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MENTAL OBSTACLES

1. Anger

It is a gate to hell. It destroys the knowledge of Self. It is born of Rajas. It is all-consuming and all-polluting. It is the greatest enemy of peace. It is a modification of lust. Just as milk is changed into curd, so also lust or desire becomes transmuted into anger. When a man's desire is not gratified, he becomes angry. Then his mind becomes confused. He loses his memory and understanding. He perishes. A man when he is angry will talk anything he likes and do anything he likes. He commits murder. A hot word results in fighting and stabbing. He is under intoxication. He loses his senses for the time being. He does not know what he is exactly doing. He is a prey to anger. He is under the sway of anger. Anger is a form of Sakti or Devi. In Chandipatha you will find:

"Ya devi sarva-bhuteshu krodharupena samsthita

Namas-tasyai namas-tasyai namas-tasyai namo namah."

"I bow to that Devi who is seated in all beings in the form of anger."

Resentment, indignation, fury, wrath and irritation are all varieties of anger according to degree or intensity. If a man wants to correct another man and uses slight anger unselfishly as a force to check and improve him, then it is called ‘righteous anger.' Suppose a man molests a girl and tries to outrage her, and a by-stander becomes angry towards this criminal, then it is called ‘righteous indignation.' That is not bad. Only when the anger is the outcome of greed or selfish motives, it is bad. Sometimes a religious teacher has to express a little anger outwardly to correct his disciples. This is also not bad. One has to do it. But he should be cool within and hot and impetuous outside. He should not allow the anger to take deep root in his Antahkarana for a long time. It should pass off immediately like a wave in the sea.

If a man becomes irritable for trifling things very often, it is a definite sign of mental weakness. One should control irritability by developing patience, Vichara, Kshama, love, mercy and spirit of service. When anger is controlled it becomes transmuted into an energy that can move the world. It becomes changed into Ojas, just as heat or light is changed into electricity. Energy takes another form. If an aspirant has controlled anger completely, half of his Sadhana is over. Control of anger means control of lust also. All vices, evil qualities and wrong actions take their origin in anger. If anger is controlled all bad qualities die by themselves. He who has controlled anger cannot do any wrong or evil actions. He is always just. An easily irritable man is always unjust. He is swayed by impulses and emotions. Too much loss of semen is the chief cause for irritability and anger. The root cause for anger lies in egoism. Through Vichara, egoism should be removed. Then only can one control anger completely to the very root. Through development of the opposite virtues such as Kshama, love, Santi, Karuna and friendship it can be controlled to some extent. The force can be reduced. Jnana only completely fries all Samskaras. But practice of Mouna is of great help in controlling anger. It is very difficult to say when a man will be thrown into a state of fury. All of a sudden he gets a terrible fit of anger for trifling matters. When the anger assumes a grave form, it becomes difficult to control. It should be controlled when it assumes the form of a small ripple in the subconscious mind. One should watch the mind carefully, whenever there is a sign of irritability. Then it becomes very easy.

When a man is furious, he has lost all control. Anger gains strength by repetition. If it is checked, man gains strength of will gradually. An aspirant should direct all his attention towards conquest of his powerful enemy. Sattvic food, Japa, meditation, prayer, Satsanga, Vichara, service, Kirtan, Brahmacharya, Pranayama-all will pave a long way in eradicating this dire malady. A combined method should be adopted in its removal. When a man abuses, you try to keep quiet. Bear the insult. You will gain strength. Check the impulses and emotions to begin with. Whenever there is likelihood of a burst of anger during conversation or debate, stop your speech. Always try to speak sweet and soft words (Madhura and Mridu). The words must be soft and the arguments hard, but if the words are hard, it will bring discord. If you find it difficult to control anger, leave the place at once and take a brisk walk. Drink some cool water immediately. Chant OM loudly for 10 minutes. Smoking, meat-eating and drinking of liquors make the heart very irritable. Therefore they should be completely abandoned. Tobacco brings diseases of heart. It gives rise to ‘tobacco-heart' which gets easily irritated.

Be careful in the selection of companions. Talk little. Mix little. Plunge yourself into spiritual Sadhana. Think that the world is a long dream; that the world is Mithya. This will prevent anger. Make Vichara: "What is abuse? What do I gain by getting angry? It is only wasting of energy and time. I am not body. The Atman is the same in all." This will completely remove anger. Anger spoils the blood. It throws various poisons into the blood.

Instances are recorded of women who have killed children by nursing them with breast milk when they were in a fit of anger. In the light of modern psychology all diseases take their origin in anger. Rheumatism, heart diseases and nervous diseases are due to anger. The whole nervous system is completely shattered by one fit of anger. It takes months before it is restored to normal equilibrium.

2. Backbiting

This is a dirty, abominable habit of petty-minded people. Almost all are victims of this dire malady. This has become an ingrained habit of narrow-hearted, mischievous people. This is a Tamo-Guna Vritti. The Lila of this world is kept up by this evil habit of man. It is Maya's strong weapon to spread restlessness throughout the world. If you see four men sitting in a group, think that some backbiting is surely going on there. If you behold that four Sadhus are talking, you can at once infer without any shadow of doubt that they are backbiting against some person or other. The Sadhu will be talking: "The food of that Kshetra is very bad. That Swamiji is a very bad man." Backbiting is more prevalent amongst the so-called Sadhus than amongst householders. Even educated Sannyasins and householders are not free from this dreadful disease. A real Sadhu who is engaged in contemplation will always be alone.

The root cause of backbiting is ignorance or jealousy. The backbiter wants to pull down or destroy the man who is in a prosperous condition by false vilification, slander, calumny, false accusation, etc. There is no other work for a backbiter except scandal-mongering. He lives on backbiting. He takes pleasure in backbiting and mischief-making. This is his Svabhava. Backbiters are a menace to society. They are worst criminals. They need capital punishment. Double-dealing, crookedness, diplomacy, chicanery, quibbling, tricks and artifices are the retinues of backbiting. A backbiter can never have a calm, peaceful mind. His mind is always planning or scheming in wrong directions. An aspirant should be absolutely free from this dreadful vice. He should walk alone, live alone, eat alone and meditate alone. If a man who has not removed jealousy, backbiting, hatred, pride, selfishness says, "I am meditating for six hours daily," it is all nonsense. There is no hope of getting a meditative mood even for six minutes unless a man removes all these evil Vrittis and purifies his mind first by selfless service for six years.

3. Depression

Very often depression comes in meditation in neophytes owing to the effect of previous Samskaras, influence of astral entities, evil spirits, bad company, cloudy days, bad stomach (indigestion) and loaded bowels. Treat the cause. Remove the cause. Do not allow depression to overpower you. Immediately take a brisk long walk. Run in the open air. Sing divine songs. Chant OM loudly for one hour. Walk along the seaside or river-side. Play on the harmonium if you know the art. Have cheerful thoughts and good laughing. If necessary you can take purgative and a dose of carminative mixture.

Do some Kumbhakas and Sitali Pranayama. Drink a small cup of orange juice or hot tea or coffee. Read some of the elevating portions of Avadhoota Gita and the Upanishads.

