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Levels of Intensity

The meaning of the word sadhu by Wikipedia is a religious ascetic, mendicant, or any holy person in Hinduism and Jainism who has renounced the worldly life.  This is not an accurate description of the meaning of sadhu.

A sadhu is one who is still caught up in the cycle of rebirth until illumination.  This is a planet of sadhana, so everyone is a sadhu.

There are some planets that are inhabited by demi-gods.  In those worlds, there is no suffering for even death has no lasting sting.  Everyone works for the good of all, rejoicing in cooperation with loving kindness to one another.  It is a true paradise.

It is also true that the demi-gods worship the Avatar as the Personification of Brahman.  When they look to the Avatar or the Divine Mother, they see Brahman or Shakti’s Personification in the world and rejoice that God is among them.

book, tree, wind

On a sadhana planet, truth flows from above by means of the embodied Avatar as well as the Holy Spirit moving in the world.  Truths are brought in this manner because the ego blocks the Atman’s voice within the soul.

With less accessibility to the Atman, the soul struggles.  It’s in this struggle that the soul realizes deeper profundities and truths which produce growth within the soul.

The goal of sadhana requires effort in attaining self-realization, which is what every sadhu should strive for.  The levels of intensity may differ in one’s sadhana, but the goal of the Atman is always the same, who is a true little “god,” hiding within the heart. 

It is correct to think that God dwells within, but god or Atman was always there since the birth of the soul.

tree, light, dark

Sadhvi represents a female and I like the term for it brings a distinction between the two since she may have different issues in her sadhana than a male. 

Whether feminine or masculine, everyone is on a path toward moksha or final liberation, whether they are consciously aware of it or not.

There are distinctions in these levels of intensity and the one who works harder goes forward in sadhana swifter than one who doesn’t, and not just that, but will be happier with a more fulfilled and fun-filled life.

Woman Holding Blue Smoke Flare

Sadhu/ Sadhvi

By level of intensity, a sadhu or sadhvi in karma yoga is one who goes to work and may find they excel around twenty percent of the time. 

They represent a large portion of the working population today who don’t see the connection between good works and the spiritual growth that comes from them.

Good works or karma yoga manifests through our daily actions in the world.  The stronger the intensity, the more life, and enthusiasm it brings to others.

Jesus said in John 5, “Greater love than this hath no man, but to lay down his life for his friend.”  It must be understood that Jesus was talking to a primitive culture. 

Today, the meaning should be translated to, “There is no greater love than to work for the joy of the whole world.”  That’s what Jesus would say if He were among us today.

The more we integrate this concept into our work and play, the more joy it brings to ourselves and the world.  Bringing more joy to others around us doesn’t lessen our own, but enhances it, for joy has a boundless supply if we tap into its reservoir.

One at this level of intensity in raja yoga will hardly meditate.  It could be a lack of interest or motivation. 

Others may be going through a dry period in their sadhana or one who has just entered a new chakra and finds concentration difficult.

There are those, too, who are going through a period of suffering, anger, or frustration that may find it difficult to meditate.

Those in these circumstances should fall back on karma yoga by walking, jogging, or riding a bicycle.  If done repeatedly, it has a profound effect on the mind and will help tremendously through such periods.

Karma yoga requires physical activity and raja yoga, meditation.  When combined, it becomes a powerhouse of strength and growth within. 

For the one who does neither, it produces stagnation, sadness, and despondence.

In choosing meditation, one’s outlook on life begins to change and they find their actions more purposeful. 

Work loses its sense of drudgery and becomes more spiritually beneficial and meaningful.  They begin to see the connection between meditation and the importance it adds to their daily happiness and well-being.

Group of People on Road With Assorted-color Smokes


Suvi means great or intense and describes the one who excels through a joyous outlook and effort in their contribution to the world. 

At work, they strive for excellence in their skill and abilities sixty to eighty percent of the time and work well with most people. 

They are reliable and friendly, whether they happen to feel excited or not about their vocation on a given day.

The world needs workers who strive for such excellence for it has a positive effect on the world.  When someone needs an item, it brings happiness to others when that item is crafted well.

It’s the same, too, with any type of service rendered for it brings joy to the giver and the receiver rejoices when the work is performed well.  It produces the steadfastness that can only be accomplished through daily excellent service and a friendly attitude.

