1. Negative impact of personality defects in one’s personality on spiritual practice
There is a saying in the ancient scriptures which says that:
The mind is responsible for both man’s binding and his ultimate liberation from the cycle of birth and death or happiness and unhappiness.
As we saw in earlier chapters the personality defects in a person are responsible for unhappiness, whereas his qualities contribute towards his happiness and contentment. The personality defects and qualities of an individual also impacts society especially if a person is in a position to influence society. Today with the popularity of the Internet and social media, the scope of how one person can affect others across the world has dramatically increased. Personality defects generally result in giving a person and others unhappiness and also warps one’s attitude towards life. However apart from just unhappiness there are also spiritual repercussions to personality defects. Let’s look at what happens to a seeker who tries to practice Spirituality but has many personality defects.
- Lack of concentration: SSRF recommends the spiritual path of The Guru’s grace which has 8 steps in spiritual practice. Although chanting the Name of God is the foundation of this spiritual path, it becomes difficult to create a centre of the chant (a devotion centre) in the subconscious mind as it is already full of personality defects and ego. Due to various personality defects a seeker is unable to concentrate on the chant he is chanting. In fact due to one’s personality defects, a person finds it difficult to concentrate on any type of spiritual practice.
- Unable to merge with God: The ultimate goal of spiritual practice is to merge into God. However just as a drop of oil cannot mix into water due to inherently different properties, likewise, for one who has many personality defects, it is impossible to merge into God who is flawless and all virtuous.
- No satisfaction from spiritual practice: A seeker who has many personality defects and a high ego can never get satisfaction from spiritual practice as his negative temperament will always get in the way.
- Control of negative energies: Such a seeker can very easily be swayed and even controlled by distressing energies from the spiritual dimension as they take advantage of his various personality defects and ego.
- Reduced capacity for spiritual practice: Mistakes committed by a seeker due to his personality defects and ego reduce the energy achieved through spiritual practice, and his capacity and efficiency also get depleted.
2. The priority of personality defects removal in spiritual practice
Due to all of the above reasons seekers with many personality defects do not progress and get stuck in the cycle of birth and death.
It is for this reason that His Holiness Dr Athavale offers the following guidance
‘In order to progress spiritually, it is essential to eradicate personality defects (PDs) and ego whichever path a seeker may follow such as Path of Action (Karmayoga), Path of Devotion (Bhaktiyoga), Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga), Path of Deliberate Rigour (Hathayoga), Path of Kundalini (Kundaliniyoga), etc. People in the earlier eras of Satyayug, Tretayug and Dwaparyug had comparatively very less PDs and ego. In the current era of Kaliyug most people are not progressing spiritually due to their severe PDs and ego. Therefore, a seeker following any path of spiritual practice, must give importance to the eradication of his personality defects and ego.’
– (Paratpar Guru) Dr Jayant Athavale
(28 May 2015)
The 8 steps of spiritual practice as per the Path of the Guru’s grace include:
- Personality defect removal
- Satseva: Service to the Absolute Truth
- Naam: Chanting the Name of God
- Satsang: Being in the company of the Absolute Truth
- Tyag: Sacrifice for reaching God
- Priti: Spiritual love for all
- Bhavjagruti: Awakening spiritual emotion
- Ego removal
Up till now, for beginners in spiritual practice more importance was given to ‘Naam’, ‘satsang’ and ‘satseva’ among the 8 steps of spiritual practice. However now as per the time and realising the importance of eradicating PDs and ego, seekers should try to undertake spiritual practice in the following order, namely, ‘eradicating personality defects’, ‘satseva’, ‘Naam’, ‘satsang’, ‘tyag’, ‘priti’, ‘awakening of spiritual emotion’ and ego removal. When a seeker sincerely undertakes ‘personality defect removal’ and ‘ego removal’ as a spiritual practice along with other forms of spiritual practice, rapid spiritual growth is assured.