The easiest way to spiritual evolution is to:
1.Believe that the Sadguru is the Divine incarnation to lead people towards temporal and spiritual development.
2.To follow the path laid down by Him as reflected in His earthly conduct and preachings.
3.To understand that no man how much ever he strives, can evolve in the spiritual field beyond a certain limit without the help and kindness of a Sadguru. Even incarnations like Shri Krishna and Shri Rama, in the process of experiencing the God state in Them, had to be helped by Sandeepani and Vasishta, the Sadgurus of the time.
4.To focus the entire spiritual conciousiiess on the Sadgurus, both in Sakara (formed) or Nirakar (formless) and worship them.
5.To believe that the Guru is the repositor of all Divine powers -and therefore, He alone should be made the mainstay of one's life. All needs, worries and questions should be projected to him
Experience has shown that people devoted to Sadgurus, evolve faster in the spiritual field than those following other methods because such devotees believe in surrender to divinity which is the ultimate requirement for spiritual evolution. Every devotee of Shirdi Sai, therefore, on this New Year, should decide whether he wants to hold Baba as his 'Ishta' - the only one to be prayed, worshipped and called in time of need. Personally, for me Shri Sai is the only and ultimate. I don't seek anything from elsewhere.
……“Shraddha or devotional faith is the most difficult state of mind to achieve. If one has absolute faith in his Guru then sooner or later he will even look like the Guru with all His attributes. However, the seed of faith takes a lot of time to generate and to grow. It may take years or even a few lives. Full faith in Baba does not come, as quickly as one desires it to be like Shravan, Kirtan, Poojan, Dhyana, etc. The Navadha Bhakti i.e. the multifold type of bhakti is not bhakti per se. They are either methods of bhakti or reflections of bhakti or both. Further, externality of devotion may not necessarily indicate the internality of devotion.
Some people, at times say that only if Baba desires then bhakti will grow in their hearts. By saying so they make Baba responsible for generating bhakti in them. In the ultimate analysis it is true that Baba generates bhakti in a devotee’s heart. But, if the person so desiring conducts himself in a manner that Baba desires, then the type of bhakti he seeks will certainly be generated by Him. If one starts praying to Baba for bhakti and yet continues to conduct himself in an unethical manner forbidden by Baba, then how do we expect Baba to generate bhakti in his mind? To this some people say that even bad conduct is created by God and unless He desires this can’t be controlled. This time also the burden is squarely on Baba or God and the devotee does not want to take any responsibility even for his own conduct. Even under these circumstances Baba can control his conduct and generate bhakti in him, provided he leaves all other aspects of his life on Him and awaits patiently for Him to guide his destiny. Faith or surrender means leaving everything on Baba – body, mind and soul. But partial surrender will lead to partial bhakti, and its partial results only. If one is sincere enough and fully surrenders to Baba then He will control his desires and conduct. Under these circumstances neither he should work nor seek anything himself but leave everything to Baba in totality. Then, if he is prepared to bear the consequence of this state of utter inaction then Baba will certainly control his conduct and give him the type of Shraddha he seeks. There are many examples of many devotees in Shirdi, at the time of Baba, who had left everything on Sai including all their material and spiritual needs, and Baba did provide these to them. If one cannot come to this state of utter inaction then, he should go by the normal path of Navadha Bhakti and should be responsible for his own conduct to start with. God has given enough intelligence to human beings in comparison to animals, to discriminate between good and evil. Such practice will slowly but definitely grow devotion in him imperceptibly.
However, this slow growth means waiting patiently under all circumstances on the mercy of Baba, which is nothing but Saburi. Saburi is, therefore, an essential factor for the generation, sustenance and growth of devotion. Both faith and patience are complementary to each other. Faith without patience will bring loss of faith at frequent intervals of time and will not allow its growth. Similarly, only patience, without actual faith, is an exercise in futility. A balance in both will bring about even growth of both in a person.
Faith again means trying to do what we have been asked to do by Baba and resist from doing what has been forbidden by Him. Even if we fail a number of times it does not matter, the main point is whether we are using our God given faculties to their maximum limits. When we want to use our faculties, time and energy for getting close to Baba we have to cut down on many other activities. Therefore, the person who wants closeness with Baba should always try to reduce the non-productive, capricious and non-essential activities like late night parties, addiction of any type, uncontrolled thought, speech or action, etc. Such improvements will not only gradually control the mind but will also save time and energy for more purposive and creative activities, like study on Sri Sainath, meditation on Baba and His worship in any form. The devotees should always try to improve their inner qualities of patience, faith, tolerance, egolessness, and gradually, closeness with Baba will increase. But, the most important two qualities which are fundamental, as often said by Baba, are "Shraddha and Saburi".”…….
Courtesy-Guruji Shri C. B. Satpathy