Purify Your Mind

11. Purify Your Mind

The yogi must learn to win the tug-of-war between soul perception and sense perception. In the initial state of yoga practice the devotee is aware of the gripping influence of sense pleasures even though they are short-lasting, but he is little aware of the permanent, unending bliss secreted in his soul. The discriminating yogi will therefore find it natural that the habits of sense pleasures gathered from incarnations will be of stronger influence than his fleeting glimpses of soul bliss perceived during meditation. But he will also realize that even though habits of sense pleasures are very strong, they are not stronger than is the eternal perception of divine bliss present in the soul—the inextinguishable inheritance from Spirit. (bg)

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The hardest obstacle to overcome is yourself. When you sit to meditate at night, your nervousness and restlessness are still with you. Learn to control your mind and body. Be king of yourself. Carry within you a portable heaven, and in life or in death, in heaven or in hades, that inner heaven will be with you. (me)

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When the ego or "I" consciousness has sided with the materialistic forces of creation, it is said to have six faults (doshas):

1. Kama (Lust);
2. Krodha (Anger);
3. Lobha (Greed);

4. Moha (Delusion);
5. Mada (Pride);
6. Matsarya (Envy).

Only when man has conquered these does he acquire knowledge of his true soul nature. (gb)

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1. Kama (Lust)

Kama (lust) is therefore the compelling desire to indulge in sensory temptations. Coercive materialistic desire is the instigator of man's wrong thoughts and actions. Interacting with the other forces that obstruct man's divine nature—influencing as well as being influenced by them—lustful desire is the consummate enemy. ...

Lust applies to the abuse of any or all of the senses in the pursuit of pleasure or gratification. Through the sense of sight man may lust after material objects; through the sense of hearing, he craves the sweet, slow poison of flattery, and vibratory sounds as of voices and music that rouse his material nature; through the lustful pleasure of smell he is enticed toward wrong environments and actions; lust for food and drink causes him to please his taste at the expense of health; through the sense of touch he lusts after inordinate physical comfort and abuses the creative sex impulse. Lust also seeks gratification in wealth, status, power, domination—all that satisfies the "I, me, mine" in the egotistical man. Lustful desire is egotism, the lowest rung of the ladder of human character evolution. By the force of its insatiable passion, kama loves to destroy one's happiness, health, brain power, clarity of thought, memory, and discriminative judgment.

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2. Krodha (Anger)

Anger demonstrates its peace-destroying, reason-blinding, health-impairing behavior in many forms: impatience, violence, irritation, inner seething, jealousy, resentment; malicious anger, passionate anger, childish and superficial anger; Lucifer-anger, satanic in violence and meanness; paroxysms of anger, arising from little or no external stimulation, caused by a chronic habit of anger; and deep-rooted anger from past-life bad karma. Even if anger is supposedly justified, so-called "righteous anger," it must never take the place of calm, discriminative judgment and action.

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3. Lobha (Greed)

Ego makes one enslaved to his whims, so that he fails to scrutinize and judge the errors that might be ingrained in his conceptions and ideas of things. Under this influence, he acts not for the sake of duty, or rightness, but to fulfill undisciplined whims. From childhood, most persons are conditioned to be governed by their ego, and hence led by their feelings and guided by scheduled likes and dislikes. This enslavement to whim, likes and dislikes, is lobha, greed. It is covetousness, avarice, acquisitiveness, a confusion of the mind between necessary necessities and unnecessary "necessities."...

In its most covetous and avaricious display, greed leads to stealing, dishonesty, cheating, self-surfeit at the expense of the well-being of others. If man allows himself to be conquered by greed, his life and spirit will be ruined and shattered by suffering.

Krishna warns the devotee Arjuna that the threefold gate to hell is lust, anger, and greed; therefore, these must be abandoned.* (*XVI:21)

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4. Moha (Delusion)

This fault of the ego suppresses the evolution and manifestation of the soul. Ego is the pseudosoul, or the consciousness under the influence of delusion. The soul and ego are like light and darkness, respectively, unable to live together. Ego and soul both are subjectively conscious entities. But ego is born and conditioned; the soul is immortal and unconditional.

