What is the definition of sadhana? Sadhana means a dedicated practice. It originates from the Sanskrit word, sadhana (dedication) to an aim, from sadh bring about. It refers to a daily spiritual practice. Technically it represents a disciplined surrendering of the ego, in which the practitioner uses tools such as asana, pranayama, meditation and chanting on a daily basis.
My dear ones, do not be afraid. These are mighty words but their meaning is simple. Take them at face value. Do not demonize them. Our gentle Gurus are saying that just as most of us brush our teeth every day, like so we must joyfully perform our regular tasks. We all have chores, some of us attack them with anger, and some of us take them in our strides. We do our best. It is not easy to be detached when working and after the job has been completed, to be told that it was not perfect. I will not go into the list; it is long and weary. By conducting our activities in a detached manner and practicing self-observation, we are performing our sadhana.
Remove the tangles
Sadhana is prescribed as a daily routine. I am intentionally using the word prescribed as in Hindi, the word used Ram Baan Ilaaj. It means the arrow of Rama always finds its aim and ilaaj means cure. Therefore, sadhana does just that. It enables us to address our difficulties in a neutral manner. If one does not comb one’s hair, it becomes tangled. Like so our mind becomes full of tangled thoughts. Awareness and detachment remove the tangles.
Many people ask me, “Do I have to practice daily?” It is as if I am giving them a huge task. One has to look upon it as an opportunity to self-connect. No one has any expectations from the sadhaka (practitioner), it is only the sadhaka him/her/self who has expectations. People tell me that they practiced, chanted and nothing happened. My answer is how long does a baby stay in the womb? Recognize the sadhana as a blessing in disguise. Our loving Gurus only wished a life of harmony and balance for us.
Lord Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita (17:5—6):
The men who perform severe austerities unenjoined by the scriptures, wedded to vanity and egoism, impelled by the forces of their desires and passions, unintelligent, tormenting the aggregated elements forming the body, and Me also seated in the inner body, know these to be demoniacal in their resolves.
When one is a sadhaka, one is an undemanding seeker with no aspirations. Unenjoined means not instructed.
Sadhana is a lifelong process. It is a path on which one walks with awareness, detachment, and self-observation. As one progresses on it, one finds that the doubts and fears are vanishing and one experiences liberation. Sadhana enables us to accept the bitter pills in life with equanimity.
Aim Hrim Klim