‘Sadhana’ in Sanskrit and Hindi means ‘ to balance’ through practice. Its spiritual connotation implies balanced self-control in all dimensions of life. Every form of sadhana, in essence, is divine communion. Sadhana can be defined as a sadhaka or seeker’s conscious and sincere effort carried out with unwavering faith, clarity and understanding, to become strong enough to overcome temptation. Sadhana is a process of self-mastery that leads to self-purification.
Sadhana can, for instance, be via silent prayer, chanting, yoga, religious ritual or meditation. Whichever path fructifies into spiritual evolution is the right path for a sadhaka. The fruits of sincere sadhana are reaped at three levels — physical, mental and spiritual.
There are some misconceptions about sadhana that need to be first addressed. The general impression is that if a sadhaka devotes an hour or two daily to some form of sadhana, he gets purged of all bad karma. It is not so. Soon after sadhana, most people tend to revert to their usual negative behaviour and routine that they are habituated to.
A true sadhaka can be identified as the one who always maintains the after-effects of sadhana throughout the day. Moreover, performing sadhana half-heartedly with little or no faith will not yield desired results. Even years of such sadhana proves futile. Bonafide sadhana means living in a state of divine awareness from moment-to-moment. It is an all-time meditative state with open eyes; it is conscious, virtuous living.
The first sign of successful sadhana is a causeless, consistent feeling of peaceful joy that the seeker finds himself in. A close second is the fearlessness he achieves. The daily association bestows a sense of supreme security and confidence. Inner strength gets fortified. One tends to maintain even-mindedness and equanimity through the vicissitudes of life. By dint of daily inner sustenance, problems and setbacks tend to lose their formidability to a great extent.
Another prominent sign of effective sadhana is gradual subjugation of negative propensities and emotions. Focus starts shifting to the positives and blessings of life. Gratitude becomes an integral part of a sadhaka’s disposition. As sadhana progresses, there is greater control over one’s sense organs. Material desires are relegated to the background, gradually shrinking to only that which is necessary. Greed, restlessness and mindless pursuit of wealth are replaced by contentment and peace, enabling the sadhaka to strike a perfect balance between material life and spiritual life.
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