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Importance of Steadiness and concentration of mind in Sadhana.
A Sadhak should remove all disturbing thoughts from his mind and perform Sadhana with an unperturbed and quiet mind. He should have firm faith, confidence, devotion and reverence. It can hardly be termed Sadhana if the mouth utters the Mantra, the hand works on the rosary but the mind wanders wildly. The magnetic field to attract Gayatri cannot be created so long as the mind remains wavering and restless.
The other obstacle in Sadhana is lack of faith. Some people are by nature cynical and lack in depth of feelings. They have no real faith in spiritual pursuits. Words of praise from someone just arouse some casual curiosity in their minds. They think that by merely chanting a few Mantras their most-coveted desires might be fulfilled. Some persons are even seen taking a vow to do prescribed Jap after their desires have been fulfilled. Probably they assume that divine powers might be sitting hungry in the absence of their worship. This tendency of crude bargaining is ridiculous and reveals the shallowness of their faith.
However, if persons who are lacking in faith, devotion and reverence and those who have an unsteady mind perform Gayatri Sadhana regularly, they are able to overcome these defects and in course of time, their Sadhana starts progressing smoothly. By and by faith and confidence are built up and they achieve concentration of mind. A person should, therefore, get started in Sadhana, although his mind may be unsteady. A day will come when he will overcome his defects and will receive Divine Mother’s grace. He will then understand that faith, confidence, devotion and reverence have a mighty power with the help of which impossible looking tasks can be accomplished, as was done by Bhagirath.
Essential Rules to be observed by Gayatri Sadhaks
A person engaged in Gayatri Sadhana is required to observe the following rules :-
1) The body should be cleaned by taking bath before sitting in Sadhana. In the event of any disability, seasonal unfavourableness or illness one can make do by washing hands and face or by taking a sponge bath with a wet cloth.
2) One should wear as few clothes as possible at the time of Sadhana. If there is excessive cold a blanket may be used instead of putting on tight clothes.
3) The Sadhak should find out an open secluded place for Sadhana where the atmosphere is calm and quiet. A field, garden, temple or the bank of a river or lake are best suited for this purpose. But, if such a place is not available, a clean calm and quiet portion of the house can be selected.
4) It is better to put on newly washed clothes while doing Sadhana.
5) The Sadhak should sit in cross-legged, comfortable position so that there may not be difficulty in sitting in that posture for a long time, and the mind is not distracted by a sense of physical discomfort.
6) The back-bone should be kept erect so that the spinal column remains straight and there is no obstruction in the flow of Pran in Sushumna.
7) One should not sit for Sadhana on bare ground. The energy which is generated flows out into the earth if one sits on the ground. A mat prepared of Kusha is best for this purpose. In its absence one can sit on a cotton mat. Woollen and leather carpets are used only for Tantrik Sadhana of Gayatri.
8) Rosary of Tulsi or Sandalwood beads should be used. Rosaries of rudraksh, red-sandal-wood and conch-shells are used only for Tantrik Sadhana of Gayatri.
9) Jap should be started two hours before sunrise. In the evening it should be finished an hour after Sunset. Only Tantrik Sadhanas are performed around midnight. The non-Tantrik Shadhana should not be performed during the night.
10) Special attention should be paid in Sadhana to four matters. Firstly, the mind should not run hither and thither. If it does so, it should be gently persuaded to meditate on the beautiful image of the Mother. Secondly, there should be unflinching faith and belief in the Divine Mother. Persons with wavering faith cannot derive full advantage of Sadhana. Thirdly, the Sadhak should resolutely stick to Sadhana. Lack of enthusiasm, dejection, ill-health, delay in getting benefits immediately and other worldly difficulties act as obstacles in Sadhana. Ignoring them, the Sadhak keeps on advancing on his way. Fourthly, regularity or continuity is an essential rule of Sadhana. Howsoever, busy one may be, and even while placed in adverse circumstances, Mother’s worship should not be interrupted. Irregularity in this respect is harmful. Due compliance of these four rules makes the progress in Sadhana smooth and sure.
11) Jap of one rosary or one hundred and eight Mantras should be performed daily. If more Jap could be done it is so much the better.
12) Before starting Sadhana some experienced righteous person should be made Sadhana-guru. It should be ascertained from the Guru which type of Sadhana is appropriate. A patient is not competent to diagnose and treat his own disease. He has to seek the help of some physician. Similarly, a Sadhana-Guru is needed to suggest appropriate Sadhana to rectify drawbacks and solve difficulties.
13) The Sadhak should sit facing the East (towards the Sun) in the morning and West in the evening.
14) If one feels tired in sitting in one posture there is no harm in changing the posture.
15) On being required to get up in between for answering the call of nature or for any urgent work, Sadhana can be resumed after washing hands, face etc. with pure water. In that event, Jap of one additional rosary should be performed by way of penance for such an interruption.
16) If on any day there is break in Sadhana for some unavoidable reason additional Jap should be performed the next day by way of compensation.
17) Performance of Jap rosary should be stopped during the period of impurity, in the event of any death or birth in the family. Only mental Jap can be done during this period. If such an emergency arises during Anusthan of 1.25 lakh, it should be discontinued during this period and resumed after the expiring of the period of impurity. Additional Jap of one thousand Mantras should be performed for purification in lieu of such an interruption.
18) There is no necessity of taking bath during long journeys or illness. In such an event, mental Jap can be performed during the journey or lying on bed during illness.
