The Power of Persistence

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Radiant Immortal Atman! Beloved and blessed children of the Divine! You are assembled in the spiritual presence of Gurudev, who is the source and origin of this Ashram, the source and origin of the spirituality that pervades the atmosphere of this Ashram, who is the source and origin of the divine way of life that he proclaimed as a sadhana for Self-realisation for modern mankind.

Come out of the cage or your little, egoistical, selfish personality. Renounce and sacrifice this selfish personality at the altar of humanity. Where there is no “I”, where there is no mind, where there is no selfishness, there is ideal karma yoga. It becomes upasana (worship).

You can be established in a state where even though acting, you are no more acting. Karma or work cannot bind you because you are acting without sense of doership. The feeling “I am doing” is not there; rather, “He is getting it done through me.” You are a witness of your own activity, a witness of your own actions, and the poison of kartritva or sense of doer-ship is removed from the activity; it becomes sublime activity. Then it is God’s will that manifests itself through you.

To be established in this state of inner absence of self, one has to diligently pursue a method of sadhana and persist in it, diligently continue to negate the ego, negate the self. It does not come in a day, but it comes if you are persistent.

In his “Song of Eighteen Ities,” Gurudev has used two expressions that seem more or less similar in their meaning. He used the expression “fixity”: being firm, firmly fixed in your vow, in your pratijna (resolve), in your determination. Be firmly fixed, let nothing shake you. Become so established in your niyama (observance) that nothing can move you. Fixity indicates a certain attitude, a state that you have achieved or attained in your interior. You have become strong within, unshakable within, firm within.

While fixity involves a certain inner state you have reached after much diligence and struggle, the second expression, “tenacity,” indicates an attitude, a certain inner attitude with which you live your life, engage in your sadhana. And that attitude is a firm resolution not to give up no matter what obstacles come, no matter what setbacks, no matter what disappointments or discouragements.

“I will not leave my pursuit until and unless I get complete success in it. I shall not give up this sadhana, I shall continue with this abhyasa (practice), I will not give up”—this attitude is called tenacity. Having taken up something wise, something good, never to abandon it, never to leave it, to be determined to come out victorious—this attitude is called tenacity.

Tenacity is different from obstinacy. Obstinacy is a negative, tamasic quality. You should not have tenacity with regard to some wrong things that you might have taken up in a state of folly. Tenacity is a positive quality, sattvic: never to swerve from your purpose, from your determination. In this way, there should be in the heart of the sadhak the determined adherence to one’s ideals, and one must be established in an inner state which is unassailable, not affected by anything.

A person of a very negative nature does not commence any serious undertaking due to hesitancy. “Oh, if I undertake this, who knows, afterwards this difficulty may come, that obstacle may come.” So thinking, even though he intends to have a good life and do good things, because of this nervousness and fear of obstacles, he never does them. This is not good. There are others who no doubt start doing something good, but when obstacles and troubles come in their way, they give it up. But the real spiritual seeker, the real sadhak, once having taken up something, no matter how many obstacles or difficulties come, how many adverse circumstances face him, he always thinks, “No, I’ll never leave it! I have taken this up, I will see it through, I shall not be deterred by anything.” This is the uttama adhikari (best qualified aspirant).

That is the thing needful in your spiritual life. Fixity of principles, and tenacity—never to let go. It leads to success. Lord Krishna says in His Gita jnana upades (wisdom teaching): “Never leave your abhyasa, never give up your abhyasa. Because that is the secret of success and attainment. You may fail, that does not matter. If you are persistent in your abhyasa you will attain Me.” A seemingly impossible thing becomes possible in the face of sheer persistent abhyasa, regular, unfailing, unbroken abhyasa. It breaks down all barriers; it breaks down all obstacles on the way; it overcomes all hurdles and reaches the goal. This is the type of nature that the sadhak should seek to develop within himself. In that lies the guarantee of his success.

May the grace of the Supreme Lord be upon you, be upon your spiritual life, be upon your spiritual striving, so that casting aside any doubt, any misgivings like, “whether I shall attain or not, whether I shall succeed or not, whether I have chosen the right thing or not,” and not allowing any such misgivings or doubts to come into the mind, with determination and tenacity, be firmly established in sadhana. Let your sadhana, your abhyasa be akhanda (unbroken). And with firm faith and determination, may you through such unbroken sadhana enter into that supreme state which is beyond sorrow and suffering, which is peace and joy! For that is your birthright. For that attainment alone you have been born as a human being and with good samskaras (mental impressions) and good vasanas (subtle desires). May you not be indifferent to your own highest welfare. May you be serious in your sadhana. May God shower grace upon you!