Feb 19, 2008


Aum Shri Gurave NamaH!

AFFLICTIONS OF MIND by Swami Sivananda

1. What Are the Afflictions

The afflictions are ignorance, egoism, attachment, hatred and clinging to life


All these disorders ruffle the mind like physical malady. Therefore they are great impediments to meditation. They hang upon man and make the qualities firm. They raise Vrittis and bring about fructification of Karmas by coming to depend upon one another for mutual support. If you eradicate Abhinivesa, Raga and Dvesha currents will die. If you remove egoism, these two currents, like and dislike will vanish. The root for egoism, Raga, Dvesha and Abhinivesa is ignorance. If ignorance is destroyed by getting knowledge of Purusha through Samadhi, the other four Klesas will die by themselves. The Karmas are supported by afflictions and the afflictions are supported by Karmas. This is mutual support. This is a Chakrika or cycle like the analogy of the seed and the tree (Bija-Vriksha Nyaya). These Klesas develop the Mahat Tattva, egoism and Tanmatras. These are the five ties that bind a man to the wheel of birth and death. The most important knot is ignorance (Hridaya Granthi). This is the fundamental cause. The other four Klesas are the effects of ignorance. Pain and sin are ignorance only. These manifest in those who have forgotten the true all-blissful and eternally pure nature of Purusha. All the above five kinds of afflictions are dealt with separately in the subsequent Sutras.

2. What Is Avidya

Avidya (Ignorance) is the field of those that follow, whether they be in a dormant, thinned out, overpowered or expanded condition.


Ignorance is the field or source for the four Klesas, viz., Asmita, Raga, Dvesha and Abhinivesa. These four afflictions are only modifications or varieties of Avidya only. These afflictions have four stages. In Prasupta state, they are hidden or dormant like the tree in the seed. Videhas and Prakritilayas have got this state. In Tanu Avastha, they are in an attenuated condition like a thin thread. Yogins who do practice have got this state. They thin out one evil Vasana by developing the counter-current or contrary good Vasanas. Anger is thinned out by developing mercy, love and forgiveness. In Vicchinna, they are in an overpowered state for the time being. When the husband fights with his wife, the love Vritti in him is for the time being in an overpowered state. The hatred Vritti is operating during the quarrel. As soon as the fight subsides, the love Vritti will manifest again in him when the wife smiles and speaks kind, loving words. In Udhara state, the Klesas are very powerful. They operate with full force. Vicchinna Avastha and Udhara Avastha are present in worldly persons. They bind one to Samsara. He who has Tanu Avastha can control the afflictions. There is another state termed Dagdha Avastha wherein the Klesas are fried out like burnt seeds. This exists in a full-blown Yogi who is established in Asamprajnata Samadhi.

3. Avidya Explained

Ignorance is taking the non-eternal impure, painful, and not-self as the eternal, pure, happy and the Self or Atman.


Ignorance causes Vipareetha Bhavana (perverted understanding), and the man is rendered blind by passion and various sorts of Raga. He is under intoxication. Ignorance clouds understanding. An ignorant man is a dead man while living. He is a living buried soul, despite his wealth, possession and university knowledge. To take a thing for what is not, is ignorance. It is not a privation of knowledge. It is a Bhava Vastu. It does not mean absence of knowledge. You mistake this perishable body of five elements and various impurities as the pure Self. You think that you are the body only and you have forgotten the real nature of Purusha. This is delusion. This is ignorance.

4. How to Remove Avidya

The method for the removal of ignorance is the continuous practice of discrimination.


Discrimination must be undisturbed. It must become habitual. There must not be any break even for a twinkling of an eye. When discrimination operates, you will have complete inner life in Purusha. All the outgoing tendencies of the mind will stop. The Indriyas (Senses) will be calm. This practice of discrimination is the cause for destroying ignorance, the cause of the junction of Prakriti and Purusha, leading to various experiences. Discrimination remains shaky as long as false knowledge has not been completely removed.

5. What Is Egoism

Egoism is the appearance of the identification of the power of consciousness with the power of the instrument of seeing.


Egoism is the identification of the Seer with the power of seeing. Drik, the Seer, is the Purusha. Darsana is the instrument of seeing. The instrument of seeing is Antahkarana. Purusha joins with the Antahkarana and appears as if he is one or blended with the Antahkarana. Purusha has the Abhimana of ‘I’ in the Anatma - Antahkarana. The Antahkarana is mistaken for the sentient Purusha or Atman (Soul). This is Asmita. When you get anger, pain, misery, contentment, etc., you associate yourself with the Vrittis and say: I am angry. I am miserable. I am happy. When the Atman is associated with the Antahkarana, the experiences of objects take place. Separate yourself from the Vrittis and the Antahkarana and stand aloof as the witness in your original all-blissful nature. This is Kaivalya. The means for destroying this egoism is given in Sutra II-10.

6. What Is Raga

Attachment is the attraction to pleasure.


Through the memory of pleasure enjoyed previously, the attachment or desire that arises towards pleasure or the means of pleasure (Sukha Sadhana, i.e., objects) is Raga. The desire for ‘thinking on pleasure’ (Sukha Chintana), is included under Raga. Egoism is the root cause for Raga. This is the reason why Raga is described after egoism. When pleasure is remembered, attachment is proceeded by the remembrance of the pleasure in consequence of the enjoyment thereof. Wherever there is pleasure, there is Raga side by side. Why are you very much attached to your wife? Because you derive pleasure from her. You love money; you are attached to money, because you can get various objects that can give you pleasure, through money. Everyone of us is in search of happiness. But attempt to get happiness is made in the wrong direction, in external objects, in the lap of the mother, toys, books, in University degrees, in wife, in money, in son, in honor and power. There is something dearer than a son, there is something dearer than a wife, there is something dearer than wealth, there is something dearer than this Prana or life itself. That ‘dearer something’ is Atman or Purusha, who is hidden in our heart. The search should be made within by withdrawing the mind from the objects, by controlling the Indriyas (Senses), by practising Yama, Niyama, concentration, meditation and Samadhi. Refer to Sutra II-10 for the removal of this Raga.

7. What Is Dvesha

Aversion is that which dwells on pain.


Through memory of pain from experiences, aversion comes towards pain and objects that give pain. This is Dvesha. You try to get rid of objects that give pain. Man shuns pain and runs after pleasure in this world. No one teaches him to seek pleasure. The mind is born of Ananda. So, it runs after pleasure.

Dvesha is the root cause for human sufferings. Wars, splits, dissensions, sectarian quarrels, murders are due to Dvesha. Wherever there is Dvesha, there is jealousy side by side. Jealousy is the intimate companion of Dvesha. Jealousy is petty-mindedness. It is a great pity to find that the minds of even highly educated persons who preach on the platform are filled with jealousy and hatred, and petty-mindedness. What a shame! As they are intelligent, they devise cunning methods and plans to destroy others, to get the whole fame and respect for themselves. A petty-minded preacher sows the seed of discard, disharmony everywhere. He is a pest and a menace to the society. He is a man of all evil. There is no redeeming feature in him/her. He does more harm than good. This Dvesha, aversion, should be completely annihilated. The remedy is given in Sutra II-10.

8. What Is Abhinivesa

Abhinivesa is the strong desire for life, supported by its own potency, established all the same even in the learned.


In all living beings exists the self-benediction: May I continue to exist. May I live on. This self-benediction cannot exist in him who has not experienced the nature of death. By this the experience of former life is inferred. The experience of death in the previous birth remains as a subtle Vasana in next birth that this should be separated from this body. This Vritti is Abhinivesa. This Vritti will not remain in a man who has no experience of death. We infer from this that there had been previous birth in a man, from his fear of death. Even worms have got fear of death. This fear of death exists in both the learned and the ignorant. This fear cannot be explained by Pratyaksha, inferential and Sabdha Pramanas. The fear is common in both the literate and the illiterate. The past experience of pain of death is there in your mind. Therefore you are afraid of death in this life. This is the reason for the strong desire for life.

9. How to Remove Raga, Dvesha and Abhinivesa

They (the afflictions) are to be destroyed when they are in subtle state by raising opposite modifications.


Klesas have two states, gross and subtle. When they are in a state of Samskara, they are subtle. When the Yogi enters into Samadhi, these Klesas are burnt up like burnt seeds and are dissolved along with the mind in the Purusha through the fire of knowledge. Svaroopa-nasa of the mind takes place when the mind moves inward towards the Purusha and gets Laya (dissolution) in the Purusha during Asamprajnata Samadhi. By raising opposite currents or waves of thoughts, the subtle Samskaras of Klesas should be destroyed. Hatred ceases not by hatred but ceases by love. This is the method suggested in this Sutra. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana method. Habituate the mind to contraries. Do always virtuous actions. Develop Sattvic qualities. These good Samskaras will act as antidotes to the Samskaras of Klesas. The method of Pratipaksha Bhavana is described in Sutra II-34.

10. How to Remove Evil Thoughts

When obstructed by improper or evil thoughts, take to thinking on the contrary good thoughts.


This is a practical exercise for spiritual development. If lust troubles you when you are practising Brahmacharya, entertain counter divine thoughts. Think of the glory of Brahmacharya and its marvellous benefits and the troubles brought about by lust. If a desire arises to injure any one, think of love and its benefits. If the habit of telling lies again manifests, think of the advantages of speaking truth and disadvantages of uttering falsehood. In this way, you can remove all defects by developing counter virtues or habituating the mind to contraries.

11. What Is Pratipaksha Bhavana

When evil thoughts such as injury, falsehood, etc., whether done, caused to be done or approved of through greed, anger or delusion, of slight, medium or great intensity and in infinite ignorance and misery, take to the method of thinking contrary good thoughts or habituate the mind to contraries.


If you hurt another man, or cause another commit injury to others or even approve of another doing so, it is sinful. Action and reaction are equal and opposite. If you injure another, it is bound to react on you whether in this moment or at a future date. When thoughts of injury come to you, think of the benefits of non-injury. This is the method of Pratipaksha Bhavana.

If you entertain contrary thoughts, all evil thoughts that obstruct Yoga will die.

You may fail in your attempt twenty times, but slowly you will gain inner spiritual strength. If you send a strong current of anger towards another, it will harm your enemy and pass even to the corner of distant lands and pollute the atmosphere there and come back again to you and harm you.

For destroying the following evil Vrittis, raise the opposite good Vrittis given against each: -

Lust (Kama).. Brahmacharya, Mumukshutva.

Anger (Krodha)...Love, Kshama (forgiveness), Daya (Mercy), Maitri (friendship), Santi, Dhriti (patience), Ahimsa.

Pride (Mada)... Humility (Namrata or Vinaya).

