Swami Yatiswarananda: “Just as work is to be done in the proper spirit, so also is worship to be performed in the right manner. All of us have to perform work of some kind or other. Work is compulsory, but the trouble is, worship is optional! Most of us do not feel inclined to do any worship, or japa or meditation, and that is the pity of it.
If we are hungry spiritually, we would like to take spiritual food. We feed our body; we should feed the body with good healthy food. We feed our mind through our studies—the ideas should be good. Similarly, we should feed the soul. How to do it? Through the practice of worship, japa, meditation.
There is a parable of Sri Ramamkrishna: A child was going to bed and said, ‘Mummy, if i feel hungry, please wake me up,’ and the mother said, ‘I need not do that. Your hunger itself will wake you up.’ There comes a time in the course of the evolution of the soul when we become spiritually hungry and wake up from our age-long slumber. But then, mere waking up is not enough. We must be up and doing.
I am reminded of a remarkable saying of the Holy Mother. She said: ‘The room may contain different kinds of food-stuff, but one must cook them. He who cooks earlier gets his meals earlier too.‘ Many of us are lazy, we do not want to cook at the proper time; may be, we want to cook but late in the evening; and some are so lazy that they would rather starve than cook their food! Naturally, they cannot get much out of spiritual life and they feel miserable.
(pgs. 308-309, Meditation and Spiritual Life)