What is *Sadhana* (Spiritual Practices)? Meditation Yoga Mantras Breathing Karma
- By : Oliver Santos
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Acharya Shree, What is Sadhana? Sadhana is a Sanskrit word. And it includes many aspects of spiritual practices. Because in Sanskrit, Sadhana includes a lot of aspects of spiritual practices, that’s what we use in Indian traditions, one word: Sadhana. Sadhana doesn’t mean only just if a person is practicing yoga, or meditation. Sadhana is when you are in silence. That is a practice because now you are going inward. Inside of you. And you will look at who you really are. And if you practice silence, it gives you a lot of opportunities to not waste your time in talking, uselessly talking. So silence makes you a good person. That is one aspect of Sadhana: silence. And it is very hard, it seems very easy, but when it comes to the real way of being in silence, it is very difficult. Silence doesn’t mean just that you don’t speak, silence means you are silent from anger, silent from the ego, silent from all the lower qualities, violence or if a person is hurting others. if a person is hurting others. You are silent physically, mentally and by thoughts. You don’t even think negative thoughts. That is called real silence. That is a spiritual practice. Or you can do “Jappa”. There are two kinds of Jappa. Either you can recite a mantras aloud, or you can do a Jappa Jap. A jappa jap means mentally, you are not reciting words or mantras. means mentally, you are not reciting words or mantras. A mantra is like “Aum”. Aum is very simple. Aum….. you recite this mantra. Or you do it mentally. Nobody hears it but you do it. That is called Jappa. That is a spiritual practice. Because now, all your bad thoughts like negative thoughts dissapear and you are concentrating. You are focused on a beautiful sound like Aum or Aum Namo Siddhanam. There are many mantras. So repeating that out loud or mentally, in your mind, then you will be surprised- it will bring peace in your life. And you grow spiritually. Or you can do meditation. Seated meditation. Your body, your thoughts, your mind, they will dissapear, you will forget them. And the real meditation begins. Or you can fast. Fasting is also a kind of sprititual practice because it burns Karma too. Fasting is a fire and fire not ony detoxifies your body, also it will burn all the toxins inside and outside, if your intention is pure that you want to burn your Karma. If you are not expecting that you are fasting to go to heaven or to win the lotto. Not for that purpose, you are just doing it spiritually. For the spiritual growth. And it begins to burn Karma. That is called Sadhana. Sometimes, people will sit with a certain posture, like Lotus posture, or they stand in one pose and they don’t move, they are fully in meditation. That is called Sadhana. In people’s minds, theories are also a kind of Sadhama. Anything theoretical is not Sadhana. Like many people think if they repeat Gita- Gita is a holy book of Hindu, they think that if they repeat one chapter every day they are doing Sadhana. By repeating Gita or by repeating the Bible, or by repeating the Quran or by repeating any holy books, it doesn’t make you a spiritual person. No, it is not Sadhana. Sadhana is if you learn from those books, something good. Like if Gita mentions how to be detatched from someone. Or how to fully burn Karama. If you learn something from the Holy Book, that is called practical. And that’s what I think. The more your do Sadhana, the more good thoughts you have, or if you learn under the guidance of a master or if you meet an enlightened person, if you learn directly, the master will teach you all the practical things. Like the master might teach you pranayam, the master might teach you to be fully (just close your eyes and sit) and he or she will teach you Tratka. Tratka is like one point-ness So there are many ways. Sadhana can be many different kinds of ways. There is not one way. People who think that spirituality is just one path, they are fully wrong. Spirituality can be many ways. And that’s why Sadhana includes a lot of aspects of spiritual practices. And let me tell you the real thing: sprituality is practical. You can’t just read and follow. Reading and following doesn’t make you a real spiritual person. But if you do a little bit of the practical, like if you listen that Anger is not good and you practice, that whenever anger comes and enters into my body and into my mind, I am aware of my anger. And as soon as you become aware, the anger begins to dissolve by itself. That is called practical. And when you do practical things, even a little bit, like fasting – I am not saying that you do 10 days of fasting. Even if you eat three meals a day, if you drop one meal, that is also considered fasting. But if you are brave enough, you can do one day of fasting. Maybe just on water or sometimes people do it on juices. It depends on the person. It is not forced, it is voluntary. You are doing it. Sometimes if you walk barefoot outside, it is considered one kind of Sadhana. Or sometimes you sit in the sun. It is considered one kind of Sadhana. Because you are doing it voluntarily. You are not forced to stay in the sun. If you are forced to stay in the sun, that is not called Sadhana. Like a prisoner. They are ordered to stay outside in the hot sun. And they have no choice. They have to go. But one person sitting in the sun, not forced, but by himself or herself trying to concentrate, trying to meditate, that is Sadhana. But the other hand, the prisoners, they are sitting in the sun too. But in their case, it is not Sadhana. Sadhana comes from your insides. It is an inner phenomenon. And it is practical. So I will suggest people do Sadhana in the early morning recite mantras. Maybe recite Panjan sometimes. They have good words. Or if you have any daily thoughts, sometimes they inspire you. And you begin to do a little practice. That is what I suggest. If you want to be in Sadhana, be practical. Because practice is more important. And it is also said, in general, that “Practice makes a man perfect.” That’s why if you do practical things, then you get it. If you just listen, if you just make theories, you can make a 2,000 page theory but it is not going to take you anywhere. But the practical, yes! Sadhana is a practice. And try to follow it. You will grow spiritually. And also sometimes I say, Spirituality is practical. Or in other words, if you really want, “Spirituality is practicality!” Spirituality is practicality! Always remember. Jai Siddhatma.