Pariksha, Samiksha & Pratiksha: The 3 Components of a Spiritual Life
At the day of the final “test” from the Swami Narayana Gurukul – Rajkot Sadhana Camp, held at Parmarth Niketan, Pujya Swamiji was requested to give blessings and pravachan.
Following is an excerpt from that lecture:
Today you are taking your “pariksha” (test); however, a spiritual path has three important components: Pariksha (tests), Samiksha (introspection) and Pratiksha (waiting).
The true Pariksha is not simply passing a test given by someone else. The true pariksha is when you start taking your own test. The true pariksha is when you start taking your own photo with the camera of your own heart. The true pariksha is when you start checking yourself all the time – checking your volume, checking your actions, checking your thoughts, checking your eyes and your ears. We must not simply rely on others to take our test in life. Sometimes we can fool others, but we can never fool God and we can never fool our Guru. So, the true pariksha is when you start watching yourself, knowing that God and Guru are always watching you.
There is a beautiful story of a Guru who, nearing the end of his inhabitance in this Earthly body, called his three closest disciples together and said, “I’m giving you a test. To each of you I will give an apple. You must go from here, eat the apple without being seen by anyone and then return as quickly as possible. He who returns first will be my successor. But, be sure that no one can see you.”
The 3 disciples were each given their apple and went off in 3 separate directions. After a few hours the first disciple returned, “Guruji,” he exclaimed. “I went to the top of the highest mountain and there I ate my apple. Even the birds could not fly as high as this mountain; therefore there was nobody who could watch me.” The Guru nodded in silence.
In the evening the second disciple returned, breathless. “Guruji, Guruji, I went into the deepest, darkest cave in the mountainside. There I crawled into the darkness and ate my apple, unseen by any being.” The Guru nodded but said nothing.
The night passed as did the following day, but still the third disciple did not return. Finally, on the afternoon of the fourth day, the disciple returned slowly with his head down. “I have failed you, my master,” he said. “I climbed mountains, I swam in the rivers, I crawled into the trunks of trees and into deep pits in the ground. But, everywhere I went God’s eyes were watching me. There was nowhere I could escape His gaze.” The Master said, “You, my child, are the one who shall be my successor, for you are the only one who understands the true nature of God and His omniscience.”
When we realize that God is always watching us, then we will never go astray. That is true pariksha.
The second aspect is Samiksha – introspection. We must constantly analyze and re-analyze ourselves. We must never become complacent. At the end of the day, a good businessman always checks his balance sheet: how much has he made, how much has he spent? Similarly, a good teacher reviews her students’ test scores: how many passed, how many failed?
By looking at their successes and failures, they assess how well they are doing. Are the businessman’s profits greater than his losses? Are most of the teacher’s students passing the exams?
In the same way, each night, we must examine the balance sheet of our day: what were our successes, what were our failures. And for all the successes, all our “plus-points” we must give credit to God. For, we have truly done nothing but let Him work through us. All credit goes to Him. He is the one who saves us, who maintains our dignity and our success. It is only by His grace that our eyes can see the work in front of us, that our hands can perform the necessary tasks, that our brains can understand instructions, that our mouths can speak. So, we must never become arrogant; we must never think that it is “we” who have accomplished something. It is only His grace working through us.
Our failures, we must also give to him. The fault is ours, definitely. Yet, He is so forgiving and so compassionate that He insists we turn these over to Him as well. We must say,”God, please take these minus points. You know that I am weak, you know that I am nothing. Please make me stronger tomorrow.” In this way, each night we check our balance sheet, and we pray to God to help us have fewer minus points, to make us stronger, to make us better hands doing his work, to give us more faith, more devotion.
A true spiritual seeker always introspects frequently and always strives to be better the next day.
Last is pratiksha – waiting. One must always wait. We must do our sadhana, perform our duties and then wait for the grace of God to shine upon us. Sometimes I hear people say “But when will He bless me with a vision of Him?” or “I have been doing sadhana for so long and still my mind is restless.” There is no set rule to how quickly one attains the state of spiritual bliss. This all God’s plan. Patience, patience and patience – we must cultivate this in our sadhana. However, one thing is certain: His grace WILL come. His grace and blessings WILL be bestowed upon those who dedicate their lives to Him. This is definite. Only the time and the way are in His hands. So, we must just keep doing our sadhana, keep surrendering our lives to Him, stay humble and pure and we must have faith that in the right time the shower of grace will fall upon us.