Greed (Lobha)...Honesty, disinterestedness, generosity, Santosha (contentment), Aparigraha (non-covetousness).

Jealousy (Irshya)...Nobility (Udarata), magnanimity, Mudita (complacency).

Delusion (Moha)...Viveka (discrimination).

Vanity, Hypocrisy (Dambha)...Simplicity.

Darpa (arrogance)... Politeness, Hri (Modesty).

Cunningness... Arjava (crookedness) (straightforwardness).

Harshness... Mildness.

Attachment (Raga)...Vairagya.

Insincerity (Asraddha)...Sraddha (faith).

Chanchalatvam (Fickleness)... Determination (Nischaya Vritti).

12. The Root of Afflictions

The impressions of works have their root in afflictions, and are experienced in this life and in the unseen future births.


Klesas are responsible for works. They goad a man to do works and thereby enjoy the fruits of his actions. Suppose you do a very charitable act in this birth. The impression of this act is imbedded in a subtle form in the subconscious mind. It will give you fruit either in this or in any future birth. The sum total of all Samskaras is called ‘Asaya.’ Samskaras and Vasanas coexist. These impressions become ripe for fruition either good or bad when it is their time. Karmas are Anaadi or beginningless. In the Gita, you will find: Gahana karmano gathi - mysterious is the path of action. The law of Karma is inscrutable. It is difficult to say what sort of Karmas will cause leprosy or epilepsy, whether the fruit that you enjoy now is the result of one Karma or a combination of several Karmas.

A powerful Karma, good or bad, may bring fruits in this very birth. All Karmas do not produce their results all at once, nor does one Karma succeed another. From the Sanchita Karma, accumulated works, a certain portion is taken out for being worked out or exhausted in one birth. This forms the Prarabdha or fructescent Karmas of the present life. The works that you do now, current works or Agami (Kriyamana) are added to the sumtotal of works, Sanchita. The granary store of a merchant represents Sanchita Karma. The things that are kept in his shop correspond to the Prarabdha. The things that are sold daily represent Agami Karma. This is a rough analogy to illustrate our point. Ripe Karmas produce fruits under proper circumstances. Intense Tapas brings fruits at once.

Nandikesvara, Visvamitra and Markandeya did lot of Tapas and enjoyed the fruits in the same birth. Nahusha attained the position of Indra on account of his good deeds in his previous birth; but he was transformed into a serpent in the same birth on account of his sinful deeds in the same birth. The law of Karma is inexorable.

13. The Effect of Afflictions

The root being there, its fruition comes through class, life and experience.


The root means, the root in the form of Klesas or afflictions. The results of Karma are threefold. They are Jati or class or species, life and experience of pleasure or pain. If there are Klesas, then only you will enjoy the fruits of Karma. From this it is inferred that the Yogi who has destroyed the Klesas will not have the fruits of Karma. Just as the paddy loses its power of sprouting when the husk is removed, so also, the Karmas lose their power of bringing fruits when the Klesas (husk) are destroyed by the Yogi. The Yogi destroys the Klesas by getting discrimination between Prakriti and Purusha.

It is not that one action is the cause of one life only. As we see in our lives different sorts of experiences, happy and painful, we infer that many ripe Karmas amongst the accumulated Sanchita join together and bring one life. One important Karma will direct the course of this life. It will be the ruling factor of this life. Many small Karmas will bring sometimes pleasure and sometimes pain. If you do any action, the tendency to repeat such actions (or Vasanas to goad you to do similar actions) are formed. If the tendencies are good, you will have to increase them through Viveka or discrimination.

If the tendencies are bad you will have to restrain them through Vairagya ( Renunciation). You must try to do virtuous actions. Jiva can do actions in the other worlds also to a small extent. But, generally Heaven or Svarga is a world for enjoyments only. This Mrityu Loka (world of mortals) Earth, only is Karma Bhumi or world of actions.

There are only three kinds of actions viz., white (virtuous), black (vicious) and white-black (mixed actions). The actions of a Sannyasi are neither white nor black. The impressions of white actions brought about by the practice of Kriya Yoga destroy the black ones which have not begun to fructify. White actions bring pleasure. Black actions bring pain.

14. Fruits of Afflictions

They (class, life and experience) have pleasure or pain as their fruit according to the cause, virtue or vice.


In Sutra II-13, it is stated that the fruit of afflictions comes through class, life and experience. In this Sutra, class, life and experiences are denoted by the word ‘they’. Virtuous and vicious actions cause class, life and experience. As soon as these three are formed, the experience of pleasure and pain takes place according to virtue or vice. Karma has its origin in afflictions. Fruition has its origin in Karma.

15. Destroy Afflictions

Their modifications (five afflictions of mind) are to be destroyed by meditation.


In Sutra II-10, instruction is given to destroy the subtle form of Klesas which are in the form of Samskaras. Here the way to destroy the gross form of Klesas which are in the form of Vrittis is described. The gross dirt of a cloth is removed by applying fullers-earth. The fine dirt is removed by the application of soap. There may be traces of subtle dirt in the cloth so long as the cloth is not destroyed. Even so, the gross dirt of the mind - ‘Klesas’ - is removed by Kriya Yoga. The gross Vrittis are destroyed by meditation. In Samadhi, even the subtle form of Klesas (Samskaras) are destroyed along with the destruction of the mind. Regular, systematic meditation is necessary. It must become habitual.

16. Karma in Yogis

Actions of a Yogi are neither white nor black; for others they are of three kinds.


A Yogi is not affected by his Karmas, because, he has no attachment. He is absolutely desireless. Karmas cannot bind him. He works without expectation of any fruits for his actions. He has reached perfection. He works for the uplift of humanity. Yogis acquire no impressions from their actions. White actions are virtuous actions. Black actions are evil actions. Mixed actions are a mixture of good and evil actions. For worldly persons actions are of the above three kinds.

17. Karma and Environments

From these (3 kinds of Karmas), there is manifestation of those desires alone for which the environments are favorable.


When one has taken the body of Deva, the desires and Vasanas of a human being will be in abeyance for the time being. Only those Vasanas of the Deva which are favorable for the suitable environments in which he lives will manifest. The animal desires and human desires will be checked when one has taken the body of a Deva. When the Deva takes again the body of an animal, the animal desires only will manifest at that time. The Samskaras and desires of a Deva will be under check for the time being. The impressions and desires for which the conditions are not favorable, will lie dormant till their time comes in for sprouting or expression.

18. Karmas in a Viveki

To the man of discrimination, all is painful indeed due to the consequences, anxiety and impressions, and also of the contradiction of the functioning of Gunas (qualities).


Pleasure is in reality pain only. In the Gita you will find: The delights that are contact-born, they are verily wombs of pain, for they have beginning and end, O Kaunteya, not in them may rejoice the wise. Pleasure is mixed with pain, sin and fear. Enjoyment increases the Trishna or thirsting for objects. Trishna gives pain. The mind becomes more restless by tasting sensual pleasure. There is fear of loss of happiness. Sensual pleasure is imaginary. It is mental creation. It is Bhranti-Sukha. It is no happiness at all. For a man of discrimination the happiness that is derived from Self-realisation through Asamprajnata Samadhi only is the everlasting, real bliss. The very experience of pleasure creates a desire for more. Desires are endless. When the desires are not gratified, there is uneasiness, disappointment and misery. The anxiety that is caused in taking care of the objects of pleasure brings great pain. The impression that is left in the mind of pleasure creates desires through memory of pleasure and brings pain. Another cause for pain is the natural opposition which exists between the individual actions of the three qualities Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Rajas brings tossing of mind and distraction. Tamas causes delusion, carelessness, laziness, etc. Therefore, everything brings pain for the discriminating. Enjoyment cannot bring satisfaction of desires. Just as ghee when poured over fire aggravates it, so also enjoyment augments the desires. Kama Agni (Sexual passion) increases. Pain comes if the desired object is not attained. Even if the object is obtained, one gets pain if the Indriya (Senses) is weak and cold as he is not able to enjoy. Can a multi-millionaire enjoy palatable, rich dishes if he suffers from pain in the stomach? Hatred comes towards persons who stand in the way of enjoyment. Too much enjoyment brings diseases. These are all pains from ‘Parinama’ or 'Result'. The Yogi is afraid of Vasanas and Samskaras that are created during enjoyment. This gives him more pain. A worldly man who has a gross, impure mind is not conscious of the pain.

19. Avoid Misery

The misery that has not yet come should be avoided.


The avoidable is only the future pain. The pain which has passed away has already been explained. That which is being experienced now cannot be the subject of consideration here. Just as in medicine, the nature of diseases, their symptoms, prognosis, diagnosis, therapeutics, methods of treatment, prophylaxis, convalescence, etc., are considered in the treatment of diseases, so also, here, the nature of misery, its cause, strength, source and the means to avert are to be investigated.

20. The Cause of Misery

The junction of the Seer and the seen is the cause of the pain which is to be avoided.


The cause for misery is the connection between the Seer and the seen. As the Chaitanya Sakti of the Purusha enters the Buddhi, the Purusha, who is only a witness and an Udaseena appears as Drashta. Drishya constitute all objects that are seen and also the instrument Buddhi through which it is seen, Indriyas, elements, etc. Buddhi is very near to Purusha. It is very subtle. Purusha is ever free and full of bliss. When conjunction takes place between the Purusha and mind (Buddhi), it appears to feel pleasure and pain through Adhyasa or reflection. By this conjunction through ignorance, the body, mind, Indriyas and Buddhi are mistaken for the real Purusha. Buddhi by its close contact with the Purusha and as it is very subtle and as the Sakti of Purusha has magnetised the Buddhi, appears like Purusha, just as the reflection of sun in water appears similar to the real sun. This is called Chit-Jada Granthi in Vedanta. This Abheda-Bhranti is Avidya, the root cause for all miseries. Kaivalya comes when this delusion is removed. If the conjunction between Buddhi and Purusha is removed, all miseries will terminate.

21. Definition of The Seen

The seen consists of the elements and the senses, is of the nature of illumination, action and darkness, and is for the purpose of experience (through enjoyment) and absolution.


The Svarupa of the Drishya (seen) is described here. From Pradhana downwards to elements and their combinations, it is all Drishya. Illumination, action and darkness are the functions of the three qualities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. If Sattva increases, illumination manifests. If there is increase of Rajas, action increases. If there is increase in Tamas, there is more darkness, inertia. Mahat or Buddhi, Ahamkara, Manas, Tanmatras, the five Jnana Indriyas, the five Karma Indriyas and the five gross elements are all modifications or Parinama or Vikritis of Pradhana. The Prakriti takes the Purusha around this world and gives all sorts of enjoyments of this world for his experience and finally makes him free when he gets discrimination between the Purusha and Prakriti. The real Purusha is ever pure and free. He is an embodiment of Bliss, Peace and Knowledge. He is unchanging and immortal. He has no beginning, middle or end. He is unattached.

