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Showing posts from January, 2015

Handling Desires : 6.

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The mind can, therefore, satisfy itself by various means. Our attempt at a sublimation of desires would not always be fruitful, because who is to control or subjugate the mind? There is no doctor for it. It is the mind itself that has to rectify itself by an internal adjustment of its constitution. The mind is the patient, and the mind is the doctor. This is something difficult to conceive. How can the doctor and the patient be the same? But this is the situation. There is a peculiar feature in the mind which can act as a regulator for another feature of the very same mind which is to be regulated. In common language it is sometimes called the higher mind controlling the lower mind, etc.


Thinness of desire is an occasional device which the mind may adopt for the sake of making it appear that the desires are not there, while this subtle connection in the form of that thinned form of desire, thinned shape of desire, can swell it into inflated action the moment opportunities arise or su…

Handling Desires : 5.

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Sometimes, the desires become thin. They are not sleeping; they are awake, but they are thin, like a fine silken thread – as, for example, when we descend from Gangotri to Rishikesh but stay in an ashram. The desire is slowly awakening: “Oh! I have come to Rishikesh. This atmosphere is more congenial than in Gangotri, but my desire cannot be fulfilled because I am in an ashram.” So, the desires are like a weakened snake which has been starved for many days and is slowly trying to move, wriggle out of its hole and find an opportunity to fulfil itself. But it cannot, due to the restrictions of the atmosphere in which one lives.


When we voluntarily fast – not under compulsion – on ekadashi, for example, the desire for food is thin. It is not destroyed, because we have a satisfaction that tomorrow we will have a good meal. That satisfaction is itself a strength to bear the pain of today’s fasting; otherwise, if we are not sure that we will get food for even ten days, or do not know what …

Handling Desires : 4.

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Desires which are sleeping may become causes of mental ill-health. There can be a manifestation of peculiar complexes of behaviour in that person – susceptibility to sudden rage or anger at the least provocation, and desire for silly things which a normal person would regard as meaningless. A desire for a pencil – we can imagine what a desire it is.

We will think it is foolish to desire a pencil; but a person whose desires have slept for years and could not reveal themselves even a little due to unfavourable conditions would find a tremendous joy even if a pencil is presented to him. A fountain pen is, of course, heaven. Why? Because the desires have been starved. They are hungry like lions, ready to devour anything that comes near them.

A hungry lion is a dangerous animal even it is unable even to get up because it has been starved for days. Therefore, it is essential that we should not play jokes with God or the system of yoga by merely running to cold, remote regions, taking baths…

Handling Desires : 3.

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This process has to continue every day. As our great guide Patanjali puts it, success is quick in the case of those seekers who are persistent in their practice and do not break the practice by discontinuing it even for a day, and keep up the intensity of the practice in the same manner as they entertained it in their hearts at the commencement of a fit of renunciation with the love for God in their lives. All this is easily said but very difficult to practice because while we may be wise, the forces of the world – also equally wise – are capable of circumventing every one of our precautions, and sometime harness the very means of our protection as instruments of their action.


The very caution that we have taken may become an instrument of our indulgence and fall. In other words, even our friends may turn against us and become enemies. The conducive atmosphere that we are thinking of in our mind may become an obstructing atmosphere. We have only to study the personal lives of sincere…

Handling Desires : 2.

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So is the case with ourselves. We cannot say from where the trouble arises – whether it is from inside us, or from outside – because the trouble arises simultaneously from both sides, inasmuch as both the internal centre and the external counterpart of it are connected by subtle artifices which we cannot easily understand.


So, again, we come to the conclusion that there is something tremendously difficult about the practice of yoga. We cannot be one-sided in our approach at any time; but we are prone to a one-sided approach always. It is difficult for the human mind to consider both sides of an issue, due to a weakness of its nature. Either we hang on something outside, or we hibernate in our own minds. This happens to us not only in our daily activities, but also in our religious attitudes. We are either too extrovert or we are too introvert, and neither of these natures can be regarded as ultimately desirable or successful. We must have a comprehensive view and take a joint action,…

Handling Desires : 1.

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We were considering the aspects of psychological non-attachment as the first effort that one has to make while living in seclusion for the purpose of the practice of yoga. This is almost fifty percent of what one has to do in fortifying oneself adequately against onslaughts by the forces of nature – outside, as well as inside. The vulnerable parts of the human personality are the most dangerous enemies in the path of the spirit, which set up reactions and stimulate their counterparts in the world outside. Everything in us is connected by a string with everything else in the world. All that is outside in the world of creation is connected with us by subtle appurtenances. So, whichever be the spot within us becoming predominant in its strength, that particular spot stimulates its corresponding part in the world outside and draws its counterpart towards itself. This activity of the mind is called indulgence, which it does through the senses, which are its instruments of action.