When depression comes and troubles you, the mind will revolt. The Indriyas will pull your legs. The undercurrent Vasanas will gush to the surface of the mind and torment you. Sensuous thoughts will agitate the mind and try to overwhelm you. Be bold. Stand adamant. Face these passing shocks. Keep your mind cool. Do not identify yourself with these obstacles. Increase your period of Japa and meditation. Strengthen Vairagya and discrimination too. Pray fervently. Live on milk and fruits. All these obstacles will pass away like a rent cloud. With the removal of all troubles you will shine gloriously. The improvement will be known to you. There will be a change in the mind, in speech and in all actions.

4. Doubt (Samsaya)

An aspirant begins to doubt whether God exists or not, whether he will succeed in his God-realisation or not, whether he is doing his practices rightly or not. Lack of faith is a dangerous obstacle in the spiritual path. The student slackens his efforts when these doubts crop up. Maya is very powerful. Mysterious is Maya. It misleads people through doubting and forgetfulness. Mind is Maya. Mind deludes people through doubting. Sometimes he gives up his Sadhana altogether. This is a serious mistake. Whenever doubt tries to overpower any student he should at once take recourse to the company of Mahatmas and remain with them for some time under the influence of their currents. He should clear his doubts by conversing with them. Generally an aspirant starts his Sadhana with expectation of so many Siddhis within a short time. When he does not get them he gets dejected and stops his practices. This is the trouble in almost all cases. He thinks that Kundalini will be awakened within six months and he will have clairvoyance, clairaudience, thought-reading, flying in the air, etc. He entertains so many fantastic and queer ideas.

There are various kinds of impurities in the mind. It takes a long time for purification of the mind and getting a one-pointed mind. Concentration is a question of practice for several lives. Concentration is the most difficult thing in the world. One should not get dejected after some practice for some months or one or two years. Even if you do a little practice, the effect is there. Nothing is lost. That is the immutable law of nature. You will not be able to detect the little improvement that has come out of a little practice as you have no subtle and pure intellect. You must develop virtues: Vairagya, patience and perseverance to a maximum degree; you must have an unshakable conviction in the existence of God and in the efficacy of spiritual practices. You must have a strong determination: "I will realise God right now in this very birth, nay in this very second. I will realise or die."

Doubts are of three kinds, viz., Samsaya Bhavana, Asambhavana and Vipareeta Bhavana (wrong feeling that the Self is the body and the world is a solid reality). Sravana (hearing of the scriptures), will remove Samsaya Bhavana. Manana (meditation) will remove Asambhavana. Nididhyasana (profound meditation) and Sakshatkara (realisation) will remove Vipareeta Bhavana.

Doubt or uncertainty is a great obstacle in the path of Self-realisation. It bars the spiritual progress. This must be removed by Satsanga, study of religious books, Vichara and reasoning. It will again and again raise its head to mislead the aspirant. It should be killed beyond resurrection by certainty of conviction and firm, unshakable faith based on reasoning.

Doubt is your great enemy. Doubt causes restlessness of mind. Destroy all doubts through Vichara and Jnana.

Do not bother about the doubts. There is no end for doubts. Purify your hearts. Go on vigorously with the purification processes, such as Japa, meditation. Meditate regularly. The doubts will be cleared by themselves in a mysterious manner. The great teacher or Inner Ruler is with you. He will illumine you and remove your doubts.

5. Dreams

Various sorts of fantastic dreams trouble some aspirants very much. Sometimes there is a mixture of meditation and dreams. As the phenomenon of dreams is very peculiar and inexplicable, it is very difficult to control dreams unless you wipe out all the Samskaras in the Karana Sarira (causal body) and control all thoughts. As you grow in purity, Viveka and concentration, dreams will decrease.

The presence of dreams denotes that you are not yet well-established in deep meditation, that you have not removed Vikshepa (tossing of the mind) and that you have not done constant intense Sadhana.

6. Evil Thoughts

Suppose the evil thoughts stay in your mind for twelve hours and recur every third day. If you can make them stay for ten hours and recur once in a week by daily practice of concentration and meditation, that is a decided improvement. If you continue your practice, the period of stay and recurrence will be gradually lessened. Eventually they will disappear altogether. Compare your present state with that of last year. You will be able to find out your progress. The progress will be very slow in the beginning. It will be difficult for you to gauge your growth and progress.

Your mind will sometimes shudder when evil thoughts enter your mind. This is a sign of your spiritual progress. You are growing spiritually. You will be much tormented when you think of your evil actions committed in the past. This is also a sign of your spiritual upheaval. You will not repeat now the same actions. Your mind will tremble. Your body will quiver whenever a wrong Samskara of some evil action urges you to do the same act through force of habit. Continue your meditation with full vigour and earnestness. All memories of evil actions, all evil thoughts, all evil promptings of Satan will die by themselves. You will be established in perfect purity and peace.

An aspirant complains, "As I continue my meditation, layer after layer of impurities is rising from the subconscious mind. Sometimes they are so strong and formidable that I am bewildered as to how to check them. I am not perfectly established in truth and Brahmacharya. The old habits of speaking lies and lust are still lurking in my mind. Lust is troubling me vigorously. The very idea of women agitates the mind. My mind is so sensitive that I am not able to hear or think of them. As soon as the thought comes in the mind, all the hidden Samskaras of lust rise up. As soon as these ideas come in my mind, the meditation as also the peace of the whole day is spoiled. I advise my mind, coax it, frighten it, but it is of no avail. My mind revolts. I do not know how to control this passion. Irritability, egoism, anger, greed, hatred, attachment, etc., are still lurking in me. As far as I have analysed the mind, lust is my chief enemy and it is very strong one, too. I request you to be kind enough to advise me as to how to get rid of the same."

In the beginning all sorts of evil thoughts will arise in your mind as soon as you sit for meditation. Why does this happen during meditation, when you attempt to entertain pure thoughts? Aspirants leave their spiritual practice of meditation on account of this. If you try to drive a monkey, it attempts to pounce upon you with vengeance. Even so, the old evil Samskaras and old evil thoughts try to attack you with vengeance and with redoubled force only at the time when you try to raise good, divine thoughts. Your enemy endeavours to resist you vehemently when you try to eject him out of your house. There is law of resistance in nature. The old evil thoughts assert and say, "O man! do not be cruel. You have allowed us to stay in your mental factory from time immemorial. We have every right to abide here. We have helped you up to this time in all your evil actions. Why do you want to oust us from our dwelling place? We will not vacate our abode." Do not be discouraged. Go on with your practice of meditation regularly. These evil thoughts will be thinned out.

Eventually they will all perish. Positive always overcomes the negative. This is the law of nature. Negative evil thoughts cannot stand before positive good thoughts. Courage overcomes fear. Patience overcomes anger and irritability. Love overcomes hatred. Purity overcomes lust. The very fact that you feel uneasy now when an evil thought comes to the surface of the mind during meditation, indicates that you are growing in spirituality. In those days you consciously harboured all sorts of evil thoughts. You welcomed and nourished them. Persist in your spiritual practices. Be tenacious and diligent. You are bound to succeed. Even a dull type of aspirant will notice a marvellous change in him if he keeps up the practice of Japa and meditation for 2 or 3 years in continuous stream. Now he cannot leave the practice. Even if he stops his practice of meditation for a day, he will actually feel that he has lost something on that day. His mind will be quite uneasy.

