Three Enemies of Your Wellbeing
The sublime essence of the Bhagavad Gita is that right action, nonattachment to the world and to its sense pleasures, and union with God by the highest yoga of pranayama meditation, learned from an enlightened guru, constitute the royal path to God-attainment. (bg)
Krishna warns the devotee Arjuna that the threefold gate to hell is lust, anger, and greed; therefore, these must be abandoned. (The Gita XVI:21)
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); and 6. matsarya (envy). Only when man has conquered these does he acquire knowledge of his true soul nature. (bg)
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.
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.
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."
GOOD QULITIES OF MIND
Purity of Heart
Purity of heart 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)
Pure wisdom and the divine understanding of a pure heart are the two sides of the same faculty. Indeed, the purity of heart, or feeling, referred to by Jesus depends on the guidance of all action by discriminative wisdom—the adjusting of human attitudes and behavior by the sacred soul qualities of love, mercy, service, self-control, self-discipline, conscience, and intuition. The pure-eyed vision of wisdom must be combined with the untainted feeling of the heart. Wisdom reveals the righteous path, and the cleansed heart desires and loves to follow that path. All wisdom-revealed soul qualities must be followed wholeheartedly (not merely intellectually or theoretically). (sc)
He is a supreme yogi who regards with equal-mindedness all men—patrons, friends, enemies, strangers, mediators, hateful beings, relatives, the virtuous and the ungodly.
—The Bhagavad Gita VI:9
In this stanza, the Bhagavad Gita defines a great yogi as he who similarly regards all human beings—friends and enemies, saints and sinners alike—as dream images made of the one consciousness of God.
The exalted yogi, however, does not treat gold and earth, saint and sinner, with impartial indifference! He wisely recognizes their dramatic differences on the mundane plane as perceived by other material beings. Even though all beings and objects in the cosmos are made of the divine light and the shadows of delusion, the yogi recognizes relative values. He endorses the activities of the virtuous who serve as harbingers of good to their fellowmen, and he denounces the activities of the evil who harm themselves and others. (Chapter VI, God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda)
O Flower among Men (Arjuna)! he who cannot be ruffled by these (contacts of the senses with their objects), who is calm and evenminded during pain and pleasure, he alone is fit to attain everlastingness!
—The Bhagavad Gita II:15
The basic principle of creation is duality. If one knows pleasure he must know pain. One who cognises heat must cognise cold also. If creation had manifested only heat or only cold, only sorrow or only pleasure, human beings would not be the irritated victims of the pranks of duality. But then, what would life be like in a monotone existence? Some contrast is necessary; it is man's response to dualities that causes his trouble. So long as one is slavishly influenced by the dualities, he lives under the domination of the changeful phenomenal world. (...)
In order to attain mental aboveness, man must practice a neutral attitude to all earthly changes.
The saints have found that happiness lies in a constant mental state of unruffled peace during all the experiences of earthly dualities. A changeable mind perceives a changeable creation, and is easily disturbed; the unchangeable soul and the unruffled mind, on the other hand, behold, behind the masks of change, the Eternal Spirit. The man whose mind is like an oscillating mirror beholds all creation as distorted into waves of change; but the man who holds his mental mirror steady beholds there naught but the reflections of the Sole Unity—God. Through realization, not mere imagination, he sees that his body and all things are the condensed consciousness of Spirit. The mind, free of artificial excitation, remains centered in its native state of inner peace and soul joy.
When the mind by deep spiritual development manifests its aboveness to the suggestions born of the external activity of the senses, the advancing yogi, like Arjuna, finds that before he can attain the promised state of everlastingness he must also neutralize, by meditation, the effects of the inner action of the sensory powers. (Chapter II, God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda)
To Control the Breath is to Control the Mind
Verily, the mind is unsteady, tumultuous, powerful, obstinate! O Krishna, I consider the mind as difficult to master as the wind!
—The Bhagavad Gita VI:34
Arjuna compares the mind to the wind. Here the deeper meaning of "wind" is breath; for the changeableness and waywardness of the human mind is ineluctably bound up with man's breathing patterns. The glory of India's ancient sages is that they discovered the liberating truth:
to control the breath is to control the mind.
