Know these barriers to spiritual growth| 4 Obstacles on the path of devotion | Part 4

Know these barriers to spiritual growth| 4 Obstacles on the path of devotion | Part 4


Grief, despair, agitation of the body and irregular breathing Grief, this is another impediment on the
path. Whatever has happened has already happened.
Lamenting is not going to change things. So the positive attitude is that
now what can I do? Let me do that. However, because the mind is not in our control So this mind, which is like a spoiled
child, goes in the negative direction. Ohh it finds some reason to grieve. Now, those who develop a grieving mentality, sometimes you pity them. You know very often you
find people when they are retired . There is nothing to do. Idle mind is a
devil’s workshop. sit and grieve. It’s highly unproductive activity. But who will
explain to the mind? Only the intellect can. The intellect has to decide that I am
NOT justified holding negative emotions No matter what the reason, any negative
emotion will harm me alone and that is why I need to weed it out. So with
positive thinking, you see the silver lining to the cloud. And then what seems
to us as a reason to grieve becomes our biggest opportunity to progress. That is
always the case. The bigger difficulty, when you face it,
it’s the biggest opportunity to progress. Progress does not come through an easy life. Progress comes through facing difficulties, challenges, hardships, obstacles. So, one
who has the aspiration to progress welcomes, “All right God,
make it difficult for me. I wish to progress rapidly.” Shri aurobindo said, “my
Lord don’t be lenient with me. With your sword chop off all stupidity from every fiber of my
being.” Now imagine somebody you can pray like
that to God, what is his aspiration? He is saying, any stupidity you find anywhere
do chop it off. Don’t be lenient. So this is the positive attitude. So, to
grieve means to pull the mind into negativity and it breaks down that palace
of devotion that we are trying to build. Despair. Despair is the feeling of
hopelessness. Now this despair is due to lack of
knowledge. When we forget that we are the children of God, then we despair. And if
we bring the knowledge to ourselves that God is our father, our mother, he loves us,
he is all-powerful. When he has created us, it’s for a great purpose. Then that
despair will vanish. When he has done so much for us, he has given us a body that is functioning since so many years, a heart that beats
a hundred thousand times in a day, when God has done so much,
I’m sure he has got some good plan for me. Let me just tolerate the difficulties
and move on. His plan will unfold, I am sure of it. That is optimism. So the
reverse of this is despair. In this path, optimism is a great virtue. There’s a story
of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. One of his disciples asked him, Shridhar.
He said, “Guruji, how long will it take me before I become God realized.” Chaitanya mahaprabhu said, you know because you have so many doubts etc., this tree under which you sit, as many leaves as it has got, it will take you those many life times. He said, really!? That means God realization is now
definite. After so many lifetimes, I will be with God. he started dancing. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
said, no you will realize God in this life itself.
Now his joy knew no bound. In this life! Along with dancing, he
started jumping. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, in this year itself. Now he thought he has won a great lottery. He was dancing, jumping, singing. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, in this month. And then finally said, all right, I’ll give you Darshan. Here see Shri krishna. The other disciple said
Guruji, why did you keep on changing? Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, his decision that I
will attain the goal, that put him in on the positive track. That nourished
his devotion. And because his devotion got nourished, he kept on progressing. So that faith that I’ll attain the goal, this is a necessary attribute on the path.
And as we progress, you will naturally become optimistic. You know when you are traveling, let us say from
Philadelphia to Maryland, you see the milestones, all-right 10 miles gone by. I am confident I’m on the right path. 15 miles gone by. Ohh now there is no doubt. So similarly as you walk the path, the
milestones will keep coming. And they will encourage you more and more and more. And finally you will be fully confident. I will reach the goal. Never mind when.
So the lack of that optimism is despair. And then he says, agitation of the body. Now what does he mean by the agitation of the body? Two possibilities. One is that he is
propagating the path of Ashtang yoga. So in this it is very necessary to keep
the body still while in meditation. So that lack of discipline, lack of ability
to keep the body still, that could be an impediment or merely the agitation of
the body because of lack of discipline. So this path requires disciplining the
body and disciplining the mind. So He says that lack of physical discipline
is also an impediment and then he talks about irregular breathing. Now why does
breathing come into the picture? This breathing has a connection with
the mind. Yogis since ages have emphasized this connection. When you are mentally disturbed, your breathing becomes shallow. Your breathing in grief
is different. Your breathing in happiness is different. So, irregular breathing,
again he calls it an impediment upon the path. If ever you find that your mind is
getting agitated, a very easy way of pacifying it, take deep breaths. You will find, immediately your mind has got pacified. If ever anger has disturbed you
neutralize it physically with deep breaths. That deep breathing, because they are connected, the mind will also get pacified. So that is why he says that
irregular breathing is also an impediment.