Passion is lurking in you. You may ask me the reason why you become frequently angry. Anger is nothing but the modification of passion. When the passion is not gratified, it assumes the form of anger. The real cause for anger is ungratified passion. It expresses itself in the form of anger when you deal with the mistakes of your servants. This is an indirect cause or external stimulus for its expression. Raga-Dvesha currents are not thoroughly eradicated. They are only attenuated or thinned out to some extent. The Indriyas or senses are yet turbulent. They are subjugated to a small degree. There are still undercurrents of Vasanas and Trishnas. The outgoing tendencies of the senses are not totally checked. You are not established in Pratyahara. The Vrittis are still powerful. There is no strong and sustained discrimination or dispassion. The aspiration for the Divine has not become intense. Rajas and Tamas are still doing havoc. There is only a small increase in the quantity of Sattva. Evil Vrittis are not thinned out. They are still powerful. Positive virtues have not been cultivated to a considerable degree. That is the reason why you have not attained perfect concentration. Purify the mind first. Concentration will come by itself.

Worldly thoughts will trouble you a lot in the beginning of your meditation. If you are regular in meditation, these thoughts will gradually die by themselves. Meditation is a fire to burn these thoughts. Do not try to drive all worldly thoughts. Entertain thoughts concerning the object of meditation.

Watch your mind always very carefully. Be vigilant. Be on the alert. Do not allow waves of irritability, jealousy, anger, hatred and lust to rise from the mind. These dark waves are enemies of meditation, peace and wisdom. Suppress them immediately by entertaining sublime and divine thoughts. Evil thoughts that have arisen may be destroyed by originating good thoughts and maintaining them by repeating any Mantra or the name of the Lord, by thinking on any form of the Lord, by practice of Pranayama, by singing the name of the Lord, by doing good action and thinking of the misery that arises from evil thoughts. When you attain the state of purity, no evil thoughts will arise in your mind. Just as it is easy to check the intruder or enemy at the gate, so also it is easy to overcome an evil thought as soon as it arises. Nip it in the bud. Do not allow it to strike deep root.

In the beginning of your practice of thought-control, you will experience great difficulty. You will have to wage war with them. They will try their level best for their own existence. They will say, "we have every right to remain in this palace of mind. We have a sole monopoly from time immemorial to occupy this area. Why should we vacate our dominion now? We will fight for our birthright till the end." They will pounce upon you with great ferocity. When you sit for meditation only, all sorts of evil thoughts will crop up. As you attempt to suppress, they want to attack you with redoubled force and vigour. But positive always overcomes the negative. Just as darkness cannot stand before the sun, just as the leopard cannot stand before the lion, so also all these dark, negative thoughts, these invisible intruders, enemies of peace, cannot stand before the sublime thoughts. They must die by themselves.

When you are very busy in your daily work, you may not harbour any impure thoughts; but when you take rest and leave the mind blank, the impure thoughts will try to enter insidiously. You must be careful when the mind is relaxed.

7. False Tushti

The Sadhaka gets some experience during the course of his Sadhana, sees wonderful visions of Rishis, Mahatmas, astral entities of various descriptions, etc. He hears various melodious Anahata sounds (Nada). He smells Divya Gandha. He gets the powers of thought-reading, foretelling, etc. The Sadhaka now foolishly imagines that he has reached the highest goal and stops his further Sadhana. This is a serious mistake. He gets false Tushti or contentment. These are all auspicious signs that manifest on account of a little purity and concentration. These are all encouragements which God gives as a sort of incentive for further progress and intense Sadhana. The aspirant gets more strength of conviction by having these experiences.

8. Fear

This is a very great obstacle in the path of God-realisation. A timid aspirant is absolutely unfit for the spiritual path. He cannot dream of Self-realisation even in one thousand births. One must risk the life if he wants immortality. The spiritual wealth cannot be gained without self-sacrifice, self-abnegation. A fearless dacoit who has no Deha-Adhyasa is fit for God-realisation. Only his current will have to be changed. Fear is an imaginary non-entity. It assumes solid forms and troubles the aspirant in various ways. If one conquers fear, he is on the road to success. He has almost reached the goal. Tantrika Sadhana makes the student fearless. There is one great advantage in this line. He has to make practices in the burial ground, by sitting over the dead body at midnight. This kind of Sadhana emboldens the student. Fear assumes various forms. There are fear of death, fear of disease, scorpion-phobia, fear of solitude, fear of company, fear of losing something and fear of public criticism in the form of "what will people say of me?"

Some are not afraid of tigers in the forests. Some are not afraid of gunshots in the battlefield. But they are awfully afraid of public criticism. Fear of public criticism stands in the way of the aspirant in his spiritual progress. He should stick to his own principles, and own convictions, even though he is persecuted and even though he is at the point of being blown up at the mouth of a machine-gun. Then only he will grow and realise. All aspirants suffer from this dire malady, fear. Fear of all sorts should be totally eradicated by Atma-Chintana, Vichara, devotion and cultivation of the opposite quality, courage. Positive overcomes negative. Courage overpowers fear and timidity.

It took me many years to understand thoroughly the secret subtle workings of the mind. Mind havocs through the power of imagination. Imaginary fears of various sorts, exaggeration, concoction, mental dramatisation, building castles in the air, are all due to the power of imagination. Even a perfect, healthy man has some imaginary disease or other due to the power of imagination of the mind. A man may have a little weakness or Dosha (fault). When he becomes your enemy, you at once exaggerate and magnify his weakness and Dosha. You even superimpose or concoct many more weaknesses and Doshas. This is due to the power of imagination. Much energy is wasted on account of imaginary fears.

9. Fickleness

Fickleness of mind is a great obstacle in meditation. Light Sattvic diet and the practice of Pranayama will remove this state of mind. Do not overload the stomach. Walk briskly in your compound hither and thither for half an hour. As soon as you have made a firm resolve, you must carry it out promptly at any cost. This will remove fickleness of mind and develop your will-power.

10. Five Hindrances to Meditation

The five hindrances to meditation, viz., sense-desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor, flurry and worry, and perplexity should be removed. For, when these are not removed, meditation cannot arise. The mind that lusts after many things through sense-desire, is not concentrated on one object or being overcome by sense-desire, it does not enter in meditation in order to put away the sensuous element. The mind that is harassed by ill-will concerning an object does not leave it at once. The mind that is overcome by sloth and torpor is unwieldy. Obsessed by worry and flurry, it does not repose but flirts about. Struck by perplexity, it does not go on the path that leads to the attainment of meditation and Samadhi.

11. Force of Old Samskaras

When the aspirant does intense Sadhana to obliterate the old Samskaras, they try to rebound upon him with vengeance and with redoubled force. They take forms and come before him as stumbling blocks. The old Samskaras of hatred, enmity, jealousy, feelings of shame, respect, honour, fear, etc., assume grave forms. Samskaras are not imaginary non-entities. They turn into actualities when opportunities crop up. The aspirant should not be discouraged. They will lose their force after some time and die by themselves. Just as the dying wick burns with intensity before it gets extinguished, so also those old Samskaras show their teeth and force before they are eradicated. The aspirant should not get unnecessarily alarmed. He will have to increase the force or momentum of spiritual Samskaras by doing Japa, Dhyana, Svadhyaya, virtuous actions, Satsanga and cultivation of Sattvic virtues. These new spiritual Samskaras will neutralise the old vicious Samskaras. He should be intent on his Sadhana. He should plunge himself into his spiritual practices. This is his Kartavya or duty.

When you again sit for meditation in evening, you will have to struggle hard to wipe out the new worldly Samskaras that you have gathered during the course of the day and get a calm one-pointed mind again. This struggle brings in headache. The Prana which moves inwards in different grooves and channels and which is subtle during meditation has to move in new and different channels during worldly activities. It becomes very gross during work. During meditation, the Prana is taken up to the head.