Get all experiences of this little world quickly. Do whatever you want to get experiences of this dream-world. But, cut the cycle of birth and death quickly in this very birth, nay in this very second. Now, or never. Never forget the goal, ideal and the centre. The experiences will teach you that there is no essence in this physical life. It is all pain. It is all a long dream. There is no real love in this world. You will know that love here is selfish, hypocritical, changing and decaying, and that knowledge of Purusha and Atman only, through Asamprajnata Samadhi, can give real, undecaying bliss and eternal peace and immortality. Prakriti, the elements and this world are your best teachers. Be grateful to them. Get out of the net spread by Maya quickly and realize the Self rapidly with courage and cheerfulness.

22. Ignorance Is the Cause

Its cause is ignorance.


‘Its’ means, the cause of the junction of the seer and sight, nature and sight, nature and Purusha. In the previous Sutra, the Svarupa of Samyoga and its effects are described. Here the cause of Samyoga is given. To blend or unite the Drashta and the Drishya as one, and to think of this ‘I’ is Avidya or Bhranti. The Jiva increases the Bhavana of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ by mistaking the Anatma body and mind as Atman. The mind, which is saturated with the Bhranti-Vasana, gets Laya in Pradhana during the deluge or cosmic Pralaya and comes back again during projection of this world. Destroy this ignorance. Give up identification with this body and mind. Rise above body and mind and realise the Purusha who is beyond cause and effect, and who is, therefore, Anaadi (beginningless), Ananta (endless) and Nirvikara (changeless). Apply yourself to Sadhana and realize the Purusha. Do not make any delay. The monkey-mind will upset you.

23. The Means for Kaivalya

The Kaivalya, independence of the Seer, is the removal of the conjunction of the Seer and the seen by the disappearance of ignorance.


When you understand fully that the Gunas have nothing to do with the Purusha and that the Purusha is ever free, ignorance vanishes and discrimination dawns. Then and then alone you will attain the state of Kaivalya or Moksha. The scientists try to understand the external physical forces of nature and to control them by suitable methods. The Raja Yogis attempt to control the internal psychic forces of the mind. Physical forces are gross and the inner mental forces are subtle. Those who have controlled the mental forces can very easily control the external physical forces.

Avidya And Ahankara by Swami Sivananda


The mind itself is a creation of Avidya (ignorance). It is a Karya (effect) of Avidya. It is filled with delusion. That is the reason why it deceives and tempts you. It makes you go astray. If you can destroy the cause of the mind, Ajnana, by getting Jnana (knowledge of the Supreme Self), mind is nowhere. It dwindles into an airy nothing. Manonasa (annihilation of mind) takes place when Jnana dawns.

Avidya works through Upadhis (attributes, limiting adjuncts). All the special apparatus required by Avidya constitute the Upadhis of the soul. Mind is an Upadhi; Buddhi is an Upadhi and Ahankara also is an Upadhi.

The sea of Avidya (ignorance) is in the mind of man. The explanation of the empirical concept must be sought in the nature of our cognitive faculty. Sri Sankara explains Avidya in this way. It is Naisargika; it is innate in our mental faculty. It is Mithyajnananimitta, based on wrong knowledge; and, knowledge is a function of the mind. It is Nityapratyayarupa; it consists in the form of a wrong conception. "All Jivas-human entities—which are really non-existent, are (with all concomitant appearance of birth, death, etc.) mere results of the objectivising tendency of the mind and nothing else."

The whole experience of duality, made up of perceiver and perceived, is pure imagination. There is no Avidya apart from the mind. On destruction of the mind, all is destroyed. The activity of the mind is the cause of all appearance. On account of Avidya or Bhranti (illusion) in the mind, you see the objects, trees, etc., outside and feel as if they are separate from you and real.

So long as there is mind, there are all these distinctions of big and small, high and low, superior and inferior, good and bad, etc. The highest Truth is that in which there is no relativity. If you can transcend the mind by constant and profound meditation on Atman, you will be able to attain the Nirdvandva state (a state beyond the pairs of opposites) wherein lies the supreme peace and highest knowledge.

There is no Avidya outside the mind. The mind itself is Avidya. Imaginations and Sankalpas are products of Avidya. Ignorance is imbedded in the mind. The mind needs thorough cleansing with Japa, Pranayama, Satsanga, Vichara and Nididhyasana, just as a rusty copper plate needs cleansing with earth, ash, tamarind, powder, etc.

Ahankara-how It Develops

Atman in conjunction with the Buddhi is Ahankara. The basis of Ahankara is Buddhi. As the Buddhi (Bheda Buddhi) is the cause for this differentiation (this little "I"), Buddhi is the cause or seed for Ahankara. Ahamta and Mamata (‘I’-ness and ‘mine’-ness) are Jivasrishti. It is Jivasrishti that binds a man to the world. Isvarasrishti (God’s creation) helps man in his God-realisation.

The seed of mind is Ahankara. Ahankara is development through the thoughts of the mind. As the first thought is the ‘I’ thought and as this ‘I’ thought is at the base of all other thoughts, Ahankara is the seed for the mind. This idea of ‘I’ will bring in its train, the idea of time, space and other potencies. With these environments, the name Jiva accrues to it. Contemporaneously with it, there arise Buddhi, memory, Manas which is the seed of the tree of Sankalpa.

When you are a boy, the Ahankara is not very potent. It is like a shadow in a glass. It gets developed and firm-rooted during your adolescence after you marry and entangle yourself in the achievement of various worldly desires. You are fearless in your boyhood. The moment this little ‘I’ becomes stronger in your, side by side, various sorts of fears, various sorts of desires, a host of delusions take firm hold of you. The world appears to you more real, too.

The Curse Of Egoism

Ahankara is, after all, nothing. But, tremendous is its influence! Maya means Ahankara. Mind is another name for Ahankara. World means Ahankara. The sprout of Ahankara ramifies here and there with its long branches of ‘mine’ and ‘thine’. It is inveterate. Ahankara (Pride or Arrogance) wants to live in flesh (Abhinivesa or clinging to life), to eat flesh and to embrace flesh. This is pure Ajnana (ignorance) only. Look at Maya’s deception and wholesale swindling! Beware! Awake! Get Jnana.

Just as the cloud screens the sun, so also this cloud of Ahankara screens the ‘Jnana Surya’, the Infinite Sun of Knowledge, Brahman. You cannot realise God, if you have the least tinge of egoism, if you have the slightest attachment to name and form, if you have the least tinge of Vasana or if you have the least trace of worldly desire in the mind.

How To Eradicate Ahankara

The deep roots of Ahankara should be burnt by the fire of knowledge (Jnanagni). Then you will quite easily get the wealth of Moksha. All tribulations, sorrows, miseries and afflictions will terminate now. Control of the Indriyas and Pranayama help to develop the Buddhi (Vikasa of Buddhi).

You cannot, all at once, eradicate Ahankara altogether. You can easily give up wife, children, money, anger. But it is extremely difficult to give up Ahankara. Try to minimise it little by little. Remove one anna (roughly 6.25%) of Ahankara within three months. Within four years, you will be able to root it out completely. You will have to remove it either by self-sacrifice through Karma Yoga-or self-surrender through Bhakti—or self-denial through Vedantic Atma-Vichara.

Through the Sankalpas of Manas, Ahankara is generated. If the modification of the mind which leans to sensual pleasures is destroyed, the Atman, divested of its Ahankara, becomes the unnameable Brahmic Reality.

Ahankara is like a thread. It connects or links all the Indriyas on itself. When the thread is broken, all the pearls fall down. Even so, when the thread of Ahankara is broken by ‘Aham Brahma Asmi’ Bhavana or Sakshi Bhava or self-surrender method by taking the Nimitta Bhava (instrument-in-the-hands-of-the-Lord attitude), all the Indriyas will be broken down or destroyed. The connection with Indriyas will be severed.

Even if you identify yourself with a subtle body inside, it will help you in your Self-realisation. It is only the identification with the fleshy physical body that brings all sorts of troubles through gross Ahankara and ‘mineness’. The physical ‘I’ is a very great menace.

Whenever Ahankara asserts itself, raise a question within thyself, "What is the source of this little ‘I’?" Again and again, moot this question and enquire. When you remove layer after layer, the onion dwindles to nothing. When you analyse the little ‘I’, it becomes a non-entity; it will gradually vanish. It will dwindle into an airy nothing. Body is not ‘I’. ‘I’ remains even after the leg is amputated. Give up Jivasrishti.

Within the time taken to pluck a flower, within the twinkling of an eye, this Ahankara can be easily eradicated by right Sadhana or Brahma-Bhava.

Sattvic Ahankara

When you assert ‘Aham Brahma Asmi’ (I am Brahman), it is Sattvic Ahankara. It is Moksha Ahankara. It will not bind you in any way. It will help you realise Brahman. The fire in a picture will not burn anything. A light in the presence of midday sun will not shine and shed its light. Even so, the Ahankara of a Sattvic person cannot do any harm to any person.


Ego or egoism or Ahamkara in Sanskrit is the self-asserting principle or Tattva born of ignorance or Prakriti. Abhimana is egoism. Garva is egoism. The seed of this ego is the differentiating intellect or Bheda Buddhi. It is the ego which has created the idea of separateness from God or Atman. It is the ego which is the rootcause for all human sufferings and births and deaths.

This ego identifies itself with the body, mind, Prana and the senses. Wherever there is ego, there are mineness, selfishness, likes and dislikes, lust, anger, greed, hypocrisy, pride, jealousy, delusion, arrogance, conceit, impertinence, Vasanas, Trishna or cravings and Vrittis or Sankalpas, clinging to this earth-life (Abhinivesa), agency, doership (Kartritva) and enjoyership (Bhoktritva).

You must have a very clear understanding of the nature of this ego, if you want to annihilate egoism. Killing of egoism is killing of mind. Destruction of thought, desires, cravings, mineness, selfishness, jealousy, pride, lust is really destruction of mind or egoism. Control of senses also is annihilation of the mind or egoism.

This egoism assumes a subtle form. The gross egoism is not so dangerous as the subtle egoism. Institutional egoism is a subtle form of egoism. The man identifies himself with the institution and gets himself attached to the institution or cult. He has no broad-mindendness or catholicity. The working of egoism is very mysterious. It is very difficult to detect its various ways of working. It needs subtle and sharp intellect to find out its operation. If you practise introspection daily in silence you will be able to find out its mysterious ways of working.

This ego likes his own birthplace and district, people of his district, his own mother-tongue, his own relations and friends, his own ways of eating, mode of dressing. He has his own predilection and preferences. He dislikes others' way of eating, dressing, etc.

