Sadhana – The Devotional Practice
SADHANA – The Devotional Practice
(Excerpts of Shri Maharaji’s Speeches)
You must lovingly meditate upon the beautiful form of Shri Radha Krishna. With an ever increasing desire to attain Their Divine love and have Their Divine vision, sing the glories of Their names, qualities and pastimes.
Always keep in your mind that rupadhyana (meditation) is the most essential part of all devotional processes. Whichever form or image you adore of Shri Radha Krishna that captivates your mind, is the best form for you to meditate upon. Even so, you are completely free to take the help of any other photo or idol of Shri Radha Krishna that you particularly admire.
You have the freedom to meditate upon any form of your choice, from a beautiful newborn baby to a charming sixteen-year old in the full bloom of youth. You can meditate upon Shri Krishna alone or Shri Radha alone or Shri Radha Krishna, together. You can include their devotees, the Saints too. You are even at liberty to meditate solely upon a Saint or choose any combination of the above of your choice. Dress and adorn the self-created form you meditate upon, the way you like, and keep changing it according to your ever changing desires. You can change Their attire and ornaments as and when you like, embellishing Them in ever new ways that are so alluring for your mind to relish; the choice is all yours. Along with your visualisation, remember to imbibe feelings of love and divinity, because all Their forms are (chidanandmaya) divine, conscious and blissful.
While doing rupadhyana, be patient and never feel agitated or disturbed if it does not unfold as you had planned. Keep trying and don’t give up. Observe the Divine Couple, standing in one place, or They are walking around performing some sweet pastime. They might even be looking at you and smiling sweetly. They may even be rowing in a boat! The aim is to constantly develop intimate feelings of association with Shri Radha Krishna in one way or the other. The more you practise the more you will be benefitted.
Remind yourself that you are an eternal servant of Shri Krishna, and that He is your eternal Master. In your heart of hearts, feel the presence of Shri Radha Krishna as if They are personally present before you, and then meditate on Their loving form. You may even transport your subtle body to Their divine abode, Golok and then meditate upon their blissful form.
Visualise them performing any of Their innumerable pastimes, remembering to incorporate Their unlimited divine qualities, such as being causelessly merciful, infinitely kind and compassionate and the protectors of humble fallen souls.
Never forget that Shri Krishna, His names, qualities, pastimes, abodes and His saints are all one and same. In fact they are all Shri Krishna Himself.
In this way, there is total freedom afforded to the aspirant to choose whatever method best engages the mind in the loving remembrance of Shri Radha Krishna. Always remember, however, that any form of devotional practice you do without rupadhyana is completely meaningless.
Never forget that the doer of any devotional practice is the mind alone. However, your senses and physical body should also be involved. According to the Vedas, it is these senses that drive the mind towards the external world. The creator, Brahma has made these five senses with a natural affinity for the material world. These senses have been created from panchmahabhuta or material matter, and hence have been naturally inclined towards the external material world, since innumerable past lives. When the five senses are involved in seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting and touching the outside world, they draw the mind towards the material world, thereby disturbing your devotional practice. It is for this reason that it is also advisable to involve all your senses in the process of meditation.
Making use of your senses and physical body in your devotional practice is alright, but without involving your mind this is not real devotional practice. It is true that something is better than nothing. For example, if someone is talking about the material world, then it would have been better, if he had chanted Radhe Radhe instead. Nevertheless, this is not real devotional practice.
Analyse your relationship with the Lord. Sadhana means that you first of all need to fully understand who Shri Radha Krishna are, and then bring Them before you. Analyse what your relationship is with Them and ask yourself what it is that you want from Them. Reflect over these points sincerely and then commence your devotional practice.
Do not consider yourself to be a part of this perishable, mundane material world. Feel every moment that you belong only to Shri Radha Krishna and that Shri Radha Krishna alone are yours. Except for your Supreme Lord, Shri Radha Kishna, your Gurudev and yourself, there is no one else present here. Only these three are your true well-wishers and most dear ones. Always feel the presence of Shri Krishna and your Guru at all times and in all places in the form of your protectors and witnesses of your every thought and deed. Never consider yourself to be alone.
When doing sankirtan, do your rupadhyana as per the sentiments expressed in the verses of the sankirtan. If for example, the title line of the pad, “Latan mein tharo sundar Shyam” is being sung, then immediately imagine a beautiful garden, blooming with fragrant colourful flowers and twining creepers. Standing and smiling in one particular alcove, that is more beautiful than any other, is your Beloved Shyamsundar. In fact, you can now see Him throughout this entire grove. No matter where your eyes look, you see only Shyamsundar. You are at liberty to repeat each line of the sankirtan, five or six times so as to strengthen your visualisation of this scene.
Totally discard all your material desires for sense gratification and abandon the desire even for liberation, for your own comfort and for your own happiness.
In your spare time, chant the divine name of Radhe Shyam with each and every breath.
Relinquish all bad habits including finding faults in others and criticising other people, even if he or she should be despised. Renounce all desires to be acknowledged and admired by people, any feelings of dejection, disheartenment or lackadaisicalness and abstain from associating with overly materialistic or worldly people. Failure to do so equates to kusang or wallowing in thoughts and activities that leave a negative or bad impression on your mind. Keep away from all these sorts of things as much as possible.
Last, but by no means the least, is to completely avoid committing the unpardonable spiritual offence of namapradha, i.e. harbouring any negative feelings or criticism towards Shri Krishna or His names, forms, qualities, abodes and Saints.
Shri Krishna is my all-in-all. Develop this feeling to absolute perfection.
*A brief introduction of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj*
(Known by His devotees as Shri Maharajji)
The original title of Jagadguruttam (‘Greatest Spiritual Teacher of the World’) was bestowed upon Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj on January 14, 1957 by ‘Kashi Vidvat Parishad’ (a council of 500 greatest scholars saints of India). He composed divine texts like ‘Prem Ras Madira’, ‘Prem Ras Siddhant’, and ‘Radha Govind Geet’ to lead us on the right path of devotion. He also gave priceless monuments as gifts to the world which include - Bhakti Mandir located in Bhakti Dham, Mangarh, Prem Mandir located in Vrindavan Dham, and Kirti Mandir located in Barsana Dham. Shri Maharajji also built hospitals for the impoverished, the Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Vrindavan, Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Barsana, and another one in Pratapgarh. All three help millions of underprivileged to gain free access to medical care. His Kindergarten, School, and College for impoverished girls Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education is located in Kunda and provides completely free education.