12. Gloom and Despair

Just as clouds screen and obstruct the sun, so also the cloud of gloom and despair will stand in your way of practice. Even then you must not leave the practice of Japa, concentration and meditation. These small clouds of gloom and despair will pass off soon. Give the suggestion to the mind:  "EVEN  THIS  WILL PASS  AWAY."

13. Greed

First comes Kama. Then comes anger. Then comes greed. Then comes Moha. Kama is very powerful. So prominence is given to it. There is intimate connection between Kama and Krodha. Similarly there is close relationship between greed and Moha. A greedy man has got great Moha for his money. His mind is always on the money-box and the bunch of keys he has tied on his waist-cord. Money is his very blood and life. He lives to collect money. He is a gatekeeper only for his money. The enjoyer is his prodigal son. Money-lenders are the favourite tools of our friend, greed. He has taken his stronghold in their minds. They are the Shylocks of the present day. They suck the blood of poor people by taking enormous interest (25 per cent, 50 per cent and even 100 per cent at times). Cruel-hearted people! They pretend to show that they are of charitable disposition by doing acts such as opening of Kshetras, building temples, etc.

Such acts cannot neutralise their abominable sins and merciless acts. Many poor families are ruined by these people. They do not think that the bungalows and palaces in which they live are built out of the blood of these poor people. Greed had destroyed their intellect and made them absolutely blind. They have eyes but they see not. Greed always makes the mind restless. A man of one lakh of rupees plans to get ten lakhs. A millionaire schemes to become a multimillionaire. Greed is insatiable. There is no end to it. Greed assumes various subtle forms. A man thirsts for name and fame and applause. This is greed. A sub-judge thirsts for becoming a High Court Judge. A third-class magistrate thirsts for becoming a first-class magistrate with full powers. This is also greed. A Sadhu thirsts for getting psychic Siddhis. This is another form of greed. A Sadhu thirsts for opening several Ashrams in different centres. This is also greed. A greedy man is absolutely unfit for the spiritual path. Destroy greed of all sorts by Vichara, devotion, meditation, Japa, Dhyana, Santosha, integrity, honesty, disinterestedness and enjoy peace.

14. Hatred

This is the deadliest foe of an aspirant. It is an inveterate enemy. It is an old-standing associate of the Jiva. Ghrina, contempt, prejudice, sneering, taunting, teasing, ridiculing, mocking, frowning and showing wry faces are all forms of hatred. Hatred bubbles out again and again. It is insatiable like lust or greed. It may temporarily subside for some time, and may again burst out with redoubled force. If the father dislikes a man, his sons and daughters also begin to hate that man without any rhyme or reason whatsoever, although that man has not done them any wrong or injustice. Such is the force of hatred. If any one even remembers the figure of a man who has done him some serious injury some forty years ago, at once hatred creeps into his mind and his face shows clear signs of enmity and hatred.

Hatred develops repetition of hatred-Vritti. Hatred ceases not by hatred but by love only. Hatred needs prolonged and intense treatment as its branches ramify in various directions in the subconscious mind. It lurks in different corners. Constant selfless service combined with meditation for a period of twelve years is necessary. An Englishman hates an Irishman and an Irishman hates an Englishman. A Catholic hates a Protestant and a Protestant hates a Catholic. This is religious hatred. There is communal hatred. One man hates another man at first sight without any reason. This is Svabhavika. Pure love is unknown in this world amongst worldly people. Selfishness, jealousy, greed and lust are retinues of hatred. In Kali Yuga the force of hatred is augmented.

A son hates his father and sues him in the court. The wife divorces her husband. This has come to stay even in India. In course of time divorce courts also will be established in India. Where is the Pativrata-Dharma of Hindu ladies? Has it disappeared from the soil of India? In India marriage is a sacrament. It is a sacred act. It is not a regular contract as in the West. The husband holds the hand of his wife, both look at Arundhati star and take a solemn pledge before the holy fire. The husband says, "I shall be as chaste as Rama and promise to live with you peacefully, procreating healthy intelligent offspring. I shall love you till I die. I will never look the face of another lady. I will be true to you. I shall never separate myself from you." The wife in return says, "I shall be unto you like Radha unto Krishna, like Sita unto Rama. I shall serve thee till the end of my life in sincerity. Thou art my very life-Thou art my Prana-Vallabha-I shall realise God by serving thee as God." Look at the horrible state of present-day affairs. Absolute freedom should not be given to Hindu ladies. Manu says, "Hindu ladies should always be kept under control." This deplorable state of affairs is due to so-called modern civilisation and modern education. Pativrata-Dharma has gone. Ladies have become independent. They forsake their husbands and do whatever they like. Culture does not consist in husband and wife walking on Mount Road and Marina Beach, holding their hands or placing their hands on the shoulders. This is not real freedom. This is vile imitation. This is unbecoming of Hindu ladies. This fashionable habit will unsex the Hindu ladies and destroy the feminine grace and modesty which are their characteristics and which adorn them.

Pure unselfish love should be cultivated. One should have fear of God. Solomon says, "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Service with Atma-Bhava can remove hatred completely and bring in Advaitic realisation of oneness of life. Ghrina, prejudice, contempt, etc., will completely vanish by selfless service. Vedanta in daily life when put into actual practice can eradicate all sorts of hatred. There is one Self hidden in all beings. Then why do you frown at others? Why do you treat others with contempt? Why do you divide and separate? Realise the unity of life and consciousness. Feel Atman everywhere. Rejoice and radiate love and peace everywhere.

15. Impatience

When you sit in Asana for meditation, you want to get up soon not on account of pain in the legs but on account of impatience. Conquer this undesirable negative quality by developing patience gradually. Then you will be able to sit for three or four hours at a stretch.

The aspirant who wants to attain Samadhi should have patience like that of the bird Tittibha which tried to empty the ocean with its beak. Once he makes a firm resolve, gods will come to his help in the same way as Garuda came to the help of Tittibha. Help invariably comes from all beings in a righteous act. Even the monkeys and squirrels helped Rama to rescue Sita. He who is endowed with self-control, courage, prowess, fortitude, patience, perseverance, strength and skill, can achieve anything. You should never give up your attempt even if you face insurmountable difficulties.

16. Independent Nature

Some do meditation for some years independently. Later on they actually feel the necessity of a Guru. They come across some obstacles in the way. They do not know how to proceed further and how to obviate these impediments or stumbling blocks. Then they begin to search for a master. A stranger in a big city finds it difficult to go back to his residence in a small avenue even in broad daylight, though he has walked half a dozen times. When difficulty arises even in the case of finding out the way in streets and roads, what to speak of the difficulties in the razor-path of spirituality when one walks alone with closed eyes!

Do not allow the mind to move in old ruts, grooves and avenues. When it falls down during meditation, elevate it at once. Generate new divine vibrations and thought-waves. Pray. Repeat the Gita-Slokas!

Energy is wasted in useless thinking. Conserve the mental energy by driving useless, obnoxious thoughts. Then you will improve in your meditation.

Just as water when it leaks into the rat-holes instead of running into the proper channels in agricultural fields becomes wasted and does not help the growth of plants, fruit-bearing trees, grain, etc., so also the efforts of an aspirant in meditation become a wastage if he has not the virtue-Vairagya. He gets no progress in meditation.

