“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.18)
Sadhu, shastra and guru. These three run on parallel lines, helping the sincere seeker of the truth to stay on the path to success. If one of the three should happen to veer off course, to state a different goal than the others, then there is something wrong; their authenticity should be questioned.
Sadhu in this case usually translates to saintly person. Shastra is scripture, the works of authority descending from past generations, originating at the origin of all things. Guru is the singular saintly person, a teacher specifically dedicated to the task of helping the devotee.
A sadhu in common conversation often refers to a renounced mendicant, a person taking on a specific kind of dress, begging for a living, not accumulating possessions. There is an underlying, higher purpose. To earn a living they could get a job and become a family man. They could follow the way of everyone else, but they have chosen a different path.
There is variety even in spiritual life, and so not all saintly people behave exactly the same. Each one of us has a different set of gunas, or qualities. Some are born leaders, while others are better at handling problems in the background, using logic and reasoning. Some are better communicators, and some are better at dealing with relationships and disagreements.
In this regard not all sadhus are quiet. Some of them speak, and it is for this reason that one of the other definitions of the word is “one who cuts.” The sadhu does so with their speech, and for a specific purpose.
1. Speaking strongly
The saintly person may be known to speak strongly. The attention of the audience is required, after all. If a public speaker steps up to the microphone and is extremely shy and quiet, what will the people in attendance really learn? They are there to hear.
The sadhu in this case is not timid. They will be bold in their speech. Others need to be corrected; otherwise why even think about spiritual life? If everything is going well through chewing the chewed, looking for sense gratification in areas where there was already a little tasted, then why waste the time of someone who is on a different path and is teaching others how to find true happiness?
2. Getting to the point
No beating around the bush. No sugarcoating the message, though that is often the advisable way. It is said that if a person is speaking the truth, they should do so in a palatable way. The position of Secretary of State in the executive branch of the government exists for this very reason. Work with foreign nations, get them to do what is in your best interest, but don’t make them upset for no reason.
The sadhu is not worried about the reception. If the entire world were against the message of Divine love, it would not make a difference at the personal level. The sadhu likely heard previously from another saintly person who spoke strongly. Perhaps it was that cutting speech that turned their life around.
3. Telling others about their true identity
We are spirit soul. Each and every one of us. The idea of equality that is deeply flawed in the present implementation extends from the highest species down to the lowest. The original living entity, Lord Brahma, is the creator. From his craftsmanship, using the three modes of nature as his ingredients, result the amazing variety of species, up to 8,400,000 in number.
Consider this. Brahma is as much a spirit soul on the inside as is the tiny ant. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that the wise person sees the spiritual equality in a host of species. They understand that the cow and the dog are the same on the inside. The infant child is no different than the wise sage of adult age.
No one besides the saintly person will speak in such a way. Others may come close or find an incomplete version of this amazing truth. From this fact extends another truth: sense gratification is not worth it.
Who else will give this valuable information? Others say to chase your dream, pursue your passions. The sadhu says that passion will get you nowhere. It brings you back to the same point; all you have done is passed the time. The animal community is eating food without a problem. They don’t go to college. They don’t pray. Why are you so concerned, then?
The sadhu stays aligned with shastra and guru in stressing the importance of spiritual life, which become an urgent priority in the human form of body, where it can be practiced. Not only does such a life align with the true identity, that of spirit, but it brings all happiness. It brings real peace, which every person is seeking.
The sadhu says that in this age of Kali, known for the increase in quarrel and hypocrisy, dedicating the full day to the spiritual activities practiced in previous ages is not possible. Knowing the circumstances, the Supreme Lord made a most merciful concession. Anyone who chants His names in this age will get the same benefit received from the rigorous spiritual life of ages past. The sadhu both knows and believes this, and that is why they chant the holy names themselves and encourage others to do the same: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Whether as child in young age,
Or adult with wisdom of sage.
Same spirit soul inside,
Difference only on outside.
Abandon material rewards’ chase,
Immediately future karma erase.
Sadhu in this way strongly speaking,
Highest benefit for entire world seeking.
Categories: the three