This ego wants to exercise power and influence over others. He wants titles, prestige, status, respect, prosperity, house, wife, children. He wants self aggrandisement. He wishes to domineer and rule over others. If anybody points out his defects his vanity feels offended. If anyone praises him, he is elated. This ego says: - I know everything. He does not know anything. What I say is quite correct. What he says is quite incorrect. He is inferior to me. I am superior to him. He forces others to follow his ways and views.

This ego will lurk like a thief when you start introspection and self-analysis. It will elude your grasp and understanding. You must be ever alert and vigilant. If you obtain the grace of the Lord through Japa, Kirtan, prayer and devotion you can easily kill this ego. Through Lord's grace only your self-surrender will become perfect. When this ego melts in the cosmic ego you will attain communion with the Lord or Self-realisation. May you realise the goal of life and attain everlasting Bliss through annihilation of this little ego.

Ahankara or egoism is the self-arrogating principle in man. It is a Vritti or modification that arises in the mind. Patanjali Maharshi calls this by the name - Asmita. The same mind assumes the form of egoism when man self-arrogates himself. Ahankara manifests first and then comes Mamata.

This baneful egoism generates actions, desires and pains. It is the source for all evils. It is illusory. It deludes people. Though it is nothing, it is everything for the worldly people. It is associated with mineness. It is born of Avidya or ignorance. It springs from false conceit. Vanity fosters it. It is the greatest enemy. If one renounces this Ahankara, he will be happy. The secret of renunciation is renunciation of egoism. Ahankara has its seat in the mind. It is under the influence of egoism that man commits evil and wrong actions. It is deep-rooted. Anxieties and troubles proceed from egoism. Ahankara is a veritable disease. Pride, lust, anger, delusion, greed, jealousy, love and hatred are the attendants of Ahankara. Ahankara destroys our virtues and peace of mind. It spreads the snare of affection to entrap us. He who is free from egoism is very happy and peaceful. Desires multiply and expand on account of egoism. Our inveterate enemy of egoism has spread about us the enchantments of our wives, friends, children, etc., whose spell is hard to break. There is no enemy greater than egoism.

He who neither desires nor dislikes anything and who preserves the serenity of mind at all times is not affected by the feeling of egoism. There are three kinds of egoism in the three worlds. On these, two kinds of egoism are beneficial and of superior nature but the third is a vile kind and is to be abandoned by all. The first is the supreme and undivided ego which is eternal and which pervades throughout the world. It is the Supreme Soul (Paramatma), besides which there is nothing in nature. Meditate on the formula - Aham Brahma Asmi - I am Brahman. Identify yourself with Brahman. It is Sattvic Ahankara. The knowledge which makes us perceive our own Self to be more subtle than the tail-end of paddy or to be as minute as the hundredth part of a hair, and to be ever existent is the second kind of Ahankara. The two kinds of egoism are found in a Jivanmukta or a liberated sage. They lead to the liberation of men. They will not cause bondage. Hence they are a beneficial and superior nature. The third kind of Ahankara is the knowledge of the hands, feet, etc., which takes the body for the Soul or the Self. This is the worst or basest form of egoism. This is found in all worldly persons. This is the cause for the growth of the poisonous tree of rebirths. Those who possess this kind of egoism can never come to their right senses. Countless persons have been deluded by this form of Ahankara. They have lost their intelligence, power of discrimination, and power of enquiry. This kind of egoism produces baneful results. People come under the influence of all evils of life. Those who are slaves of this form of Ahankara are troubled by various desires which induce them to do wrong actions. It debases them to the state of beasts. This kind of Ahankara should be destroyed by the other two kinds of Ahankara. The more you thin out this egoism, the more you will get knowledge of Brahman or the light of the soul.

Again there are three kinds of Ahankara, viz., Sattvic egoism, Rajasic egoism and Tamasic egoism. Sattvic egoism will not bind a man to Samsara. It will help the aspirant to attain the final emancipation. If you try to assert - Aham Brahma Asmi, - I am Brahman this is Sattvic egoism. Even in a Jivanmukta there is slight trace of Sattvic egoism. - I am a king. I know everything. I am very intelligent - this is Rajasic egoism. - I am a fool. I do not know anything - this is Tamasic egoism.

The literal meaning or Vachyartha of Aham Pada is Aham Vritti that arises in the mind, the little I which identifies itself with the physical body. The indicative meaning or Lakshyartha of Aham Pada is Atman or Brahman, the big or infinite - I.

The idea of ‘I' or egoism, is the seed of the tree of mind. The sprout which at first germinates from the seed of Ahankara is Buddhi or intellect. From this sprout, the ramifying branches called Sankalpas take their origin. The mind, Chitta and Buddhi are but the different names or qualities of the same Ahankara. The branches of Vasanas will naturally produce innumerable crops of Karmas, but if with the sword of Jnana you severe them from the heart's core, they will be destroyed. Cut the branches of the dire tree of mind and eventually destroy the tree at its root completely. Cutting the branches is only a secondary thing, the primary one being the eradication of the tree at its root. If you, through virtuous actions, destroy the idea ‘I' at the root of the tree (mind), then it will not grow up. Atma Jnana or knowledge of the Self is the fire which destroys the conception of Ahamkara, the seed of the tree (mind).

There is another classification of egoism viz., gross (Sthula) and subtle (Sukshma). When you identify yourself with the gross physical body, it is gross egoism. When you identify yourself with the mind and Karana Sarira (seed body), it is subtle egoism. If you destroy pride, selfishness, desires and identification with the body, the gross egoism will perish but the subtle egoism will remain. You must annihilate the subtle egoism also. Subtle egoism is more dangerous and more difficult of eradication. - I am a rich man, I am a king, I am a Brahmin - this is gross egoism. - I am a great Yogi; I am a Jnani; I am a good Sadhaka or Sadhu - this is subtle egoism. There is another classification of Ahamkara, viz., Samanya Ahankara (ordinary egoism) and Visesha Ahamkara (special egoism). Ordinary egoism is present in animal; Visesha Ahamkara is present in human beings.

You say, - the body is mine. The vultures, jackals and fishes also say, ‘this body is ours.' If you peel off the layers of the onion one by one, the onion dwindles into an airy nothing. So is the ‘I'. This body, mind, Prana, senses, etc., are all combinations of the five elements and Tanmatras. They are all modifications of the Prakriti only. Where is the ‘I' then? This physical body belongs to Virat, astral body to Hiranyagarbha, and causal body to Isvara. Where is the ‘I' then? ‘I' is an illusory nothing fabricated by the juggler mind. Nothing can be said to exist, which is not produced by some cause. This body which is produced through Karmas is not itself the cause. The knowledge or consciousness, that we have of it, is itself illusory. Therefore, Ahankara and other effects which are produced through the delusion of knowledge are also non-existent. The real ‘I' is the Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman only.

Just as the motion of the train or the boat is apparently transferred to the trees, so also ‘I' is transferred through jugglery of Maya, to the body, mind, Prana and senses. When you say, ‘I am stout, I am hungry, I am thirsty', the ‘I' is transferred to the Prana, you identify yourself with the Prana; when you say, ‘I am angry, I am lustful', the ‘I' is transferred to the mind. If you identify yourself with the Supreme Self, all false identification will vanish. If you kill the commander of an army, you can very easily subdue the soldiers, viz., lust, anger, pride, jealousy, greed, delusion, hypocrisy, who fight for their master - egoism.

Try to attain Brahman by means of the first two kinds of superior egoism. If you are firmly established in that supreme immaculate state wherein even these two kinds of superior egoism are abandoned one by one, then such a state is the imperishable abode of Brahman. Do not identify the ‘I' with physical body. Identify yourself with the Supreme Self of Para-Brahman.

You might have reduced or thinned out your egoism to a very great extent but if you are still susceptible to censure and praise, know that the subtle egoism is still lurking in you.

An aspirant who treads the path of devotion destroys his egoism through self-surrender or Atma Nivedana to the Lord. He says - I am Thine my Lord. All is Thine. Thy will be done. He feels he is an instrument in the hands of the Lord. He dedicates all his actions and the fruits of his actions to the Lord. He feels that there is nothing but the Lord, that everything is done by the Lord, that even an atom cannot move without Him and that all live, move and have their very being in Him alone.

A Karma Yogi destroys his egoism through self-sacrifice. A Jnana Yogi kills his egoism through self-denial or self-abnegation, through Vichara and the practice of ‘Neti-Neti' - - I am not this body, I am not the mind, I am not Prana, I am not the senses, and through identification with the Supreme Self, by meditation on the formula, - I am all-pervading Self or Brahman.

May you rest in the big infinite - I, the pure Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman and enjoy Eternal Bliss by annihilating this little illusory ‘I', the product of Maya, through self-denial or self-sacrifice or self-surrender!

Understanding DESIRES by Swami Sivananda

1. Consecutiveness in Desires

There is consecutiveness in desires even though separated by class, place and time on account of the unity of memory and impressions.


Death is similar to sleep. Birth is like waking from sleep. When you see a friend whom you saw forty years ago the events and occurances that took place long ago come back to your memory at once, and those that happened recently are held in check or abeyance. This is your experience in your daily life. The same law applies to Vasanas and different kinds of births. There is unity or identity in Samskaras and memory. Desire Samskaras will manifest as desires. Kriya Samskaras will manifest as actions. Jnana Samskaras will manifest as Smriti or knowledge. The suckling of a child and the act of swimming of a duckling - these instinctive acts are proofs of a memory which must be the result of their corresponding and inseparable impressions left by the same acts in a previous incarnation. There is continuity of Vasanas or impressions as cause and effect. Every act leaves Samskaras in the Chitta which cause memory. Memory in its turn leads to fresh actions and fresh impressions. This cycle or Chakrika goes on from eternity like the analogy of seed and tree. In a human body the Samskaras of various human bodies only will operate. The Samskaras that were produced through experiene in other kinds of bodies lie dormant. Therefore, the continuity of bodies, Samskaras and desires is kept up, though there is separation in species, time and space. The desires, ideas and feelings constantly change. Some of the old desires, ideas and feelings are constantly departing from their store-house, the mind, and new ones are replacing them. This constant change does not in any way interfere with the harmony of mental operations. Only some of the old desires, ideas and feelings depart. Those that remain, work in healthy cooperation and concord with the new arrivals. The new arrivals are strongly magnetised by the old ones. They both work in harmony and this harmony retains the identity of the mental existence.

2. Desire Is Beginningless

They (the Vasanas, desires) are beginningless, as the desire to live is eternaI.


