Who is more advanced on the spiritual path?
1. A Sadhu who is stays in Himalayas and doing meditation
2. A Sanyansi, who is very learned in Scriptures and goes around helping people, spreading knowledge
3. A Social worker, who selflessly works in for upliftment of poor in slum area
4. A Housewife, who tirelessly working in house making sure that everyone is well taken care of.
5. A butcher who is doing his job, because that’s his family business, but he does that wholeheartedly.
What do you think? While you think, let me tell a story. This story is from vana parva of Mahabharata.
There was a young Brahmin, he got attracted towards Dhyan (Raj) yoga, left everything, went to a jungle and started doing Sadhana all by himself. Years passed, but he didn’t give up, and continued his practice.
One day he was meditating under a tree, where two birds started fighting. As their fight was affecting his concentration, he got angry and opened his eyes, and with one look, birds got burned into ashes. Brahmin became very excited and confident with the newly acquired power. He thought he was invincible.
During the day, for bhiksha (food) he stopped in front of a house in nearby village, but the house lady took longer to open the door. That made him angry and once the lady opened the door, he wanted to burn her into ashes too. But the lady laughed and said, she is not the birds from forest that can be burned.
Brahmin was surprised thinking how she knows what he did in forest. He wanted to know more from her, but she told him that she has been doing her karma (house work) wholeheartedly, and that gave her some siddhis (occult powers), but she can’t tell more as she is busy. But she asked him to go and meet village vyadh (butcher), if he wanted to know more.
Things were turning weirder for the Brahmin, first the house lady seems to have got more siddhis than him and now a butcher, I mean butcher, really.. But Brahmin was determined to know, so he went to Butcher’s place. Butcher was busy in his work, once he was done, Brahmin told him about the lady’s advice to meet him, and requested him to tell more.
The butcher told him in detail about Karma-Marg, and how for him doing his family business was karma, and how he has been doing that wholeheartedly. He didn’t consider his job low or high status, it was just the job that came to him, and he was doing that with all sincerity while being non-attached to the outcome. This attitude of his towards the work helped him to make progress on spiritual path.
<This portion of Mahabharata is called as “Vyadh Gita”>
So, to answer the above question, everyone on the list is equally evolved. It not the type of work that matters, but how one does it is more important.
It doesn’t matter if you are Sadhu, Sanyasi, doctor, engineer, householder, butcher, Janitor or anything else, if you do your work wholeheartedly and without attachment to the results, you will make progress, right here, right now.