Many a t…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 16. ( Last Part )

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The senses have this defect that one sense can perform only one function and, simultaneously, the other senses cannot come to the knowledge of what the other senses perceive. While this is the case with the senses, the mind has a defect of its own. It can see things only in a limited manner – as a quantity, as a quality, as a relation or as a condition. There is no other way of thinking. Whatever we think of has a quantity or a mass. It has length, breadth, height. It has a three-dimensional structure. Can you think of a four-dimension or a hundred-dimension thing? Impossible. This is a limitation of mental operation or the structure of the mind. We think of only quantities or, if not, we think of certain associated qualities, attributes: it is of this nature or of that nature. Nothing can be thought of unless it has a character, a relation, or unless a thing is in some condition. Everything has to be in some state. So these are the operative limitations of the mind, like the limitat…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 15.

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The mind has to be trained to perceive independently of the senses, so far as it is possible. This is the great task before the yoga student. We should not trust things merely because we see them with our eyes, hear them with our ears, etc. Tangibility, visibility, audibility, etc., cannot be regarded as standards of correct perception or judgment. “I hear it; therefore, it must be there,” is not an argument, because we have to be charitable enough to concede that the instruments of observation can go wrong. The instruments of our observation are the senses.


Thus, it is necessary that we enter into self-investigation rather than object investigation, world investigation, or an enquiry into the structure of the pattern of the world externally. There is no use observing a minute substance in a laboratory through a defective microscope. Whatever be the carefulness of the observation, inasmuch as the instrument is defective, the observation will bring a wrong conclusion.


So the first thi…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 14.

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The whole world is thus mistaken in its totality. The mistake we have committed through the mind in its cognition is not partial, but total. There is a total, complete upsetting of values, so that we are literally standing on our heads instead of standing on our legs. What is above seems to be below. What is to the right seems to be to the left. If you stand on the bank of the river Ganga and look at your own reflection on the water, you will see that the head, which is topmost, is the bottommost there, and the feet, which are the lowermost, appear uppermost. And if you see yourself in a mirror, the right eye is seen as the left, the left is seen as the right. In the Kathopanishad it is told that the world of perception is distorted completely in the same way that objects are seen in a mirror. That which is right is seen to the left, and so on.


It is not merely this distortion that has taken place, but much more. It is a reflection, but also at the same time, it is a limitation. It i…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 13.

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The difference that we see among the waves of the ocean slowly subsides when we begin to see the bottom, which are the waters of the ocean. Likewise, there seems to be a universal ocean of energy which projects itself into eddies of various shapes, concretising themselves into the shapes of objects when they are perceived by the senses. Energy cognised or perceived by the senses through the activity of the mind on the screen of space-time appears as objects. This is also one of the conclusions drawn by the analysis of yoga psychology. The term prakriti, or matter, the world of creation that is used in this psychology, is really a name that is given to the objective pattern of sensory and psychological perception.


It is, therefore, necessary to train the mind in order that it may know its proper relationship with things as they really are. This training is called yoga. We have now discovered that all effort has to be initiated from within. There is no use expecting help from outside. …

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 12.

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If my watch is stolen, my reaction is one thing, but if somebody else's watch is stolen, it makes no difference to me, even if it is the same watch. The same factory has made that watch, and from the point of view of the object as such, there should be no difference in the reaction of the emotion; but we know the connectedness of the emotion with the object makes all the difference. If my child dies, it means something to me. If somebody else's child dies, it is different. After all, what is the difference between your child and somebody else's child in the pure, dispassionate judgment of a living human individual?


Such examples can be cited endlessly to give the distinction that we make in our personal relationship in regard to the persons and objects of God's creation, which are things by themselves. Some philosophers call them 'things in themselves'. The thing in itself is different from the thing as it means to me. I am not so much worried about the thing …

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 11.

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Very interesting it is, and very inconvenient also, to know this truth because there seems to be something seriously awful with our own selves. The morbid source of suffering is in the recesses of our structure, our own makeup, and to study this is to study the world. As far as we are concerned, the world is what means everything to us in our life. The meaning that we see in life is the world for us, and all the meaning that we read outside is the meaning that is projected from the mind. So to study the mind would be to study life, and that would be to study the world. The proper study of mankind is man. We study the human structure in its psychological makeup, in its entirety, and we know what we are, what others are, what the world is, and perhaps what God Himself is.


This is the psychology of yoga. What I have described just now as the process of sifting of evidence from the objects through the relationships, through the senses and the mind, is known in the language of Vijnanabhik…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 10.

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This is what happens to us. The trouble has started within, but by a peculiar intelligent device, the mind has transferred this error to the objects outside. There is a peculiar defence mechanism of the mind by which it can transfer its properties to persons and things outside. What is within us, we see outside, like a cinematographic projection. We see the picture somewhere on the screen in front of us, while it has come from somewhere behind. The projector is behind. There is nothing there – only a blank screen. The film is behind us, and the shape of the picture, the colour, etc., of the photograph in the film, which is somewhere unseen in the rear, is projected to the screen in front of us, and we begin to see it there, while it is really behind.



