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In Him,


Hindrances in Spiritual Life

Date: Mon, 02 May 2011 18:46:27
Subject: Hindrances in Spiritual Life
From: CJ Deva



By Baba's grace and by following His guidelines, every Ananda Margii is
advancing steadily ahead in their spiritual growth and development. And,
verily, this is the greatest achievement in life-- coming close to Him.
Invariably, however, we encounter various obstacles and hindrances along
the way. Some avoidable and some seemingly not.

Admittedly, there are many aspects of our life over which we have complete
control-- but even then we may slide in the opposite direction. The point
being: We clearly have the opportunity to do something good and noble, yet
we do something else.

Most often, this comes when worldly friends or various acquaintances invite
or pressurise us to join in their mundane activities etc, and, not wanting
to let them down, we may partake in those things-- at the expense of our
spiritual values and AM ideals. This is the very real problem that
confronts many of us.

And this entire letter is aimed towards resolving this matter.


While living in this world, we should do anything and everything to please
Parama Purusa. Practicing sadhana, following yama and niyama, doing pracar,
serving the needy, singing kiirtan, adhering to 16 Points, engaging in
satsaunga etc. All these dharmic duties and responsibilities fuel our
movement forward.

Even then, it happens that we find ourselves in such a predicament that we
feel we should do things just to please certain worldly relations.

For example someone may say, 'Aw c'mon, let's go catch a movie tonight-- a
new film just came out! What's wrong, why not join us.'

Then, under the pressure of their demand and not wanting to ruin the
relation, we may say 'ok'. In that case sadhana gets minimized or skipped
entirely and evening asanas may also be left by the wayside. The point
being we miss out on our dharmic duties.

Or in another scenario, some old acquaintances or laokik family members may
say, 'Come over during the holidays and let's talk about old times etc'.

Or, someone might say, 'I never see you anymore, how about a trip to my
beach house this weekend, or a reggae concert this Friday night, or what
about getting a bite to eat at the deli.'

These are all real-life situations that we may encounter and in wanting to
please such persons we may acquiesce. We may say, 'yes'. In which case, the
result is always the same: We skip out on doing or shorten our spiritual
practices and overlook our social responsibilities etc. By this way we
commit pratyavaya--  "not to do what should be done". (NKS, Disc:18)

All these things can happen and in so doing we lose the opportunity to
adhere to our spiritual path. And this costs us dearly.


Here, in crystal-clear language, Baba warns us that pratyavaya-- not doing
those noble deeds that should be done-- is worse than sin.

Baba says, "Pa'taka also means sin against religion or God. Pa'taka is
divided into two categories. One category is papa or sin. If something is
done which should not be done it is called papa. That which is not done but
should be done is called pratyava'ya. Papa and pratyava'ya are both
undesirable things. But according to the ancient saints and sages,
pratyava'ya was more abominable than papa." (PNS-12, 'Sin, Crime, & Law')

So committing pratyavaya by not doing sadhana, or failing to help in a
service project, or skipping our designated duties and responsibilities, is
a veritable offense that severely hinders our growth as we lose momentum on
the spiritual path. And this happens quite often due to wanting to please
this or that worldly relation. I am sure in our own lives we can think of
an example or two when this has occurred.

And if we are not careful, saying 'yes' to such worldly relations and
failing to adhere to our dharmic duties can hinder, obstruct, or even ruin
one's life.

                    THE TRAGIC CASE OF KARNA

Perhaps no one in the course of history suffered more due to this defective
mentality of 'doing to please others' than Karna. During the Mahabharat
era, Karna was the epitome of this defective approach.

Because in order to please the evil-minded Duryodhana, the well-intentioned
Karna passed up his dharmic responsibilities countless times: Karna had the
opportunity to join Krsna and the Pandavas; Karna had the opportunity to
oppose injustice; Karna had the chance to become a real ksattriya; Karna
had the chance to bring peace to the entire Kuru kingdom. But none of those
things did Karna do.

