Verses 4 and 5 of Advice on Sadhana

By Rudra Shivananda

Practice moderation in foodIn the first verse, the acharya counseled the seeker on achieving a steady resolve towards the spiritual path, followed in the second verse with seeking the sage to hear his wisdom. In the third verse, the student needs to reflect on what has been transmitted and acquire his own discriminative awareness.

Fasting can heal diseases

Live contentedly upon whatever comes to you as a blessing from
the divine

Endure all the pairs of opposites: heat and cold, and the like.

Avoid wasteful talks.

Practice equanimity

Desire not the kindness of others

afterglow avian backlit birds

In the fourth verse, the great teacher examines how the spiritual practitioner should live the material life. Obviously, one must support oneself or one’s family in a suitable manner but should not run after excessive requirements, living in contentment with what has been allotted by the universal grace. Practicing moderation in food and fasting at least one day every week builds self-control as well as keeps the practitioner in good health. It is easy to become concerned about one’s comfort which can lead to igniting desires for what is liked and aversion to what is not liked. It is important to seek balance in life which can be upset by keeping company with those who are seeking material goals.

If the practitioner seeks help from others, it puts her in debt to those who offer support and this must be repaid sooner or later, enmeshing her in the material cycle of action and reaction. Of course, if someone offers unsolicited help, it is not necessary to reject it. In all activities, the practitioner’s goal is to stay calm and centered.

In solitude live joyously.

Quieten your mind in the Supreme Lord.

Realize and see the All-pervading Self everywhere.

Recognize that the finite Universe is a projection of the Self.

Conquer the effects of the deeds done in earlier lives by the present right action.

Through wisdom become detached from future actions.

In the fifth and last verse, the practitioner’s spiritual progress is examined. The sage is now united and abides in his true Self, ever in bliss irrespective of the circumstances, and being ever mindful of the Divine. This is an internal state of super-consciousness which is attained during deep Samadhi meditation. The next step is to extend the internal realization to dealing with the apparently external world which is accomplished through first seeing that one’s true Self pervades everything and the apparent diversity is united in the Self – we are all One.

In the next stage, the whole of the universe is seen as only a manifestation of the Self and without a separate existence. In this divine consciousness state, all past karma is wiped clean as if it never existed and the sage now acts only in the present without ego or karma.

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