Saturday, January 31, 2015
Good and Evil
The universe contains two dynamic forces. They are good and evil. Good and evil are twin forces, born of the same father. They are called dvandvas or the pairs of opposites. They have no independent existence. Evil exists to glorify good. This is its only raison d'être. Evil is negative good!
Evil is a destructive force. Good is a constructive force. There is neither absolute good nor absolute evil in this universe. Evil has no independent existence apart from good. Wherever there is good, there is evil. You cannot expect absolute good in this relative world.
You can find absolute good in Brahman alone. From the viewpoint of the basic reality which lies at the back of evil and good, evil and good dwindle into an airy nothing. Evil and good are only mental creations. Transcend good and evil and reach the abode of supreme peace and immortality.
For a jnani, who has knowledge of the self, there is neither good nor bad. The 'why' of evil can only be understood when you get atma jnana (self-knowledge). Do not rack your brain now. This is a transcendental mystery which only Brahman knows. Finite intellect that is conditioned in time, space and causation cannot find out a solution to this problem of evil. When you are fully established in your self, then evil and good both vanish altogether.
Transmute evil into good by changing your mental attitude, or angle of vision. Out of evil good often cometh. Destruction is necessary for regeneration, for renovation and for reconstruction.
Tamas (inertia) is evil. Satva (purity) is good. So convert tamas into satva. Then evil is transmuted into good. Selfishness is evil and selflessness is good. Lust is evil, brahmacharya (celibacy) is good. Greed is evil. Generosity, integrity, disinterestedness - all these are good. Pride is evil and humility is good.
How to Remove Likes, Dislikes and Clinging to Life
"They (the afflictions) are to be destroyed when they are in subtle state by raising the opposite modifications." (II-10)
The afflictions (kleshas) have two states, gross and subtle, When they are in a state of samskara (tendency or impression) they are subtle. When the yogi enters into samadhi they are destroyed like burnt seeds and are dissolved along with the mind in the Purusha (Supreme Spirit) through the fire of knowledge. This takes place when the mind moves inward towards the Purusha and gets laya (dissolution) in the Purusha during asamprajnata Samadhi*.
* See Chapter 20
By raising opposite thoughts, the subtle samskaras of afflictions should be destroyed. Hatred ceases not by hatred but by love. This is the method suggested in this sutra. This is pratipaksha bhavana (thinking of the opposite) method. Habituate the mind to contraries. Do always virtuous actions. Develop sattvic qualities. These good samskaras will act as antidotes to the samskaras of afflictions.
"When obstructed by improper or evil thoughts, take to thinking on the contrary good thoughts." (II-33)
This is a practical exercise for spiritual development. If lust troubles you when you are practising brahmacharya, entertain counter divine thoughts. Think of the glory of brahmacharya and its marvellous benefits and the troubles brought about by lust. If a desire arises to injure anyone, think of love and its benefits. If the habit of telling lies again manifests, think of the advantages of speaking truth and disadvantages of uttering falsehood. In this way you can remove all defects by developing counter virtues or habituating the mind to contraries.
"When evil thoughts arise such as injury, falsehood, etc. whether done, caused to be done or approved of through greed, anger or delusion, of slight, medium or great intensity and in infinite ignorance and misery, take to the method of thinking contrary good thoughts, or habituate the mind to contraries." (II-34)
If you hurt another man, cause another to commit injury to others or even approve of another doing so, it is sinful. Action and reaction are equal and opposite. If you injure another it is bound to react on you whether in this moment or at a future date. When thoughts of injury come to you, think of the benefits of non-injury. If you entertain contrary thoughts, all evil thoughts that obstruct yoga will die.
You may fail in your attempt twenty times, but slowly you will gain inner spiritual strength. If you send a strong current of anger towards another, it will harm your enemy and pass even to the corners of distant lands and pollute the atmosphere there and come back again to you and harm you.
For destroying the following evil vrittis, raise the opposite good vrittis given against each:
1. Lust... Celibacy, intense longing for liberation.
2. Anger… Love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, friendliness, peace, patience, non-injury.
3. Pride… Humility.
4. Greed… Honesty, disinterestedness, generosity, contentment, non-covetousness.
5. Jealousy... Nobility, magnanimity, complacency.
6. Delusion... Discrimination.
7. Vanity, hypocrisy... Simplicity.
8. Arrogance...Politeness, modesty.
9. Cunningness, crookedness... Straight-forwardness.
10. Harshness... Mildness.
11. Attachment... Discrimination.
12. Insincerity... Faith.
13. Fickleness... Determination.
"The impressions of works (karmas) have their root in afflictions, and are experienced in this life and in unseen future births." (II-12)
The afflictions are responsible for actions (karmas). They goad a man to do works and thereby enjoy the fruits of his actions. Suppose you do a very charitable act in this birth. The impression of this act is imbedded in a subtle form in the subconscious mind. It will give you fruit either in this or in any future birth. These impressions become ripe for fruition, either good or bad, when it is their time.
Karmas are beginningless. In the Bhagavad Gita you will find: "Mysterious is the path of action." (IV-17) The Law of Karma is inscrutable. It is difficult to say what sort of karmas will cause leprosy or epilepsy and whether the fruit that you enjoy now is the result of one karma or a combination of several karmas.
A powerful karma, good or bad, may bring fruits in this very birth. All karmas do not produce their results all at once, nor does one karma succeed another. From the accumulated works (sanchita karma) a certain portion is taken out for being worked out or exhausted in one birth. This forms the prarabdha or fructescent karmas of the present life. The works that you do now (current works or agami) are added to the sum total of works. The granary store of a merchant represents sanchita karma. The things that are kept in his shop correspond to the prarabdha. The things that are sold daily represent agami karma. This is a rough analogy to illustrate our point. As a merchant closing the year's ledger and opening a new one does not enter in the new all the items of the old, but only its balance, so does the spirit hand on to the new brain his judgements on the experiences of a life that is closed, the conclusions to which he has come, the decisions at which he has arrived. This is the stock handed on to the new life, the mental furniture for the new dwelling, the real memory.
Ripe karmas produce fruits in the same birth under proper circumstances. Intense austerity brings fruits at once. For instance, Nandikeshwar, Vishvamitra and Markandeya did a lot of austerity and enjoyed the fruits in the same birth. Nehusa attained the position of Indra on account of his good deeds in his previous birth; but he was transformed into a serpent in the same birth on account of his sinful deeds in that birth. The Law of Karma is inexorable.
"The root being there, its fruition comes through class, life and experience." (II-13)
The root means the root in the form of afflictions. The results of karma are three-fold. They are class or species, life and experience of pleasure or pain. If there are afflictions, only then will you enjoy the fruits of karma. From this it is inferred that the yogi who has destroyed the afflictions will not have the fruits of karma. Just as the paddy loses its power of sprouting when the husk is removed, so also the karmas lose their power of bringing fruits when the afflictions (husk) are destroyed by the yogi. The yogi destroys these by getting discrimination between matter (prakriti) and spirit (Purusha).