If one is not inclined to be at the level of a suvisadhu, then think of your work as if the Lord needed the item or service you were providing. 

How much happier would God be with a new pair of shoes that didn’t fall apart within a couple of months?  If God was living in the world today, He would be overjoyed to receive such an item.

To think of one’s service in this manner honors God and to think of serving others honors God, too.  It fulfills the commandment of “doing unto others as you would have done unto you.” 

Mediocre workmanship or inattentiveness may be the way of the sadhu much of the time, but a suvisadhu or suvisadhvi strives for excellence in their skills through their daily initiative.

In raja yoga, a suvisadhu/sadhvi will meditate at least four days a week as they find this increases their joy in every area of living.  They find this inner resilience, too, through periods of difficulties and struggles in life.

The fruits of their labor produce peace and joy within, for the Atman who sees in secret, rewards the soul who pursues this level of intensity.

sunset, beach, silhouettes


Bodha in Sanskrit means awakening.  The bodhasadhu in karma yoga performs his work with eighty to ninety percent intensity, and he out-performs by his level of selflessness. 

While a suvisadhu sees excellent workmanship as important, a bodhasadhu/sadhvi sees the broader perspective that helping each other helps everyone.  They support one another in useful ways that increase the joy of their co-workers.

Remember what God said, “There’s no greater love than to work for the joy of another”?  The bodhasadhu makes this his goal for he finds ways to increase his effectiveness in the world.

Currently, I work with a bodhasadhvi who works well with most people.  She pays attention to the needs of those who follow her by having everything ready for the next shift and she never wavers in her level of commitment.

During the shift, she doesn’t see the separation between her machines and mine.  If I’m busy and the machine stops, she tends to it because she cares about my production as much as her own.  She is a joy to work with because her superior work ethic gives me hope for the world while inspiring other co-workers to do their best.

The bodhasadhu/sadhvi in karma yoga doesn’t want to miss work for they are committed in their sadhana to making the world a better place.  Their daily actions show love for the Creator which is far more endearing than words. 

If loving another isn’t inspiring, then perform your service as if the Lord was working beside you and you will fulfill God’s commandments.

If your job is monotonous or repetitive, then make it inspiring by repeating the mantra of your choice inwardly in the mind. 

Hare Krishna Maha Mantra” by Queque* is licensed under CC BY 2.0

One mantra I’ve repeated many times to myself is Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare.  Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare Hare.

I found that the number or speed of repetitions wasn’t nearly as important as the quality.  My mind drifted to higher regions of joy that I couldn’t find, otherwise. 

To let God’s name so completely engulf me, I didn’t need to repeat it a thousand times or maintain a certain pace.  I just needed to repeat it with meaning and the monotony of my work dissipated.

In raja yoga, the awakening bodhasadhu or sadhvi understands how important meditation is and does so daily. 

If they should miss a day, they feel out-of-sorts or that something’s not quite right.  Their sense of well-being feels diminished for they are beginning to see the connection between meditation and wholeness.

Meditation grounds the soul and brings purpose and meaning.  It provides the soul with a deeper understanding of what’s real and what’s possible to accomplish within and without. 

It is the highest form of love for it changes the being-state in ways that affect one’s daily performance with less effort.

If one pursues the path of a bodhasadhu only in karma yoga, they may have to work harder to integrate it into their being-state.  It will come but after more effort than the one who also meditates. 

The effort of meditating every day without fail has a powerful effect that flows into every area of living.

Is raja yoga superior?  Yes, but don’t discount karma yoga for it is very much needed in the world.  Every action you take in service to others spreads God’s love to the world. 

You can be a conduit whether in karma or raja yoga, and God pays special attention to those who do both.

If meditation isn’t feasible, God is compassionate for your situation.  He understood mine and His Love never changed during my suffering or when I couldn’t meditate.  

God sees the future growth of every soul and knows the difficulties each one goes through so there may be times when karma yoga is all you can do.  And like me, you, too, won’t fall short of God’s Love.

Do you want to spread God’s Love in the world?  Then live it by the level of your intensity in sadhana and God’s Love will smile back at you.


meditation” by Cornelia Kopp is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In India, there is a group of people known as the aghoris.  They are rarely clothed, choosing to cover themselves with the ashes of the dead.  Yet, they survive some of the harshest weather conditions imaginable.