If the mind constantly dwells on sensual objects, the conception of the reality of the universe will surely increase. If the mind ceaselessly thinks of Atman (Absolute), the world appears like a dream.

17. Jealousy

This is also a great obstacle. Even Sadhus who have renounced everything, who live with one Koupeen only in the caves of Gangotri and Uttarkasi in the Himalayas are not free from this evil Vritti. Sadhus are more jealous than the householders. Their hearts burn when they see some other Sadhu in a flourishing condition, when they notice that the neighbouring Sadhu is respected and honoured by the public. They try to vilify the neighbour and adopt methods for his destruction or elimination. What a sad sight! What a deplorable spectacle! Horrible to think! Dreadful to imagine! When the hearts burn, how can you expect peace of mind? Even highly educated people are very mean and petty-minded. Jealousy is the worst enemy of Peace and Jnana. It is the strongest weapon of Maya. Aspirants should always be on the alert. They should not become slaves of name and fame and jealousy. If there is jealousy, he is a small, little being only. He is far from God. One should rejoice at the welfare of others. One should develop Mudita (complacency) when he sees others in prosperous condition. He should feel Atma-Bhava in all beings. Jealousy assumes various forms such as Irshya, Asuya, Matsarya, etc. All forms of jealousy must be totally eradicated. Just as milk bubbles out again and again during the process of ebullition, so also jealousy bursts out again and again. It must be entirely rooted out.

18. Lower Nature

I. The petty, obstinate egoism which actuates the human personality is a serious obstacle in meditation or the path of Self-realisation. This little self-arrogating principle supports its surface-thoughts and dominates its habitual ways of feeling, character and action. This is Rajasic and Tamasic egoism which conceals or covers the higher, divine, Sattvic nature. It veils the self-luminous, Immortal Soul or Atman.

You may have aspiration for the Truth. You may be endowed with devotion. You may possess a will to overcome the obstacles and hostile forces. If the little ego asserts or persists, if the external personality has not consented to change or transformation, you cannot have rapid progress in the spiritual path. It will have its own ways and inclinations.

The lower nature must be thoroughly regenerated. The habitual lower personality of the Sadhaka must be entirely changed. If this is not done, any spiritual experience or power is of no value. If this little ego or human personality persists in retaining its petty, limited, selfish, ignoble, false and stupid human consciousness, any amount of Tapas or Sadhana will bear no fruit. This means that you do not really thirst for God-realisation. It is nothing more than idle curiosity. The aspirant says to the preceptor, "I want to practise Yoga; I want to enter into Nirvikalpa Samadhi; I want to sit at your feet," but he does not want to change his lower nature and old habits. He wants to have his own ways and old habits, old character, behaviour and conduct.

If the aspirant or Yogic student declines to change his petty, lower nature or if he refuses even to admit the need for any change of his lower, habitual personality, he can never make even an iota of real spiritual advancement. Any partial or temporary elevation, slight occasional aspiration during some exalted moments, any momentary spiritual opening within, without any true or radical transformation of the lower nature or habitual little personality, is of no practical value.

This change of the lower nature is not easy. The force of habit is ever strong and inveterate. It demands great strength of will. The aspirant often feels helpless against the force of old habits. He will have to develop his Sattva and will to a considerable degree by regular Japa, Kirtan, meditation, untiring selfless service, Satsanga. He must introspect and find out his own defects and weaknesses. He must live under the guidance of his Guru. The Guru finds out his defects and points out suitable ways to eradicate them.

II. If the lower nature or old personality becomes obstinate, self-assertive, and if it is supported and justified by the lower mind and will, then the matter becomes very serious. He becomes incorrigible, turbulent, unruly, arrogant and impertinent. He breaks all the rules and disciplines.

Such an aspirant clings to his old self. He has not surrendered himself either to the Lord or to a personal Guru. He is ever ready to revolt against any man for little things. He will never obey. He is not willing to receive any spiritual instruction. He is self-willed, self-satisfied and self-sufficient. He is not ready to accept his weaknesses and defects. He thinks that he is a flawless man of great achievements. He leads a happy-go-lucky life.

The old personality asserts itself with the past forms of lower nature. He asserts and follows his own crude and egoistic ideas, desires, fancies, at convenience. He claims the right to follow his own human, unregenerate, Asuric, or diabolical nature with all untruthfulness, ignorance, selfishness, rudeness, and to express all impure stuff in speech, action and behaviour.

He argues vehemently and defends himself in a variety of ways and paints in special colours. He tries to continue his past habitual ways of thinking, speaking and feeling.

He professes one thing and practises another thing. He tries to force his wrong views and opinions on others. If others are not willing to accept his wrong views, he is ready to fight against them. He at once stands up in revolt. He asserts that his views only are correct and that those who try to oppose his views are unjust, unreasonable and uneducated. He tries to persuade and convince others that his views are very reasonable and that his ways of actions are the right ways of actions for all and that his ways and views are in full accordance with the science of Yoga. Marvellous people they are! Really the world is not in need of such wonderful people in abundance!!

If he is really frank with himself and straightforward to his Guru, if he really desires to improve himself, he will begin to realise his folly and defects and recognise the source and nature of the resistance. He will soon be on the direct road to correct and change himself. But he prefers to conceal his old Asuric nature, his old diabolical thoughts under some justification or excuse or other shelter.

III. The self-assertive, arrogant Sadhaka tries to make a figure in society. He wants to maintain a position and prestige in the society. He poses himself that he is a great Yogi and possesses several Yogic powers. He claims the part of a superior Sadhaka or an advanced Yogi with great knowledge and experience or Nirvikalpa Samadhi. These defects of vanity, arrogance and Rajasic utterances are present in most persons on a smaller scale.

He is unwilling to obey the orders of his Guru and to respect elders and superiors. He is ever ready to break discipline. He has got his own ideas and impulses. The habit of disobedience and disregard of discipline is ingrained in him. He sometimes promises that he will be obedient to his Guru and elders, but the action done is frequently the very opposite of his promise. Non-observance of discipline is indeed a serious obstacle to the Sadhaka. He sets the worst possible example to others.

He who is disobedient, who breaks the discipline, who is not straightforward to his Guru, who cannot open his heart to his preceptor or spiritual guide, cannot be benefited by the help of Guru. He remains stuck in his own self-created mire or mud and cannot progress in the divine path. What a great pity! His lot is highly lamentable indeed!!

He practises dissimulation. He plays the hypocrite. He pretends falsely. He exaggerates things. He makes a false use of his imagination. He conceals his thoughts and facts. He does distortion and denies any concealment of facts. He denies positively certain facts. He tells terrible, deliberate lies. He does this to cover up his disobedience or wrong course of action to keep up his position and to have his own ways or indulge in his old habits and desires.

He himself does not know what he is exactly doing as his intellect is clouded by impurity. He does not know what he means and does not mean what he says.

He never admits his faults and defects. Even if anyone points out his defects for correcting him, he feels extremely annoyed. He wages war against him. He has more brute in him.

He has got the most dangerous habit of self-justification. He always tries to justify himself, to stick to his ideas, to maintain his own position or course of action by bringing any kind of foolish, inconsistent arguments, clever tricks or devices. He misuses his intellect to support his own foolish actions. These defects are common in some in a lesser, in others in a greater degree.

