He did! He is, as always, the ultimate guide, well-wisher, parent and teacher. This yagna with Him was the first of a kind, just before a pandemic too.

After watching the live streaming, I understood the instructions, my mind was fine with it all but the fire had a mind of its own. Long story short, it was quite a disaster including many missed ‘Swahas’, having to put out the fire to avoid setting the place on fire, catching up with the missed ‘Swahas’ because I was too busy handling the fire. Also totally forgetting why in the world I was even doing the yagna. I was also more focussed on completing each yagya as fast as I could because I was too scared I would set the place on fire. I couldn’t do the yagna outside because not only would it attract firemen but also it was very cold at the time. What a dilemma. But I got through it, however, after those Navratras I didn’t attempt yagnas at home, ever again.

Sadhana App is a boon.

If you read till here, well, congratulations! You just went on a trip. But most importantly, now you know one of the reasons why I feel that the Sadhana App is a true gift from the Divine to us. It is a boon; an offering from the future. Although there was joy (and confusion) in the physical yagna preparations, by the time I performed the Yagna, the true purpose had disappeared. In today’s world, especially in the West, it is difficult.

As Swami shares in the (beautiful) clip within the App, we do Yagna to show our gratitude to the universe. Through His grace, love and hard work, we can show our gratitude and perform the ritual using all the required ingredients with the least effort.

Can you imagine? You can offer rice pudding with all your heart, without even having to make it. The ‘I’ which is so strong in us, just disappears because usually when we perform a ritual, as earthlings, we inevitably think ‘I’ made this for YOU. But in the Sadhana App, it’s only about the act of giving, loving, worshiping and appreciating. 

With minimal effort, in fact with just love, through this one phenomenal App, we can offer whatever we wish. 

The opportunity to give back is a blessing.

And this is one reason why we should also rejoice in the 9-sec donation page, in my opinion. If you truly believe that you performed the ritual and offered all those beautiful pure ingredients to the Divine, then my friend, you have the opportunity to increase the impact of your act. Because if you read my story above, my shopping list had an associated cost. Duh. The shopkeeper didn’t accept smiles as payment:) 

When we do physical yagnas and Abhishekam, we buy the ingredients. It doesn’t matter how cheap they are, the point is that we still buy them. When this realisation dawned on me, it changed my perception. We have everything at a fingertip. I don’t have to travel to London to do a Yagna! Nor do I have to worry about setting the place on fire. Swami worked so hard to provide us with everything. For Him only our wellbeing and liberation matter the most. 

The least we can do is use the Sadhana App with ease and sincerely, but also realise what a boon it is.

I rarely share personal stories, because I lead quite an ordinary life and I usually prefer short posts but sometimes change is a nice variation! I hope you enjoyed the trip and I will be back with more, hopefully. 

P.S: I still have some havan samagri, lotus seeds and sesame seeds from 2020. Yup. Never again! Sadhana App it is!