It’s a long and lonesome road, but it’s worth the journey
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How to be a Sadhu
“Whenever you think of anything or anyone as your own, you are actually letting yourself be trapped in this web of ego.” I have had a lifelong interest in becoming a Sadhu as a way to experience my own life. I want to learn and experience how to live a Sadhu life. I am working on my own deeply-seated ego issues. Sublimation of the ego is the first step in becoming a Sadhu. I am intrigued by the idea that ego and a sense of ownership are related. For myself, the erasure of ego is a work in progress. I like this article as it describes an open-minded view of Sadhu life, and starts to deconstruct narrow notions of Sadhu life. The writer professes to be a guru and his words have resonated with me.
For this you first need to understand, who is a sadhu? Being a sadhu doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a particular attire, having big beard or matted hair. Neither one has to necessarily leave his/her family and go to the woods in order to become a sadhu. Sadhuta or saintliness is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with your body. The hordes of saffron clad people with big white beards you see at our religious places are not sadhus. 90% of them are escapists.
Being a true sadhu is the most difficult thing in this world. Trust me it is easier to become a Bill Gates than being a true sadhu. Let me quote you from my experiences and that of my peers what you’ll have to go through in order to become a sadhu.
First thing which you should be ready to get out of is your ego. This is the first step. Now what is ego? We most of the times confuse ego with pride. However these are two completely different states of mind. Take this example. Suppose one guy has a huge house with all the modern luxuries and he is very proud of owning it. He keeps on flaunting this big house as his social status to others. Now this is called pride. Now there is another house which is modest and it’s owner is just satisfied with his house. He doesn’t flaunt his house, he’s just happy that he ‘owns’ this house, it belongs to him. Now this sense of ownership of anything is called ego. It is easy to get out of pride but it is almost impossible or at least extremely painful to get out of this ego.
Whenever you think of anything or anyone as your own, you are actually letting yourself trapped in this web of ego. In order to let go of your ego, you’ll have to let go of anyone and anything which you think belongs to you. Be it your career, your money, your house whatever you call yours will go away from you. My Bade Guru Ji said that for a number of days he only survived on cow dung because there was nothing else to eat even though He Himself belonged to a rich landlord family. I rose very high in my career very early and had every luxury available to myself. I used to spend lakhs in one night just for my entertainment. And then came a day when I didn’t have money to buy milk for my child. In Aghor we have a saying that when Maa wants someone to walk onto this path then She says, Main Raundungi Tohe, Kaun Bachabo ?means Now I Myself will trample your ego who in the world can save you now? So before thinking of becoming a sadhu, understand what you are asking for.
Becoming a sadhu is an ongoing process which continues throughout one’s life and even through many lifetimes. At every stage Maa keeps on testing you. Suppose you have a very strong resolve and you are able to clear the early tests and have been lucky enough to find the right Guru and His grace. Then a different game will start. Sadhna gives you Shakti/power. The harder your penance is, more powerful you become. Now as they say power is poison. Everyone can not handle the power. Whosoever gets just a little minuscule power misuses it immediately. This is why most of the senior IAS s or ministers etc don’t treat other people politely. Money is just a small form of power. And it is because of this small fraction of power most of the newly rich people think that they are from Mars. Interesting thing is most of the victims of this power harassment curse these powerful people but the moment they themselves become powerful, they become exactly like their oppressors. The problem does not lie with the powerful, this is the problem with ‘power’. Everyone thinks that he/she is a very nice human being and given the power he/she will never misuse it. However this is not the case.
What I am telling you was told to me also by my peers and I had a very good control over myself. But still 10 years back two people repeatedly kept on trying to harm me and at last I lost control and decided to use my power. To my good fortune Maa stopped me from doing it and instead asked me to ask for wisdom for them. Now understand my frustration, I have all the power to punish the wrongdoer but instead I am asking for wisdom from him. Initially it was difficult but slowly I learned how important it is to forgive even after having the power to punish. It takes years to let go of this frustration because Maa will keep on testing you again and again and every time you’ll have to just let go.
In order to become a sadhu you need to learn to accept respect and disrespect in the same stride. A sadhu never gets pleased by praises neither he gets shaken by abuses. For a sadhu, these are two faces of the same coin. To forgive each and everyone no matter how deep is the wound he/she has inflicted upon you is sadhuta/ saintliness. Once my Bade Guru Ji was in Patna with one of his disciple and some crazy people started making fun of them seeing their attire. Baba asked his disciple to leave that place and started walking. Those people came after them, mocking them calling them names but Baba kept on walking. Then some of them threw mud upon them, the disciple couldn’t take it and turned his face back to take revenge but Baba forcefully told him to just ignore them and keep walking. Then some of those people started hurling stones at them and Baba got hit by one, the disciple asked Baba in rage, Baba, why shouldn’t I kill them all here for doing this to you? Baba said, don’t do anything just keep walking. After a while those people got tired and returned. Baba reached an orchard out of the city and then calmly told his disciple that a true saint should take praises and abuses in the same stride, that is the nature of a true sadhu. Sadhus don’t take revenge, they only forgive.
Easier said than done. It takes a very long time to reach at this level of forgiveness. From my experience I can say that in the beginning one feels frustrated but slowly one gets out of this revenge cycle and ultimately learns to forgive. Slowly a sadhu reaches a point where he realises that forgiveness without an iota of revenge has become a part of his nature. A sadhu doesn’t see others as different people, he sees this world as an extension of himself. How can one then take revenge from himself?