Three forms of spiritual practice

Three forms of spiritual practice

Spiritual practice is essential and it involves discipline, dedication and devotion. We are born in this world to fulfil our karmas; indeed, our birth is itself the result of spiritual deficit. This deficit can be bridged through spiritual practices. In general, three forms of spiritual practices are recommended. According to Sadguru Sri Sharavana Baba, they include dhyanam or meditation, japam or chanting the holy names of God and pooja or worship.

Meditation is designed to provide nourishment to inner life. Diligent practice yields positive results, including peace of mind and equanimous life. It is the powerful means of stilling and containing the turbulence of the human mind and helping spiritual aspirants to get connected to their inner reality. The practice of meditation should be regular, constant and pursued with determination.

If mediation is food for the soul, chanting your favourite deity’s name symbolises food for the body. It has the virtue of restoring the person to good health. It ignites a process of inner illumination causing the practitioner to radiate self-confidence, peace and harmony, and must be regular and constant. For example, a mantra given by a spiritual master must be repeated or chanted at least 21 times in a day.

Pooja or worship is considered essential for the establishment of peace and harmony in the environment we live in. It is directed towards selfless service to human kind. Sadguru Shri Sharavana Baba is fond of saying that seva or selfless service is the surest way to salvation. Helping others, being of assistance to those who need it and willingness to serve those in need of help and care represents the most effective method of redeeming ourselves of the consequences of past action.

It is a great irony of spiritual life that all forms of spiritual practice are meant to help a seeker realise that in reality nothing needs to be done other than complete submission to the will of the divine. While it is desire that brought us into the world, it is desirelessness that we must pursue. Moksha symbolises the absence of desire.