Without Love, Spiritual Path Becomes Dry

Patanjali Yoga Sutra Knowledge Sheet 54

Contd. from knowledge sheet 53

Without love, self-study becomes ‘another day’ stuff. Without surrender, self-study is not charming. Do you see what I am saying? Without devotion, without love, the spiritual path becomes very dry like stylo foam. It is like a cake without sweet, a pudding without sugar, bread without salt or taste. Ishwarapranidhaana. How can love for the Lord happen? How can it blossom?

The first step is to see the Lord as separate from you. Two is needed to surrender, "You are the Lord of all virtues and I am nobody." In this, 'nobodiness' happens. Then the realization comes, 'it is all you'. From 'it is all you' to 'it is all me, me, I, I'. "This body is yours, this Universe is yours. Oh Lord! This whole universe is yours. This smile is yours. The mind with all this conflict is also yours. The mind with all its beauty is yours". This offering itself is a technique which brings you back home. Ishwarapranidhaana brings about samadhi, an ecstasy that is meditation.

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Offering candles, offering incense, offering flowers is not great. Offer every part of your body, every moment of your life, every breath, every thought - good, bad, pleasant, unpleasant, anything. Offer all the negativity, all the positivity. By offering all the negativity, you will be free. By offering all those positive virtues you think you possess, you become free. You will not become arrogant. Virtues make you arrogant. Virtues make you behave as though you are special.

It is your drawbacks which pull you down and make you feel bad about yourself . If you start feeling bad about yourself, you become unconnected to the divine. There is nothing to make you connected to the divine. Do you see what I am saying? It is up to you to feel close to the divine. It is up to you to feel close to anybody for that matter. Even if they do not feel close to you, it does not matter. You should start feeling close to them. It does not matter if they feel that you are not close to them. How do you know? You cannot know that just by their behavior. That is not the right way to judge. This is because nothing else can convince you that you are dear to the divine other than your own self. Stop comparing.

Same thing with the Master too.You say, “Oh! so and so is close to Guruji and not me because he talks to them more often and smiles more to them. He does not talk to me, smile at me”. This is your illusion. Talking or not talking to the Master does not matter. You start feeling that you are the only one and you are his most closest. Then you will see that it will start happening, you will start blossoming. Whatever seed you sow, that will grow. If you sow the seed of “I am hopeless, I am no good” then that “no good seed” will begin to grow.

Often, useless weeds grow without any cultivation. You do not have to make any effort. They just grow, but a useful plant needs some attention. Weeds do not need attention. When you feel that many weeds are coming up every day, all the unwanted, unnecessary doubts, thoughts which are there need not be sown. They just come up by themselves. By swadhaya (self-study), by attention, you can weed them out and keep only those which are essential.

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(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)