Aghori Men on Street

They meditate on corpses or meditate with one leg on a corpse, like Parvati standing on Lord Shiva’s chest.  I’m not referring to the tribal aghoris who live on cremation grounds and eat garbage or whatever dead things they find.

Aghori means fearless and describes the sadhu who is relentless in his quest for God-realization. 

An aghorisadhu is so driven, that it seems unnatural to most that he would possess such a level of intensity.  It may seem strange to others but feels like little enough for the sadhu who strives at this level.

In one’s occupation, an aghori performs a service that excels the bodhasadhu by their exuberance and delight in more work.  They might perform the duties of two and still be looking around for more to do for they are excited about serving God and others.

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The aghori in karma yoga may spend many hours perfecting a skill that brings beauty and joy to the world.  It may take years to be a great gymnast, figure skater, painter, or sculptor.

They may have spent many hours perfecting their skill as a musician like Beethoven who produced some of his greatest works after becoming deaf. 

Other instruments I enjoy hearing are the trumpet and saxophone.  They captivate and amaze their audiences with their level of skill and devotion.

The aghorisadhus use this intensity to improve their being-state because they are driven by their level of uncommon zeal and passion. 

They may not be well-known, and they may not be the best, but this love in action propels them forward into deeper modes of devotion, which is far beyond the level of intensity of a regular sadhu.

I love and respect the intensity of the aghorisadhu in karma yoga, but my only admonition is, don’t do death-defying feats.  If death is what you hope to defy, is it a gamble you’re willing to lose?

God doesn’t want this type of challenge on the physical body.  Life is meant to be lived and death is the end of your sadhana until your next life.  There’s nothing wrong with extreme levels of intensity but choose your actions wisely and always respect the limitations of the body.

The aghori in raja yoga is a rare gem.  Like the bodhasadhu, they meditate every day, but instead of a half-hour, it may be two or more. 

They strive the most for what helps the soul, thus the world, and look to meditation as sustenance in their daily living.  This nourishment is as important to them as food and water, nay more so, for they meditate, even when sick.

They might work seven days a week in certain periods when duty requires, or they might work six and spend a day doing other energetic activities like swimming, hiking, playing tennis, or canoeing. 

All activities and hobbies that produce happiness and peace are selfless actions and the Atman’s reward is ecstatic joy within.

They have an overpowering awareness of death, so they prefer the company of other sadhus, even over relatives.  Their minds are almost constantly on their sadhana, while grim in their renunciation of the world.

The aghorisadhus/sadhvis desire few possessions because they find them distracting or cumbersome to their daily joy.  They are sure to walk away from desires that entrap others, for their ability to overcome every obstacle in their sadhana is exceptional.

Vivekananda said it so potently in his poem, Kali the Mother.  He wrote, “Come, O Mother come!  Who dares misery love, And hug the form of death, Dance in destruction’s dance, To him the Mother comes.”

My admonition is similar to the aghorisadhu in raja yoga.  It is not wise to fast for weeks at a time for food brings the energy the soul needs for such intense sadhana. 

The aghori doesn’t have likes or dislikes for certain foods but don’t eat strange things like the tribal aghoris.  Choose what nourishes the body and mind.

Meditation should always be a safe practice so if someone introduces you to some strange breathing technique that makes you feel like passing out, don’t do it.  It’s counterproductive to one’s sadhana. 

Intensity should never involve any dangerous behaviors for the body is the conduit by which the soul grows.


These are the levels of intensity in sadhana, regardless of the chakra one is in.  Effort is the vehicle that produces growth within the soul. 

Ambitions in the world are not important for karma yoga.  It’s the discipline that leads to devotion that nourishes the soul, thus the world.

The one who chooses raja yoga finds a transformation in their karma yoga or daily living as well.  It is the quiet moments of meditation that bring ecstatic joy and strength of purpose in every area of a person’s life.

So, what is your level of sadhana?  Do you find yourself somewhere between a sadhu/sadhvi and a suvisadhu?  Maybe you’re not quite to the level of a bodhasadhu, but somewhere in between.

If you analyze your level of intensity, you can make great progress by taking small steps to improve your sadhana. 

By starting small, you will find your inner journey beguiling and enchanting.  It will draw you in for the richest and most rewarding times of your life.

There’s no better time than the present and your life is worth the effort.  God is always watching so make your sadhana important, and God’s love and light will shine in your heart and in your life.

landscape, dream, child