‘They’ refers to ‘the desires.’ Desires have no beginning and end. Every being has clinging to this physical life (Abhinivesa). This ‘will to live’ is eternal. Experiences also are without any beginning. Brahman is ‘Anadi Anantam’. Maya is ‘Anadi Santam’. Maya terminates for that person who has attained knowledge of Atman. You cannot think of a time when this feeling of ‘Aham’ or ‘I’ has not existed. This ‘I’ exists continuously without any interruption. From this we can very easily infer that there had been previous births for us. Mind is very subtle and all-pervading like ether.

How could there be fear of death and desire to avoid pain, in any being, who has only been born, if he has had no experience of liability to death, it being understood that desire to avoid anything is only caused by remembrance suffered in consequence thereof? Nothing which is inherent in anything stands in need of a cause. How should it be that a child, who has not experienced his liability to death in the present life, should, as he may be falling away from the mother’s lap, begin to tremble and hold with his hands tightly the necklace hanging on her breast? How is it that such a child should experience the fear of death, which can only be caused by the memory of the pain consequent upon aversion to death, whose existence is inferred by the trembling of the child?

Some philosophers say that the size of the mind corresponds to the size of the body with which it is connected. It contracts and expands like a light placed in a jar or a house, as the case may be. This is wrong. The flame of the light neither increases nor decreases, neither contracts nor expands according to the space. So also, the Vrittis of the mind only contract or expand. The mind remains the same always. The mind, therefore, is all-pervading and subtle. The happiness of a baby which is inferred from smiles should be considered as proof of a previous life.

3. How to Destroy Desires

Being held together by cause, effect, substratum and support, they (Vasanas) disappear on the disappearance of these (cause, effect).


Vasanas produce actions. Actions strengthen the Vasanas. Vasanas and actions produce Samskaras in the Chitta. Samskaras again produce Vasanas, memory and action. This Pravaha is running from Anaadikala. Egoism and Raga-Dvesha are the causes for virtuous and vicious actions. The Asraya is the Chitta wherein Samskaras are lodged. Alambana are the objects. The contact of the senses with objects brings in fresh desires. If the cause, effect, support and objects are destroyed, all desires also will be doubtless destroyed. Dharma brings happiness. Adharma brings pain. The cause for desire is happiness. The cause for hatred is pain. Effort takes place by these. This effort is done by mind, speech and action. Through this effort you favour some and hurt others. Enjoyment is not possible without hurting others. Then again by these acts, virtue, vice, pleasure, pain and through these Raga, Dvesha are again developed. This Samsara is kept up by this six-spoked wheel. Avidya makes this wheel to revolve. This is the root cause for all Klesas. This is Hetu. Phala is Jati, life-period and Bhoga (enjoyment).

4. Mind Acts for the Purusha

The mind through its countless desires acts (for the enjoyment) of another (the Purusha), as it acts in association.


Just as the body exists for the enjoyment of the Indriyas, just as the Indriyas exist for the enjoyment of the mind, so also the mind exists for the enjoyment of the Purusha. Just as the house which has assumed its shape as such, by various meterials being brought together, exists for the enjoyment of another, so also this compound mind exists for the enjoyment of the Purusha.

5. Desireless Mind

Of these, the mind born of meditation is free from desires and impressions.


There cannot be any abode for desires or Raga-dvesha (attraction and repulsion) or Punya-apunya (virtue and sin) in the mind that is born of meditation. The other minds born of Tapas, Mantras or herbs, etc., will have abode for desire, Raga-dvesha, etc. The minds are fivefold according to the means resorted to. This is explained in Sutra IV-1.

More on Desires

"Sweep out the sphere of your mind: Make a place for Loved One to sit. Dust out all thoughts of this world So that His throne may be fit. A million desires engulf you, A million ambitions and aims: How can you make room for His Presence Unless they vacate His domain?"

What Is Desire?

Desire is a mode of the emotive mind. It has got a power of externalising the mind. Desire is the fuel; thought is the fire. The thought-fire is kept up by the desire-fuel. If you withdraw the supply of fuel, the fire will be withdrawn into its womb. If you stop thinking by cutting off desires, the mind will be withdrawn into Brahman.

It is only when the mind, being divested of all its desires, is indifferent to pleasures and pains and is not attracted by any object that it will be rendered pure, free from the grip of the great delusion like a bird freed from its cage and roaming freely in the Akasa.

Desire, thought and Ahankara form one vicious circle. If you can destroy any one of them, the other two will die by themselves. These are the three pillars or corner-stones of the edifice of mind. They are the three links of the mind-chain. Destroy any one of the links; the whole chain will be broken.

Why Do Desires Arise?

Why do desires arise in the mind? On account of Ananda-Abhava (absence of Ananda or spiritual bliss). The cause for desire is the existence of objects outside. Curiosity becomes a desire in the mind. Interest and feeling precede a desire. Hope and expectation fatten the desire.

Vikshepa-the Very Nature Of Mind

Just as heat is inseparable from fire, Vikshepa or the tossing of the mind is inseparable from the mind. It troubles the Sadhakas a lot. It destroys all of a sudden the determinations of strong-willed persons also. The mind ceases to exist if it is destitute of this oscillation. This fluctuating mind alone creates the universe. Even Mala (impurity) can be removed easily. It demands strenuous efforts for a protracted time on the part of the Sadhaka to remove this Vikshepa. The undaunted Uddalaka suffered a lot from this distracting Vikshepa when he tried to enter into Nirvikalpa state. Raja Bhartrihari underwent the same difficulty when he tried to overcome this troublesome fluctuating Sakti of the mind. Vikshepa is Maya. Vikshepa is impure Vasana (Asuddha Vasana). You will have to destroy this Vikshepasakti by constant Upasana or Yoga or ceaseless Atmic enquiry (Brahmavichara). Then, peace (Santi) will come by itself.

Types Of Desire

Desire in the mind is the real impurity. Sexual desire, vulgar attraction for the opposite sex, is the greatest impurity. This causes the real bondage. You can even give up wife, children and wealth. But, it is extremely difficult to give up ambition, name and fame. Ambition is a serious obstacle in the path of Yoga. This is the most powerful weapon of Maya with which she slaughters worldly-minded persons. Even if there is a tinge of desire for name and fame, Truth will not manifest. Truth will shine by Itself. It does not need any pompous advertisement. It is the very Self of all beings and objects.

Anirbuddha Or Subtle, Hidden Desires

Even after you have renounced all the desires, there may remain in the mind some subtle, hidden desires (Sukshma, Anirbuddha) that cannot be comprehended. These are very dangerous ones. Therefore, you will have to be very, very careful. The lurking under-currents of desires will throw you down at any moment if you are not very vigilant and cautious, will destroy your Vairagya (dispassion) and will bring about your downfall eventually. I have witnessed many Yogabhrashtas who had fallen from Yoga owing to the overpowering influence of these subtle, hidden desires. So long as you have these subtle, hidden, Anirbuddha (unnoticeable) desires in your mind, you can never dream of entering into the Nirvikalpa state without any modification of the mind. You can never develop real Paravairagya (supreme non-attachment and dispassion) also.

Craving Or Trishna

You may become old, your hairs may turn grey, but your mind is ever young. The capacity may vanish, but the craving remains even when you have reached advanced senility. Cravings (Trishna) are the real seeds of birth. These craving-seeds give rise to Sankalpa and action. The wheel of Samsara is kept revolving by these cravings. Nip them in the bud. Then only will you be safe. You will get Moksha. Brahma-Bhavana, Brahma-Chintana, meditation on OM and devotion will root out these craving-seeds which are laid deep. You will have to dig them out properly in various corners and burn them beyond resurrection. Then only will your efforts bear the fruit of Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

"Love and kill," "Marry and observe Brahmacharya," "Enjoyment without desire," "Action without fruits" are paradoxical terms. A man with gross Vyavaharic Buddhi can hardly understand these terms. A subtle, pure intellect is needed. Suppose you were a terrible smoker for the last fifteen years. Then you gave up smoking for five years. The craving for smoking also died. Suppose one of your friends offers you a cigar in the sixth year. You have no craving for smoking now. If you take it now and enjoy it just to please your friend, it will be called a Suddha Bhoga only. You have enjoyed it without a craving or a desire. Isvara enjoys Suddha Bhoga.

Satisfaction Of Desire Yields Illusory Happiness Only

Desire excites the mind and senses. When desire is gratified by enjoyment of the objects of desire, satisfaction (Tripti) comes in temporarily. Rapture is delight in the attainment of the desired object. Bliss is the enjoyment of the taste of what is attained. Where rapture is there is bliss; but where bliss is there is not, quite of necessity, rapture. Rapture is like a weary traveller who hears or sees water or a shady wood. Bliss is the enjoying of the water or entering the forest shade.

When there is desire, then alone is there pleasure. The cause for pleasure is desire. When there is no desire, there cannot be any pleasure. When there is no hunger, delicious food can give you no pleasure. When there is no thirst, any refreshing beverage will have no effect. So, hunger is the best sauce. The first cup of hot milk gives pleasure. The second cup induces disgust. After the enjoyment is over, Tripti comes. Hence, disgust arises when the second cup is taken. There is no real pleasure in milk. The happiness is in Atman only. It is reflected in the object (milk) owing to ignorance, owing to Bhranti (illusion). It is Bhranti-Sukha. If there were real happiness in milk, it should induce pleasure always and in every person. It is not the case.

A desire arises in the mind. There is a Vritti now. This Vritti agitates your mind till you get satisfaction through enjoyment of the desired object. There is Santi or peace or happiness after the enjoyment is over. Another desire arises in the mind. Now, in the interval between the gratification of one desire and the manifestation of another, there is pure bliss, because there is no mind then. It is at rest. You are in union with Brahman. That state of pure bliss between two desires is Brahman. If you can prolong that period of bliss through Sadhana by keeping up the idea of Brahman and by not allowing another Vritti or desire to crop up, you will be in Samadhi. The period between one Vritti and another Vritti is the real Sandhi (juncture).

Desires Are Insatiable

Mind plays havoc through desires. As soon as a desire arises, you think you will get all happiness by its realisation. You exert yourself to achieve the desired object. As soon as you get it, a little satisfaction (false Tushti or gratification) is experienced for a short time. Again, mind becomes restless. It wants new sensations. Disgust and dissatisfaction come in. Again, it wants some new objects for its enjoyment. That is the reason why this world is termed as mere Kalpana (imagination) by Vedantins.