Similarly, the structural defect of the mind, which is the photograph in the film inside our own cinematographic factory, gets projected outside on the screen of the world of space and time, and we begin to see ourselves there as other p…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 9.

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Thus, the senses cannot be really regarded as desirous of objects. They are unintelligent, structurally. They have no motivation by themselves. They cannot think, they cannot understand. They are blind, active, mechanical structures. They are driven in a particular direction by the intelligence that is supplied by the mind. To give the example of the policeman, he can be driven in any direction. If you ask him to go to the east, he will go to the east. If you ask him to go to the west, he will go to the west. It all depends upon the person who gives the orders. The intelligence for the direction of the senses is supplied by the mind; otherwise, the senses are just unintelligent machines capable of being used in respect of any object in the world.


Our analysis has brought us to this unexpected conclusion that the ultimate cause of all our experiences, internal and external, is invisibly hidden within our own personality and, like a thief sitting in our own house without our knowing he…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain :8.

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The mind can move by itself, act for itself, without a driver behind it. It is a self-propelled engine, and it is propelled in such a way that it knows its motives and the centre of its fulfilment of desire and satisfaction. For the sake of self-fulfilment, it employs the service of the senses. The senses are only servants of this self-driven intelligent force called the psychological organ.


The antahkarana is this abundant source of energy – not dead energy, but intelligent energy. It goads the senses to activity by connecting itself with them. When the power that is generated in an electrical factory is connected to a machine, the machine starts moving because of the energy that is supplied to it from the powerhouse. These senses are machines of different make. One goes in one direction, one goes in another direction. One may be a motorcar, another may be a tractor, a third may be something else, and so on. But the energy that is the driving force behind these different machines of…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 7.

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The senses mostly are regarded as our untrustworthy friends who create a lot of misery for us, so in our attempt at self-control we subdue the senses so harshly that their backs may break. But the instigator of the senses is really to be regarded as a more dangerous cause than these instruments, or servants, the senses by themselves.


As we say, students are very bad these days. They are rebellious gundas. But we know, and it is well known everywhere, that there are instigating policies and fireworks behind the students, and these young juvenile enthusiastic minds can be bent in any direction, like a young bamboo stalk. When it is very old, it cannot be bent. But when it is very tender, we can bend the bamboo and direct it in any way that we like. These senses are like these rebellious students of modern days. They are not bad by themselves, but they are led along wrong paths by forces which are selfish, personal and injudicious. We have to find out the causes behind these incentives …

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 6.

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The causes of our suffering are we ourselves, but we do not create these causes wantonly, with conscious deliberation. We are led along a wrong path by mistaken notions, erroneous judgments of our own selves, and consequently of other persons and things in the world. Now we are awake to a tremendous fact that the cause of suffering in the world is not the object but the relationship of the object with ourselves. It is not merely this physical relationship of objects with us but a psychological relationship, which means to say, a mental relationship, which again amounts to saying that our personality itself is the cause of our suffering, due to certain misapprehensions. We ourselves, our personalities, cause the suffering. This is another discovery that we make.



But what do we mean by 'this personality who causes the suffering'? Is it the eyes, the nose, the ears, the sense organs, the body, the limbs? What sort of thing is it in the personality that causes our suffering or cr…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 5.

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So we are dangerously coming near to the truth that we seem to have a very important part to play in creating our own pleasure and pain. A very inconvenient truth is opening before our eyes, like Pandora's box: It is our mental relationship with persons and things that causes pleasure and pain to us. This is discrimination of the causative factor of pleasure and pain in the world.


What does this discovery mean? “Am I the cause of my pleasure and pain? Can I cause pain to my own self? Will I deliberately jump into a well and break my leg? Should I not be regarded as a sensible person who will want only satisfaction rather than suffering in the world? How is the cause of pain attributed to me?” may be questions that the mind raises. Nobody deliberately causes suffering to oneself. Nobody wishes to go to hell wantonly. Nobody wishes to be hanged, but people are hanged in jail. How does this happen? Nobody wishes to place oneself in such a very miserable state.


It is not that we deli…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 4.

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Do the objects jump upon us, or do we jump upon the objects? What do we mean by 'relationship'? What is this contact with the objects that we establish, on account of which we suffer or enjoy life in this world? Whether it is the object that seems to have an impact upon our experience or we have an impact upon the objects, the question is similar, a single common question. What is this relationship? Is it physical or psychological?