I never miss anything that is taken away from me or that I voluntarily give up. No physical comfort can bind me. I have tried it out. You must be able to pass through all experiences of life without attachment. Lord Krishna said: "The man of self-control, roaming among material objects with subjugated senses, and devoid of attraction and repulsion, attains an unshakable inner calmness."* (Bhagavad-Gita 11:64) Any time you have to have something—a soft bed, a pillow, or whatever—remember that you are putting yourself into slavery; and when your will and discrimination are held captive by binding sense attachments, you will lose the infinite kingdom of God. 41
Power of Will
No action, inner or outer, is possible without the energizing power of will. Will power is that which changes thought into energy* Man is endowed with free will and should not abdicate his freedom of choice and action. To ensure right action, the challenge to the seeker after Self-realization is to overcome prenatal and postnatal bad habits with good habits, and to increase actions that are initiated solely by wisdom-guided free choice, emancipated from all karmic, habitual, and environmental influences. (bg)
My guru Sri Yukteswar said to me, when he accepted me for training: "Allow me to discipline you; for freedom of will does not consist in doing things according to the dictates of prenatal or postnatal habits or of mental whims, but in acting according to the suggestions of wisdom and free choice. If you tune in your will with mine, you will find freedom." (sc)
Will power is easy to develop. Try first for small accomplishments. Gradually you will get rid of tendencies you thought you could not overcome. Watch your consciousness. Develop the habit of self-examination, of watching and analyzing your thoughts and behavior. When there are telltale signs of bad habits or inclinations, that is the time to discriminate and resist with will power. (jt)
Develop your will power and positive thinking, and you will find your body, mind, and soul working to mold everything in your life according to your will. (jt)
Environment is stronger than will power. If you want to be spiritual, seek good company and don’t mix with those whose bad habits may wrongly influence you.
First, determine what your goal is; ask divine aid to direct you to the right action whereby your objective will be fulfilled; then meditate. Afterward, act according to the inner direction that you receive; then you will attain what you want. When the mind is calm, how quickly, how smoothly, how beautifully you will perceive everything! Success in everything will come to pass in a short time, for Cosmic Power can be proved by the application of the right law. (jt)
Courage and Perseverance
... the yogi draws courage and perseverance from knowledge that the inevitable final victory will be on the side of virtue. He holds to the truth that it is unnatural to be evil or allow unhappy disturbing conditions born of delusion and wrong action to rule one's mind, whereas it is quite natural to be virtuous and blessed. Man is created by God in His own image. It is because of this spiritual inheritance that he can rightfully claim to possess the all-conquering qualities of Omnipotent Spirit. (bg)
Even though God may not seem to respond, one should not succumb to doubts but should unremittingly continue in the holy quest. Perseverance is the whole magic of spiritual success. (me)
Absence of Greed
Noncovetousness, absence of greed is possessed by one who has mastered his senses and hence harbors no desires for gross pleasures and material objects. Absence of greed and envy are characteristic of true devotees, those whose minds are absorbed in inner joys. In comparison, the world has nothing to offer. (bg)
Do not limit yourself with the narrowness of selfishness. Include others in your achievements and happiness, then you are doing the will of God. Whenever you think of yourself, think also of others. When you think of seeking peace, think of others who are in need of peace. If you do your utmost to make others happy, you will find that you are pleasing the Father.
To live in harmony, to live with strong will power to do the will of Him who sent you, is all you should be interested in. Never lose courage, and always be smiling. Have the smile of the heart and the smile of the face completely in harmony. If your body, mind, and soul register the smile of the inner consciousness of God, you can scatter smiles about you wherever you go. (jt)
Twenty-six Divine Qualities
The Blessed Lord said:
Fearlessness, purity of heart, perseverance in acquiring wisdom and in practicing yoga, charity, subjugation of the senses, performance of holy rites, study of the scriptures, self-discipline, straightforwardness;
Noninjury, truthfulness, freedom from wrath, renunciation, peacefulness, nonslanderousness, compassion for all creatures, absence of greed, gentleness, modesty, lack of restlessness;
Radiance of character, forgiveness, patience, cleanness, freedom from hate, absence of conceit—these qualities are the wealth of a divinely inclined person, O Descendant of Bharata.
— The Bhagavad Gita XVI:1-3 (more...)