What is Sadhna?

What is Sadhna?

The word sadhna comes from the word sadhya, which means to achieve; or to aim or focus. Any intense practice that is done with 100% focus is called sadhna.

Sadhna is a long path. To do sadhna requires great patience. Sadhna can be done of any subject, be it music, yoga, archery or any other practical art. The goal of sadhna is to become one with the subject; to reach a point where there is no distinction between the subject and the practitioner. For this, you have to focus all your energy on the subject that is to be mastered or achieved.

To become one with the subject, one must go to the beej or seed of the subject, from where it emerges.

The beej of the subject is the purest state of the subject, it’s root. For example, in music, the root of any instrument is pure sound or in the language of Vedanta – Aum. From there, everything that is music emerges. This beej of music – pure sound, like the beej of any other subject can be called by many names – Truth, Ultimate Reality, Existence, etc. Thus, if one goes to the root of a subject through sadhna, one experiences ultimate knowledge or Truth. So we can also say that the highest goal of sadhna is to experience Truth. The subject is the medium and gaining mastery over it a practical outcome. The sadhna or intense practice of a subject takes the sadhak or practitioner from the material level to higher spiritual levels, where he can ultimately go to the subject’s root and experience Truth.

Truth is not something that can be taught. It is something that is be experienced or self-realized. Unfortunately, in today’s society, the education practice is such that we are given ready-made information that we have to accept rather than discovering them through our own understanding. It is a system that creates more believers than seekers.

Truth needs no belief, Truth is being. It is eternal – shashwata. Even if Truth itself comes to you and tells you to believe, you must not believe. Because that belief will make that Truth a lie. Truth itself is not a lie, but your belief of it without experience is wrong. Truth never creates beliefs. Truth is Truth. When you have any experience, your belief turns into knowledge and that is Truth.

What are the obstacles that come in the way of experiencing Truth?
The biggest obstacle is your mind. Everything – your beliefs, ideas, concepts, thoughts and information are all the clouds that cover the Truth from you. Until you disconnect from these things, you cannot experience Truth, it can only be experienced in a mindless condition. It is through sadhna that one can reach a mindless condition.

As mentioned before, one can do sadhna of many different topics. But the ultimate goal is one and the same: the experience of Truth, which occurs in a mindless condition. The three most direct paths to reach a mindless condition are yoga, music and tantra. It is important to understand that there is not one single path or sadhna that everyone can do. Each person is unique and so their path is unique, but there are similar experiences that sadhaks share as they move towards a common goal.

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Girishbhai – A tribute to his unwavering support and love …

Girishbhai – A tribute to his unwavering support and love...

To become a great musician requires a lot from the person who wants to become the musician. Patience, dedication, focus are requirements. Success follows if one undertakes intense sadhna. The path becomes easier if you have people who support you, encourage you and challenge you to work even harder or go that extra mile.
They are many such people in my life. People that I am indebted to for their friendship, unwavering support. They truly helped me to reach where I am today. One of these people is (the late) Girishbhai.


Girishbhai understood very little about Indian classical music, but he believed in me and my dream and had one mission: to make me one of the best tabla players around. There was a period of several years in my life where he would continually call me up and say, “Pandit you should practice tonight. Your home or my home. Let’s do this, I’ll pick you up in the evening.” (He called me “Pandit”).

As night approached, he would be at my door. I was not allowed to drive myself anywhere if Girishbhai was in town, he called himself my “sarathi”(charioteer), Guruji travelling on his own was not permitted. He would pick me up and take me to his home, where I would set myself up on my asana. Girishbhai’s seat was right across from me. I would play non-stop for 4 to 5 hours. Generally concluding around 2 or 3 in the morning.

Girishbhai would not move during my practice. He would sit there listening the whole time. When I finished, he would give encouraging comments and proceed to give me a massage, citing that my practice must have made me very tired.

After massaging my shoulders and arms, the next part of the late night was fixed. “Now you must be hungry. Tell me Pandit, what will you eat?” At this time in Ahmedabad, late-night restaurants were virtually non-existent. Only one restaurant was open and that too was a considerable distance away in the old city.

He would ask me what I wanted to eat and set off to the old city. I was not permitted to join, as he would not allow me to do anything after these long practices. He would return with hot food, which we would eat, before Girishbhai dropped me home.

These night practices happened regularly for 4-5 years. For 4-5 years, Girishbhai would pick me up, take me to his home, sit in front of me without moving for the 4 to 5 hours that I practiced, give me a massage, get me dinner and then drop me home. His motivation was one thing: to make Guruji one of the best tabla players around.

He did not understand Indian classical music, but he understood my dream and did everything he could to make it a reality. Whomever he would meet, he would speak to them of his Pandit, Pandit Divyang Vakil and the wonderful tabla he heard. That was his love. If I had any program in Ahmedabad, even if the program was close to his home, he would come to my home, pick me and take me to the venue and drop me home afterwards.

Those years have passed. Girishbhai has passed on. But I will always be indebted to him for his support and am thankful for the love that he had for me. Thank you, Girishbhai. I hope that your example will be an inspiration to others.

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