If it is the object that has the impact upon our experience, it should be physical because objects are physical in their nature. But physical experience is unknown. All experience is mental. We cannot have a purely physical experience. There is no such thing as experience divested of a mental operation. Unless mind also plays a part, experience would be unintelligible. Physical experience divested of mental relationship is no experience at all, at least as far as we are concerned. Hence, all relationship, from the point of view of the causative fac…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain :3.

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The world is relative, relational, conditioned by the dependence of objects on their experiencers, and vice versa. Any object is beautiful or otherwise in accordance with the specific relationship it has with us; otherwise, it is neither beautiful nor ugly. The ethical and moral judgments of good and bad are also purely objective. They are to be judged from a particular context. We cannot know whether a particular action is right or wrong unless the context also is known, so this context is the relationship of the particular occasion for judging. A superior insight would be the detection of there being a causative factor, known as relationship, higher above the pure structural context of the objects and persons in the world. Where does the source of suffering lie? It is not in the objects, but in our relationship with objects.



Can we say the relationships themselves are the causes of pleasure and pain? This is a question that we have to raise further on. The relationships are only ps…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 2.

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But, as analysis deepens and the mind matures in its educative processes, we begin to discover that the root of the difficulties and troubles we pass through in life is not outside but elsewhere, though it is not known where it is. This is a great advance that is made in mental evolution. We may not know where the trouble is, but at least we know that it is not in the world of objects. There is a condition of discrimination which is posterior to the condition of the erroneous opinion we hold that the things of the world are the sources of our sorrow.


We know very well that no object, no person can be a source of sorrow for us wholly, because if the causative factor of pain is to be inherent in any particular object or person, that object or person should be the causative factor of sorrow for everyone in the world. But this is not seen as such. A particular source of anxiety and suffering to us may be a source of great joy and satisfaction to somebody else. The tiger is a source of te…

The Creation of Pleasure and Pain : 1.

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In the beginning, it is sheer trouble not knowing where the difficulty really lies. It is in this condition of uncertainty and an inability to know where one's problems really are that one moves hither and thither in search of solutions. In the earliest of stages it looks that the world is bad, that there are serious defects, and all the causes of problems are transferred to the world of perception.


There is a need for a long series of processes of evolution to discover that the trouble does not really lie with the world. Though at the very outset, on a surface view of things, it looks that all error and ugliness is only outside, a time will come in the process of the evolution of the mind when flashes of insight will make it clear that all the trouble is not wholly on the side of objects.

This stage of psychological struggle to discover the source of pain and suffering is an unavoidable condition to be stepped over by every sadhaka, every seeker of truth. In all practices of yog…

Attaining Peace of Mind : 12.( Last Part )

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So, briefly to say, you are really blessed souls. Everyone is a blessed child of the Immortal God. A child of God cannot be a miserable wretch. Do not think like that. How can the effect, which has come from the cosmic magnificence, become wretchedness? It is not possible. The magnificent divinity which is the cosmic whole reverberates in even the little divinity that you are. That may be a conflagration and you are a spark, but you are a part of it. With this confidence, take to meditation every day; but do not meditate as an exercise which is frightening and tiring, causing exhaustion and so on. You are inundating yourself. A process of inundating yourself cannot tire you. Meditation will bring you immense joy, not merely an ordinary benefit. You will be happy, happy, happy, happy! You will like to meditate more and more, because the more you are united with that ultimate level, the more is the blessedness that it will bestow upon you. This is what we call the grace of God – the gr…

Attaining Peace of Mind :11.

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The psychology of the mind has to be understood. Thought concretises itself into reality. Do you know that the cosmic mind has concretised itself into this world which looks so solid? The cosmic mind, externalised in the space-time complex, appears to have descended into the concrete, solid form of the physical universe. That is the story of creation. Every little mind is a great potency. It is like a minute atom bomb which can assert, and what it asserts will take place. Think, and it is there.



But you are dubious in your adjustment of thought. You are always under the fear that something else is there outside you which will not agree with you. When you have the feeling that something is outside you which is different from you and cannot agree with you, you are really not en rapport with it, and it will really not like you and it cannot agree with you. What you think you are – that you really are. You must remember that. If you demoralise yourself, condemn yourself as a nobody and a…

Attaining Peace of Mind : 10.

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It is difficult to think like this because you have been born into a family and a cultural background which is totally unacquainted with the normal, subliminal way of the required attitude in human life. Everywhere you see evil and ugliness and wretchedness and enmity – everywhere. There is nothing good anywhere in the world. This is how we are indoctrinated right from the beginning. When a child is born, the parents say, "The other man is an enemy. Don't go there. The next house is an enemy's house." You are told in the beginning itself, "This land is ours. That land is not ours. Don't go there. They want to grab our property." Animosity starts in childhood itself. "This is mine. That is not mine. This is yours. That is not yours. This is your friend. That is your enemy."


You go on thinking like this right from your childhood. Your blood is infused with animosity and a feeling of incompatibility with everything. You are incompatible with eve…