It is not that one action is the cause of one life only. As we see different sorts of experiences, happy and painful, in our lives, we infer that many ripe karmas amongst the accumulated sanchita join together and bring one life. One important karma will direct the course of this life. It will be the ruling factor of this life. Many small karmas will bring sometimes pleasure and sometimes pain. If you do any action, the tendency to repeat such actions (or subtle desires to goad you to similar actions) are formed. If the tendencies are good you will have to increase them through discrimination. If the tendencies are bad you will have to restrain them through dispassion. You must try to do virtuous actions. The jiva can do actions in the other worlds also to a small extent. But generally, heaven is a world for enjoyments only. This world of death alone is the world of actions.
"They (class, life and experience) have pleasure or pain as their fruit according to the cause, virtue or vice." (II-14)
In Sutra II-13 it is stated that the fruit of afflictions comes through class, life and experience. Virtuous and vicious actions cause class, life and experience. As soon as these three are formed the experience of pleasure and pain takes place according to virtue or vice. Karma has its origin in afflictions. Fruition has its origin in karma.
"Their modifications (five afflictions of mind) are to be destroyed by meditation." (II-11)
In Sutra II-10 instruction is given to destroy the subtle form of afflictions (kleshas) which are in the form of tendencies (samskaras). Here, the way to destroy the gross form of afflictions which are in the form of thought-waves, is described. The gross dirt of a cloth is removed by applying Fuller's-earth. The fine dirt is removed by the application of soap. There may be traces of subtle dirt in the cloth so long as the cloth is not destroyed. Even so, the gross dirt of the mind — the afflictions — is removed by kriya yoga. The gross thoughts are destroyed by meditation. In samadhi, even the subtle form of tendencies are destroyed along with the destruction of the mind. Regular systematic meditation is necessary. It must become habitual.
"Actions of a yogi are neither virtuous nor vicious; for others they are of three kinds." (IV-7)
A yogi is not affected by his karmas because he has no attachment. He is absolutely desireless. Karmas cannot bind him. He works without expectation of any fruits for his actions. He has reached perfection. He works for the upliftment of humanity. Yogis acquire no impressions from their actions. For worldly persons actions are virtuous, vicious and mixed (a mixture of good and evil actions).
"From these (three kinds of karmas), there is manifestation of those desires alone for which the environment is favourable." (IV-8)
When one has taken the body of a celestial (deva), the desires and tendencies of a human being will be in abeyance for the time being. Only those desires which are favourable for the suitable environment in which he lives will manifest. The animal desires and human desires will be checked when one has taken the body of a celestial. When one takes again the body of an animal, only the animal desires will manifest at that time. The latent tendencies and desires of a celestial will be under check for the time being. The impressions and desires for which the conditions are not favourable will lie dormant till their time comes for sprouting or expression.
"To the man of discrimination, all is painful indeed due to consequences, anxiety and impressions, and also the contradiction of the functioning of the gunas (qualities)." (II-15)
Pleasure is in reality pain only. In the Bhagavad Gita you will find: "The delights that are contact-born are verily wombs of pain, for they have a beginning and an end, O Kaunteya. The wise do not rejoice in them." (V-22) Pleasure is mixed with pain, sin and fear. Enjoyment increases the thirsting for objects. This gives pain. The mind becomes more restless by tasting sensual pleasure. There is fear of loss of happiness.
Sensual pleasure is imaginary. It is mental creation. It is no happiness at all. For a man of discrimination only the happiness that is derived from Self-realisation through asamprajnata samadhi only, is the ever-lasting real bliss. The very experience of pleasure creates a desire for more. Desires are endless. When the desires are not gratified there is uneasiness, disappointment and misery. The anxiety that is caused in taking care of the objects of pleasure brings great pain. The impression of pleasure that is left in the mind creates desire through memory of pleasure, and brings pain.
Another cause for pain is the natural opposition which exists between the individual actions of the three qualities, sattva, rajas and tamas. Rajas brings tossing of mind and distraction. Tamas causes delusion, carelessness, laziness, etc. Therefore, everything brings pain for the discriminating. Enjoyment cannot bring satisfaction of desires. Just as ghee when poured over fire aggravates it, so also enjoyment augments the desires. Pain comes if the desired object is not attained. Even if the object is obtained, one gets pain if the sense organ is weak and he is not able to enjoy. Can a multimillionaire enjoy palatable, rich dishes if he suffers from pain in the stomach?
Hatred comes towards persons who stand in the way of enjoyment. Too much enjoyment brings diseases. The yogi is afraid of subtle desires and tendencies that are created during enjoyment. This gives him more pain. A worldly man who has a gross, impure mind is not conscious of the pain.
"The misery that has not yet come should be avoided." (II-16)
The avoidable is only the future pain. The pain which has passed away has already been explained. That which is being experienced now cannot be the subject of consideration here. Just as in medicine the nature of diseases, their symptoms, prognosis, diagnosis, therapeutics, methods of treatment, prophylaxis, convalescence, etc., are considered in the treatment of diseases, so also, the nature of misery, its cause, strength, source and the means to avert it are to be investigated.
"The junction of the Seer and the seen is the cause of the pain which is to be avoided." (II-17)
The cause for misery is the connection between the Seer and the seen. As the power of consciousness (chaitanya shakti) of the Purusha enters the intellect, the Purusha, who is only a witness and supremely indifferent, appears as the Seer. The Seer constitutes all objects that are seen and also the instrument (or intellect) through which it is seen — the senses, elements, etc. Intellect is very near to Purusha. It is very subtle. Purusha is ever-free and full of bliss. When conjunction takes place between the Purusha and the intellect it appears to feel pleasure and pain through reflection. By this conjunction, through ignorance the body, mind, senses and intellect are mistaken for the real Purusha. Because of its close contact with the Purusha, as it is very subtle and as the energy of Purusha has magnetised it, the intellect appears like Purusha, just as the reflection of sun in water appears similar to the real sun. This is avidya, the root-cause for all miseries. Liberation comes when this delusion is removed. If the conjunction between intellect and Purusha is removed, all miseries will terminate.
"The seen consists of the elements and the senses, it is of the nature of illumination, action and darkness, and is for the purpose of experience (through enjoyment) and absolution." (II-18)
The nature of the seen is as follows: from ultimate matter (pradhana) downwards to the elements and their combinations, it is all the seen. Illumination, action and darkness are the functions of the three qualities sattva, rajas and tamas. If sattva increases, illumination manifests. If there is increase of rajas, action increases. If there is increase in tamas, there is more darkness, inertia. Intellect, ego, mind, subtle elements, the five sense organs, the five organs of action and the five gross elements are all modifications of pradhana (original substance) which takes the Purusha around this world and gives all sorts of enjoyments for his experience, and finally makes him free when he gets discrimination between the Purusha and prakriti. The real Purusha is ever pure and free. He is an embodiment of bliss, peace and knowledge. He is unchanging and immortal. He has no beginning, middle or end. He is unattached.
Get all experiences of this little world quickly. Do whatever you want to get experiences of this dream-world. But, cut the cycle of birth and death quickly in this very birth, nay in this very second. Now, or never. Never forget the goal, ideal and centre. The experiences will teach you that there is no essence in this physical life. It is all pain. It is all a long dream. There is no real love in this world. You will know that love here is selfish, hypocritical, changing and decaying, and that only knowledge of Purusha and Atman through asamprajnata samadhi can give real, undecaying bliss and eternal peace and immortality. Nature, the elements and this world are your best teachers. Be grateful to them. Quickly get out of the net spread by the illusory world appearance and realise the Self rapidly, with courage and cheerfulness.
