We often see people, planning for their spiritual evolution. Some of them are of the view that, spiritual practices required for evolution, can only be initiated or started after attaining a certain age and physical condition. From my own experience and going through some of the available spiritual literature, I can say that spiritualism cannot be planned in this manner. We can plan for our personal and professional progress, but we cannot plan love or experience of God with such methodologies. It is like a spontaneous organic growth which generates out of love and is not built on logic alone. The entire human society has still not managed to produce a single Perfect Master from the intellectual class. Intellect by itself is a self-protecting, self-limiting and self-expansive propensity because of ego or “I” factor. Therefore one should try to shun his ego and mentally request the Master like Shri Shirdi Sai Baba, to lead one in the spiritual path.
We can all see that ego in every form is self destructive and limiting in nature. Of all forms of ego, spiritual ego is the worst. We often see people starting to do pious work for Baba out of sheer love, but gradually the achievements take the form of ego and become a deterrent in spiritual progress. For example while serving in the temple if we nurture ego in our mind, then the temple becomes a place where the quality of love and togetherness is disturbed. Sometimes it is also seen that people show off their special relationship with Baba, which is definitely not the case. Spiritual evolution cannot be based on a competitive spirit.
In the present times a modern man cannot do Yoga or Yagya, so the simplest approach is to be in a constant mental communion or to keep Ishta or Guru closest to one's consciousness to engage in “Swadhayay,” “Atma chintan” and “Satsang.” A lot of literature is available on Baba in which Baba's advice towards the adoption of these methods is clearly prescribed. One should read Sai Satcharita before sleeping everyday for this purpose, so that one can keep Baba in his consciousness.
“Atma chintan” means thinking on one's self. There must be some time during the day when one can muse over what one has read. One should consciously strive to find time to think about the Master and His sayings. The intensity of desire to read about the Master and to know about Him slowly brings out the perfect love for the Master. Once the love for the Perfect Master becomes unshakeable and established in one's heart then anything can be achieved. Satsang means being together and exchange of ideas with similar minded people. When a mass of devotees pray intensely, one can find pouring of divine blessing from the Master. Therefore the importance of the temples is to be instruments to encourage and provide a platform for group prayers. The Aartis sung by groups in temples are indeed intended to invoke the Master by a group of devotees. Therefore Swadhayaya, Atma chintan and Satsang create the right state of mind by evolving the required qualities of a devotee as per the Master's wish.