IV. If he feels even a little bit for his present deplorable condition, if he attempts to show even a slight improvement, if there is a little receptive attitude, he can be corrected. He can have progress in the path of Yoga. If he is obstinate and pig-headed, if he is absolutely self-willed, if he deliberately shuts his eyes or hardens his heart against the Truth or Divine light, no one can help him.

The aspirant should give his full consent with all his being (Sarva Bhava) for the change of his lower nature into divine nature. He must make total, unreserved, ungrudging self-surrender to the Lord or Guru. He must have the true spirit and right abiding attitude. He must make the right persistent endeavours. Then only the real change will come. Mere nodding the head, mere professing, mere saying ‘yes' will not serve any purpose. It will not make you a Superman or Yogi.

Yoga can be practised only by those who are very earnest about it and who are ready to annihilate their little ego and its demands. There is no half-measure in the spiritual path. Rigid discipline of senses and mind, rigorous Tapas and constant meditation are necessary for the attainment of God-realisation. The hostile forces are ever ready to overwhelm you if you are not vigilant, if you give the least sanction or the smallest opening to them. Yoga cannot be practised if you cling to your old little self, old habits, old unregenerate self-assertive lower nature.

You cannot lead a double life at the same time. Pure divine life, life of Yoga, cannot co-exist with mundane life of passion and ignorance. Divine life cannot conform to your own little standards. You must rise above petty human level. You must raise yourself to a higher level of divine consciousness. You cannot claim freedom for your petty mind and little ego if you want to become a Yogi. You should not affirm your own thoughts, judgment, desires and impulses. The lower nature with its retinue, viz., arrogance, ignorance and turbulence stands in the way of descent of the divine light.

Become a true, sincere aspirant in the path of Yoga. Kill this lower nature by developing the higher divine nature. Soar high. Get yourself ready for the descent of the divine light. Purify and become a dynamic Yogi.

May the blessings of great Yogins be upon you all!

19. Manorajya

Manorajya is building castles in the air. This is a trick of the mind. Look at this wonder! The aspirant is meditating in an isolated cave in the Himalayas. He plans in the cave: "After finishing my meditation, I must move about in San Francisco and New York and deliver lectures there. I must start a centre of spiritual activity in Columbia. I must do something new to the world. I must do something which none has done up to this time." This is ambition. This is egoistic imagination. This is a great obstacle. This is a powerful Vighna. This will not allow the mind to rest even for a second. Again and again there will be resurrection of some scheme, speculation or plan or other. The aspirant will be thinking that he is having deep meditation, but if he closely watches his mind through introspection and self-analysis, it will be a pure case of building castles in the air. One Manorajya will subside and another will crop up in the twinkling of an eye. It will be a small Sankalpa or ripple in the mind-lake. But it will gain tremendous force within a few minutes by repeated thinking. The power of imagination is tremendous. Maya havocs through the power of imagination. Imagination fattens the mind. Imagination is like musk or Siddha-Makaradhvaja. It renovates and vivifies a dying mind. The power of imagination will not allow the mind to keep quiet even for a second. Just as swarms of locusts or flies come forth in a continuous stream, so also currents of Manorajya will stream forth incessantly. Vichara, discrimination, prayer, Japa, meditation, Satsanga, fasting, Pranayama and practice of thoughtlessness, will obviate this obstacle. Pranayama checks the velocity of the mind and calms the bubbling mind. A young ambitious man is unfit to remain in a solitary cave. He who has done selfless service in the world for some years, and who has practised meditation for several years in the plains in solitary rooms can live in cave. Such a man only can really enjoy the solitude of Himalayan retreats.

When you constantly contemplate on the meaning of the Mahavakya "Aham Brahma Asmi" or "Tat Tvam Asi" through the process of Maha Vakyanusandhana, all the Vishayas (seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling) will stop. But owing to the force of Samskaras, Manorajya (building castles in the air) will continue. Sleep also will intervene. If you are alert and if by protracted efforts and incessant, vigilant Svarupa-Chintana (meditation on Brahman) you get over these two obstacles, the steady Brahmakara Vritti and Brahma Jnana will dawn in no time. Ajnana will vanish. You will be established in Sahaja-Paramananda state. All Sanchita (accumulated) Karmas will be burnt up in the fire of wisdom.

20. Memory

When you sit for meditation, thoughts of your friends and office-work, memory of conversation that took place in the previous evening with your friends and relatives will disturb your mind and cause distraction. You will have to withdraw the mind again and again cautiously from these extraneous worldly thoughts and try continuously and fix it on your Lakshya or point. You will have to disregard and ignore the worldly thoughts. Be indifferent. Do not welcome these thoughts. Do not identify yourself with these thoughts or ideas. Say within yourself, "I do not want these thoughts. I have nothing to do with these thoughts." They will vanish gradually.

You may be living in a solitary cave in the Himalayas. You may be practising meditation. If the memory of your past experiences in the plains comes, if you allow the mind to dwell on it again and again, you are living actually on the plains only, though your abode is in the solitary retreats of the Himalayas. Further you do not lead the perfect divine life in the cave, because you lead the past worldly life again and again subjectively in the sacred cave. Thought is the real action.

When you climb the ladder of Yoga, when you walk in the spiritual path, do not look back, do not remember your past experiences; kill all memory of your past experiences. Build up your mental Bhava ‘I am Brahman' strongly. Strengthen it. Generate again and again Brahmakara Vritti. Keep it steady by regular and constant meditation. A single thought of your past experience will give a new lease of life to the thought-image or memory-picture, rejuvenate and strengthen it and will pull you down. It will be difficult for you to climb up again.

If the memory of past experiences recurs again and again, the old mental images will be energised or galvanised. They will express themselves with redoubled force again and again. They will crowd together or come in packs or in multitudes or in a party and attack you with formidable vehemence. Therefore, look not back. Destroy memory of past experiences by remembering God.

Be concerned yourself with the present only. Do not look back upon the past or the future. Then alone you will be happy. You will be free from cares, worries and anxieties. You will have a long life. Destroy the Sankalpas through strenuous efforts. Meditate ceaselessly upon that Satchidananda Brahman and attain that Supreme immaculate seat. May you prosper gloriously! May you live drowned in the ocean of Brahmic bliss in an illumined state!

Exercise Vichara and Viveka in your attempts. Do not think of the past and future. The past days of boyhood, your days of schooling are all dreams when you are at forty. The whole life is a Deergha-Svapna (long dream). The past is a dream to you now. The future also will be the same hereafter. You will have to deal with the present only. You will have to cut down the two wings of the mind-bird, two wings representing the past and the future. But it will flutter about as there is the present. Keep off all external impressions. Stop the Vrittis. Silence the mind. Restrain the modifications of the mind. Concentrate. Overcome the multiplicity of ideas that result from the impressions. Give now a good food to the mind-some sublime thoughts of the Gita, Avadhoota Gita, meaning of OM, to reflect upon. After sometime the luring present also will vanish. The mind will become perfectly serene and tranquil. The highest knowledge of the Self will dawn in your pure mind. You will rest in Brahman, the Adhishthana, the source, support, the basis and background for everything. You will get Jnananishtha or Svarupasthiti (Sat-Chit-Ananda State).

21. Mental Talking

During meditation, you will be frequently talking to somebody mentally. Stop this evil habit. Have a careful watch over the mind.

