Published in Times of India on Mar 21, 2012
If meditation and sadhana do not bring about compassion, your practice is wasted, says Sri M.
My guru would make me meditate for long hours every day. But he always warned: If you meditate for 13 hours a day for 13 years, but you can’t hear the cry of a hungry child next door, you can throw your 13 years of meditation out of the window.
If meditation and sadhana do not bring about compassion and do not make you look at fellow human beings with love and kindness, your spirituality is completely wasted.
It is not enough to look after your own child. It is but natural, it is a biological phenomenon. Even monkeys do that. Compassion for your own offspring is inbuilt in human nature; it is God-given. So is love for your parents, your brothers and sisters. If you take care of them it is not a big deal.
I’m not saying, you should not look after your family. I am saying, can you see others as well with the same sympathy and compassion? Can you treat others as equal to yourself?
When that begins to happen, it means you are progressing. It means that you are moving from a small isolated centre to a wider understanding and relationship with other living beings.
This is what the Upanishads say. When the Ishavasya Upanishad states: Isha vasyam idam sarvam, it refers to that Supreme Being which pervades everything on earth.
It means every single living being you come across automatically becomes Isha, the Lord. And because He is the Lord, you have to do your bit for Him. You have to contribute to the well being of all fellow beings. This is the real meaning of sadhana.
If you do that, the mind becomes purified. That is why Swami Vivekananda emphasised sewa or service; sewa is one way in which the mind loses its selfishness.
You can’t just say you are one with everybody. You must show it. You have to act on it. You might say the whole world is one. I am one with all my fellow beings. But the moment someone annoys you, you want to slap that person. So how are you one with everybody?
This is something which has to mature in the mind through sewa. And only when the mind has become purified through service, can you meditate. Otherwise you can sit for hours with your eyes closed, but the mind will be roaming around without settling down.
There are people who may have not done any sadhana that you know of, in this life. But to whom compassion comes naturally. They are evolved souls, who have come down to earth to do service. They may not have the usual religious paraphernalia around them, but service comes naturally to them.
To live like that and to carry on with life is the aim of satsang; not to be able to fly up in the air or be able to sit in samadhi without breathing. All this can be done even by a magician. Try to do good in whatever way possible to whoever is close to you or around you. You don’t need to go far to be good to people. This is the meaning of a spiritual life.
And you need to pursue this life without being a sanyasi. You need to keep in mind that deep down, we are all linked to the one Supreme Being. This is true sadhana.