Practical Sadhana in Daily Life

The key to deal with the practical struggle is to surrender to God and attain His grace.

How do we infuse the lessons learnt from devotional lectures into our daily routine? At the time of listening to a divine lecture, the spiritual energy of a Saint naturally takes one’s mind into a divine mode. However, say you are at work struggling with a challenging project situation and deadline. Or perhaps you are a student striving to prepare for difficult exams. Or you are a mother juggling household tasks and struggling with demanding children. Whatever may be the myriad of challenging situations we face in the material world, how can we practically implement what we learnt? This is a common struggle among most sadhaks. There is no escape from Maya, the divine energy of Supreme Brahman, until He removes it through His grace.

daivī hyeṣhā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te (Gita 7-14)

The key to deal with this practical struggle is to surrender to God and attain His grace. For this, set aside a particular amount of time at the beginning and end of the day for ‘karm sanyas’. This means to simply renounce all karm for a little while, and focus on uplifting and purifying the mind. In this way, you become a karm sanyasi for one hour every day.  For the rest of the time during your day, become a karmyogi, i.e. while doing all your worldly duties, keep your mind linked to God- which is yog.

Take out time to sit alone when you wake up. Begin the day with a firm resolve to make God your first priority at all times during the day. Remind yourself that you are the soul and your only true relationship is with your Guru and God. Offer your prayer to Guru and God with love and longing in your heart. Seek God’s grace and have a firm faith that He is with you, and listening to you even though you cannot see Him.

ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāns tathaiva bhajāmyaham (Gita 4-11)

As you go about the rest of the day dealing with the challenges of material life, set reminders for every hour to think of God. This doesn’t have to be for long. Just think of Him for a second. This moment is for you to realize that He is with you throughout as your companion, guide and protector, as your closest friend. Having this realization protects you from committing any sin, and also keeps you on track with the resolve of making God your priority. If things become very emotionally challenging, remind yourself of the kind of person who is dear to God.

anapekṣhaḥ śhuchir dakṣha udāsīno gata-vyathaḥ
sarvārambha-parityāgī yo mad-bhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ
 (Gita 12-16)

Take strength from the fact that He is gracing you with every situation.

At the end of the day, again, take time out to sit alone. You will spend this time in introspection. Ask yourself these questions: What did I do that was right?  When did I talk about other people or ideas? What thoughts did I have throughout the day? Where did I falter?

Do not get disheartened about times when you faltered. Make a resolve to not repeat the mistakes again. Shri Krishna says,

abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa cha gṛihyate (Gita 6-35)

Before you sleep, thank God for everything and pray to Him for His help in aligning your intellect with His.

mayy eva mana ādhatsva mayi buddhiṁ niveśhaya
nivasiṣhyasi mayy eva ata ūrdhvaṁ na sanśhayaḥ  
(Gita 12-8)

Begin the next day again from where you left off, and repeat the cycle. Try, try and try, until you succeed one day.