All because the kind-hearted Karna did not want to displease his friend--
the evil-minded Duryodhana. Rather he wanted to do anything and everything
to please his friend Duryodhana. And because of this, Karna suffered a lot
until finally it cost him his very life.

This entire chapter is quite well-known; and indeed it is a tragedy.

                     MOSTLY GOOD PEOPLE SUFFER

One of the most startling things in all of this is that good people tend to
suffer the most from this defective approaching of 'doing to please others'.
Due to their simplicity, due to the desire of not wanting to disappoint
anyone, due to their desire to please anyone and everyone, good people say
'yes' to so many nonsense things that spoil and widdle away their time. And
in that manner they commit pratyavaya, by failing to do those dharmic works
which they should do.

So really it is good people who suffer the most from this because those who
are bad just attend to their own selfish desires and never do things to
please others.


And, of course, Ananda Margiis are essentially good people. Margiis want to
be kind and help others etc. And those are certainly desirable traits--
until with our simplicity we fall away from our AM dharma due to this very
attribute. At that point it becomes our achilles heel.

                     DHARMA MUST BE FOLLOWED

The problem is that most of the globe has no idea what dharma is nor are
they interested in following it. But for we Ananda Margiis, we have a
Dharma Guru in which case our entire life is just meant to spin around the
cosmic wheel of dharma. That is the whole purpose of our life.

Baba says, 'I should do something. I have a human structure. I am a human
being. I should do something. I should act like a human being. I should try
to goad myself to the realm of divinity, it is my dharma. I should follow
dharma, I should strictly adhere to the code of dharma." (AV-23)

Thus Baba guides us that we are to follow dharma always. That is why we
have come on this earth.


Yet, in this crude, capitalist, materialistic era, when we are surrounded
by so many co-workers, neighbors, laokik family members, in-laws, friends,
etc-- all of whom do not follow dharma, then naturally the whole scene
becomes a little sticky.

And in our desire to be nice, friendly, and hospitable, the danger always
is there that in order to please others we may fall or slip away from our

We all know how various invitations come our way, and in our desire to
maintain friendship with those people, we say 'Yes, I will be glad to'.
But unless that 'yes' is going to help those people in a dharmic way, then
that 'yes' is going to pull us of our dharma. That is the point. That is
the dangerous part.

And the ironic thing is that we do these things and satisfy our friend's
desires to 'maintain our friendship' with them. Yet that very friendship is
destined to break due to its worldly nature. The friend may move away, or
get a new job, or marry in a far distant land, or die, or they may decide
that they just do not like you anymore. So many things can happen. And in
the process, in order to safeguard that worldly friendship which is
temporary in nature, we ourselves fall from dharma by committing
pratyavaya. That is the outrageous irony.


Truly speaking then, to maintain any friendship we must convince those
persons to come onto the path of dharma. Then only will that friendship
last through the ages, otherwise not. And then also can we keep ourselves
on the path. So that is the best solution: To bring those whom we know onto
the path of dharma rather than letting ourselves get pulled off it.
Hence we should not fall prey to the mentality of 'doing to please others'
when that very action will not allow us to fulfill our dharma. On this
point we should be adamant.

