No hurry is allowed in nature. In our inner growth also, no hurry is permitted. Any hurry or impatience will end in suppression/repression. – Chinmaya
Every constructive process has to be slow.
Because there are so many lessons to be learnt en route.
As a newborn, how many lessons we have learnt unknowingly in a single task called ‘learning to walk’?
A newborn baby lies on his back. But there is no freedom to move. He has no freedom even to scratch when it is itching! Helplessly he learns:
Bondage is pain.
Lying on the back is the safest posture of the body, as there is no fear of fall. But absolute safety comes with unbearable boredom! He realises:
Nothing can be achieved in our comfort zone.
This boredom and bondage make him desperate to seek something better. He struggles, not knowing that he is learning a new law of life:
Necessity is the mother of invention!
After many failures, in a few months, he at last succeeds. He is thrilled to see his new achievement – the ability to flip, to turn over and lie on his chest. He is greatly excited and practises his newly learnt skill every now and then. He ponders:
Work hard, and success is sure.
His first success of his life boosts his confidence level. And what a change in the perception of the world! Earlier he saw only the ceiling and the fan. Now, lying on his chest, everything appears totally different! He wonders:
What you see depends on where you are.
Soon he discovers the various advantages of lying on his chest. When the upper part of the body is lifted with the hands, he learns:
Higher you go, the better the vision.
When the hands start paining and he is exhausted, he introspects:
To go higher, you have to pay a price.
With repeated practice, when the hands no more pain, he observes:
Practice makes one perfect.
After a lot of trial and error, he discovers that the bottom portion of the body can be lifted by the knees. Now he is on all four. His creativity takes him further – “Why not walk with these four?”
He tries, succeeds, and is amazed at his self-discovered creativity! He understands:
Where there is a will, there is a way!
For the first time in his life, he is able to move by himself! He considers it the greatest moment in his life! Movement means freedom from bondage. Movement means a choice of destination. Movement means no dependence on others! He explores:
Freedom is happiness.
In his newly found freedom, he moves around freely towards his objects of interests, picks things and puts them indiscriminately in his only laboratory – the mouth. With his freedom, the mother’s concern also begins. He teaches all:
Freedom without wisdom is calamity!!
Sitting on his bottom, he discovers that he has scaled greater heights! But many times he loses balance and falls backwards hitting his head on the hard floor. Of course, the mother is always there to soothe and console him. Through pain, he learns another lesson:
Alertness keeps you high. Carelessness brings you down.
As days pass by, he is amazed, “How are these people walking on their legs so easily! Can I too do it?” The very thought makes him shudder with fear. But the Lord, his unknown Friend and Guide, residing in his heart, whispers to him:
“You too can! Keep trying! A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Holding on to a sofa, he tries to lift himself up. The experience of standing is amazing but his soft tender legs can’t afford to take his weight. He sits down quietly. But he won’t give up. He tries again and again. His past experiences have taught him:
Perseverance combined with patience is the key to success.
With undaunted effort, now he manages to stand erect, but the height scares him. The intense desire to be like others forces him to take risks. These adventures give him many painful falls and bleeding wounds. But by now he has learnt the law of life:
No pain, no gain.
And finally, there comes a day when he walks, runs, jumps and throws tantrums around!
This is our story of outer growth. So too is the case with inner growth.
Q: What is inner growth?
A: Inner growth is nothing but spiritual growth.
Q: How do we know whether we are growing internally?
A: When we internally grow, the mind becomes more mature. A mature mind is a mind which, through experiences of life, has come to this firm conclusion that the Self/God alone is the source of peace, security and happiness.
Such a mind does not hanker after the pleasures of the world, since it knows the hollowness of all these pleasures. With its vision of oneness, it becomes a storehouse of all virtues. Such a mind is ever quiet, serene and peaceful without any bubbles of desires gurgling forth. It ever remains a disciplined, tamed, and obedient mind.
Q: How long does it take to achieve this?
A: Time frame cannot be set because it depends on person to person. Some have already made great advancements in their past births and therefore their spiritual growth appears very quick and smooth in this birth, while others who are just beginners struggle in every step.
Even among seekers, the majority are lukewarm in spiritual practices, while a rare few are seen pursuing it intensely. So the result will vary depending on how intensely you seek it, and for how long you have been seeking it.
Q: Why no hurry is allowed in spirituality?
A: Just as we don’t expect a newborn baby to walk straight out of the womb, we don’t expect anyone to walk out of the world to the kingdom of God. It takes time, effort and patience. Nothing happens by a click of a button. A child becomes a professional only after many years of sincere study. A seed becomes a huge tree after very many years. No short cuts are allowed in nature. Everything takes its own sweet time for fructification.
Q: What takes time?
A: Replacing the worldly vasanas with the spiritual one takes time. The latent impressions gathered in very many lives cannot be easily erased from the mind. It takes persistent and wholehearted effort. The Sattwic mind which has transcended the Rajas and Tamas alone becomes fit to abide in the Self effortlessly.
Q: Will external renunciation (Sannyas) help?
A: It depends.
For people filled with devotion and dispassion, renunciation is the most ideal path. A lot of time is available for meditation and contemplation, and one is free from all worldly botheration and distractions. Mind being under one’s control, the time is well utilised for the attainment of the higher.
But for the unprepared minds, Sannyas can be suffocation. Very many times, hasty people, inspired by some books or talks on spirituality, renounce their family and possessions and take to ochre cloth (Sannyas). But soon they find themselves in ‘Trishanku Swarga’ – neither here nor there!
On one side mind is filled with all worldly desires, but being a Sannyasi they are incapable of fulfilling them. On the other side, mind, starved of devotion and dispassion, is unable to revel in the Divine. Such a mind experiences a state of suppression which is unhealthy.
For such people, the Lord in the Bhagavad Geeta asks to remain in the world as a karma Yogi. When actions are done selflessly as a worship of the Lord, the mind becomes pure. Such a healthy mind is capable of taking up higher spiritual sadhanas.
‘Don’t hurry’ doesn’t mean ‘Be lukewarm.’ It simply means strive hard, but never be impatient.
As Gurudev nicely puts it: Hasten, (but) Slowly!
O M T A T S A T