That Soul which has resolved his doubts is in the state of samadhi or perfect absorption of thought in the Supreme Spirit, the one worthy object of meditation. One who has achieved even- minded discrimination by identification with the eternal essence, which has neither a beginning nor an end, is said to be in the state of abstract contemplation of the nature of the Supreme Spirit.
But one can not reach to this stage without austerity. Austerity which is more or less Self-restraint results by living in strict divine disciplines under pure spiritual guidance which helps in getting the soul asset accumulated being the only stable eternal property. Spiritual accomplishment is the only true achievement. The gradual realization of this attainment by fighting against forces of the material world is an enterprise. This enterprise and resolute action, with a single goal are also one and the same.
Ignorance lurks at the core of the objective, the outward-looking, mind. With our mind enveloped in darkness, we are almost blind since birth at initial stages of spiritual journey, but may see and hear through self-control/discipline which is austerity in other words. We know that God alone is real, but as long as our infatuation for material world born from ignorance lasts, our inner eye is focused on the the ungodly forces of negative, sinful impulses. The mind lying in the abyss of ignorance perceives through one who has mastered the mind and the senses by means of spiritual austerities, and thus knows what has transpired on the spiritual battlefield, where fighters include even those who have known its reality. Vision is ever in proportion to mastery of the mind and the senses.
Spiritual austerity may be defined as penance which has been very transparently clarified in chapter Seventeen of Bhagavad Gita. Lord Krishn sings:
“Adoration of God, the twice-born, the teacher-preceptor,
and of the learned, along with having the qualities of innocence, uprightness, chastity, and disinclination to violence-are said
to be penance of the body.”
The body ever strays towards its desires. So chastening it to make it abide by the predisposition of the Soul is physical penance.
Further Sri Krishn adds:
“And utterance that does not agitate but is soothing, propitious,
and truthful, and which is but an exercise in the study of Ved,
in remembrance of the Supreme Being,
and in Self-contemplation, is said to be the penance of speech.”
Articulation is also resorted to in order to give expression to thoughts that have a leaning towards objects of sensual gratification. Restraining it from this and steering it deliberately in the direction of God is the penance of speech.
The last form we are apprised of is penance of the mind.
Lord Krishn sings:
“Affable temperament, tranquility,
silent meditation, self-possession, inner purity,
and the like are said to be penance of the mind.”
Simultaneous practice of the three kinds of penance – of body, speech and mind-is the truly worthwhile penance.
And then HE adds:
“The threefold types of penance undergone
with utmost faith by selfless persons
who do not desire any fruit thereof is said
to be truly righteous.”
The other kind of self-mortification is that which is indulged in by persons whose temperament is that of rajas, or passion.
Lord Krishn sings:
“And if undergone with the purpose of gaining homage,
honour, and adoration, or for mere display, penance is unsteady
and ephemeral, and is said to have the property of rajas.”
And so we now come to the penance of the most depraved kind-the one which is deemed evil, which is of the nature, or property, of tamas.
Further HE adds:
“The penance that is undertaken out of mere stupid stubbornness
or to hurt others is said to be diabolical.”
Thus, as we have seen, the purpose of penance that is good and virtuous is to mould the body, mind, and speech in harmony with the cherished end. The mode of impulsive penance is similar, but it is taken up with the vainglorious desire for worldly honour. Sometimes even exceptional souls who have renounced the world fall prey to this infirmity. The third kind of penance, that which is called demoniacal, is not only done wrongfully but also with the malicious intention of causing harm to others.
~Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans~