by Swami Sivananda
The essential qualification for a sadhu (man of renunciation) is that he should adapt himself to all conditions and circumstances, causing no inconvenience to others. His is the duty to serve not to worry others. Very few sadhus know what they are and what they should be.
This morning an old sadhu from Swarg Ashram came here. He was there when I was there, too. He is aged 80 now. Today they did not prepare roti here. There was only rice and curry. But, the sadhu would not take. He wanted only roti (bread). It seems rice will produce wind. If you allow him, he will lecture to you for half an hour on the evil effects of riceeating. But he will refuse to be reminded that a very large population in India and the world lives on rice alone.
This is all that he has understood of sadhana (spiritual practice) during all these thirty years of sadhu life: "Rice should not be taken: roti alone is good for health and meditation." All their life these people will waste on this one thought of the right food and the wrong food. What is there if one day you do not get your food to your own liking. Even your own wife will not tolerate you for a day if you are so particular about what food you should have.
It is the special duty of a sadhu not to cause any inconvenience to householders. We are not to be a burden on householders, but to be of some service to them. When will the sadhu understand this. Some sadhakas (seekers), here also have that impression that they are living in an asrama and that one consideration ought to be sufficient to open out the gates of Kaivalya (liberation) to them. I assure you: even if they live many hundreds of their lives near the greatest saint in the world, they will not improve even a bit. They must themselves exert. Each one must think for himself, act for himself. There have been some sadhakas here whom I myself trust and put in charge of the affairs of the asrama then I myself used to dread to approach them. If, for instance, I go to them and ask them to prepare a little more of what they give me for my food in order that I may give the extra quantity to some one else, I would be refused. What I do on those occasions is to reduce my own consumption and distribute this to the others.
If a sadhaka gets real samadhi (superconsciousness) in a hundred births, that is a very great achievement. God is perfect; and unless and until all the evil qualities are eradicated and divine qualities acquired to the degree of perfection, there will be no samadhi.