22. Moha

Here comes another great obstacle which troubled even Sri Sankara. He had to attend the sick-bed and funeral rites of his mother, though he was a Sannyasin. A great sage, Pattinattu Swami of South India, sang when his mother died: "There was fire at first in Tripura-Samhara. Then there was fire in Lanka by Hanuman. Now the death of my beloved mother has caused burning fire in my stomach and heart. Let me also apply fire to this corpse of my mother." Moha is infatuated love for one's own body, wife, children, father, mother, brothers, sisters and property. Moha, like greed, takes various subtle forms. The mind gets attached to one name and form or other. If it is detached from one name and form, it clings tenaciously to another name and form.

Look at the Moha of monkeys. If the baby-monkey dies, the mother-monkey will carry the dead skeleton for two or three months. Such is the power of Moha! Mysterious is Maya! If the father receives a telegram that his only son is dead, he gets immediately a shock and faints. Sometimes he dies also. This is the power of Moha. The whole world runs through Moha. It is through Moha one is bound to the wheel of Samsara. One gets pain through Moha. Moha creates attachment. Moha is a kind of powerful liquor that brings intoxication in the twinkling of an eye. Even Sannyasins develop Moha for their Ashram and disciples. Moha should be eradicated by Viveka, Vairagya, Vichara, Atma-Chintana, devotion, seclusion, study of Vedantic literature, etc. Moha can only be removed in toto by renunciation and Sannyasa and Self-realisation.

You never wept when millions of people died in the world war. But you weep bitterly when your wife dies. Why? Because you have Moha for her. Moha creates the idea of ‘mineness.' Therefore you say: "my wife, my son, my horse, my home." This is bondage. This is death. Moha creates infatuated love for sensual objects. Moha produces delusion and perverted intellect. Through the force of Moha, you mistake the unreal, dirty body for the real, pure Atman; you take the unreal world as a solid reality. These are the functions of Moha. Moha is a strong weapon of Maya.

23. Obstacles in Yoga

(From ‘Rajayoga' of Patanjali)

Disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, indolence, worldly-mindedness, sensuality, mistaken notion or illusion, missing the point, instability, causing distractions of the mind, these are the obstacles.

Diseases arise through the disturbance in the equilibrium in the three humours viz., wind, bile and phlegm. If there is more phlegm, the body becomes heavy. You cannot sit for a long time in the Asana. If there is more Tamas in the mind, you become lazy. Diseases may be due to irregularity in taking food, unwholesome food that cannot agree with the system, late vigil overnight, loss of seminal energy, checking the urine and faeces. Diseases can be removed by the practice of Asana, Pranayama and physical exercises, meditation, dietetic adjustment, fasting, purgatives, enema, bath, sun-treatment, sufficient rest, etc. First diagnose the case and find out the cause of the disease and then try for a remedy or consult some doctors.

In Styana, the person is unfit to do any practice on account of inexperience in the line and lack of Samskaras of previous births. It is indisposition of the mind to work. Dullness, laziness, etc., can be eradicated by Pranayama, Asana and active habits. Doubt is whether it is this or that. Such indecisive notion is doubt. The Yogi is not able to proceed further in the path of Yoga. He will doubt whether all that is said in the Yoga Sastras is true or not. This can be dispelled by right knowledge, Viveka, Vichara, study of scriptures and by Satsanga with Mahatmas.

Avirati is that tendency of the mind which unceasingly longs keenly for one or the other kind of sensual enjoyment on account of attachment. This is destroyed by Vairagya, looking into the faults of worldly objects and worldly life, such as impermanence, diseases, death, old age, miseries etc., and constant Satsanga with dispassionate Mahatmas and study of books on Vairagya.

Branti-Darshana is mistaking an undesirable state as the most desirable one due to illusion. Missing the point is going astray from the right path, Samadhi, and falling into the clutches of Siddhis. Mistaken notion is removed by Satsanga with Yogins. Missing the point and instability are removed by developing more Vairagya and doing constant and intense Sadhana in seclusion. Anavasthitatva or instability is that fickleness of the mind which does not allow the Yogi to remain in the state of Samadhi, even though he has reached it with great difficulty. Maya is powerful. There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. These obstacles do not come to those who do Japa of OM as stated in Sutra 28 of Chapter II.

When slight difficulties appear, do not stop the practice. Find out suitable means to eradicate the obstacles. Plod on till you get the highest Asamprajnata Samadhi. Success is bound to come if you are sincere and steady in Sadhana.

24. Other Obstacles

If you can give up idle talks and gossiping and idle curiosity to hear rumours and news of others and if you do not meddle with the affairs of others, you will have ample time to do meditation. Make the mind quiet during meditation. If worldly thoughts try to enter the mind during meditation reject them. Have steady devotion to truth. Be cheerful. Increase the Sattvic materials in you. You can enjoy everlasting bliss.

Environments are not bad, but your mind is bad. Your mind is not disciplined properly. Wage a war with this horrible and terrible mind. Do not complain against bad environments but complain first against your own mind. Train your mind first. If you practise concentration amidst unfavorable environments, you will grow strong, you will develop your will-force quickly and you will become a dynamic personality. See good in everything and transmute evil into good. This is real Yoga. This is the real work of a Yogi.

Leakage of energy, hidden undercurrent of Vasanas, lack of control of senses, slackness in Sadhana, waning of dispassion, lack of intense aspiration, irregularity in Sadhana are the various obstacles in the path of concentration.

25. Prejudice, Intolerance and Bigotry

Prejudice is unreasonable dislike for something or some person. Prejudice makes the brain callous. The brain cannot vibrate properly to grasp the things in their true light. One cannot endure honest differences of opinion. This is intolerance. Religious intolerance and prejudice are great obstacles in the path of God-realisation. Some orthodox Sanskrit Pandits strongly think that only Sanskrit-knowing people will have God-realisation. They think that English-knowing Sannyasins are barbarians and they cannot have Self-realisation. Look at the thick foolishness of these bigoted Pandits! Incorrigible, petty- minded, narrow-hearted, crooked sectarians! If one has prejudice against Bible or Koran, he cannot grasp the truths of these books. His brain becomes hard, stony and callous. A man can realise by studying and following the principles that are laid down in Koran, Bible or Zend Avesta or the Pali books of Lord Buddha.

Aspirants should try to remove prejudice of all sorts. Then only they can see truth everywhere. Truth is not the sole monopoly of the Sanskrit Pandits of Varanasi or the Vairagi of Ayodhya. Truth, Rama, Krishna, Jesus are the common property of all.

Sectarians and bigoted people confine themselves to a small circumscribed circle or area. They have no large heart. They cannot see the good points in others on account of their jaundiced vision. They think that their principles and doctrines only are good. They treat others with contempt. They think that their Sampradaya only is superior to others and that their Acharya only is a man of God-realisation. They always fight with others. There is no harm in praising one's own Guru and sticking to his principles and teachings. But one should pay equal regard to the teachings of other prophets and other saints. Then only the feeling of universal love and universal brotherhood will manifest. This will eventually lead to the realisation of God or Atman in all beings. Prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, sectarianism should be thoroughly eradicated. Prejudice and intolerance are forms of hatred.

26. Rajas and Tamas

Rajas and Tamas try to obstruct meditation. The mind that was calm owing to the preponderance of Sattva during the course of meditation, begins to tremble and quiver owing to the entry of Rajas in excess. Sankalpas (imaginations) increase in number. Restlessness increases. Thoughts of action manifest. Planning and scheming come in. Take a little rest. Again do Japa. Pray and meditate. Take a little walk.

