Prerequisites for Spiritual Advancement

Throughout history, saints and sages have preached one thing: through meditation one can realize their purpose and achieve a higher state of consciousness, where one can attain peace and realization with God. However, similar to how a farmer must prepare his land before he can grow crops, there is one prerequisite that we must have to properly begin to meditate and uplift ourselves, and that is to let go of ones’ negative emotions. Hate, jealousy, envy, etc. are all examples of negative emotions that we hold inside and prevent us from advancing in spirituality.

There used to be a town that the Buddha would go to, to preach his message of truth. In that town, there was a man that would regularly come and attend the Buddha’s discourse. That man, however, had some very wicked relatives, who one day came over to his house and robbed him. To everyone’s surprise, the man did not do anything about it. He accepted his fate and continued on with his life. The news of this event spread through the town and eventually reached the Buddha himself. All the townspeople discussed how they could punish those relatives, but the Buddha told them “If the man does not want to do anything then we should let it be as well.”

The Buddha said that in one of his previous lives, he was born as an elephant in the Himalayas. There was a tree in the area that he would rest under. But, in that tree lived some monkeys who would bother the elephant as it rested. The tree one day spoke to the elephant and asked, “You are so much larger than them. You can easily get rid of them.” The elephant responded saying, “I know that I can but it is not my place. I do not want to create any knots of anger in my heart by punishing them. Only God can punish them because God knows exactly how one must be punished for their actions.” The next day another elephant came by and sat under the tree. The monkeys thought it was the same elephant and began to bother it. This new elephant was not as forgiving as the last and began to throw them around, which badly injured the monkeys. The Buddha told the townspeople that God himself had punished those monkeys and that he did not have to be a part of it. God will do justice to those who want to be selfless and walk the path of truth.

Similarly, Lord Krishna himself told Arjuna that man has the right to perform actions, but only God can deliver the fruits of those actions. If we wish to advance on the path of spirituality then we cannot tie any knots of anger, hatred, or any negative emotion in our hearts. It will only create obstacles in our path. Just as trees let go of dying leaves, we must let go of our negative emotions. They will never help us. We have to sow the seeds of purity, compassion, and love and reap the rewards of peace and liberation. Saint Kabir said, “If we sow the seeds of a thorny plant, then we should not expect mangos.” But if we sow the seed of a mango, then we can expect many more sweet fruits. Untie the knot of negativity and continue to grow and uplift yourself.