Desires are innumerable, insatiable and unconquerable. Enjoyment cannot bring in satisfaction. It is a mistake to think so. Enjoyment fans the desire. It is like pouring ghee ( Vegetable fat or Clarified butter) in fire. Enjoyment strengthens, increases and aggravates a desire. See the case of Raja Yayati of yore. He borrowed the youthful state from his son to have sexual enjoyment for thousands of years. At last, he cries out in his old age with bitterness, "Alas! What a fool I am! Still my sexual desires are waxing. There is no end of desires. I have wasted my life. O God! Have mercy on me. Lift me up from this mire of Samsara." This comes in Mahabharata. In the Gita, Chapter III-39, you will find "Kama-rupena Kaunteya Dushpurena-analena cha-desire which is insatiable as a flame."

Freedom From Desires Necessary For Jnana

You can attain Jnana only if you are free from sensuous desires and immortal mental states. Aloofness of body from sensuous objects and aloofness of mind from immoral states of mind are needed for the attainment of Jnana. Then only will Divine Light descend. Just as a bungalow is cleaned of cobwebs and all kinds of dirts and the garden of all its weeds for the reception of the Viceroy, the mental palace should be cleansed of all vices, desires and immoral states for the reception of the Holy Brahman, the Viceroy of viceroys.

When a desire arises in the mind, a worldling welcomes it and tries to fulfil it; but, an aspirant renounces it immediately through Viveka. Wise people consider even a spark of desire as a very great evil. Therefore, they will not entertain any kind of desire. They will be ever delightful in Atman only.

How To Control Desires

In this ocean of Samsara, desires are the crocodiles. Kill them as soon as they arise on the surface of the mind. Do not yield to them. Do not become despondent under your trials. Make friendship with the pure, Sattvic mind and destroy the impure mind with the help of the pure mind. Make your mind rest in the blissful Atman. Desires should be crushed the very moment they arise in the mind, by discrimination and dauntless, indefatigable efforts.

Whenever a desire arises in the mind, consult always your Viveka (power of discrimination). Viveka will at once tell you that the desire is attended with pain, that it is only a vain temptation set up by the mind and that Vairagya and Tyaga alone can bring about satisfaction and peace of mind. It will advise you to renounce the desire immediately and take to the study of Upanishads, repetition of OM and to have Samadhi-Nishtha in a solitary place on the bank of the sacred Ganga. Think deeply again and again whether the new desire will give you more happiness or more spiritual gain. Viveka will guide you to take up the help of will and drive the desire immediately. Viveka and will are two potent weapons for an aspirant on the Jnana Yogic path to destroy evil Mara (temptation) and remove all major and minor impediments.

Never accept gifts from anybody, even from your closest friends. It will produce slavish mentality, weak will and attachment. Asking is begging. Recommending is begging. A beggar is absolutely unfit for freedom and spiritual pursuits.

Just as you starve a plant by depriving it of water, so you may starve out obnoxious desires by allowing the mind not to dwell upon such desires. You have no desire for a thing till you know what it is like. It is only after you have seen it or heard of it or touched it that you get a longing for it. Therefore, the best principle for a man is not to take, touch or see anything that is likely to taint the imagination. You will have to turn aside the attention resolutely and particularly the imagination from the subject. In course of time, all objectionable desires will die out.

It is desire in the mind that has created this body. The nature of the desire depends upon the quality of Samskaras. If these are good, virtuous Samskaras, good desires will crop up and, if they are bad, they will give rise to evil desires. Buddhi also is Karmanusarini (according to the nature of Karmas). It has to be specially trained by repeated efforts to think and act according to the holy injunctions of sacred scriptures. Desire becomes the thought and thought becomes the action. An evil desire sets up an evil thought which leads to evil action. Do always virtuous action-charity, Tapas, Japa, Dama, Dhyana and study of scriptures. Give up Nishiddha Karma (actions prohibited by Sastras). Have constant Satsanga. This is very important. It is the only means of changing the evil Samskaras of the mind.

The mind with half-developed Jnana feels severe pain when it relinquishes all desires. It demands aid, through prayer, from higher souls.

A counter-desire, a desire for God, one strong desire to attain Brahman will destroy all other worldly desires. Put down vicious desires through virtuous desires. Then give up virtuous desires through one strong desire-Mumukshutva (desire for liberation). Abandon this desire for God also in the long run. Give up Asubha Vasana through Subha Vasana. Give up Subha Vasana through Svarupa Vasana. Give up Svarupa Vasana by Nididhyasana. Desires will become extinct with the rise of discrimination. When desires cease, Jivahood becomes extinct.

Brahma-Chintana will destroy all desires. There are no desires in Brahman. Brahman is All-Purity. Repeat OM. Repeat the Mantra, "All purity I am." All the desires will vanish.

Kill the thoughts. Practise thoughtlessness. You can destroy desires. Mind associated with thoughts of gratifying the passionate desires, blindly goads a man to seek for sensual pleasures. Uncontrolled thoughts are the roots of all evils. Sublime thoughts will easily destroy lower, base thoughts. Do not entertain any base thought.

Destruction Of Desires Leads To Aatmic Bliss

Vasanasahita mind (mind associated with desires) is Bandha (bondage). Mind free from desires is Mukta (free). Desires are themselves pain. Non-desire is itself pure Atmic Bliss. Mere annihilation of Maya is Moksha. With the extinction of the base Sankalpas, there is also the extinction of Avidya. Should all longings for the visibles cease, then such an abnegation of mind is itself the destruction of Ajnana or the mind. Such a bliss is generated through one’s efforts only. There is nothing like Purushartha (right exertion). Purushartha changed the destiny of Markandeya. He became a Chiranjivi.

Desire is the enemy of peace. You have become the beggar of beggars through desires. A desireless man is the richest man in the world. It is the mind that makes a man rich.

Free yourself from the firm grip of crocodiles of desires. Do not get disheartened under trials. Cheer yourself up. Stand up like a lion. Destroy the impure mind with the help of the pure mind. Make friendship with the Sattvic mind and rest yourself peacefully in Atman.


Fear accompanies the instinct of self-preservation. Man is afraid of impending danger. He tries to escape and save his life. Anger accompanies the instinct of combat. Man is aggressive and pugnacious. Lust or sexual excitement accompanies the reproductive instinct. Man copulates and generates. Feeling of loneliness accompanies the herding instinct. Man wants company and lives among groups of people. Man wants to possess or own and enjoy. He manifests the hoarding instinct.

Man tries for his self-preservation. This is the preservation instinct. He wants to hoard money for sensual enjoyment. This is the hoarding instinct. He wants to live in his own community. This is the herding instinct. He wants to mate and reproduce. This is the reproductive instinct. He is aggressive and pugnacious. This is the instinct of combat.

Feeling always accompanies thinking. Feeling is the sense of touch. It is perception of objects by touch. It is consciousness of pleasure or pain. It is tenderness, emotion, sensibility, sentimentality. It is opinion as resulting from emotion. It is receiving an impression. It is affection, sensation, experience, sympathy, love, etc. It is throbbing, thrill, shock, agitation, quiver, flutter, tremor, pathos. It is ardour, zeal, enthusiasm, cordiality. Deep sense, glow, fervour, earnestness, eagerness, ecstasy, inspiration, cordiality, sympathy, love, affection, tenderness and aesthetics are lofty sublime feelings. They make you divine.

Aesthetics is the feeling of beauty in objects and fine arts. Vehemence, fanaticism, passion, excitability, agitation, flutter, flurry, ruffle, perturbation, are low Rajasic-Tamasic feelings. They are Asuric and diabolical in nature. They throw you down in low births. Cultivate sublime feelings and attain divinity.

All emotions come under the category of Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes). When the feeling is intense and has a big volume, it becomes an emotion. It is one of the three groups of the phenomena of mind. An emotional man is easily excited. Bengalis are highly emotional. A man of emotional temperament is fit for the practice of Bhakti Yoga. Emotions are of two kinds viz., high and low. Bhakti is a higher, divine emotion. Low surging emotions should be stilled and transformed by the practice of Pranayama, Japa, Sattvic food and Vichara. Higher emotions should be cultivated by Satsanga, Japa, Kirtan and study of Bhagavatam, etc. Raga, Dvesha, lust, hatred, pride, jealousy, are low emotions of the impure mind. Do not mistake emotion for devotion. Do not live on emotion. Control lower emotions and be calm and serene. Do not cultivate the habit of weeping through emotion. But shed tears of Prema in silence through Virahagni and practice of the presence of God. Do not jump and dance violently. Allow a single controlled emotion to glide smoothly like a gentle wave.


by Swami Sivananda

Sentiment becomes a habit. It is more permanent, while an emotion is temporary. Sentiment is a thought occasioned by feeling. It is an exhibition of feeling as in literature or art. It is a thought expressed in words. It is the second division of the moral faculties.

A sentimental man is affectedly tender. He abounds in sentiments or reflections. He has an excess of sentiment or feeling. Sentiment is of two kinds viz., high and low. Sexual sentiment is a low sentiment. Aesthetics is sentiment of the sublime and the beautiful. A sentimental man who is swayed by low sentiments, who is easily upset by low sentiments, is ever perturbed and restless. But a man of sublime sentiments, who has kept his low sentiments under control, is peaceful and advances in the spiritual path. A man of sublime sentiment is very sympathetic and kind. He is easily moved when he looks at the sufferings of others. Control low sentiments, cultivate high, sublime sentiments.

Conscience is a moral faculty. It is a delicate instrument or sense that tells you then and there what is right and what is wrong. It is the inner voice without sound, that shows you the path of virtue and godliness. It raises the voice of protest, whenever anything is thought of or done, contrary to the interest of his Master (Atman). He is an ambassador in the durbar of King, Atman. He is an advocate of judge, Atman. Through misuse it becomes blunt. Through abuse or misuse it is even destroyed. Through wickedness it becomes perverted. Untiring falsehood and taking bribes destroy the conscience altogether. A pure, clean conscience helps the aspirant, to reach the goal quickly. Therefore cultivate a clean and pure conscience, by adhering to truth and Dharma. Keep the conscience bright, sharp and delicate. Pin-pricks in the heart, shame and depression indicate that you have done something against conscience.

Saints and Yogins will never think that they have controlled the mind. Only the deluded Sadhaka imagines that he has controlled the mind, and gets a terrible downfall. It is the very nature of life, mind and Prakriti, to be constantly in motion. When there is the idea in the mind that the Highest Goal is yet to be achieved, you will always move towards it. If you imagine that you have gone to the top, you will anyhow have to move, and that movement will be downward: you will have a downfall. Aspire for higher and higher realisation till the breath ceases in the nostril.

GUNAS by Swami Sivananda

1. Time and Gunas

The past and the future exist in their real nature due to the difference in the condition of the characteristics or qualities.


