The very fact that we are on a journey, to a new place which we haven’t seen and somebody, let’s say, who has seen the place before, has given us certain instructions — pack a few sweaters, have the bags ready, keep our shoes, so that we know what we have to carry with us. And we are also told how long it will take to walk and how difficult or easy it is, then only we can reach the new place. It is very important that it is not just told & heard and forgotten, but actually implemented.
After Swamiji gives us the Guru-mantra, Rambhai gives us a list of things we need to do regularly for our spiritual practice; the critical part that happens is Swamiji instils his values in us in subtle form, which we notice over time, turns our life around 180 degrees. Once the values have been instilled and we start our spiritual practice, there are certain principles that we need to follow that are conducive for our spiritual progress.
The basic fact is that the mind has various levels of impurities, agitation and indiscrimination. As long as these last, they are like curtains, which very subtly veil or cover the Truth. So, when we say search, we are not searching for something outside ourselves. We are searching for something inside. And to find what we are searching for, one needs to penetrate so many layers of impurities, and so many layers upon layers which are gathered, not only in this life, but for many hundreds of lives. It is not an easy thing to get free of them.
We are born with certain characteristics — certain predilections in this life & some of those are from our past lives. Now, as long as these are there, in different layers, it’s not possible to penetrate — to remove the veils and curtains, tear them down, and come face to face with the truth — which is after all in our hearts. Unless and until, certain ethical principles of conduct are applied and practiced as part of one’s daily life and sadhana, one cannot hope to attain the Supreme Truth.
As far as the ethical systems of the Upanishads are concerned — fearlessness and truth are the two most important steps. Why ‘fearlessness’? Because, when we follow the path of sadhana (which is not followed by most people) everybody is swimming along with the stream and one person has the guts to stand up and swim against the current. When one does that, it is very likely that he/she will be branded a mad person, or a stupid fellow, because he/she is going in a different way. To do what one wants to do, as one is, without fear of what the public is going to say, is ‘fearlessness.’
The essence is, one, that we have to practice our sadhana, make time for it, practice as much as one likes. Second, bring about a change in our day-to-day life and day-to-day existence — transparency in our character and conduct. Without which we may continue to meditate for years, but nowhere will we go. Because the first reflection of spiritual perfection is in our day-to-day life. How we deal with it, how we behave, what we do, this is most important.