Is meditation or ‘sadhana’ essential for happiness? Is it necessary to meditate? Is being good or being kind to others not enough to attain true happiness?
I would say, if one is happy, if one is fulfilled, if one is happy within oneself, if one is independent of anything external and still exudes happiness, then sadhana is not required. There is no necessity to do sadhana because the very need for doing sadhana arises because one finds that one is not happy.
Even if one is happy, look carefully enough and one will find that the happiness in question is usually fleeting. It is not in one’s possession all the time. Therefore, we think, it is essential to find that happiness and peace, which is lasting and not fleeting.
This is when one looks for sadhana.
Sadhana is not just about meditation. It has to be complemented by one’s activity in the external world. It has to do with how one deals with other human beings. So there is more to sadhana than merely sitting, closing one’s eyes and pretending to meditate.
My Master and teacher, Maheshwar Nath Babaji, used to say, “Thirteen years of meditation for 13 hours a day is a colossal waste if you cannot truly hear a child’s cry of hunger.”
The search for happiness is successful, or shall we say effective, only when the mind begins to change.
The search for happiness is successful, or shall we say effective, only when the mind begins to change. This comes from meditation and sadhana, which is much more than a mechanical practice of sitting down in a quiet place and keeping one’s eyes closed.
There are meditation techniques that can be practiced to calm the mind and make one turn inward. However, the real meaning of sadhana is to begin by wondering if there is an essential being within us. This is our true consciousness–a spark of the divine!
Following this reasoning, we have to agree that the same spark of the divine inhabits all other human beings. Therefore, the true sadhaka (someone who follows a particular sadhana) does not limit oneself to meditating in the way the Guru advises, but also begins to function in the world with the understanding that this divine spark resident in oneself, is also resident in other living beings.
Being kind, being helpful and serving others is indeed worship of that divine spark resident in other beings. Kindness and doing good should go hand in hand with one’s meditative practices. They are not exclusive of each other but they complement each other, resulting in one’s spiritual growth.