The saying, practice makes perfect, holds true in many instances in our modern world. Spiritual practice or sadhana aligns with this saying. In order to fulfill our highest purpose and realize the inner Truth, Sadhana is needed.
A person undertaking a spiritual practice is known as a sadhaka. The goal of sadhana may vary, it may be spiritual-realization, enlightenment, pure love of God (prema), liberation from the cycle of birth and death (Samsara), or the blessings of a deity. It is most important to perform any practice from a state of bhakti or devotion, while holding pure, Dharmic intentions. The importance of spiritual practice cannot be emphasized enough, sadhana is extremely valuable to a spiritual seeker because is plants the seed of the fruit which will eventually sprout and ripen in later stages. It is essential, for without the seed, the fruit will not grow.
Sadhana may involve yoga, meditation, pranayama, chanting of mantra (sometimes with the help of a japa mala), puja to a deity, among many others. A practice given to a student from a teacher should be received with respect and practiced intently. A practice given with this type of blessing is aligned with our highest purpose. A spiritual teacher tailors an individual’s practice, as well as their experience of the sadhana, specifically for their unique path towards realization. Under the guidance of a teacher, a practice can open one to levels of Grace and blessings that are tremendous at any stage of our lives. It is a true blessing to have a practice bestowed by a teacher or Guru.
Sadhana helps to focus one’s mind and soul, and realize the harmonious relationship between the two. Sadhana is both an art and a science. It requires discipline by the sadhaka at each step, in order to practice with pure devotion from one's heart and also deep observant contemplation. Developing a sharp focus, while maintaining a pure heart, enables us to evolve into the highest levels of consciousness through our spiritual practices. A student on the path must be ever diligent. One must be self-aware of their practice and their intentions. A student is part-yogi, part-scientist, remaining astute and observant of their actions and reactions. The ultimate key to an advanced spiritual practice is diligently performing one's sadhana, with a sense of detachment from the results, while maintaining a deep sense of love or devotion.
The maturation of the sadhaka pinnacles at the point when one’s whole life is enveloped in spiritual practice. The highest form of practice is when one’s daily life becomes the state of sadhana – when every step and every breath is in unity-consciousness. To illustrate, a practice might begin in the form of a prayer, eventually this practice permeates the actions that we perform, that is, the prayer becomes present in our day to day lives. We incorporate this prayer in our work, our errands, while we cook and clean, etc. Eventually, the actions we perform and the prayer become one, and there is no difference. Ultimately, you realize that you are the prayer. Becoming the practice is the goal of a true sadhaka. Living the Truth is the ultimate sadhana.