For those who want to seriously practice kriyas, it is time to formulate a specific sadhana. Sadhana means "endeavoring to obtain a particular result." The result kriyabans seek is accelerated spiritual evolution. Sadhana becomes a powerful method to achieve this result. There are three important aspects of sadhana: choice, commitment and aspiration. The first stage of sadhana is to choose a practice. Even the most simple sadhana will be challenging to the newcomer. Consider the sadhana of lighting a candle every night, then immediately blowing it out. Nothing more or nothing less. Do this for ninety days. You will observe the mind coming up with every reason why you shouldn't do it and every excuse why you missed a few (or many) nights. Yet by accepting it as a sadhana, you make a choice to do it and it becomes a spiritual practice. The second aspect of sadhana relates to regularity -- doing something at periodic intervals. This typically would be at the same time in the same place everyday. Yet it doesn't have to be everyday; it could be every other day or every Tuesday and Thursday, as long as it is regular. Doing practice irregularly is not sadhana. Once the schedule is selected, the challenge of sadhana is to stick with it -- not to miss the appointed time. This is the first measure of commitment. The second measure is to make a commitment for a specific period of time; that is, choose do the practice for thirty days, sixty days, ninety days, or even 108 days. Notice the level of your success, then take a break. Decide upon another practice (or the same one) and make another commitment. Yet choice and regularity are not the only aspects of sadhana. If they were, simply dressing every day would be a sadhana. We choose what clothes to wear and we do it. Dressing could be a sadhana, yet it is just a mechanical action done every day. Thus, the final key to a successful sadhana is conscious intention. This is where the power is generated, and more still, when the intention becomes an aspiration. Consider once again the candle exercise cited above. Initially, it will challenge the mind and the ego. The spiritual "you" may even win the battle, but to keep it from becoming mechanical, an intention is required. Try this variation. Light the candle. Say, "This is all I have to do for the benefit of self, other, and the world." Then blow out the candle. Doing no other practice than this will begin a transformation process that will alter your life. To add even more power behind it, consider this statement, "This is all I have to do to remember who I am; I remember this for the benefit of Self, Other, and the World." One immediate result of sadhana is the remembrance of "who we are" rather than "what we are" during the brief moments the sadhana takes. Repetitively remembering our inner essence nature is at the heart of all spiritual growth. One day we will remember our spiritual essence in every moment. That is the realized state. So start with a simple sadhana to build your confidence. Add another sadhana in addition to this one. Expand a sadhana to include many practices including yoga or other bodily movement, chanting or inner mantra, and kriya practice. Copyright 1994, Alan Verdegraal, "Tantra: The Magazine", P.O.Box 108, Torreon, NM 87061, Issue #8, p22-23. Excerpt from Sadhana at sacred-texts.com
Tag Archives: Sadhana
Ancient people had two reliable ways of measuring time—the length of a day and the length of a lunar cycle. Figuring out the length of the solar year was more complicated and required close observation of natural events, such as the cycling of the seasons and the movement of the stars in the heavens. A lunar month is approximately 29.5 days, and twelve lunar months equals 354 days—approximating, but not equaling the length of a solar year, which is 365 days. The seers of ancient Egypt are credited with first accurately figuring out how long it takes the Earth to orbit around the Sun. They did this by observing the movements of the Dog Star, Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky (currently visible in the eastern sky a couple of hours after sunset—down and to the left from Orion’s Belt). In first century BC Rome it was discovered that the existing Lunar Calendar was three months off in relation to the seasons. This was due to the eleven-day discrepancy between the Lunar and Solar Calendars that had been playing out over time. On the advice of Sosigenes, a learned astronomer from Alexandria, Caesar added 90 days to the year 46 BC and started a new calendar on January 1st 45 BC. Sosigenes tells Caesar that the length of a year is actually 365 days 6 hours, and advises him to add a “leap year” every fourth year. We have been using this same calendar ever since. The ancient Romans developed a custom of setting aside the period of 11 days at the end of the year, which constitutes the difference between a Lunar Year and a Solar Year, and designating it as a period of holiday, when time stood still and people feasted, celebrated, and partied, and absolutely no work got done. This time period corresponds roughly to the Winter Solstice through New Year’s Day. It makes sense to devote our time at the end of the year to celebration rather than to work. At the Winter Solstice we have the least amount of Solar Energy to warm us and invigorate us, and many people suffer from SAD—seasonal affective disorder. During Christmas we spend time with our family and many emotions are evoked. The year has been long and we have worked very hard living our lives, because being a human being is not an easy thing. Certainly there were some things we could have done better during the course of the year, but we are imperfect beings, after all. The important thing is that we learned something during the year that will make us wiser and more compassionate and loving as we continue forward into 2015. The living of a year is something like a yoga practice, with all the different asanas serving as metaphors for all the different situations we encountered. Some of those asanas were better than others, but it was all sadhana, and sadhana is always worthwhile. In reference to keeping our sadhana in the proper perspective, Patanjali says: Abhyasa vairaghyabhyam tannirodah—“By practicing diligently, with devotion and no interruption over a long period of time, and with nonattachment to any particular outcome, we will have peace of mind.”
December 30th Post from Tim Miller’s Blog Tuesdays with Timji
Sādhanā is a discipline undertaken in the pursuit of a goal. Abhyāsa is repeated practice performed with observation and reflection. Kriyā, or action, also implies perfect execution with study and investigation. Therefore, sādhanā, abhyāsa, and kriyā all mean one and the same thing. A sādhaka, or practitioner, is one who skillfully applies…mind and intelligence in practice towards a spiritual goal.
Iyengar, B.K.S. (1993, 2002). Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. Hammersmith, London, UK: Thorsons. ISBN 978-0-00-714516-4 p.22