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Question: Acharya ji, how to bear prolonged Sadhana (spiritual discipline)?
I have inertia in moving along the spiritual path. One day I sat down to read Jiddu Krishnamurti for MAG (Month of Awakening) session, and I read him for hours. I really enjoyed and felt at peace, yet I never opened it again, even though I wanted to complete the remaining chapters. Similarly, when I am feeling low, I feel like watching some spiritual videos, but I choose only the ones under fifteen minutes. I can watch five-six videos which are short, but I will never choose to watch a one hour video.
I know that I have not yet reached the state to understand things beyond mind, yet sometimes I question that what exactly I am trying to achieve on this path.
How should I get over the inertia, and the doubt? What should I do? I am confused.
Acharya Prashant Ji: It is not about understanding. It is also not about not knowing what you are trying to achieve. It is simply a thing of the modern, post-modern age called ‘attention-deficit’.
Had you already known what is worth achieving in life, there is anyways no need to watch spiritual videos. So, if you do not know what is worth achieving, it is okay. The spiritual videos will help you know that. So, that’s fine.
The thing is that, technology and development, and economics have brought us to a point where we have everything pre-cooked, and easy, and ready to be served to us. May be one day you can be with Krishnamurti for a long stretch. But that is not ingrained in you.
We live in an age where the smart-phone offers us very quick gratification. We live in an age where I suppose there is a limit of one minute on Instagram videos. So if you watch fifteen minute long videos, it is in itself some kind of an accomplishment. It does not have to do with your spiritual thirst, it has to do with the times we are living in.
Kids are not being tested at all. They are being promoted to the next class, I suppose till class Eighth or Sixth. Class Eighth. So everybody has it easy. The board examination results are not as per percentages, are they? I am talking of Class Xth and XIIth examination board examinations. They are according to grades or CGPA, and everybody is a ninety-nine percent holder. If you are a ninety-five per-center, it is a shame.
Everything is easy.
But the path of Spirituality is one of rigour, and labour, and toil, and self-dissolution. And nothing prepares you for that. Everything is being delivered to you on a platter, especially if you come from a developed country.
It has been many times over-ensured that you do not suffer, at least materially. Unemployment – you will get benefits. Old age – you will get benefits. Medical situation – you will be covered. Why work hard? Where are austerities? What is the meaning of penance?
‘Sadhana’(spiritual discipline) has become a very unreasonable word. If everything is available at the drop of a hat, rather at the click of the button, what does one mean by ‘prolonged sadhana‘? That is why you would not want to go back to somebody like Jiddu Krishnamurti. He does not entertain you.
Once in a blue moon he is palatable, but he cannot be a regular fare. Tell me what do you want, all is available. Amazon is there – next day delivery. What do you call it? Amazon Prime. Roads are improving, and so are cars. When I was a kid, it used to take eight hours to reach Jim Corbett National Park. I just returned from Jim Corbett National Park. It took less than five hours.
Spending time, investing time on something you consider worthwhile, is not needed anymore.
You want to go Kailash Mansarover, there is a helicopter service available. And it used to be an excruciating pilgrimage. People even used to lay down their lives in order to reach the Kailash Parvat, the Mansarover lake. And today, the helicopter just drops you there.
If you can reach even Shiva instantaneously, what is the point of any Spiritual journey? Why would you listen to this Acharya Ji, who rambles on and on for an infinite number of hours?
“You give me something that is under fifteen minutes.”
And you know, you have made it up a little. You know that, right? You know that it is not fifteen minutes, it is five minutes. Anything beyond five minutes is intolerable. It is okay. That’s the characteristic of our modern civilisation. Everything has to be a quickie – two-minute noodles.
One restaurant, I unfortunately stepped into, was offering seven-course meals in one. I asked that why are you offering seven-course meals in one. He said, “That’s the trend. If you want seven course meals in seven courses, then you have to pay X. And if you want seven course meals in one course, then you have to pay 3X, because we are saving your time.”
Kabir Sahib puts it, as only he can, “Chalo chalo sab koi kahe, mohe andesa aur. Saahab se parichay nahin, jayenge kis thaur.”
“(All are rushing, and all are being told to rush, but I have a certain doubt. You do not know Him, in which direction would you go?).”
Yes you are increasing your speed madly, but where are you going? Where are you going? What are you saving your time for? There is no doubt that this age offers great conveniences, and you can save a lot of time. But what for?
Often the time that you save, is utilised to self-destruct.
Saving time would be great, if you knew how to use that time.
But I really wonder what is going to be a valid use of time, saved from reading Jiddu Krishnamurti? You could have heard Acharya Ji for one hour, instead you heard him for only ten minutes. You saved fifty-minutes. Now what is going to be a superior use of fifty-minutes? Please tell me.
Listening to a spiritual video was obviously to you an inferior use of these fifty-minutes. Now that you have saved these fifty minutes, aren’t you you obliged towards yourself to put them to a superior use? What is going to be that superior use?
Time has only one legitimate purpose – to help you move into the Timeless.
Invest more and more time into the service of the Timeless.
If you want to save time, then save time from all the miscellaneous non-sense time gets spent in.
Save time from there.
Do not save time from the Scriptures and the Teachers.
Save time, and dedicate it to the Right cause.
Dedicating time to the Right cause is much more important than merely saving time.
Otherwise, you could as well be saving time, and using the saved time to self-destruct.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: How to bear prolonged Sadhna? || Acharya Prashant (2018)
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