                              BABA'S BLESSING

By Baba's grace, in this following passage, He reveals some of the special
secrets to leading a successful spiritual life. Really it is a unique quote
so please read it down to the very end. There are only a few places where
Baba gives this type of special guideline-- in this type of language.
  Baba says, "A spiritual aspirant who wants to attain sama'dhi needs to
develop vaera'gya (spirit of renunciation) and abhya'sa (continued
practice). Remember, sama'dhi is neither pavrtti mu'laka nor nivrtti
mu´laka. Vaera'gya is the absence of attachment, not repulsion. In order to
deal with objects properly one should never become subservient to them, but
should ascribe Brahmahood to them by cultivating the repeated practice of
cosmic ideation or Brahma Bha'vana."
 "What is abhya'sa? Tatra sthitao yatno'bhya'sah. Abhya'sa is the
creation of a particular continuous psychic vibration. It is the most
essential factor in the spiritual sphere. The continuous endeavour to
maintain the state of equilibrium of citta leads to the attainment of
sama´dhi. When one is attracted by an object one runs after it, and when
one feels repulsion for an object, one runs away from it. A person who is
fond of wine often thinks of wine, whereas a person who detests wine
prevents his mind from thinking about wine. Unless attraction and repulsion
are both transcended, the mind can never attain a state of equilibrium or
sama´dhi. Mental equilibrium only becomes possible when one makes a
constant endeavour to attain psychic balance."
 "Sama'dhi becomes a natural phenomenon as a result of continuous
spiritual practice. Procrastination is something undesirable on the
spiritual path. If ever spiritual practice is discontinued endless
desirable and undesirable waves of thoughts occupy the mind. Spiritual
practice should be continued uninterruptedly and with proper sincerity and
veneration, otherwise sama´dhi will forever remain a theoretical subject of
philosophy, never entering the periphery of practical realization. One must
not adopt the psychology, "I'm practising spirituality because my a'ca'rya
(spiritual teacher) told me to." Rather one should think, "I want to attain
spiritual realization. My a'ca'rya is merely guiding me along the path."
Only when one takes full responsibility for one's own spiritual life can
one attain the peak of spiritual progress and become fully established on
the solid ground of spirituality." (AMIWL-9)



Here again we should be strict with ourselves and not fall prey to the
defective approach of trying to please everyone. In that case we are sure
to neglect our dharmic duties-- committing pratyavaya

Baba says, "Throughout life people should...move along the path of
righteousness. If people do not do the things which they should do by
thought or deed, and engage in activities opposite to this, they are
committing pratya'va'ya." (PNS-12, 'Sin, Crime, & Law')

                             PRABHAT SAMGIITA

"Tumi esecho, bha'lo besecho, bhola'ye sakal vyatha' sab ha'ha'ka'r..." (PS


 Baba, my heart was sunk in sorrow and woe; I was forlorn and had lost
all hope. I was crying, thinking I am all alone and that in this world no
one is mine. Baba, by Your grace You have come and blessed me with Your
love. You have made my heart and mind overflowing in Your divine bliss. By
Your causeless grace, all my pains, lamentations, and tragedies have been
wiped away. You have filled my life with bliss. O' my Lord, by Your
causeless grace, You have responded and come to me with Your sweet smile.
Baba, with Your infinite beauty and charm You have won over everyone's heart.
Baba, my love knows only You. You are everything for me. There is no one
else. By Your grace nothing can attract me; I only love You. Baba, by Your
grace, I am always ensconced in Your tune, melody, and Your divine
attraction-- in pleasure, in pain, and also when my pride is wounded. Baba,
You belong to everyone, even then by Your grace in my heart I know that You
are only mine. You belong to me and me alone.
Baba, Your presence is everywhere. The mark of Your love is found on the
flower and the leaves-- on every spot in this panoramic world. Even then
the black bee of my mind wants You alone. Baba on my worst days, when all
hope was gone, when I had lost everything, in that desperate circumstance
when no one else was there to help me, You always came and resolved all my
troubles, pains, and problems. Baba, You are the sweetest of the sweet. You
are only mine; You are only mine.
 Baba, by Your causeless grace You have come to me. It is Your grace; it
is Your grace...

                   Flaw of Western Philosophy          

Baba says, "Metaphysics as explained in the West is not supported by modern
physics...Thus far all [western] philosophers have remained completely
unaware of spiritual cult. Although new ideas in the domain of [western]
philosophy have been added, philosophy has failed to establish its link
with the dusty earth. And a philosophy which has no relation with the dusty
earth nor with the children of the soil, has no practical value. Philosophy
is meant for the benefit of the human race." (APH-4)               

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