Ignorance is the cause of the junction of the Seer and sight, nature and sight, nature and Purusha. The nature of this conjunction and its effects has been described. Now the cause is given. To blend or unite the Seer and the seen as one, and to think of this 'I', is ignorance. The jiva increases the feeling of 'I' and 'mine' by mistaking the body and mind to be the Self. The mind, which is saturated with the subtle impressions of ignorance, gets absorbed in matter during the deluge or cosmic dissolution and comes back again during projection of this world. Destroy this ignorance. Give up identification with this body and mind. Rise above body and mind and realise the Purusha who is beyond cause and effect, and who is therefore beginningless, endless and changeless. Apply yourself to spiritual practices and realise the Purusha. Do not make any delay or the monkey-mind will upset you.
"Kaivalya, independence of the Seer, is the removal of the conjunction of the Seer and the seen by the disappearance of ignorance." (II-25)
When you understand fully that the gunas have nothing to do with the Purusha and that the Purusha is ever free, ignorance vanishes and discrimination dawns. Then and then alone will you attain the state of kaivalya or moksha (liberation). The scientists try to understand the external physical forces of nature and to control them by suitable methods. The raja yogis attempt to control the internal psychic forces of the mind. Physical forces are gross and the inner mental forces are subtle. Those who have controlled the mental forces can very easily control the external physical forces.
"Among these accessories, abstinence from injury and killing, truthfulness, abstinence from theft or falsehood, continence and abstinence from avariciousness or greed are the restraints." (II-30)
Yama is the practice of ahimsa (abstinence from injury or nonviolence), satyam (truthfulness), asteyam (abstinence from theft or earning through illegal methods), brahmacharya (continence) and aparigraha (abstinence from avarice or greed).
Yama is the very foundation of yoga, without which the superstructure of yoga cannot be built. Practice of yama is really the practice of sadachara (right conduct). The noble eightfold path of Buddha deals with the practice of yama only. Great emphasis is given in every chapter of the Bhagavad Gita to the practice of yama. In every religion you will find this to be the foremost teaching.
There is a deliberate order in the five parts or limbs of yama. Ahimsa comes first because man must remove his brutal animal nature first. Even satyam, brahmacharya and niyama proceed from ahimsa. For instance you tell a lie and thus hurt a person. You get the property of another man and thus hurt him. If you are established in non-violence, all other virtues will cling to you. Practice of non-violence culminates eventually in realisation of unity or oneness of life, of cosmic love and universal brotherhood and ultimately consciousness of that which has no second.
"These restraints are the great vows, universal, not limited by class, place, time and circumstances." (II-31)
Some people have certain conditions and exemptions in observing certain restraints. For instance, one may have a principle not to kill anything on new moon day. When such conditions and exemptions are laid down, then the practice of restraints is not considered to be perfect. They should not be limited by class, place, time or circumstances. The restraints should be practised at all times, in all places, by one and all, in all circumstances. They should be practised in thought, word and deed.
Yama is not a policy or company manners or courtesy, it is sticking to ideals and principles. It is the development of divine traits that will transform human nature into divine nature. It annihilates desires, cravings and evil qualities. It eradicates brutal instincts and brutal nature. It removes harshness, violence, cruelty and covetousness. It fills the heart with cosmic love, kindness, mercy, goodness, purity and divine light. It is the foundation of divine life or yoga, on which the superstructure of samadhi is built, it is the corner-stone of yoga, on which the edifice of super-consciousness is built.
The practice of yama and niyama removes impurities of the mind. Asana, pranayama and sense control (pratyahara) remove vikshepa or tossing of the mind.
Yama, niyama, etc., are the means to the end, viz., meditation. He who does meditation without ethical perfection, without the practice of yama, niyama, etc., cannot get the fruits of meditation. It is like baking a cake of sand in the fire. The sand will be hot but not useful for eating. Energy will leak just as water leaks from a pot with holes. Improvement in spiritual growth cannot be gained by merely sitting with crossed legs while the mind remains in an inert state. An actor can also imitate a saint, keeping a rosary, putting on a white beard, sitting doing japa and meditating, but he does not derive an iota of benefit. So is the meditator without the practice of yama, etc.
"Abstinence from injuring and killing being established, all hostilities are given up in the presence of the practitioner." (II-35)
In the regeneration and divinisation of man, the first step is to eliminate the beastly nature. The predominant trait in beasts is cruelty, therefore wise sages prescribed ahimsa (non-violence in thought, word and deed). This is a most effective master-method to counteract and eradicate completely the brutal, cruel traits in man. O earnest aspirant! Ponder the great significance and immense importance, value and blessings of non-violence, and start its practice now — this moment.
Non-violence is not merely non-killing as some think. It is perfect harmlessness and love also. It is to abstain even from the slightest thought of harm to any living creature — mentally, verbally or by deed. There is no excuse nor exception to the above rule.
The path of non-violence is very narrow, but if you practise in right earnest you can easily travel this path, since you cannot but get the divine grace at every step. The immanent Lord will back you up and guide you at all times. You may not get full success in the practice of non-violence within a short time, in two or three months. You will be established in it only by a constant and vigilant endeavour. The practice involves continuous suffering, no doubt, and you will have to cultivate the practice with endless patience and forgiveness. The path of non-violence is like a blade or the edge of a razor. It is like walking on the edge of a sharp sword. If you are careless you will be seriously hurt, but if you are vigilant you cannot but attain immortality. You have to pay a heavy price indeed if you wish to have eternal life and perennial bliss.
Ahimsa is the means to an end. This end is the realisation of the Truth. The 'means' is as important as the 'end'. If you take care of the means, you must reach the end sooner or later. Keep the ideal before your mind always and stick to it tenaciously. In attempting to live up to your ideal you may falter or stumble down in the beginning several times, but eventually you will be established in the perfect state of non-violence and attain the highest, the only Truth. If you develop this one virtue all other virtues will cling to you by themselves. All sinful and wrong actions are committed by you when you are under the sway of anger. Anger can be easily subdued by practising non-violence. If anger is under your control you cannot do evil actions and you will enjoy supreme peace.
Non-violence is a wonderful quality of the heart. It is a rare virtue. It transmutes a man into divinity. He who is established in it is God himself. All the celestials (devas) and the whole world pay homage to him. Its power is greater than the power of the intellect. It is easy to develop the intellect but it is difficult to develop the heart. The practice of non-violence develops the heart in a wonderful manner.
Ahimsa is soul-force. Practice of ahimsa is practice of divine life. Hate melts in the presence of love. Hate dissolves in the presence of ahimsa. There is no power greater than ahimsa. Its practice will make you fearless. He who practises it with real faith can move the whole world, tame wild animals, win the hearts of all and subdue his enemies. He can do and undo things. Its power is ineffable; its glory is indescribable; its greatness is inscrutable. The force of ahimsa is infinitely more wonderful and subtle than electricity or magnetism.
