It is true to say there are as many forms of spirituality as there are people; each and every person’s spiritual practice and interior discipline is different. Here, the Sage advises Rama to make friends with four elements of interior discipline and exterior associations. All spiritual progress is the fruit of concentration.
satsang the company of God or his devotees, association with people of good character, a gathering of like-minded people; company with the goodly and godly; association with Truth;
dhyan Hin. m. dhyana San. n. meditation, contemplation, reflection, attention; the state of self-forgetfulness in complete absorption in God.
Atma-tattva reality of the Spirit; the primordial element; the consciousness that is the primeval element of existence;
shama quiescence or evenness of mind,
vichar reflection, contemplation,
satsang association with the truth or the holy beings
Question 24: Sir, what is the way following which one does not revert to misery again ?
Answer: Ramji, on attaining the knowledge of the Absolute (Atma-tattva), one is not subject to any sufferings. This knowledge is obtained through concentration (dhyan).
Question 25: Sir, what principles are laid down in the scriptures for the realisation of Atma-tattva (gyan) following which the intelligence becomes pure and Atma-tattva is realised?
Answer: Ramji, the first prerequisite is firm faith and belief in that the precept granted by the guru will certainly lead to salvation. A seeker benefits only when he has cultivated this firm attitude. Secondly a jiva must shun the company of the ignorant. Instead, he should seek friendship with these four :
(i) shama (quiescence or evenness of mind),
(ii) santosh (contentment),
(iii) vichar (reflection, contemplation) and
(iv) satsang (association with the truth or the company of the goodly and Godly).
He who has established a bond with them, attains liberation quickly.
Question 26: Sir, what should a jiva do, if he is not able to establish relationship simultaneously with these four?
Answer: Ramji, if you are not able to establish relationship with all the four simultaneously, try to do so with three, or two or even one. There is a very close association between them. When one is befriended, the rest of them come in automatically. He who establishes a firm association with these four, always remains in peace. Do not hesitate, even slightly, to risk your life for securing friendship with them. Establish a bond with any one of them and the others also will be with you.
The real meaning of concentration is fixing one’s mind on a particular object. Contemplation is the next step. The final step is meditation. Thus, concentration, contemplation, and meditation are the three steps in sadhana.
There are three aspects in spiritual practice (sadhana): concentration, contemplation, and meditation. At the moment, you are fixing your gaze on your preferrerd form of Divinity; that is concentration. And when this form is not in front of you, you still look at this form with your mental eye; that is contemplation. As a result of this exercise, this form gets imprinted in your heart permanently. That is meditation. As you go on meditating thus, the form remains in your heart permanently.
At present, you are confining your sadhana only to concentration and contemplation. These two stages are only transitory. It is true that the first step in your sadhana is concentration. Concentration has to be transformed into contemplation and later into meditation.