19) The food and daily routine of the Sadhak should be righteous (Satwik). In food, the Sadhak should eat Satoguni, simple easily digestible food prepared by some pious person. Chillies, excessive spices and pungent articles, fried dishes, sweets, stale food-stuffs kept overnight, meat, intoxicants, food prepared from money earned through foul means, and food offered disdainfully should be avoided, as far as possible.
20) It is always desirable to observe Brahmacharya, but it is specifically essential to observe it during Gayatri Anusthan.
21) It is also desirable to follow some specific disciplines during Anusthans. (1) The Sadhak should avoid getting hair of his head cut although he can shave himself. (2) He should sleep on a hard, wooden bed or on the ground and not on a cot. (3) Foot-wear of leather should be avoided. (4) Food, if possible, should be taken only once a day. Fruits or milk can be taken in the evening. (5) The Sadhak should do his own service himself. He should not, as far as possible, allow his body and clothes to be touched by others.
22) Sumeru (the central big bead) of the rosary should not be crossed while doing Jap. After completion of the rosary every time, the Sumeru should be touched on the eyes and forehead and after reversing it, Jap should be resumed till the Sumeru is reached again. Materials of worship should be placed at such a place that they are not touched by others.
23) There should be no slackness in maintaining cleanliness of the place and articles of worship. Cleanliness of body and clothes is also essential. Jap is more useful if it is done in a fixed number at a fixed time and place.
There is no harm in doing Sadhana anywhere at whatever time with unsteady mind, but such symbolic worship is not as beneficial as one which is done with utmost sincerity and with observance of above mentioned guidelines.
Gayatri Sadhana is never harmful
There are specific rules and procedures for Mantra Sadhana in general by which Anusthans, Puruscharans are performed. Ordinarily, any Anusthan performed in violation of the prescribed procedure may result in harm instead of doing good.
There are innumerable instances wherein the Sadhak had to suffer on account of certain omissions in the Sadhana. People have sometimes become insane. There are also instances narrated in the scriptures and history about people suffering from illness, death or loss of property due to such aberrations. As the story goes, Vrattra and Indra had to suffer great calamity on account of wrong pronunciation of Ved-Mantras.
It is but appropriate that like other Ved-Mantra, Gayatri Mantra should also be pronounced correctly in a rhythm and its Sadhana should be performed in the prescribed manner, so that it may bestow the desired results. Yet, there is one speciality in Vedmata Gayatri that an aberration in Gayatri Sadhana done through ignorance does not cause harm. Just as a compassionate, generous, wise mother always thinks of her child’s welfare, so also, Gayatri always promotes the wellbeing of the Sadhak. Children often commit mistakes and behave disrespectfully and rudely towards their mother. Even then, the mother does not entertain any malice nor does she harm them. When worldly mothers are so kind and forgiving, far more so is Vedmata-Gayatri who is Mother of all the Universe and is divine Ganga of righteousness. She is moved by faith and devotion of her devotees. Sadhak’s aberrations in performance of rituals of Sadhana due to ignorance are washed away in the divine stream of Mother’s love and affection.
Lord Krishna has assured in the Gita that no good action ever reacts adversely. A work done, bona-fide, with good intention is bound to have good results. Righteous action, howsoever small it may be, safeguards a person against perils, fears and apprehensions.
Once Gayatri Sadhana has been started, the mind is slowly and steadily attracted towards it and if, for some reason, it is given up by the Sadhak, a keen desire to resume Sadhana again repeatedly surges up in his mind. After tasting some delicious dish once, a person desires to savour it again and again. In the same way, spiritual food is as sweet as nectar and is so tasteful that the soul insists in, craves for and cries repeatedly to get it. It never results in any distress, calamity or hardship. It may be that due to certain omissions or mistakes one may not get the expected benefits but there is not the least doubt that even little of Sadhana does not go in vain.
No Discrimination in Gayatri Sadhana
God has created all human beings. How can there be any discrimination on grounds of caste, creed, colour or sex? All have equal claim on the objects created by God. The sun, moon, air, water etc. are all being liberally used by every one. No one has the right to cause obstruction or put any restrictions in the free flow of these divine gifts.
Gayatri Mantra manifested through Brahma in the beginning of the creation. Brahma interpreted it by four mouths in the form of four Vedas. This knowledge is for the benefit of all mankind. Persons of all castes, creeds, and of both sexes have equal right to adopt Gayatri Mantra as means of their Sadhana.
Unfortunately, in the dark feudalistic era of middle ages, discrimination on the grounds of high and low, master and slave, came in vogue. This discrimination created a gulf of high and low castes and mankind was divided into several hierarchical divisions.
Pronouncing women and Shoodras as undeserving, so that they may consider themselves to be inferior, several such practices were initiated in which male members of Savarnas (high caste people) enjoyed all the rights, while women, Shoodras and slaves were depriVed of all of them. Thus, was it proclaimed by feudal lords and priests that women and Shoodras have no right to chant Gayatri Mantra. Pandits interpolated some fake couplets here and there in some scriptural texts, so that people may believe that discrimination on the grounds of caste, creed and sex was an ancient tradition duly approved by the Shastras.
The present is, however, an era of enlightenment, of fundamental human rights of equality for all. Women and the so-called Shoodras are integral part and parcel of mankind. They have been guaranteed equal rights in the constitution. This is equally applicable in respect of Gayatri Mantra. It uniformly belongs to all the human race. Persons belonging to any country, caste, religion or sex can, gladly, adopt Gayatri Mantra for Sadhana and derive benefit from it. It must not be confined to Brahmans or Dwijas alone.