Non-violence is never a policy. It is not mechanical. It is a sublime virtue. It is the fundamental quality of seekers after Truth. No Self-realisation is possible without it. Through its practice alone can you cognise and reach the Supreme Self or Brahman. Those with whom ahimsa is a policy may fail many a time. They will be tempted to do violent acts also. On the contrary, those who strictly adhere to the vow of non-violence as a creed, as a fundamental canon of yoga, can never take to violence. You must practice ahimsa in thought, word and deed. Practice of non-violence in thought and word is more important than the practice in action. He who has control over thoughts and who has developed cosmic love will be able to get success in this practice, though it takes a long time. Patient, continuous struggle is needed. Practice of ahimsa is really the practice of killing egoism. The practitioner becomes like a block of stone. He develops wonderful will-power.
NOTE: The section ‘Ahimsa — Non-violence’ resumes next Saturday.
Friday, January 30, 2015
Right and Wrong
'Right' and 'wrong' are relative terms. They vary according to time, special circumstances, varna (caste), and ashrama (stage of life). Morality is a changing and relative term. The passionate man who molests his wife frequently to gratify his own passion is more immoral than man who visits the house of a woman of ill-fame once in six months. The man who dwells constantly on immoral thoughts is the most immoral man of all.
Do you clearly note the subtle difference? To kill an enemy is right for a king, but a brahmana (priest) or a sanyasin (monk) should not kill anybody, even to protect himself in times of danger. He should practise strict forbearance and forgiveness. To speak an untruth to save the life of a mahatma (holy one), or one's guru who has been unjustly charged by an unjust officer of state, is right. In this particular case untruth has become truth. To speak a truth which brings harm to many is untruth only. To kill a robber who murders wayfarers is ahimsa only. Himsa (violence) becomes ahimsa (non-violence) under certain circumstances.
Even great sages are bewildered sometimes in finding out what is right and what is wrong. That is why Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: "What is action and what is inaction? Even the wise are herein perplexed. Therefore I will declare to thee the action by knowing which thou shalt be liberated from evil. It is needful to discriminate action, to discriminate unlawful action and to discriminate inaction. Mysterious is the path of action. He who seeth inaction in action, and action in inaction, he is wise among men. He is harmonious even while performing all actions." (Chapter IV, Verse 16-18).
Rishi Kanada, author of Vaishesika Philosophy, says in the opening verse: "That which brings supreme bliss and exaltation is right. That which elevates and brings you nearer to God, is right. That which brings you down and takes you away from God, is wrong. That which is done in strict accordance with the injunctions of the scriptures is right. That which is done against the injunctions of the scriptures is wrong. To work in accordance with divine will is right. To work in opposition to the divine will is wrong." This is one way of defining right and wrong.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Dharma or righteousness is the gateway to God-vision. Righteousness is a means of climbing the difficult steps of the spiritual path. Dharma presupposes the knowledge of the truth. Divine life is dharma.
A perfectly moral and ethical life is dharma. Dharma is that which leads to the bliss of nirvana (the immortal being). Dharma is the way in which you have to divert your spiritual life to the supreme spiritual end.
Dharma controls the pulse of a nation and of the world. Dharma is what sustains a being in his evolution. Dharma or righteousness is religion in the highest sense of the term.
Dharma is the eternal law on which the universe rests, and by which the universe is governed. Welfare of mankind ultimately rests upon dharma. Righteousness is the highest wealth. It is the rule of life. In righteousness everything is established or rooted.
The main feature of dharma lies in refraining from doing unto others what one would not do unto oneself. Compassion, liberality, truthfulness, purity, self-restraint and tolerance are the ingredients of dharma. Tread the path of dharma and you will get happiness along with freedom. You can secure the real joy and glory of life.
That which helps you in your spiritual evolution is right. That which obstructs and hinders your spiritual evolution is wrong. That which leads to unity of Self is right. That which leads to separation is wrong. To do good to others, to serve and to help others, to give joy to others, is right. To give pain to others, to injure others, is wrong.
Do not do any act which injures another and makes you feel ashamed to do it. Do as you would be done by. Do unto others as you wish others to do unto you. This is the secret of dharma. This is the secret essence of karma yoga. This will lead you to the attainment of eternal bliss.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
The Law of Being
Dharma (righteousness) is what a man ought to be. It is the law that man must follow for his own spiritual evolution. Sanatana Dharma - is the law of being and it is the religion of humanity. It is not a special privilege of the Hindu only.
Righteousness opens the way for God-realisation. The treasure of dharma is accumulated by plain living and high thinking.
Truth, austerity, knowledge, sacrifice and consecration are the pillars on which dharma rests. These are the great, eternal laws that uphold the earth.
There are ten attributes of dharma. They are: patience or courage, forgiveness, self-restraint, non-stealing, purity, control of the senses, thoughtfulness, knowledge, truthfulness and angerlessness.
Dharma assumes the shape of the moral law that differentiates between good and evil, that impels right action and not wrong action. The rightness or wrongness depends only on what will help or hinder a man's spiritual progress. Human existence has four values. They are: dharma - the ethical value of life; artha - the material value; kama - the vital value; moksha - the infinite value.
No one can lead a life of adharma (unrighteousness) and be happy. This is because happiness is the nature of the Atman, and dharma too is an expression of the law of the self.
That which elevates you is virtue (dharma) and that which pulls you down is vice (adharma) or sin. That which makes you worldly is sin. That which helps you to attain Godhead is virtue. That which hurls you into the dark abyss of ignorance is sin and that which leads you to illumination is virtue.
That which causes intoxication is sin and that which purifies the heart is virtue. That which gives you peace, joy, satisfaction, exhilaration, expansion of the heart is virtue and that which brings restlessness, dissatisfaction, depression and contraction is vice.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
There are three ways to destroy jealousy. One is by thinking - "The whole world, with all its enjoyments, wealth and luxury is illusory. What do I possibly gain by being jealous of another?" When anyone thinks seriously about this, several times a day, the vritti (thought or feeling) of jealousy slowly dies. This vritti of jealousy is deep-rooted. It is the root of all miseries.
The second way is to have the feeling of universal brotherhood. You are not jealous of your intimate friend or loving brother - because you have become one with them, and so you feel that all that belongs to them is yours. Do this with everybody. Love everybody as your own brother or friend. Then you will have no jealousy.
The third way to destroy jealousy is a developed stage. Just repeat the formula, "I am the all" - "I am the all-in-all". Think that there is nothing but Atman, your own Self, everywhere. Jealousy will slowly vanish. You will experience infinite joy.
Man sees his own reflection in all people but foolishly imagines that they are different from him and he fights with them. He fights on account of feelings of jealousy and hatred.
Spiritual discernment is what is most needed. Where there is duality, by virtue of ignorance, one sees all things as distinct from the Self, the Atman. When everything is seen as the Self, then there is not even an atom other than Self. Duality is the root of misery. Realise non-dual consciousness and you will attain bliss everlasting.
Your attitude to the universe should be the same as your attitude to yourself. Man is a member of a great fraternity. Woman is the counterpart of man. Without self-control the new world order can have no lasting strength of character. He who is pure and self-controlled is always peaceful. His life is always successful.
Monday, January 26, 2015
When you become angry, leave the place immediately. Take a long walk; stay away for a half hour. Repeat the sacred mantra OM SHANTI one hundred and eight times. You will find that your anger subsides. Another way is to count from one to thirty - your anger will subside. When anger tries to show itself, observe silence. Never utter a harsh word. Try to nip it off before it emerges from the subconscious mind.
