अव्यक्ता हि गतिर्दु:खं देहवद्भिरवाप्यते || 5||
kleśho ’dhikataras teṣhām avyaktāsakta-chetasām
avyaktā hi gatir duḥkhaṁ dehavadbhir avāpyate
kleśhaḥ—tribulations; adhika-taraḥ—full of; teṣhām—of those; avyakta—to the unmanifest; āsakta—attached; chetasām—whose minds; avyaktā—the unmanifest; hi—indeed; gatiḥ—path; duḥkham—exceedingly difficult; deha-vadbhiḥ—for the embodied; avāpyate—is reached
Greater is the difficulty for those whose mind is set on the realisation of the unmanifest (Nirguna Brahman), because the unmanifested is reached with difficulty by embodied beings.
It is here declared that for those who are body-minded, the worship of Nirguna Brahman is very difficult. For others it is easy. That is, for the aspirant who is more self-controlled, who has acquired facility in desireless action, the contemplation of Brahman is quite suitable and comfortable. So it should be clearly understood that the difficulty here is only for those who have not acquired purity by worshipping Isvara (God). It should also be remembered that in the previous two verses, the Lord has declared that the goal of both paths is the same, and both require certain qualities without which no spiritual growth is possible.
Therefore let the seekers be not in a hurry to reach the unmanifest even at the start. Let them try to get over the body-attached egoism by the worship of Isvara, and obtain complete mastery of their senses through the desireless performance of all good actions. Then self-realisation becomes possible and man attains union with Brahman easily. Most people complain that their ‘sadhana’ is not bearing fruit. It is because their minds are not purified. Of what use is it to sow the seeds before preparing the ground? Will any building stand without a proper foundation? So, the mind does not come to rest in Brahman when it is impure by past ‘samskaras’. The aspirant should understand the position correctly so that he might not feel frustrated by failing to get the proper results immediately.
In truth, worship and meditation are realms of bliss and blessedness. One is entering the ocean of Sachidananda! Why the pain and difficulty? It is intended to remove suffering and not to cause it. But people find it difficult and painful because they do not know the path clearly and distinctly. So for some time in the beginning let the seekers carry on the worship of Isvara (Saguna) and then enter the path of meditation on the imperishable Brahman (Nirguna).
Swami Vivekananda Says —
Here [comes] the philosopher to show us the way out, to teach us what we really are. You may reason it out and understand it intellectually, but there is a long way between intellectual understanding and the practical realization of it. Between the plan of the building and the building itself there is quite a long distance. Therefore there must be various methods [to reach the goal of religion]. In the last course, we have been studying the method of philosophy, trying to bring everything under control, once more asserting the freedom of the soul. “It is very difficult. This way is not for [every]body. The embodied mind tries it with great trouble.”[Source]
Bhakti, then, can be directed towards Brahman, only in His personal aspect. “The way is more difficult for those whose mind is attached to the Absolute!” Bhakti has to float on smoothly with the current of our nature.[Source]
M: “Sir, is there no spiritual discipline leading to realization of the Impersonal God?”
MASTER: “Yes, there is. But the path is extremely difficult. After intense austerities the rishis of olden times realized God as their innermost consciousness and experienced the real nature of Brahman. But how hard they had to work! They went out of their dwellings in the early morning and all day practised austerities and meditation. Returning home at nightfall, they took a light supper of fruit and roots.
“But an aspirant cannot succeed in this form of spiritual discipline if his mind is stained with worldliness even in the slightest degree. The mind must withdraw totally from all objects of form, taste, smell, touch, and sound. Only thus does it become pure. The Pure Mind is the same as the Pure Atman. But such a mind must be altogether free from ‘woman and gold’. When it becomes pure, one has another experience. One realizes: ‘God alone is the Doer, and I am His instrument.’ One does not feel oneself to be absolutely necessary to others either in their misery or in their happiness. (Source: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna)
‘The path of Brahman is very difficult. Pray to the Master(Sri Ramakrishna) and he will give you the knowledge of Brahman in proper time.’
— Sri Sarada Devi (Source: Teachings of Sri Sarada Devi by Swami Vireswarananda)