The Beginning of Spiritual Life

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

The whole idea of spiritual life is based on a pure, simple principle, given in the Bhagavad Gita (2:48): Samatvam yoga uchyate – “Evenness of mind is called yoga.” Yoga is the method for finding balance and equilibrium within oneself.

This equilibrium is the balance between the attainable and non-attainable, between the perfectible and what is not perfectible, between what gives happiness and what causes unhappiness. It is the balance between the two polarities of life. This is the first stepping stone into spiritual life.

This idea of balance does not end as long as there is life. Life is an expression of paradoxes from the time of birth to the time of death. Until the time of death, one has to find the strength to experience balance. One has to find the strength to work and live in a harmonious way. Living in a harmonious way means with awareness of body, health and illness, with awareness of mind and the pulls of the mind, and with the awareness of how to find harmony and peace. It is the discovery of this harmony and peace which constitutes the first foundation stone of spiritual life.

Need for effort

It has been said that yoga beings with asana or other techniques. It has been said that spiritual life begins with discipline. However, from the ideas and experiences of teachers and masters, real spiritual life is developed and experienced when one begins to take control over the fluctuating states of the body and mind and brings about balance in their expression.

One has to make the effort to find this harmony in thinking, behaviour, action, living, in the environment, at home and in one’s profession.

The various practices and sadhana of yoga help, yet realization of spiritual life begins with balancing oneself. Whether as a beginner or an advanced student, one has to always try to find this harmony in action, in non-action, in pain and pleasure, in happiness and discomfort; this is the ultimate test of human spiritual effort.

28 April 2006, Ganga Darshan, Munger