You will have to be alert. It tries to come out so suddenly. But, before anger manifests in the mind, there is agitation in the mind. If you strive to subdue anger, then hatred subsides - but even then there may be slight impatience lingering there. Eschew this slight disturbance also. For a man who is leading a divine life, this is a serious drawback. Irritability is a weakness of the mind. Remove it by practising tolerance, mercy and love. Calmness is a direct means to the realisation of Brahman.
Keep the mind always in balance, in tune. Close the eyes. Dive deep into the divine source. Feel God's presence. Repeat His name and remember Him at all times. You will gain immense spiritual strength. Meditate early in the morning, before you mix with people. Then rise above the thousand and one things which might irritate you in your daily life. Then only you will live in harmony and concord. Then only you will turn out wonderful work.
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Man wastes much energy by becoming angry, very often over little things. The whole nervous system is shattered and agitated. If this anger is controlled, by brahmacharya (purity), forbearance, love and vichara (enquiry), a man can move the whole world. Anger manifests so suddenly that it is difficult to check it. The impulses it generates are so powerful that he is swayed by them. Control anger. Control the mind.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
The Golden Medium
Some people are over-credulous. This is bad, as they are easily cheated by others. You must fully understand man. You must know his nature, his qualities and his antecedents. You must know his behaviour. Test him on several occasions and only place your confidence in him when you are fully satisfied.
He may be a deep man who puts on a false appearance and who turns out to be quite the reverse. Watch him closely, move with him closely and hear about him from several other people. Man cannot hide his nature for long. You will see that his face registers all his inner feelings and thoughts.
Too much suspicion is also bad. It is the opposite of over-credulousness. Mind always moves in extremes. The husband suspects the wife and the wife suspects the husband. There is always trouble in the house.
If the proprietor suspects his servants, then how can business go on? It cannot. The world runs on perfect faith. Business too runs on faith. If people are too suspicious there is always friction and rupture. Do not be over-credulous or over-suspicious. Keep the golden medium always.
Another undesirable quality is intolerance, or petty-mindedness. All the restlessness and fighting in this world takes its origin from intolerance. An Englishman is intolerant towards an Irishman or a German. A Hindu is intolerant to a Mohammedan and vice versa. Arya Samajist is intolerant towards a Sanatanist and vice versa. All this is due to perfect ignorance.
How can a man, who sees the one Atman in all, be intolerant? All these small differences are purely mental creations. Expand. Embrace all. Include all. Love all. Serve all. Behold the Lord in all.
See God in every face. Feel his indwelling presence in all. Be liberal and catholic in your views. Destroy the barriers that separate man from man. Drink the eternal atmic bliss. Become perfectly tolerant. Forget and forgive.
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Destroy the Roots of Suffering
Determination and self-reliance are very necessary for success in Self-realisation. In the Mundaka Upanishad you will find: "This Atman cannot be obtained by one who is destitute of strength, or without earnestness, or by penance without mark. But if a wise man strives after it by those means, then his Self enters into Brahman."
Fearlessness is an important qualification for the aspirant. You should be prepared to renounce your life at any moment. Without renunciation of the little sensual life, the eternal spiritual life cannot be attained. Every difficulty that comes in the spiritual path is an opportunity to grow stronger and to develop will-power.
When you have once decided to take up the spiritual path, stick to it at any cost, nay, at the risk of your life. Thou art the immortal Self. Be bold. Stand up. Gird up your loins. Realise the truth. Proclaim it everywhere.
Wrong thinking is the root cause of human suffering. Cultivate right thinking and right action. Think always: "I am the immortal Self". This is right thinking. Work unselfishly for the poor, but work only in terms of unity, with atma bhava (seeing the one Self in all). This is right acting.
There is no such thing as sin. Sin is only a mistake. Sin is a mental creation. The baby soul must commit some mistakes during the process of evolution. Mistakes are your best teachers. Think always: "I am pure Atman". Then the idea of sin will be blown in the air.
Do not say, "Oh it is karma, my karma. It is my karma (fate) that has brought me to this". No. Exert. Do tapas (penance). Concentrate. Meditate. Purify. Do not be a fatalist. Do not yield to inertia. Do not bleat like a lamb. Roar "OM OM OM" like a lion.
Adhere to the daily spiritual routine. Apply yourself with zeal and enthusiasm to sadhana (spiritual practice). Become a naistic brahmachari (lifelong celibate). Be steady and systematic in your yoga abhyasa (practice of yoga).
Shine in your native, pristine glory. Become a jivanmukta (liberated sage). You are the children of immortality and light. "TAT TWAM ASI" - Thou Art That, my dear children.
Vairagya or Dispassion - Abhyasa or Practice - Afflictions of the Mind
Vairagya — Dispassion
"Their control is brought about by practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya)." (I-12)
To destroy the painful and pleasant vrittis, Patanjali Maharishi suggests abhyasa (practice) and vairagya (dispassion or indifference to enjoyments herein and hereafter). Through these the painful vrittis are to be controlled and good thoughts are generated. The same thing is said by the Lord in the Bhagavad Gita also. Arjuna says to the Lord: "The mind is impetuous like the wind. Just as it is difficult to catch hold of the wind with a pair of tongs, so also it is difficult to control the mind." Lord Krishna says: "Control this impetuous mind through practice and dispassion." Dispassion is the most essential factor. You can develop it by finding out defects in sensual life. The mind is filled with sensual samskaras. It is very difficult to wean the mind from the objects. The method is to remember the description of the world given by the Lord in the Bhagavad Gita: "This world is impermanent, full of sufferings, the abode of sorrow." All the sensual pleasures appear to be pleasant in the beginning, but in the end they are like poison.
Remember also the Vairagya Dindima of Sankaracharya: "Desire, anger and greed are the thieves lurking in the mind; the jewel of wisdom is plundered by these dacoits. Therefore wake up, O man, from this samsara... Wake up; life is waning; you are caught up in this wheel of samsara. You are roasted by various kinds of anxieties and expectations. You do not realise it but this life is gradually waning away." Constantly dwell on these thoughts and you will gradually develop dispassion, without which you cannot have spiritual progress.
Through dispassion you will have to check the out-going pleasure-seeking vrittis and through practice you will have to cut a new spiritual path for the mind to move on. Dispassion serves the part of a dam in the river of pleasure-seeking vrittis. It forms a strong embankment. It does not allow them to pass outside. Dispassion removes obstacles; practice gives liberation. Without vrittis one cannot enjoy sensual objects. If the vrittis along with the latent tendencies are destroyed, annihilation of the mind follows.
Here is a gloss of Vyasa: "The stream of mind flows both ways — towards good and towards evil. That which flows on to perfect independence, down the plane of discriminative knowledge, is named the stream of happiness. That which leads to rebirth and the flow down the plane of ignorance, is the stream of sin. Among those, the flow towards objects is thinned by desirelessness; the flow of discrimination is rendered visible by habituating the mind to the experience of knowledge. Hence the suppression of the mental modifications is dependent upon both."
Abhyasa — Practice
"The effort to steady the mind by any means is abhyasa." (I-13)
The effort to restrain all the vrittis of the mind and to make the mind steady like the jet of a lamp in a windless place is practice (abhyasa). To drive back the mind to its source and get it absorbed in Atman, is abhyasa. To make the mind inward and to destroy all its out-going tendencies is abhyasa. This practice should be done for a long time without a break and with perfect devotion.
