Introspect to Be Completely Victorious
14. Introspect to Be Completely Victorious
Evolutionary Human Progress Lies in the Power of Thought
As a human being, you make your greatest evolutionary progress by the power of thought. Set aside some time each day to improve your mind. (me)
The practice of introspection helps people in freeing their soul and will from ignorance, undesirable environmental influences, slavish customs, bad habits, and entanglements, by teaching them to understand and develop all the possibilities of their real soul nature, and by pointing out and eliminating their bad habits and tendencies. By analysis and introspection the serious spiritual student learns to know himself. The knowledge of how to improve will follow naturally. If one would know what he ought to be, let him first acquaint himself with what he is. (os)
Sanjaya means, literally, completely victorious; "one who has conquered himself." He alone who is not self-centered has the ability to see clearly and to be impartial. Thus, in the Gita, Sanjaya is divine insight; for the aspiring devotee, Sanjaya represents the power of impartial intuitive self-analysis, discerning introspection. It is the ability to stand aside, observe oneself without any prejudice, and judge accurately. Thoughts may be present without one's conscious awareness. Introspection is that power of intuition by which the consciousness can watch its thoughts. It does not reason, it feels—not with biased emotion, but with clear, calm intuition. (bg)
Calmness, concentration, and condensation of experiences by intuitional perception will make you master of all knowledge. Do everything with full attention, never in a haphazard way. (jt)
The gita therefore points out in its very first stanza the prime necessity to man of nightly introspection, that he may clearly discern which force—the good or the evil—has won the daily battle. To live in harmony with God's plan, man must ask himself each night the ever pertinent question: "Gathered together on the sacred bodily tract—the field of good and evil actions—what did my opposing tendencies do? Which side won today in the ceaseless struggle? The crooked, tempting, evil tendencies, and the opposing forces of self-discipline and discrimination—come now, tell me, what did they do?" (bg)
Keep a Diary
All earnest students should keep a record, or at least a mental diary, of their changing tendencies, marking out their progress in the development of any good qualities which they may lack and which they are trying to cultivate. I used to make a record of how I had meditated daily and how deep I had gone. You should do likewise. If you will analyze yourself every day, you may notice how little you pray or meditate. You may also notice how your mind tends to wander, unless you are intense in your meditation and think of God all the time.
Before you go to bed each night, sit for a short time and review the day. See what you are becoming. Do you like the trend of your life? If not, change it. By self-analysis and constant watching of all your actions and thoughts and moods, you will gradually learn your true nature and how to express it flawlessly. (os)
Be Conscious of What You Do
The trouble with most people is that when they are performing an action they are thinking about something else. They don't know how to concentrate on what they are doing when they are doing it.
You should learn to think of one thing at a time with all the power of your mind. Your whole attention should be there.
Don't drag along. Doing things in a lackadaisical way leads to failure and misery.
Man should not be a psychological automaton, like the animal, which acts only through instinct. To be unthinking is a great sin against Spirit, which abides in you;
we are meant to be conscious of what we do.
We should reflect before we act.
We should learn how to use our minds so that we can evolve and realize our oneness with the Creator. Everything we do should be the result of premeditated thought. (me)
Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.
Protect yourself within the fortress of wisdom. There is no greater safety. Complete understanding will bring you to a point where nothing can hurt you. But until you have attained wisdom, when temptation comes you must first stop the action or urge, and then reason. If you try to reason first, you will be compelled in spite of yourself to do the thing that you don't want to do, because temptation will overcome all reason. ...
Don't let your environment and sensory desires control you. Virtue and spiritual living are far more charming than sensual indulgence, but the habit chains of temptation hold people fast. ...
When you are strongly tempted, your wisdom is momentarily a prisoner of your desires and habits. (me)
To solve the mystery of life you must be born anew every day. This means you must strive daily to improve yourself in some way. Above all, pray for wisdom, because with wisdom everything else comes. Be controlled not by moods, but by wisdom. And with that wisdom, develop creative thinking and activity. Keep busy doing constructive things for your own self-improvement and for the benefit of others, for whoever would enter God's kingdom must try also to do good for others every day. If you follow this pattern, you will feel the mood-dispelling joy of knowing you are advancing, mentally, physically, and spiritually. You will surely reach God, for that way leads to the kingdom of heaven. (me)
‘Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from hatred to love. Lead me from limitations to Thine inexhaustible power; lead me from ignorance to wisdom. Lead me from suffering and death to everlasting life and enjoyment in Thee. Above all, lead me from the delusion of human attachment into realisation of Thy love eternal, which plays hide-and-seek with me in all forms of human love.’ (me)
Characteristics Of Wisdom (Gita XIII:7-11)
(The sage is marked by) humility, lack of hypocrisy, harmlessness, forgivingness, uprightness, service to the guru, purity of mind and body, steadfastness, self-control;
Indifference to sense objects, absence of egotism, understanding of the pain and evils (inherent in mortal life): birth, illness, old age, and death;
Nonattachment, nonidentification of the Self with such as one's children, wife, and home; constant equal-mindedness in desirable and undesirable circumstances;
Unswerving devotion to Me by the yoga of nonseparativeness, resort to solitary places, avoidance of the company of worldly men;
Perseverance in Self-knowledge; and meditative perception of the object of all learning—the true essence or meaning there-in. All these qualities constitute wisdom; qualities opposed to them constitute ignorance.
(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