Transformation through Sadhana
Sadhana is a process of spiritual transformation, of internal transformation by means of spiritual practices, philosophies and methods. Sadhana means to settle one's mind and body to achieve self realization. It can also be understood as-to aim for the divine. Sadhana can also be understood as the individual spiritual motion towards perfection. It is a term used in Yog and Tantra. The term Sadhak means a person who performs these spiritual practices to perfect oneself.
Inner transformation means transforming our mind which in turn is saying that we are changing our attitudes and reactions. To start any sadhana first of all a person has to realize that he/she need to change him/her self. If any individual were to examine him/her self honestly, every individual would realize that there within each one of us are a bundle of negative qualities that should be changed, that we can be rid of and that need to be replaced with positive qualities to allow each one of us to bloom like a lotus, opening our potentials and transforming our inner being. In reality, each one of us is divine with unlimited potential. This unlimited potential becomes limited due to selfishness and the ego of each individual. This means that we need to transform our character too.
The building of the character is a process that needs time, lots of time and constant effort. Without a strong, good and clean mind one cannot really walk on the spiritual path especially at a fast pace. This building up of character; some of it is built by the upbringing our parents gave us, some part, due to our teachers, some part, due to our friends and yet another part due to society. But at the crux of all this is our inner being that needs to use its own intelligence to decide the difference between right and wrong. Power without responsibility and correct thinking is a destructive force that will only hurt others and our selves. Therefore it is extremely important to build one's character and positive/ noble qualities so as to finally be able to use this unlocked potential for the benefit of mankind.
What else is this inner transformation? It is the removal of the limitations within our minds; unlocking the full potential of our mind and successfully being able to utilize the full capacity of our minds for the benefit of humanity as well as self development and peace for ourselves and others. It must be noted that if this transformation does not have a positive impact on our selves and others then it is not real transformation, then it is incorrect development, an incorrect mind and the practice is not leading us anywhere. Having said that, it must also be cautioned and one must understand that during this spiritual process, there will be many events, and many of them will not necessarily appear positive. In reality, as we tread this path, many of our inner hidden fears, hates, biases, negative deeds and other similar negative qualities are released. The process, of course is painful for most of us and very painful for some, yet it is important to remember that the fight is against the negative qualities within ourselves. If we really wish to transform ourselves then it is important to understand that all of what is being released and is paining us, is really, in simple words all of own wrongs and to transform, we will have to combat these. One must as well understand that as these negatives leave us, we become lighter and life becomes easier as we have moved away from this dirt and are moving towards a better life. Imagine living life with all these negatives, their load on our minds and health as well as the impact of our negative deeds on our lives. Here we have a chance to get rid of these for a brighter future. Often for the spiritual aspirant, it is very easy to confuse one's self by saying since this process is so painful, how can it lead to god, to self-realization and perfection? I would like to point out that here I am clearly differentiating between spiritual practices that seem real but are in reality incorrect, especially many of the new age practices; yet at the same time I am saying that the real transformation is often quite painful. For the ordinary individual it becomes difficult to distinguish between correct and true spiritual practices and others.
To build a proper path we must first have objectives. The objectives as well as the mind of each individual differ and therefore various methods may be adopted to transform yourself, but the key to becoming successful in any activity in life, lies in having clear objectives of what you wish to achieve. Therefore, the very first step is to form clear objectives. These objectives should be long, medium, and short term. It is usually desirable to be able to formulate all these three and this exercise will very certainly give a sadhak a clearer direction in this effort. It is extremely important that not only are the objectives clear but also that every effort is made in a systematic manner. All the objectives should be real. The short term objectives should be those that you can really achieve within the span of time that you decide on.
It is important to understand that each one of us must strive for the best. The long term objectives should essentially be Enlightenment and Liberation. Often, people use the term enlightenment without a clear understanding of the term. The discussion of this term by itself will entail a very detailed discussion so I will not go into it deeply. However, at a basic level enlightenment can be termed as to be engulfed in light and light is that where there is no darkness. From among many things, at a very basic level we may see enlightenment as- when all our actions, words and deeds are aimed at the welfare of others and ourselves. These actions should be devoid of selfishness. Enlightenment is eternal knowledge, non-attachment, love, compassion and the ripening of will power (see article on Iccha Shakti). Sadhana is walking the path to achieve these goals.
Sadhana always has a double impact; this is the purification of the mind and imparting energy to the mind. Depending on the spiritual practice, in varying percentages there is a development of both these qualities. Some practices work more on purification and others more on imparting energy. As the mind is purified and if there is insufficient spiritual energy being imparted to the mind, then the deep rooted negative impressions will remain in the mind, not getting a chance to leave the mind. On the other hand is one imparts the mind with energy continuously without adequate purification, then many of the negative impressions of the mind will start playing out and lead one on a negative path. So care has to be taken in understanding the practices and both these processes must go on together.