If you concentrate the mind on a black dot or any figure, the mind will run away. It is a habit. Gradually withdraw it from the objects and try to fix it at the lotus feet of the Lord. The mind will run away one hundred times today, but after three months' practice it may run ninety-nine or eighty times. Thus will you steadily progress. The mind will soon become one-pointed. You can fix it on the Lord and meditate for a long time. You must practise abhyasa continuously and regularly for a long time. Ultimately you will realise your identity with the Supreme Soul. If you practise for two months and then leave it off you will not be able to ascend to the summit. Regularity is of paramount importance. Let it be even for ten minutes. You must be regular in your daily practice. Practice during brahmamuhurta (the period of an hour and a half before sunrise). This time is best suited for daily meditation.
The Mind and the Senses
The individual soul sits on the marvellous car of the mind, passes through the gateway of the ear in the twinkling of an eye and enjoys various kinds of music of the world. He holds the reins of the nerves of sensation, enters the domain of touch through the portals of skin and enjoys the diverse kinds of soft objects. He roams about in the hills of beautiful forms and enjoys them through the windows of his eyes. He enters into the cave of taste by the avenue of tongue and enjoys dainties and palatable dishes and refreshing beverages. He enters the forest of scents through the doors of his nose and enjoys them to his heart's content.
The ears hear sounds through the intelligence of the Atman. The eyes perceive objects through the intelligence of the Atman. The tongue tastes objects through the intelligence of the Atman. The Atman is the director of the five senses of knowledge. The Atman is the ear of ears, eye of eyes, tongue of tongues. The Atman is the potent magnet. If you know the hidden, all-powerful, all-wise Director, if you have direct intuitive perception of this Atman by the practice of meditation, you will cross the ocean of samsara, you will attain immortality, eternal bliss and everlasting peace.
Through the practice of yoga you can undoubtedly acquire the power of seeing, hearing and knowing without the help of the outer senses. A yogi can actually visualise the dynamic and beneficial effects produced on the mind and body, through his inner eye.
The actual contact of objects with the eyes and the ears is not necessary for perception and hearing. But in the case of the tongue and the skin, actual contact of objects is necessary for tasting and feeling. The senses cannot do anything by themselves. It is the mind that goads them to action.
When you behold the objects of the senses the mind enters the objects. You find it very difficult to free yourself from the clutches of sensual objects. But if you remain as a silent witness you will not be affected by them. Therefore, remain as a witness of the vrittis or waves of the mind. You will enjoy the peace of the Eternal.
Behind the noise, behind the tumultuous sounds of this world, there is deep silence. This deep silence is Brahman (Supreme Self). If you withdraw your attention there is no sound. Sound also is mental creation. When the mind is connected with the organ of hearing, there is sound. When the ear is withdrawn from its object or when the mind is disconnected from the ear, there is no sound. Sound is a trick of the mind. So is colour. So is form.
The mind is generally attracted by brilliant light, beauty, intelligence, varied colours and pleasant sounds. Do not be deceived by these paltry things. Enquire within. What is the background for all these things? There is one Essence at the back of the mind and all objects of this seeming sense-universe. That Essence is all-full and self-contained. That Essence is the Brahman of the Upanishads. That Essence, verily you are. 'Tat tvam asi', my dear reader!
The mind and the senses are naturally endowed with the two currents of attraction and repulsion. Therefore the mind and senses like certain objects and dislike certain other objects. The disciplined man moves among the sense-objects with a mind and senses free from attraction and repulsion. The disciplined man has a very strong will. Through will-force you can curb the mind and the senses and can work wonders. You will have to develop the 'will' gradually. The more you become pure and unselfish the more the will-power will develop. The disciplined man takes only those objects which are quite necessary for the maintenance of the body without any love or hatred. He never takes those objects which are forbidden by the scriptures.
The knowledge gained through the senses in the relative world is not the highest knowledge. It cannot give you permanent satisfaction and ever-lasting felicity and peace. It is limited knowledge. There is always a sense of a void in you, in spite of your intellectual attainments of all sorts. There is an urge in your mind to attain transcendental knowledge, the knowledge of the Eternal, by which everything is known. This divine knowledge is beyond the reach of the senses and mind. The senses and the mind cannot penetrate into the heart of the ultimate Truth or the Infinite. They are finite instruments. The intellect and mind have got their own limitations. They can operate only in the earth plane. It is through intuitive insight that you can attain this transcendental knowledge. Roam not, O mind, in sensual objects. Desire not name, fame, prestige, position, titles, honours and rank. Care not, O mind, for earthly affection, love and kind words, respect, nice clothes and dainty dishes, company of damsels and their talk. Remain steadfastly gazing on the Lord who dwells in the cave of the heart, thy refuge, solace, source and centre, witness and abode.
The Sense Organs (Indriyas)
Knowledge is the product of the connection between the mind and the senses and that is why there is simultaneous knowledge of the impressions received through the various sensory organs.
When you stitch a book the needle passes very quickly through the different leaves. The needle after all has passed through leaf after leaf slowly, although the time taken is very, very short. Even so, when you hear, see and smell at one and the same time, the activities of the sense organs are so quick that you think that smelling, hearing and seeing are done simultaneously.
The hand is really an organ of action (karma indriya). It is an organ of knowledge (jnana indriya) as well, to a certain extent, as it plays a prominent part in feeling.
Though the eye is an organ of knowledge, it should be considered as an organ of action also. When one has a lustful look the eyes do a bad action indeed. Through the eyes you see the things of the universe. This is one function. The eyes speak out the condition of the mind. This is another function.
Though the organ of generation is an organ of action, it serves, to some extent, the purpose of an organ of knowledge as it is an instrument by which the sexual bliss is felt and experienced. The ear and the tongue are organs of action.
The five sense organs are like the five wives of a Chinaman. Just as the wives drag their husband in different directions, so also the five senses drag the passionate jiva (individual soul) in five different directions. The tongue drags him to the eating-house and says: "Give me sweets and palatable food." The ears and eyes say: "Take us to the cinema. Let us hear melodious music and see beautiful forms." The nose says: "Give me nice scents." The skin says: "Let me enjoy soft silk and cushions." The helpless jiva is tossed about hither and thither and becomes restless.
A deer is entrapped through sound, an elephant through touch, a fly through form, a fish through taste and a bee through smell. When such is the power of a single sense, what to speak of the combined effects of the five senses on man? Do not trust the senses. They cause deception and temptation.
The sun never sets nor rises. It is the rotation of the earth only on its own axis that makes the sun appear to rise and set. The one 'wisdom-sun' (Atman) also never rises and sets, never increases nor decreases. Realise the glory of this Atman by closing the eyes, withdrawing the senses and diving deep in meditation.
I again reiterate this point. Do not trust the senses. They are your enemies. They deceive you at every moment. They are dexterous jugglers. Get discrimination. Cultivate enquiry into the nature of Brahman. Associate with sannyasins and wise people. Develop dispassion.
