Third and Fourth Stages of a Seeker’s Life
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Third and Fourth Stages of a Seeker’s life
When people go on a vacation, some after a few days look forward to going back home, some wish that they could stay their longer, and then there may be some who like it there so much that they decide to move there.
Similarly, after experiencing the world in a worldly manner and fulfilling one’s worldly responsibilities. one may long for going back home or may continue living the way he has been living.
The third and fourth stages are for those who wish to go back home.
The Third Stage : Vanaprasatha
Vanaprastha literally means moving to a forest.
Unfortunately, so many seekers follow the literal meaning and decide to live like a spiritual wanderer in search of the Truth.
When one lives in a forest, he manages to live on very little. The true meaning of Vanaprasatha, in this context, is to cut back on one’s needs and desires.
This is the stage to:
1. Learn and understand the yogic wisdom properly under the guidance of a Master, and start implementing it in one’s daily life.
2. Give more attention to the practice of Aparigraha (not to accumulate unnecessarily) and Pratayahara ( taking the senses beyond the mind, to the Self)
3. Become more sincere in one’s yogic practices
4. Do more self-less service.
5. Cultivate a practice of remembering God and that one is here temporarily only.
6. Start emptying out the closets in the mind.
The Fourth Stage: Sannyasa
Sannyasa means renunciation but it is not the renunciation of the world, instead, it is the renunciation of the ‘I’, ‘me’, and ‘mine’ which exist in the mind. If one lives the third stage properly as described above, the sannyasa begins to dawn spontaneously, and one enters the fourth stage in a very natural and meaningful way.
Sannyasa is the time to unpack the mind. The mind must become empty before one can go home. Otherwise, the mind keeps creating new worlds with the stuff that remains in the mind. Just as a single seed has the potential of creating a forest, similarly, a single desire felt in the mind can create endless worlds.
Sannyasa is the time to get fully established in the reality of life that, like a dream, it is only a temporary phenomenon. This gives rise to dispassion in one’s mind. It is the true dispassion that removes the mind-stuff and shows one the way to go back home.
In sannyasa, one can gauge his own progress by how much he adores the Creator and admires the creation without desiring for it. A dispassionate seeker whose ‘i’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’ have been dissolved, falls in love with God. If love for God doesn’t dawn in one’s mind, he has missed something on the way. Just as an apple seed when grown properly results in apples, similarly, a proper spiritual journey must result in loving God.
The saying that the spiritual journey is endless is not true. Loving God is the end of one’s journey. When one sees, hears, breathes, touches, and tastes God only, he has arrived home.