The third important discipline for ascent of human self is sadhana – devout endeavor of self- refinement and improvement. It includes upasana and tapa . Most of us understand upasana as some kind of devotional practice such as – worshiping a deity, praying before it, chanting a mantra , meditating on divine attributes, etc. Well, these are certainly the steps or methods to attain the real purpose of upasana . But we should also know its real meaning. upasana of God means faith in divine values , sitting near divine realms, invocating divinity. If we sit near fire, we feel the heat and our clothing and body parts also get warmer. Sitting near a rock of ice similarly generates a cooling effect around us. The area surrounding a sandalwood tree is also permeated with the fragrance of sandalwood. The soothing fragrance also makes the nearby plants fragrant. So you see the effect of proximity. Upasana is a process of mental and emotional proximity with the Almighty. With enhanced purity of our inner self, our sincerity in the devotional practices, and depth of our faith, upasana gradually connects our “ individual self ” with the Supreme Self . Inculcation of divine virtues, awakening of our indwelling divinity is a natural consequence of devout upasana .
Various Dimensions of Self-discipline:
Upasana and sadhana go hand in hand. Either is incomplete without the other. Upasana induces the inspiration and strength required for sadhana and the latter is vital for the purification and inner engrossment required for thorough upasana . The word “ sadhana ” means to perfect. It includes excellence of qualities, deeds and behavior, eminence of personality . Uprooting the vices, evil tendencies, bad habits, etc and cultivation of virtuous tendencies, good conduct and attitude is sadhana . The wild animals are trained in circus to perform skilled feats some of which are difficult even for humans. Sadhana is also an arduous training of the mind . It is two-folded: refinement by tapa , that is by ascetic disciplines, penance etc and improvement by encouraging, inspiring and engaging the mind in illuminating benefits of virtuous qualities and activities. Eminent transmutation of personality by sadhana is like the tedious process of clearing the wild shrubs from a field and making beautiful garden thereon; converting raw metal into shining gold by processing it in fire; or the Herculean task of ploughing a barren rocky land and harvesting health y food grains from it.
The Integration of Different Traits :
A little pondering will make you aware that sanyam is necessary for the reforming process of sadhana and swadhyaya (+ satsang ) for the transmuting phase. It is a time-testing process that requires patience and unflinching faith together with the zeal for enlightened progress. For this, upasana lends the desired support. You also need to be introspective and should analyze yourself everyday by a quick but sincere review of what you did wrong and what right and good during the day. Convince your mind , pledge and strive for not repeating the wrong, overcoming the shortcomings and encouraging the good the next day. At least few minutes before sleep should be kept for daily exercise of introspection and self-analysis . A few minutes before getting up every day should be kept for self-planning . Regard every new day as a new birth by which God has given you an opportunity to rectify the past errors and make a new, better and brighter beginning.