Symmetry in Spiritual Growth

Swami Chinmayananda

Hasty students, as well as unprepared seekers, are tempted to compartmentalise the various paths of Self-unfoldment. Thereby, they gain but a lop-sided growth, and fail to achieve the beauty of the harmonious whole.

Since our personality is a combination of the physical, the psychological and the intellectual, in order to have perfect symmetry of spiritual growth, each student must attend to all the aspects of his inner individuality. Symmetry is beauty; lop-sided growth ends in ugliness.

At the physical level, dedicated selfless work (karma yoga), at the emotional level, deep and abiding devotion (bhakti yoga), and at the intellectual level, regular study of the scriptures and sincere reflections upon what has been heard (jnana yoga) – these are the prescribed means to straighten the inner personality of its twists and turns, curvatures and ugly bulgings.

Of these three, the more subjective sadhana would be that which can directly enhance the charm and beauty, poise and perception of the mind; such a mind brings a subtle sharpness to our inner equipment. This is achieved through the paths of bhakti and jnana.

Through karma yoga – fulfilling our duties in a spirit of dedication unto the Lord – the mind gathers a distinct fragrance of devotion, and enthralled by the strange beauty of devotion, it learns to turn all its love towards the Lord, and the individual becomes a great devotee.

It is only when love for the Lord increases that the student feels an irresistible compulsion to investigate upon the nature of the Supreme. Thus, he starts reading the stories of the Lord's play and the life stories of His devotees – saints and sages. This leads him onto the scriptures. Such a deep study of the scriptures, not teased out by a rough and ready intellectual inquisitiveness, but compelled by the deep and abiding love which the seeker feels for Him, truly guides one to a productive and pleasant spiritual life.

Message given on the occasion of the 359th Jñana Yajña in Bombay, 1983 [via Tapovan Prasad, November 2015]© Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, reproduced courtesy of Central Chinmaya Mission Trust