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Hasten Slowly

Pujya Gurudevshri lucidly explains the reasons why many spiritual seekers go through feelings of despair and despondence even after finding the right mentor and the right means, and how they can prevent themselves from becoming an obstacle to their own spiritual growth

Be extremely earnest in your spiritual pursuit. Let it not be a half-hearted attempt. You may feel baffled initially. It can be disconcerting when you cannot discern the right means to practice or having practiced the right means, you don’t see the desired result. At this point it is natural for you to feel lost. But let your discomfort not throw you in despair. Move on dauntlessly with the right practice. Make a diligent effort to understand the nature of the Self. Do not give up your pursuit. It may take some time, for it has remained unrecognised since time immemorial. Do not be disheartened by the delay.

A seeker in desperate moments may feel, ‘I have heard so much about the Self. Yet, I fail to experience the bliss of the Self. I feel despondent, for I neither experience the inner bliss, nor do I find the world comforting.’ However, a sincere seeker does not give up but finds his way out of this feeling of dejection. With great patience, he endeavours to go deeper within. Until now, he wandered outside trying to make the world happy or derive happiness from it. Now, refusing to be bewildered, he retires from such extrovert behaviour, and through patient efforts, discovers the inner path.

Haste is Waste

The seeker understands that inner work is accomplished only when he remains focussed diligently on the Self; that he must not expect great results from lame and lukewarm efforts. He knows that it isn’t possible to not realise the Self if he puts in the right kind of effort.

Wishing for quick results without putting in the required amount of effort does not bear fruits in spirituality. The conscious and blissful Self cannot be realised by mere wishful thinking. The path is easy. However, it cannot be attained by unnecessary haste. One must bear in mind that ‘I am faltering in my efforts, I am stuck somewhere, and so by turning inwards, I must vigilantly pursue till the end.’ But being obstinate that ‘it must happen now only’ will not help. Haste is waste.

Do Not Give Up Hope

Instead of feeling dejected that I cannot do it, muster courage and put in the right effort to dive within. You cannot rightly pursue if you breed stubbornness, sadness, bewilderment, or despair. Incorrect pursuit is considered as haste, but the right efforts can easily help accomplish the task. In despondency you will certainly lose out on the opportunity for spiritual evolution. This is an eternal principle. You won’t just stop rising, you will fall. He who does not progress is thrown behind. Hopelessness is a springboard to dive into the abyss of death.

Nietzsche says that the news of death of God is not as sad as the news of death of hope. It is not difficult to experience God if your hope is alive. But God’s existence makes no difference if the hope is dead. It is this hope that prompts you to embark on a journey to the unknown. Hope awakens latent powers. Hopelessness is barren; no creative strength can ever take birth from it.

As you feel, so you become. Your feelings create you. What you are today is a result of what you have desired for and thought of many times in the past. Pessimism creates negative thoughts, feelings and inner state. This can generate only despair. What walls cannot do, despair can. It is easy to break walls, but it is very difficult to free oneself from the iron chain of despair because despair does not let the hope of freedom rise.

Circumstances Do Not Cause Hindrance

It is difficult; nevertheless, it is possible to dispel the darkness of despair with the light of Guru’s compassion and His teachings. With the fall of despair, consciousness becomes ready to take on the mammoth task. But in despair, the mind finds excuses of circumstances. However, no situation is favourable or unfavourable for the attainment of Self-realisation. Those who have realised the Self too had undergone many unfavourable circumstances. Therefore, don’t give this excuse. The excuse itself is a hindrance. Even if circumstances are unfavourable, they are never so unfavourable that they become an obstruction to Self-realisation. That is impossible. There is no hindrance other than despair and pessimism.

One who zealously progresses never remains unsuccessful because on the spiritual path, there is no failure. Failure on the spiritual path is a myth as much as success is on the path of sin. Failure is success delayed, not success denied.

Why Despair?

The reason for despair is that the mind is overambitious. It wants to accomplish more and more in shorter periods of time. It plays the same game on the spiritual path as it played in worldly pursuits. And when the mind tries to hurry, it experiences despair.

A balance is expected from a seeker. The task of self-realisation will not be achieved through haste or heedlessness. It needs patience as well as yearning, earnestness as well as enthusiasm, attentiveness as well as freedom from tension. Neither inadvertence nor despondence will bear fruits.

Everything moves at its specific pace. Seasonal flowers grow fast but wither away soon too, while the tall trees of Deodar grow slowly. Progress too has its pace. Even if you wish a million times, mere wishing for it to happen fast will not make it happen. In fact, this haste may delay the process because the strength wasted in hurrying could have been used for progressing.

A foetus takes nine months to grow in the womb, no matter how much the mother may yearn for it to grow faster. The haste will only result in stillbirth. Everything has its time, pace and order for its growth. Its non-acceptance is ignorance.

At times you may feel impatient seeing others progress. And feel even dejected and get caught in it. On the spiritual path comparison, impatience, haste etc. prove harmful.


The difference between a canal and a river is that there is no beauty in a canal because it is not natural, and lacks uniqueness for it is artificially guided. The beauty of the river is that sometimes it descends from high mountains, sometimes it runs through the planes, and sometimes it falls in the ravine. Sometimes it turns left and sometimes it bends right. Passing through all these gives the river its own uniqueness, speciality, and beauty.

The path of spirituality is like that of the river. There are ups, downs, lefts, rights, and around. Sometimes swift, sometimes slow. Accept them all! Do not hurry or despair. Pursue with great zeal but do not expect the fruits. Success will come but at its own time. You will need force as well as silence. Expectations bring haste and tension, and when unsuccessful, they create despair. But a seeker peacefully accepts all the phases and pursues his goal.

There will be the pairs of opposites in life. Sometimes success and at other times failure! Learn to accept these pairs of opposites. Do not become the experiencer, stay a witness.


When desires and passions attack, the seeker becomes weak and gets disturbed. But if he does not despair, and bravely faces them, he accomplishes the task. If he is not disturbed, he is not even a seeker. But if he gets stuck there, he is not a seeker either. Therefore, you must accept all ups and downs with peacefulness. You can create positivity by not identifying with them and watching them from a distance. You will realise that you are moulded by both phases – the down phase breaks your false sense of doership and the up phase fills you up with enthusiasm. The seeker benefits from both and does not become prey to despair or despondence.

The seeker benefits when he is happy and also when he is not. Sadness when accepted does not hinder the spiritual pursuit. The falls do not cause despair. He accepts, passes through them, and manifests supreme witnessing. And continuous witnessing which is the gateway to liberation.


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