2. Sadhana Cannot Be Forced :
A group of friends were discussing the utility of Yogasanas when one of them asked, "The heart is already pumping blood to all parts of the body. It is already sending blood to the head. Why should I stand upside down to increase the supply of blood to the head?". Many people ask questions in similar fashion while discussing Yoga and spiritual practice: "Why should I do Japa? Why should I meditate? Why should I go to a temple?". They do not ask, "Why should I shave my face every day? Why should I cut my nails and hair? Why should I apply skin cream and hair lotion?".
Each man has his aims and ambitions in life. The ambitions of most people are earthly, and naturally enough, their activities are earthly. For the average man living a humdrum life, it is certainly not necessary to send extra blood to the head or to do Japa, or to meditate or to visit a temple daily. He can dispense with all these and still live an apparently successful life in his limited sphere of activity. Yoga is not necessary for him. Spiritual practice is not an absolute necessity for him.
Yoga is not essential for all, though it is open to all to practise. Yoga is not compulsory for the worldly person, though Yoga can be helpful even in the pursuit of material aims. Yoga and Sadhana are especially meant for those few among mankind who aspire to become supermen and God-men. Sadhana is meant for that person who wants to get at the Truth of things, who wants to become a saint, who wants to realise God. Sadhana is intended for those who want to become the cream of humanity, the elite of mankind.
Sadhana cannot be thrust upon anyone. No one can be compelled to do Sadhana. You may be made to work or slave, but you cannot be forced to do selfless service. You can be robbed, but you cannot be dictated into doing charity of your own free will. You may be compelled by the law of the land to live in peace with your neighbours, but you cannot be compelled to love all with cosmic compassion and purity of motive. Society and circumstances may force you to desist from immoral actions, but they cannot prevent you from indulging in immoral thoughts. In other words, external compulsion cannot make you do Sadhana or practise Yoga. Sadhana is a purely personal affair and can arise only out of your own individual volition and free will. Before embarking on a course of Sadhana, before entering spiritual life, you should yourself feel the necessity to do Sadhana, you should feel that your life is a void without Sadhana. You should be missing something without Sadhana. If this precondition prevails in your life, then only your Sadhana can get off to a good start.
Sri N. Ananthanarayanan ( The Divine Life Society )
Next : 3. How Many Can Realise?