Control of Senses
All the senses should be filled with pure materials. Then only will the mind attain one-pointedness. Then only will it become pure, then only can you attain Self-realisation. The eyes should see the picture of your chosen deity or any other holy objects, the ears should hear the Upanishads, Ramayana and Bhagavatam, the tongue should speak of matters that concern God. These are pure materials or food for the senses. What is the use of your possessing ears if they do not hear songs and stories of God? What is the use of your physical body if it is not offered in the service of your guru?
How difficult it is to control even a servant of the house. How much more difficult it will be to control the five senses. The yogi who has subdued these mischievous senses remains always peaceful and happy. Develop dispassion and discrimination. Practise abstraction and self-restraint. These turbulent senses will come under your control. There is nothing more powerful than austerity to curb the turbulent senses.
Just as a charioteer restrains the restive horses through the reins, so also you will have to curb the restless senses (the horses) through the reins of discrimination and dispassion. Then alone will you have a safe journey to the Atman — the sweet eternal abode of peace and bliss.
That yogi who has control over the senses is a mighty potentate on this earth. The bliss of Indra and Chakravarthy is nothing when compared to him. My silent adorations to such a yogi!
Tongue (The Most Turbulent Indriya)
The tongue is a double-edged sword. This is the most powerful sense organ. If this is controlled all other sense organs can be very easily controlled. It is a friend of the organ of generation. Both organs are born of the same source, viz., the water-principle, tongue from the sattvic portion, the organ of generation from the rajasic portion. Tongue is an organ of knowledge. The genital is an organ of action. As soon as the stomach is filled with delicious food, the organ of reproduction is excited. Man begins to entertain lustful thoughts. If you are not able to control the tongue and organ of reproduction, how will you be able to cross this big ocean of worldly existence (samsara)? Control the tongue first. Then the latter will easily come under your grip.
O aspirants! Take refuge in your own Self, the immortal soul. Be steadfast in your resolve. Tread the path of truth and righteousness. Watch your mind very carefully. Be vigilant and diligent. Discipline the turbulent senses. Curb this tongue and reproductive organ. You will cross the ocean of samsara and attain immortality and perennial peace and joy.
If you control the eye, if you do not allow it to run towards beautiful forms, all the other senses are not controlled; but if you fast and control the tongue by withdrawing all tasty objects, all the other senses are controlled because it is the tongue that fattens all other senses. It is the most turbulent and powerful of all the senses. Tongue performs two kinds of activities — tasting and talking. Hence, it is a double-edged sword. The tongue is your deadliest enemy. Therefore, discipline the tongue from now, when you are young. When you become old you will have no strength to curb the senses.
Speech is the wife of mind. Just as the wife follows the husband, so also speech always follows the mind. The husband commands and the faithful wife implicitly obeys her husband's commands. Similarly the mind commands and the speech faithfully expresses the wish of the mind.
Words possess tremendous power. By words you can encourage and cheer up others; by words you can give greatest happiness to others; by words you can ruin or displease others; by words the master imparts his knowledge to the students; by words the mother trains her children; by words the orator keeps his audience spellbound. Word is Brahman or God in manifestation. Be careful in the selection of your words. Use sweet words and conquer the hearts of others. Never use harsh words. Understand and realise the power of words and become wise.
The organ of speech produces a great deal of distraction, disturbance of peace and various sorts of quarrels. People generally talk at random whatever comes out of their lips without thinking or caring. They joke and jest at the expense of others. In the end they fight with one another for nothing at all, for a little play of words.
You must practise austerity of speech if you really want to attain quick progress in meditation. You must always speak sweet loving words. You must speak truth at any cost. You must not speak any harsh word or any indecent word that is calculated to hurt the feelings of others. You should weigh your words before they are spoken. You must speak a few words only. This is austerity of speech that will conserve energy and give you peace of mind and inner strength.
Speaking harsh words, uttering falsehood, speaking ill of another at his back and idle gossiping are the four bad actions of the tongue.
If you guard your tongue you will be safe. You will have peace. Before you speak, carefully think of the influence which every word will produce on the feelings of others. If it can hurt the feelings of others, avoid them. Do not bring them into expression.
Weigh every word in your mental balance before it comes out. Every word is filled with power. That man who has got the faculty of weighing the words before expressing them has got great peace of mind. All his words are powerful. They produce a tremendous impression on the hearers.
Control over speech is as important as control over thought. Use measured words in writing and speech. Lord Jesus was one saint who used measured words in his speech. Mahatma Gandhiji was another example.
Love and give. You will realise the unity of non-duality. Give and forgive. You will attain Godhead soon. Just as you watch every thought, so also watch every word that comes out of your mouth.
Vow of Silence (mauna)
The vow of silence is a sure means for getting peace. It will give you power. You will have control over emotions, impulses and anger.
During mauna you can nicely introspect and practise self-analysis. You can watch the thoughts. You can understand the ways of the mind and its workings. You can notice how the mind runs from one object to another in a moment's time. You will derive immense benefit from the practice of mauna. Real mauna is silence of the mind. Physical mauna will eventually lead to the silence of the mind. Do a lot of japa and meditation during mauna.
Mauna is death for a worldly man; it is life for an ascetic. Talking is life for a worldly man; it is death for an ascetic. An ascetic and a worldly man move in diametrically opposite poles.
Observe mauna when you take your food. Put this into practice the very day on which you read this instruction. The advantages are many. Practise and feel. You will develop will-power and get peace of mind.
Observe mauna for two hours daily, for six hours once in a month. On Sundays observe mauna for a longer period and do more japa. Keep the day for divine contemplation only. Do not come out of the room. Stop all interviews.
During times of ailment observance of mauna will give great peace of mind. It will check mental irritability also. Energy is wasted in idle talking. Mauna conserves the energy and you can turn out much mental and physical work. You can do a lot of meditation. By practice of mauna the energy of speech is slowly transmuted or sublimated into spiritual energy. Mauna exercises a marvellous soothing influence on the brain and nerves.
You can observe silence for a long time, but if you find it difficult, break it at once. Try to become a man of measured words. This is itself mauna.
The mauna that is observed during meditation cannot be taken as vow of silence; then sleep also should be taken as mauna! Mauna should be observed by householders when there are great opportunities for talking and when visitors come to meet. Then only the impulse of speech can be checked. Ladies are very talkative. They create trouble in the house by idle talk and gossiping. They should observe mauna particularly.
You should speak measured words only. Too much talking is rajasic nature. Great peace comes by observance of mauna. By gradual practice prolong the period of mauna to three months. The study of Sanskrit makes some people very talkative and forces them to enter into unnecessary discussions with others to show their scholarly erudition. Pedantry or vain display of learning is a special attribute of some Sanskrit scholars. How much energy is wasted in such loose talks. How much benefit can one derive if he conserves the energy and utilises it in divine contemplation. He can move heaven and earth.
To talk profusely for six months and to observe mauna for the next six months is of no avail. Some people become very talkative after they break their mauna. They should try to talk only a little even after they give up mauna. Constant vigilance over the organ of speech is necessary. There will be much peace in this world if all talk a little and observe mauna.
Mauna for a long period is not necessary, and in an unregenerate and undeveloped aspirant it does harm. Keep mauna for a month and then break and then continue. Mauna for even a few days will be of immense help to the aspirants in the control of the organ of speech and the mind. Immense energy can be conserved. You will also feel immense peace. If circumstances prevent you from observing mauna, strictly avoid long talk, big talk, tall talk, all unnecessary talks, all sorts of vain discussions, etc., and withdraw yourself from society as much as possible. Too much talk is simply wastage of energy. If this energy is conserved by mauna it will be transmuted into spiritual energy which will help you in your sadhana.
