We have just understood that happiness is found within, and not without, meaning that the search for it has to turn inwards. So Sādhanā is all about the search within; it is a journey from extroversion to introversion.
Believe me, this doesn’t mean that the Sādhak (one who does Sādhanā) neglects the world or takes a cowardly flight from it. One has only turned inwards in order to find the truth, which is one’s own self.
This search for one’s true identity or consciousness, also the search for true happiness, is not just reserved for renunciants, monks or sanyasis. Every human being, without distinction, can embark upon this search—people like you and me who live in this world, who work for one’s living, has a family and who cares for other human beings.
The daily activities, the day-to-day travails are often distracting in this inner pursuit. So distracting, that in order to do Sādhanā, one has to find the appropriate time to sit in solitude and practise. Once one becomes an expert at this, Sādhanā can be done anywhere in the world.
This practice of Sādhanā is generally called mediation. This meditation is not some kind of mumbo-jumbo to be practiced behind closed doors. It is merely a method passed onto a student by a spiritual teacher, who has practiced it himself and has customised it—according to the nature of the student—before transmitting it.
The teacher ascertains the nature of the student—what stage the student is in in terms of internal make-up and how much the student can practise regularly. In order to study and understand this meditation—which is termed Sādhanā—intimate contact is required between the teacher and the taught, between the teacher and the student.
The thing to understand here is that there is no common formula to this. This is because everyone is made differently — physically, mentally and psychologically.In this regard, I’d like to mention a great sage, teacher and saint, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who was the spiritual teacher of Swami Vivekananda. We are all familiar with Swami Vivekananda. He is well known and was one of the first spiritual teachers from this country to go West and speak about Vedanta and the practice of yoga.
Now, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had many disciples and he treated and taught each one in different ways and every one of them, at least most of them, turned out to be sages in their own right. Not one technique was the same as the other. The approaches were different.So, what I meant to say here is that there has to be an intimate contact between the teacher and the student. This helps the teacher to ascertain what kind of a student one is and teach accordingly, so that one may proceed at one’s own pace and finally reach one’s true inner self. This true inner self is the consciousness deep within us, which by its very nature is full of bliss.
– Sri M