Practice of yoga or penance is shown to be the most efficacious path in spiritual sadana. Proficiency in this sadana is possible only by renunciation of worldly attachments and associations and to engage in meditation of the Supreme Truth. The rishis and sages of yore have shown us the efficacy of dhyana and tyaga by which they have felt the reverberations of the eternal truth in the inner recesses of their selves. The Gita emphasises the benefits of renunciation that takes firm root and is supported by the vairagya and viveka of the aspirant whose only aim is to realise the Supreme Truth and gain salvation, pointed out Swami Omkarananda in a discourse. All the sastras say that there is no other path. Penance or yoga is demanding in the sense that one has to train the body, mind and intellect and engage in it. It implies the will power to forego many common and basic requirements such as hunger, thirst or the comforts of living.
When Ravana or Hiranyakasipu did penance, it was an act of extreme austerity. But the purpose of their penance was to attain worldly power and not the Parama Purushartha, moksha. But one whose aim is moksha is bent on the search for the self within and wishes to get united with it rather than the world outside and its attractions. He aims to bring about a union of the mind intellect and. the self. Assuming that he is well versed in the sastras and aware of the Mahavakyas and the meaning propounded in them by sages and acharyas, he still has to make the leap from intellectual awareness to direct perception or realisation. Unless one is ‘Nirashi’, that is, free from any desire except the very strong urge for moksha, the meditation will not be effective. It requires tremendous maturity of mind to control the senses and remain single-minded in dhyana.