Sadhana chatushtaya are a sequence of steps or means of practice that are outlined in the teachings of Vedanta and Jnana Yoga. They must be cultivated on the path to self-realization, and form the foundation for deeper understanding and development.
There are four “pillars of knowledge” that make up the steps of sadhana chatushtaya, and they include six virtues, or shatsampat. All require the practitioner to bring an attitude of patience and intellectual curiosity to their spiritual practice.
The four means of practice of sadhana chatushtaya are as follows ~
- Discrimination or viveka – this describes the cultivation of the ability to discern between what it real and what is not real, as well as between what is the self and what is not the self. This is also an integral principle of the classical yoga philosophy outlined in the Yoga Sutras.
- Non-attachment or vairagya – once the practitioner has discrimination they can reduce their attractions and aversions, helping them to become more dispassionate.
- Six virtues or shatsampat – these attitudes and areas of mental training are cultivated in order to bring equilibrium to the mind and emotions. They are tranquility, training of the senses, withdrawal, forbearance, faith and focus. Together these allow the mind to enter deeper states of contemplation and meditation.
- Longing or mumukshutva -this is the great desire for enlightenment and liberation which eventually subsumes all other more superficial desires.
Through following the sadhana chatushtaya, practitioners build a solid foundation from which they can better follow the Jnana Yoga practices of listening to teachings, reflecting on teachings and deeply meditating on their principles.