The objects have the three experiences of the changes of past, present and future. As the effect is contained in a subtle state in the cause itself, that which is in a state of Sankocha (contraction) attains Vikasa (state of expansion), just like the tree from the seed. Vastu exists always. The outer coverings change, according to the changes of coverings of Gunas or qualities. As Gunas change, difference in Bhava also occurs. Changes take place like a Pravaha or continuous current. The future is a manifestation which is to be. The past is the experience which has been experienced. The present is that which is in active operation. We have these three periods of time with reference to a marked indicative point. The seeds of everything exists in a subtle state. That is the reason why Samyama on the three Parinamas produces knowledge of the past, present and future (vide Sutra III-16).

2. Nature of Characteristics

They (the characteristics), whether manifest or subtle, are of the nature of Gunas, qualities.


These characteristics are of the nature of the manifested, when they exist in the present and are of the nature of the subtle when they are passed into the past or yet unmanifested. They are all from Mahat down to any object of the nature of Gunas. The Gunas change every minute and produce the various phenomena of nature. Past and present are due to the different modes of manifestation of these Gunas, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The whole manifested universe is made up of these three Gunas. Modifications of these Gunas constitute all sorts of Sthavara-jangama (immovable and moving things). In truth, the world is only Gunas.

3. Reality of Things

The reality of things is the result of the unity of modifications.


As one Guna is prominent and the other two are subordinate there is only one Parinama. When the Sattva Guna is predominating, and Rajas and Tamas are under subordination, the organs of knowledge are formed. When Rajas is preponderating and the Sattva and Tamas are under subordination, the organs of action are formed. Each of these modifications is always known as one.

The strong current of Vrittis of the mind will be directed along the virtuous path if Sattva is predominating in the mind. The man will be doing virtuous actions. If Rajas and Tamas predominate, the mental current and mental energy flow along a vicious path and the man will be doing vicious actions. Sattvic mental current will make you inward (Antarmukha) and take you to Kaivalya or Moksha. Rajasic and Tamasic currents will throw you down in Samsara.

Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are the three Gunas or qualities of the Chitta. Sattva is its inherent quality. Chitta is born of Sattva Guna. But when it mixes with Rajas and Tamas, all the worldly taints manifest. Sattva is purity, light or knowledge.

Rajas is passion or activity. Tamas is inertia or darkness. By checking Rajas and Tamas, you can increase the Sattva. When Sattva increases, the mind becomes steady like the flame of a lamp in a windless place. He who is Sattvic can do real concentration and meditation, and can enter into Samadhi easily. A Rajasic man loves power and objects of senses. A Tamasic man does vicious actions on account of ignorance. No quality can stand by itself. Sattva is mixed with Rajas and Tamas. When there is preponderance of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are controlled. They lurk themselves for the time being. When there is preponderance of Rajas, Sattva and Tamas are controlled. When there is preponderance of Tamas, Sattva and Rajas are controlled. Your important duty is to increase Sattva and to control the senses and the mind. Other duties are secondary. A sensible man only can understand this point. When there is increase of Sattva, there is brightness and brilliance in the face, lightness in the body, joy, purity, strength, peace and illumination.

Intense Rajas takes a Sattvic turn. Dacoit Ratnakar became the sage Valmiki. Jagai and Madai, who were intensely Rajasic and who pelted stones on Lord Gauranga, became his first disciples.

4. Stages of Gunas

The stages of Gunas, qualities, are the defined, undefined, indicated and non-indicated.


The Visesha Tattvas which are 16 in number are the effects of Ahamkara and the five Tanmatras. The Avisesha Tattvas which are six in number are the effects of Mahat Tattva. These six Avisesha Tattvas are called Prakriti-Vikriti, because they are the effects of Mahat and the causes for the 16 Visesha Tattvas. These are the producers and the produced. The Visesha are the produced only. As the Mahat gets dissolution in the Alinga (Pradhana), it bears the names Linga. Pradhana is Trigunasamyavastha, wherein the three Gunas exist in a state of equilibrium. Read Sutra I-45. Mahat is the effect of Pradhana. That is the first manifestation.

Mahat is the cause for Avisesha Tattvas, Ahamkara and Tanmatras. It is also a producer and the produced, the defined or specialised.

Tattvas (Visesha) get involved into the Avisesha (undefined). The Avisesha along with the Visesha get involved into Mahat (Linga). Then, Avisesha along with the Visesha gets involved into the Mahat (Linga). Then the Avisesha along with Mahat gets Laya into the Alinga or the Pradhana. Pradhana is the final state of latency of the phenomenal world. Purusha is above Prakriti. He is not material. He is not a compound and therefore, He is Immortal. Vedanta is only an amplification and fulfilment of Sankhya Philosophy.

5. Hints on Gunas

If Sattva predominates in the mind, thoughts of God, Brahma Vichara will manifest. This mind will be one-pointed. The meditative mood will come by itself without exertion.

In spiritual neophytes the Sattvic state of mind will not last for a long time. Rajas and Tamas will try to rush in. You will have to be very vigilant. You will have to watch the mind through thoughtful introspection. A Sattvic man will be ever God-loving, dispassionate and powerful.

A Rajasic man will be ever engaged in worldly activities. He wants to lord over the people. He has domineering attitude. He wants powers. He is much attached to wife, children and property. Rajahs, Pandits and rich people are full of Rajas.

Just as you squeeze out the tooth-paste from the collapsible tube, you will have to squeeze out all Rajas from this bodily tube and fill it with Sattva. Then you will become a Dhyana Yogi.

The doors or impurities of the mind - Rajas and Tamas, should be removed by heating the mind with the fire of Vairagya and Abhyasa. This is referred to in Sutra I-15 and 16.

By increasing the Sattvic modifications of the mind as Kshama, love, mercy, magnanimity, generosity, truthfulness, celibacy, you can destroy the Rajasic and Tamasic mental Vrittis.

Although mind is one, it passes into many conditions or states, as it is made up of three qualities or Gunas. All these qualities enter into a variety of combinations. The modifications or Vrittis of the mind also are various. Peace of mind is a Sattvic Vritti. Lust is a Rajasic Vritti. Laziness is a Tamasic Vritti.



The universe is nothing but a mode of mind. The mind manifests itself as the external world. Time is but a mode of mind. This mischievous mind dances in the theatre of this universe to the music of the organs. The mind constitutes the root of the tree of Samsara or Ajnana which ramifies in all directions with branches full of flowers, tendrils, fruits, etc.

All that you are now, is the result of what you have thought. You build your own future by the thoughts you think. Entertain divine thoughts. You will attain God-realisation. Conquest of mind means conquest of the world. You may overcome a thousand men in battle, but he who conquers his mind is the greatest victor. Mind-control is the indispensable discipline for those who seek to obtain the knowledge of Atman or the Supreme Self. Illusion is the vibration (Vritti) of mind under an imagination which makes one thing appear as another thing. Mind is the cause for the appearance of Aham - I and Idam - this. One cannot attain everlasting peace without the extinction of mind (Manonasa).

The seed of Ajnana or ignorance is no other than the sprout of Sankalpa or thought. With the checking of all thoughts, your mind will perish. Do not for a moment think of the universe. Do not dream of walking in the path of Sankalpa or thought. Cut asunder the bond of desires through the destruction of Sankalpa (thought, imagination).


If your mind is free from cravings, desires and attachment, you will not be born again. You will attain freedom and perfection. Mind is an instrument of the Self. If it is disciplined, stilled and purified, it is your useful servant, but if it is left unbridled and undisciplined, it brings misery and sorrow.

If you allow your lower mind to get pampered with earthly things, then true Jnana (wisdom) will recede to a great distance from you. So long as there is the centering of affection in this body which is not Atman and the mistaken identification of it with Atman, so long will the mind grow fatter and fatter in its association with the Samsara of wife, children, etc. A stainless mind without attractions, though engaged in worldly acts, will never be bound thereby. A mind with attractions, though engaged in innumerable Tapas, will ever be in bondage. Mind colored by desire drives man to search for personal satisfaction. Man is the creature of thought. Whatever he thinks, that he becomes. As the mind itself, which thinks, feels and wills, is a modification of ignorance, it cannot know Brahman or the Absolute. Cogitation, emotion and volition are the three aspects of the human mind. Which the mind. Restrain it.

Have a well-directed mind, which confers very great benefits. Make straight the mind. Restrain the mind. A subjugated mind is conducive to happiness. Focus the entire mind at its source. The source of mind is Atman. The mind will be absorbed in the Atman. The Atman alone will shine in all its splendour. The regular practice of Japa with Bhava and concentration will ultimately remove all fickleness of mind and make it steady and calm. Carry on the Abhyasa or Yoga practice continuously. It is Abhyasa that overcomes all Vikshepa or mental oscillation and steadies the mind. The mind may run about a little in the beginning due to previous habit but the repetition of the divine Name is the magic wand to subdue the turbulent and irregular mind. He who has controlled the mind is awake in that which is night to all beings. When the mind is serene, the body also becomes healthy. Let the outward and inward man be at one. He who has controlled his mind and subdued the senses is the greatest hero. Be steadfast; you will control the mind. Wake up. O Man! Conquer your mind and then conquer the entire universe with your spirituality and divine force. A mind, devoid of pains, which has developed an equal vision over all, through quiescence, will attain Para Brahman or the Eternal which is the plenum of complete bliss. This is Moksha.


The fundamental mode of the mind is Ahankara or ego. It manifests as the self-arrogating little - I. Egoism is the most inveterate and incurable disease. But there is one sovereign specific to cure this disease. It is wisdom of Atman or the Soul. The whole life of man is centred in the idea of Self. Minus the Self the world is nil. There is then no experience whatsoever. All your relative experiences in this world turn on the pivot of the ego. Without the - I there is no experience, no life in this world. The self is an experiencing unit which is endowed with the faculties of conception, perception and sensation. The root cause of egoism is ignorance or Avidya; Ego is the false self. After destroying all conceptions of - I in the hosts of visible objects, it matters not where you live, whether in a house, a hill or a big city. The abode of a householder who has a calm mind and is not tainted with egoism can well be termed a forest.

With the annihilation of - I (egoism), the body will perish like a tree felled to its root. In the absence of objects this little - I does not exist, or these objects do not exist in the absence of - I.

Separate yourself from the objects with the idea that the - I does not belong to the objects or the objects do not belong to the - I. The ego of a devotee is harmless. It is Sattvic. It helps to develop, to realise God. The more you annihilate the Ahankara or egoism, the more will the Brahmic principle dawn in you. The offering of ego in the fire of wisdom is the greatest form of sacrifice. When this little - I or ego is traced down to its source, viz., Atman, it will disappear. It will be absorbed in Atman, like the water in a hot frying pan. The source of egoism or this little - I is Atman or the Supreme Self. Meditate on Atman. It will be absorbed in the Atman. The little - I will vanish. Atman alone will shine in all its glory. When the ego is non-existent it is liberation, when the ego persists it is bondage.