27. Sankalpas

Free yourself from the base thoughts of the mind, the various useless Sankalpas (imaginations). Make ceaseless enquiry of Atman. Mark the word ‘ceaseless.' This is important. Then only there will be dawn of spiritual knowledge. The Jnana-Surya (the Sun of Knowledge) will arise in the firmament of Chidakasa (knowledge-space).

28. Tamas or Inertia

A microscopic minority only is fit for wholetime meditation. People like Sadasiva Brahman and Sri Sankara only can spend the whole time in meditation. Many Sadhus who take to Nivritti Marga have become completely Tamasic. Tamas is mistaken for Sattva. This is a great blunder. One can evolve beautifully by doing Karma Yoga in the world if he knows how to spend his time profitably. A householder should seek the advice of Sannyasins and Mahatmas from time to time, draw a daily routine and adhere to it strictly amidst worldly activities. Rajas can be converted into Sattva. Intense Rajas takes a Sattvic turn. It is impossible to convert Tamas all of a sudden into Sattva. Tamas should be first turned into Rajas. Young Sadhus who take to Nivritti Marga do not stick to routine. They do not hear the words of elders. They do not obey the orders of the Guru. They want absolute independence from the very beginning. They lead a happy-go-lucky life. There is no one to check. They have their own ways. They do not know how to regulate the energy and how to chalk out a daily programme.

They aimlessly wander about from place to place. They become Tamasic within six months. They sit for half an hour in some Asana and imagine that they are realised souls. If an aspirant who has taken to Nivritti Marga finds that he is not evolving, that he is not improving in meditation, and is going into Tamasic state, he should at once take up some kind of service for some years and work vigorously. He should combine work along with meditation. This is wisdom. This is prudence. This is sagacity. Then he should go in for seclusion. One should use his common-sense throughout his Sadhana. It is very difficult to go out of Tamasic state. A Sadhaka should be very cautious. When Tamas tries to overtake him, he should immediately do some sort of brisk work. He can run in the open air, draw water from wells, etc. He should drive it off by some intelligent means or other.

29. Three Obstacles

When young aspirants take to absolute solitude and silence, they will have to face boldly three obstacles viz., depression, building castles in the air (Manorajya, Rasasvada) and hatred for householders, men and women. They become misanthropes. They should entertain cheerful thoughts. Watch the mind very often and radiate pure love for all. If one method does not help you in keeping up your Brahmacharya, you should take recourse to combination of various Sadhanas such as prayer, meditation, Pranayama, Satsanga, Sattvic diet, solitude, Vichara, Sirshasana, Sarvangasana, Uddiyana Bandha, Nauli, Asvini Mudra, Yoga Mudra, etc. Then only you will be successful.

30. Trishna and Vasana

Desire or Trishna (thirsting for objects) is the enemy of peace. There cannot be an iota of happiness for a man who is thirsting for sensual objects. When this thirsting dies, man enjoys peace. Now only he can meditate and rest himself in the Self.

The Vasanas are very powerful. The senses and the mind are very turbulent and impetuous. Again and again the battle must be fought and won. That is the reason why the spiritual path is called the razor-path in Kathopanishad. There is no difficulty for a man of strong determination and iron will even in the razor-path. Strength comes from within at every step.

Constant effort, or ceaseless striving is necessary if you want to realise God. Vasanas, desires and Trishnas (cravings) and old worldly Samskaras (impressions) are obstacles in the path. The inner battle has to be fought again and again.

31. Vikshepa

Vikshepa is tossing or oscillation of the mind. This is an old habit of the mind. This is distraction of the mind. All Sadhakas generally complain of this trouble. The mind never stays at a fixed point for a long time. It jumps hither and thither like a monkey. It is always restless. This is due to the force of Rajas. Whenever Sri Jayadayal Goenka came to me for an interview he used to put always two questions: "Swamiji, what is the remedy to control sleep? How to remove Vikshepa? Give me easy and effective method." My answer was: "Take light diet at night. Do Sirshasana and Pranayama." Sleep can be conquered. Trataka, Upasana, Pranayama and Yoga will remove Vikshepa. It is better to have a combined method. This will be more effective.

According to Patanjali Maharshi, disease, mental inactivity, doubt, indifference, laziness, the tendency to go after sense-enjoyments, stupor, false perception, non-attainment of concentration, and falling away from that when attained on account of restlessness, are the main obstructing distractions. He prescribes Pranayama for destroying Rajas which induces Vikshepa and for getting one-pointed mind.

If you remove the oscillation of the mind, you will get one-pointedness of mind or Ekagrata. Ekagrata is a thing unknown to many. Max Muller writes: "Ekagrata is impossible for us (Westeners), when our minds are diverted in various directions through newspapers, telegrams, postal communications, etc." Ekagrata is an indispensable condition in all religious and philosophical speculations, and in Nididhyasana.

In the Gita, Lord Krishna prescribes a Sadhana for removing Vikshepa: "As often as the wavering and unsteady mind goeth forth, so often reining it in, let him bring it under the control of the Self. Abandoning without reserve all desires born of the imagination, by the mind curbing in the aggregate of the senses on every side. Little by little let him gain tranquillity by means of reason controlled by steadiness; having made the mind abide in the Self, let him not think of anything."-Chapter VI-24, 25, 26.

Trataka is an effective method in destroying Vikshepa. Practise this for half an hour on a picture of Lord Krishna or on a black point on the wall. At first do this for two minutes and gradually increase the period. Close the eyes when tears come. Look steadily at the object without winking. Do not strain the eyes. Look gently. There are students who can do Trataka for 2 or 3 hours. For full description read my book "Kundalini Yoga."

A weak aspirant, though he may be strong in concentration, is overcome by idleness. But a strong aspirant, if he is weak in concentration, is overpowered by Vikshepa or tossing of mind. Concentration and energy should therefore be well-balanced.

32. Vishayasakti

Vishayasakti is intense desire or attachment to sensual pleasures or sense-objects. This is the greatest of all obstacles. The mind refuses to leave completely the sensual pleasures. Through the force of Vairagya and meditation, the desires get suppressed for some time. All of a sudden the mind thinks of sensual pleasures through the force of habit and memory. There arises mental disturbance. Concentration decreases. The mind moves outwards in sensual objects. In the Gita you will find: "O son of Kunti, the excited senses of even a wise man, though he be striving, impetuously carry away his mind. Such of the roving senses as the mind yieldeth to that hurries away the understanding, just as the gale hurries away a ship upon the waters."-Chapter II-60, 67. "The objects of senses, but not the relish for them turn away from an abstemious dweller in the body; and even relish turneth away from him after the Supreme is seen."-Chapter II-59.

Some desires lurk in the corners of the mind. Just as old dirt from the corners of the room comes out when you sweep, so also through the pressure of Yogic practices, these old lurking desires come out to the surface of the mind with redoubled force. The Sadhaka should be very careful. He should be ever watching the mind vigilantly. He must nip the desires in the bud by developing his Vairagya, Viveka and increasing his period of Japa, and meditation. He must observe Akhanda Mouna and do vigorous meditation, and Pranayama. He should live on milk and fruits for 40 days. He should observe fast on Ekadasi days. He should give up mixing with anybody completely. He should never come out of the room. He should plunge himself deep into the Sadhana. Kashaya means hidden Vasana. This comes under the category of Vishayasakti. Worldly ambitions of all sorts can be included under this heading. Ambition makes the mind very restless. Man should have the one laudable ambition of getting Self-realisation.


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