Three Fundamental Factors to Succeed in Sádhaná Márga

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Wherever there is any effort to achieve anything in the physical, psychic or spiritual spheres, one does not succeed easily. That is to say the path of fulfillment, the path of forward movement, is not always a smooth one. In this respect three basic points should be remembered very carefully. The first one is the qualification, that is, the minimum qualification that a sádhaka should possess. According to the definition given by Lord Shiva a sádhaka must possess a human structure, that is he or she must be a human being. This is the minimum qualification of a sádhaka.

The second point is that to succeed in the path of sádhaná márga seven secret codes must be learnt and mastered. What are these seven codes of success? This question was asked by Shiva’s wife Parvati. Shiva replied:

Phaliśyatiiti vishvása siddherprathama lakśańam,
Dvitiiyaḿ shraddhayá yuktam trtiiyaḿ gurupújanam.
Caturtho samatábhávo paiṋcamendriya nigrahah
Saśthaiṋca pramitáháro saptamam naeva vidyate.

At Patna, I discussed this matter in detail. You may go through my discourse.

Now what is the effective way to perform an action (karma)? You all know that even if one has fixed one’s goal, even if one’s goal has been predetermined, one may fail to attain it if one does not follow the correct procedure. It has been said that this procedure, this method should be based on “Prańipátena, pariprashnena and sevaya”. That is to say, in order to succeed in the field of karma, one should be fully conversant with prańipátena, pariprashnena and sevayá.

What is the meaning of “prańipáta?” The word “prańipáta”; is derived from the Saḿskrta prefix “Pra” + “ni” + “pat” + “ghaiṋ” prań – ni – pat + ghaiṋ. Prańipáta means “total surrender”. But where should one surrender? At the altar of one’s goal. The Sádhaka should surrender totally and selflessly at the base of that altar. And to whom should one surrender? One is to surrender to the supreme goal of one’s life, to the highest point of one’s supreme stance.

The second factor is “pariprashnena”. People generally ask questions to improve one’s intellectual knowledge. Sometimes questions are asked simply to test someone’s depth of learning. Again having ascertained something, sometimes questions are being asked in order to perform the karma rightly and properly. Here the meaning of “Pariprasna” means those questions whose answers one will execute in one’s daily life. Questions are asked to obtain correct guidance so that one may march ahead and act accordingly.

The third point is “sevayá”. “Seva” means rendering selfless service. To whom is this “Seva” to be offered? It is to be offered to the oppressed classes ascribing the idea of Náráyańa or Brahma on them. “By rendering this sevá or service, I am doing nothing extraordinary. Rather I feel grateful to the needy person for having given me the opportunity to serve.” This is how one should feel while serving. Hence everyone should be conscious of the actional side of life in order to be successful. This actional side is nothing but to serve according to the direction of the main rules of “service” inherent in “Prańipát, Pariprashna and Sevá.”

15 December 1978, Calcutta