This Atman is silence. The best concept of God is silence. Therefore learn to be silent. Make the mind silent, waveless, thoughtless and desireless. This is real silence.
What are the Afflictions?
"The afflictions (kleshas) are ignorance (avidya), egoism (asmita), attachment (raga), hatred (dvesha) and clinging to life (abhinivesha)." (II-3)
All these disorders ruffle the mind like a physical malady. Therefore they are great impediments to meditation. They raise thought-waves and bring about the fructification of actions by depending upon one another for mutual support. If you eradicate clinging to life (abhinivesha) the currents of likes (raga) and dislikes (dvesha) will die. If you remove egoism (asmita) the two currents of likes and dislikes will vanish. The root for egoism, likes, dislikes and clinging to life is ignorance. If ignorance is destroyed by getting knowledge of the Atman through samadhi the other four will die by themselves. Actions are supported by afflictions and the afflictions are supported by actions. There is mutual support. This is a cycle like the analogy of the seed and tree. These are the five ties that bind a man to the wheel of birth and death. Ignorance is the fundamental cause. The other four are the effects of ignorance, and are only modifications of ignorance. Pain and sin are ignorance only. These manifest in those who have forgotten the true all-blissful and eternally pure nature of the Atman.
"Avidya (ignorance) is the field of those that follow, whether they be in a dormant, thinned out, over-powered or expanded condition." (II-4)
Ignorance is the source of the four afflictions which are only modifications or varieties of ignorance.
These afflictions have four states: prasupta, tanu, vicchinna and udhara. In prasupta they are hidden or dormant like the tree in the seed.
In tanu state they are in an attenuated condition like a thin thread. Yogis who do spiritual practice have got this state. They thin out each evil desire by developing the counter-current or contrary good desire. For instance, anger is thinned out by developing mercy, love and forgiveness. In vicchinna state they are overpowered for the time being. For instance when a man fights with his wife, tor the time being the love vritti in him is in an over-powered state. The hate vritti is operating during the quarrel. As soon as the fight subsides, the love vritti will manifest again in him when the wife smiles and speaks kind, loving words. In udhara state the afflictions are very powerful. They operate with full force. Vicchinna and udhara states are present in worldly persons. They bind one to worldly life. He who has tanu state can control the afflictions. (There is another termed dagdha state wherein the afflictions are fried up like burnt seeds. This exists in a full-blown yogi who is established in asamprajnata samadhi.)
"Ignorance is taking the non-eternal as the eternal, the impure as the pure, the painful as the happy and the not-self as the Self or Atman." (II-5)
Ignorance causes perverted understanding and the man is rendered blind by passion and various sorts of attractions. He is under intoxication. Ignorance clouds understanding. An ignorant man is a dead man while living. He is a living buried soul, despite his wealth, possessions and university knowledge. To take a thing for what it is not, is ignorance. It does not mean absence of knowledge. You mistake this perishable body of five elements and various impurities to be the pure Self. You think that you are the body only and you have forgotten the real nature of the Atman. This is delusion. This is ignorance.
"The method for the removal of ignorance is the continuous practice of discrimination." (II-26)
Discrimination must be undisturbed. It must become habitual. There must not be any break even for a twinkling of an eye. When discrimination operates you will have a complete inner life in the Atman. All the outgoing tendencies of the mind will stop. The senses will be calm. This practice of discrimination is the cause for destroying ignorance, the cause of the junction of matter (prakriti) and spirit (Purusha), leading to various experiences. Discrimination remains shaky as long as false knowledge has not been completely removed.
"Egoism is the appearance of the identification of the power of consciousness with the power of the instrument of seeing." (II-6)
Egoism is the identification of the Seer with the power of seeing. The Seer is the Purusha. The instrument of seeing is antahkarana (the four-fold mind — mind, intellect, subconscious mind and ego). The Seer joins with the antahkarana and appears as if he is one or blended with it. The Seer has the egoistic feeling of 'I' in the insentient four-fold mind, which is mistaken for the sentient Seer or the Atman. This is egoism. When you get anger, pain, misery, contentment, etc., you associate yourself with the thought-waves (vrittis) and say: "I am angry." "I am miserable." "I am happy." When the Atman is associated with the mind the experiences of objects take place. Separate yourself from the thought-waves and the four-fold mind and stand aloof as the witness in your original all-blissful nature. This is liberation.
"Attachment is the attraction to pleasure." (II-7)
Through the memory of pleasure enjoyed previously, the attachment or desire that arises towards pleasure or the means of pleasure, is attraction (raga). The desire for 'thinking on pleasure' is included under this. Egoism is the root cause for attraction. This is the reason why it is described after egoism. When pleasure is remembered, attachment is preceded by remembrance of the pleasure in consequence of the enjoyment thereof.
Wherever there is pleasure, side by side there is attachment. Why are you very much attached to your wife? Because you derive pleasure from her. You love money; you are attached to money because through money you can get various objects that can give you pleasure. Everyone of us is in search of happiness, but the attempt to get happiness is made in the wrong direction, in external objects — in books, university degrees, wife, money, son, honour and power.
There is something dearer than a son, there is something dearer than a wife, there is something dearer than wealth, there is something dearer than this prana or life itself. That 'dearer something' is the Atman or Purusha, who is hidden in our heart. The search should be made within by withdrawing the mind from the objects, by controlling the senses, and by practising yama, niyama (see chapters 6 and 7), concentration, meditation and samadhi.
"Aversion is that which dwells on pain." (II-8)
Through memory of pain from experiences, aversion (dvesha) comes towards pain and objects that give pain. You try to get rid of objects that give pain. Man shuns pain and runs after pleasure in this world. No one teaches him to seek pleasure. The mind is born of bliss, so it runs after pleasure.
Aversion is the root cause for human sufferings. Wars, splits, dissensions, sectarian quarrels and murders are due to aversion or dislike. Wherever there is dislike there is jealousy, which is the intimate companion of dislike. Jealousy is petty-mindedness. It is a great pity to find that the minds of even highly educated persons who preach on the platform are filled with jealousy and hatred. As they are intelligent they devise cunning methods and plans to destroy others, to get the whole fame and respect for themselves. A petty-minded preacher sows the seed of discord and disharmony everywhere. He is a pest and a menace to society, a man of evil. There is no redeeming feature in him. He does more harm than good. Aversion should be completely annihilated.
"Abhinivesha is the strong desire for life, supported by its own potency, established all the same even in the learned." (II-9)
In all living beings exists the self-benediction: "May I continue to exist. May I live on." This cannot exist in him who has not experienced the nature of death. By this the experience of a former life is inferred. This is clinging to life (abhinivesha). It will not remain in a man who has no experience of death. From his fear of death we infer that there had been a previous birth for a man. Even worms have got fear of death. This fear of death exists in both the literate and the illiterate, the learned and the ignorant. This fear cannot be explained by direct perception, inference and spoken or written words. The past experience of pain of death is there in your mind. Therefore you are afraid of death in this life. This is the reason for the strong desire for life.