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5. Made (Pride)

This fault of the ego makes the mind narrow and limited. Pride chokes and suppresses the illimitable soul qualities by its constricted consciousness. Pride here means that love for the "I" or ego-self that is constantly on the defensive (or offensive) to support and promote the interests of that self. Because of mada, within the ego there arises arrogance, conceit, haughtiness, presumptuous behavior, and passionate or wanton lust after the desires, interests, or demands of the "I, me, and mine." "My good name, my rights, my status, my race, my religion, my feelings. I am justified, I am as good or better than anyone else, I want, I have, I am." Among the meanings encompassed by the word mada, in addition to "pride," are "intoxication, insanity." It could aptly be said that mada is such an intoxication with the ego "I" consciousness that man takes leave of his sane or true Self, the soul.

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6. Matsarya (Envy, Material Attachment)

The marvel of the Sanskrit language is its ability to convey an entire concept in one word, understood by those already versed in the concept being defined. Sanskrit evolved as "the language of the gods," through which scripture was conveyed to mortals. Each word may have many meanings, the context determining the correct application. The difficulty of translation into English is the cumbersome definition required to convey that which is implied by a single term. To avoid repetitious verbiage, a relevant English phrase or word is thus chosen to represent the meaning, which is then to be understood in its full philosophical sense. Matsarya, commonly translated as "envy," in the broader sense signifies material attachment. The word derives from matsara, meaning "envy, jealousy, selfishness, hostility; passion for; exhilarating; intoxicating or addictive." The meaning of matsarya, then, is that the wealth of possible possessions and attainments in the world of matter creates in the ego dissatisfaction, and a passion (envy) for obtaining those material enjoyments. This rouses an exhilaration, a power or force, directed toward fulfillment and resulting in intoxication with and addiction to the objects gained, i.e., material attachment. Sometimes hostile in nature, this material attachment can be jealous, malicious, and selfish. (bg)

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Introspection

Each worldly person, moralist, spiritual aspirant, and yogi—like a devotee—should every night before retiring ask his intuition whether his spiritual faculties or his physical inclinations of temptation won the day's battles between good and bad habits; between temperance and greed; between self-control and lust; between honest desire for necessary money and inordinate craving for gold; between forgiveness and anger; between joy and grief; between moroseness and pleasantness; between kindness and cruelty; between selfishness and unselfishness; between understanding and jealousy; between bravery and cowardice; between confidence and fear; between faith and doubt; between humbleness and pride; between desire to commune with God in meditation and the restless urge for worldly activities; between spiritual and material desires; between divine ecstasy and sensory perceptions; between soul consciousness and egoity. (bg)

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2. Purity of heart

Purity of heart (sattva-samshuddhi) means transparency to truth. One's consciousness should be free from the distortions of attachment and repulsion to sense objects. Likes and dislikes for externals taint the heart with gross vibrations. The heart or chitta should not be influenced by the pairs of opposites; only thus may it enter the divine bliss of meditation. Jesus says: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8) (bg)

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24. Purity of Mind (shaucha)

One who is physically clean and is also rid of the mental taints of uncontrollable desires and restless thoughts indeed invites the Lord to manifest Himself in the purified temple of his life. When the mind is calm, it becomes a divine altar for the presence of God.

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Right Attitude

Right attitude is an absolute requisite in your spiritual life. Do not care what others say about you. Do not be ruffled by what others do. Keep your own attitude divinely attuned. It is the way to sainthood—the way to conquer the egoistic stubbornness that prevents the soul's union with God.

It never matters what others do to us; what matters is how we react to it. We cannot go through life battling all of those who speak unkindly to us or who fail to understand our actions. That is part of the duality of life. The only power we have is to change ourselves. In all circumstances, inwardly pray, "Lord, give me the right attitude." This develops humility and self-mastery. It does not mean we should be doormats. ...

Do not let your mind become enveloped in petty things. They will destroy the soul's peace. Keep your eyes always on your spiritual goal. Do not let your mind be pulled away by negativity of any kind, because if once you allow such thoughts to take hold of your consciousness, they will drag you down and down and down. This is Satan's way of trying to hold us in the world. We have to develop strong minds, we have to develop strong determination, in order to find God. (Sri Daya Mata)

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References:
(aoy) — Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
(bg) — God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda
(dr) — The Divine Romance by Paramahansa Yogananda
(jt) — Journey to Self-Realization by Paramahansa Yogananda
(me) — Man's Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda
(os) — Other Sources... Talks, Booklets
(sc) — The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda
(sm) — Self-Realization Magazines