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Start your Spiritual Practice when you are Young
If you want to develop these two qualities you have to start in your childhood and use this early period of your life in a sacred and ennobling way. In the world today many people undertake spiritual practice only when they reach old age. After they have thoroughly enjoyed the objects of luxury and have become disgusted and exhausted by worldly pleasures, they consider embarking on the spiritual path. Having spent their lives concentrating on sense objects, on family life, on children, on wealth, on properties, on name and fame, they become disillusioned in old age. They realize that there is nothing true in these things and that peace of mind and lasting joy cannot come from the phenomenal world and from worldly pursuits. After they come into the evening of their lives and are haunted by the emptiness of their experiences, they begin to do spiritual exercises.
But in old age, when you are suffering from all sorts of physical and mental weaknesses, it will be very difficult to practice and live a rigorous spiritual life. Even then you should not be discouraged, thinking that there is no possibility for spiritual advancement in old people. Opportunities for spiritual experiences are certainly available to them. Instead of not thinking of the Lord at all, it is far better to think of him, at least in old age. When it comes to thinking of the Lord, there are no restrictions whatsoever with respect to time, place or age. That is why the divine teacher has declared in the Gita, "At all times, in all places, think of me." But he has also declared that the best opportunity for practicing these spiritual exercises in a determined way is in your youth. When your physical strength, the strength of your sense organs, and your mental strength are there in abundance, that is the best time to undertake spiritual exercises.
The process is something like reserving a plane ticket before embarking on a journey. When you arrive at the airport, after first having reserved your place, you are likely to proceed smoothly with your journey. On the other hand, if you go to the airport only at the last minute, without having a reservation, you may not get on the plane. It all depends on chance. You may end up having to go by a slower way or you may have to delay your journey. It is the same way with people who start thinking about spiritual matters in their old age. They may or may not be able to advance spiritually in a significant way at that point in their lives. But if the same individuals had in earnest undertaken spiritual exercises from an early age, they would be sure to achieve spiritual success in their old age.