When the mind is attached to the objects, it is bondage; when the mind is not attached to any object, it is liberation. When the mind desires anything, grieves for anything, rejects anything, accepts anything, and gets pleased with one and angry with another, it is the state of bondage.

When the mind desires nothing, grieves for nothing, rejects nothing, accepts nothing, and gets pleased or angry with none, it has attained liberation. Absolute consciousness of Self-awareness destroys the ego and bestows the final emancipation.


The greatest obstacles to Self-realisation are desire for property, desire for wealth and desire for name and fame. Desire is born of ignorance. The fundamental desire is the urge for mate. Destruction of desire is destruction of ignorance. Desire arises from a sense of imperfection or limitation, by identifying with the finite body, mind and ego.

Desire is the seed from which sprout ceaseless births. As is your desire, so is your will. As is your will so is your action. He who is desireless will have an absolute free will. He is ever blissful who longs for nothing and fears nothing. If you crave for objects, then only they come in the way of your God-realisation.

The tendency to think of sense-objects is indeed the cause of bondage or transmigration. Lust and greed are hindrances to renunciation. Kamini (lust), Kanchana (gold), and Kirti (fame), are the three obstacles to God-realisation. A lustful and greedy man is not fit for spiritual life. Anger, lust and greed are the basic enemies of spirituality. A weak will is overpowered by the strong desire. Wherever there is Raga, there is fear. Reduce your desire and live self-contented. Root out desire by Viveka and Vairagya, discrimination and dispassion.


The mind is the slayer of Peace. The mind is the slayer of Truth. Make your mind your friend. Control your mind and the senses. This is the greatest victory. The mind is responsible for the feelings of pleasure and pain. Control of the mind is the highest Yoga. If the mind is controlled, it is then capable of great service. If it is not subdued, it creates endless pains and sufferings.

He alone who has controlled his mind will be ever peaceful and joyful. Use your mind as a filter, watch and do not allow any useless thought to enter the mind. Filter all useless thoughts. The greatest weakness is doubt. Doubt is thy enemy. Doubt is the greatest sin. Slay this doubt. Slay the slayer mind. A man of perverted mind and a doubting person do not get spiritual knowledge. The intellect is a hindrance. Too much of arguing is the bane of modern civilisation.

Belief determines conduct. Thought determines character. Man is changed by every thought he thinks and by every action he does. All that you are is the result of what you have thought. It is founded on your thoughts. It is made up of your thoughts. The root of evil which has brought about your bondage is Moha or infatuated love. Moha is delusion. It is not pure love. It is attachment to flesh, but not to the Soul. Control the lower emotions. Emotion is a waste of energy and power. It clouds the light of reason and wears the physical body.

The spectator derives more joy than the actor. So, be a witness of your thoughts. You will enjoy more lasting happiness.

Annihilate double-dealing, diplomacy, jealousy, self-conceit and hypocrisy - the enemies of devotion, peace and wisdom. Hatred, pride, harshness, revengefulness, anger, cruelty, greed, etc., are brutal qualities. Seek wisdom, and not powers. Powers are obstacles to God-realisation. O Mind! Go back to the original sweet home, Brahman or Atman wherein alone lie everlasting peace and eternal bliss.


True glory lies in the silent conquest of mind. If you control your mind, you are a conqueror of the whole world. Mind is at once the venue of man's bondage and release. Control of the mind is higher than the control of Prana or control of the body. The greatest war is the war with the Mind. The practice of the control of mind is a key to open the lock of the temple of Silence. Detach the sense-organs from objects and rest them in their respective centres. This is self-control.

Close the doors of the senses through abstraction and self-restraint. Self-control is the very key to beatitude. Self-control is the restraint of the outgoing tendencies of mind and the senses. Development of will-power and also the strengthening of the intellect, will control all the sense-organs. Do not allow the mind to react to external stimuli. This is mental poise.

Raise the rod of Viveka (discrimination), when the senses hiss. Through Pratyahara or abstraction, the greatest control is exercised over the senses. The mind functions under distinct limitations. Therefore it is unable to grasp the Infinite. The Mind is like a laboratory. The sense-impressions are poured into it for conversion into thoughts. The cooperation of the mind is necessary for both perception and action. All sorts of loose thoughts of diverse kinds come and go in the mental factory.

If you want rapid progress in the spiritual path, watch every thought. A vacant mind is ever distressed. It is the devil's workshop. Be thoughtful. Keep guard over your mind. Watch every impulse and thought. Spiritualise or sublimate your instincts. Evil thought is the most dangerous thief. Slay this thief with the sword of wisdom. Generate daily new divine vibrations or thought-waves in your mind. Make your thought pure, strong, sublime and definite. You will gain immense spiritual strength and peace.

Every thought must be constructive and noble. Thoughts are only refractions. Slay all thoughts. Go thou within the Light of lights. If you wish to attain Self-realisation, imagination and speculation must stop. Purify and control the emotions. Beneath your conscious life, there is a very wide region of subconscious life.

All habits originate from the subconscious plane. Subconscious life is more powerful than your ordinary life of objective consciousness. Through the practice of Yoga you can modify, control and influence the subconscious depths. Take one evil trait. Meditate on its opposite virtue every morning. Practise it during the day. The evil quality will vanish soon. Meditate on mercy in the morning and practise it during the day. You will soon develop mercy.

Purity is perfection. - Purity is the highest good. - Purity is my goal, - I am all purity, All thee are the methods of meditation upon purity. The tricks of the mind are most subtle. Only constant Vichara will keep you alert and safe. Through introspection, analysis, discrimination, vigilance, enquiry and prayer, you can understand the tricks and jugglery of the mind and escape from its deceptions. Sit and introspect. Study the mind as though it were a thing apart from you.

There are external and internal distractions; it is difficult to understand the internal ones. Self-analysis and inspiration are needed to know the internal distractions. Introspection purifies the mind quickly. Wherever the mind goes, see the One Lord there. There the mind will easily come under your control. Constant Japa and prayer will calm the mind and fill it with peace and bliss. Still the mind. Here in lie freedom and bliss eternal. Draw the mind inward. Hold it still to obtain the priceless Atmic treasure within.

Tune the radio of mind to the voice of the Inner Self. Restrain the senses. Withdraw the mind. Fix it on the Lord. This is the essence of Sadhana. Negate the personality and affirm the University. This is Sadhana. This is Yoga. He who has controlled his mind will have an absolute free-will.

To concentrate is to exclude every thought, but one. Through the practice of concentration and meditation you attain clarity of mind, increased grasping power, retentive memory, increased intelligence, confidence, optimism, peace of mind and control of mind and senses.


Thought is a finer manifestation of being than ether or energy. You think, because you share the universal thought. Thought is both force and motion. Thought is dynamic. Thought moves. Thought decides the future. As you think, so you become. Thought makes a saint or a sinner. Thought can shape a man. Think that you are Brahman and become Brahman.

Sacred thoughts generate and sustain divine thoughts. Thoughts of hatred interfere with the inner harmony of the heart. Every useless thought is wastage of energy. Useless thoughts are obstacles to spiritual growth. Every thought must have a definite purpose. Negative evil thoughts cannot overcome fear. Patience overcomes anger and irritability. Love overcomes hatred. Purity overcomes lust. Mind is not daily made; in every minute it changes its color and shape. The thoughts that we perceive all around us are only the mind in form or substance. - Manomatram Jagat. Mind creates; Mind destroys. Bitterness and sweetness do not lie in the objects, but they are in the subject. They are created by the mind.

Through the play of the mind in objects, proximity appears to be a great distance and vice-versa. The Mind has the potency of creating or undoing the whole world in the twinkling of an eye. All objects are unconnected in this world. They are connected and associated together only by the imagination of your mind. It is the mind that gives color, shape, qualities to the objects. Mind assumes the shape of any object it intensely thinks upon.

Friend and enemy, virtue and vice are in the mind only. Every man creates a world of good and evil, pleasure and pain, out of his own imagination only. Good and evil, pleasure and pain do not proceed from objects. These belong to the attitude of your mind. There is nothing good nor pleasant in this world. Your imagination makes it so.


Dharana or concentration matures in due course into Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (superconscious state). Meditation is prolonged concentration. The process of meditation is like the pouring of oil from one vessel into another in a steady, unbroken stream. Meditation is an effort in the beginning. Later on it becomes habitual and gives bliss, joy and peace. Only when you have practised preliminary stages of Sadhana such as Yama, Niyama, you will obtain the full benefit of meditation. In the one-pointed state, there cannot be more than one idea. One idea can go only if another idea enters the mind. However intellectual you may be, you cannot concentrate without the help of some image or symbol in the beginning.

Success in meditation is quick to those whose practice and dispassion are intense. Meditation is a positive, vital, dynamic process. It transforms man into divinity. Through regular meditation you can build an impregnable and invulnerable fortress. Maya cannot assail thee. Meditation is the key to intuition. Meditation is the key to unfold the divinity or Atman hidden in all names and forms. Meditation is the key to spiritual illumination. Meditation is the only passport to the satisfaction of life. Meditation is an antidote to death.

Meditation is a vital part of daily living. Therefore, meditate, meditate daily. Even a little meditation daily will raise you a little higher, and a little nearer to God. The mind is refined by devotion and meditation. As gold purified in crucible, shines bright, so constant meditation on Atman makes the mind pure and effulgent with spiritual lustre. A purified mind can grasp anything. It can dive deep in the subtlest subject, and understand even transcendental things.

The Three Doshas by Swami Sivananda

Milk is agreeable to some and disagreeable to others. There is nothing wrong with the milk itself. Surely, there is something wrong with the mind. Doubtless, there is a defect in the mind. The view of a child when it sees its mother is that she is its supporter, nourisher and giver of all comforts. The husband of the woman regards her as an object of enjoyment. A tiger, when it sees the same woman, regards her as its prey. The object, woman, remains the same. The viewpoint differs in these three cases owing to the Dosha of the mind.

Dosha means fault or defect. Mala (impurity), Vikshepa (tossing), Avarana (veil of ignorance) are the threefold defects of the mind.

The mind is tossed about among objects of love and hatred like a light feather in a stormy wind. It ever whirls far and wide in vain among sensual objects away from the association with the wise, like a strolling city dog; but, no results accrue therefrom. This baneful mind whirls at the sight of its much-coveted immense wealth. This ferocious dog of mind, following its mate of desire, ever preys upon poor, ignorant worldlings as on carcasses. It will flit in a moment from Howrah to Paris and from Colombo to Berlin. Not resting on any object firmly, it is characterised by an excessive fluctuating power. It will fluctuate and be confused, will flit away from an object and then return to it, will rejoice in vain and be intoxicated with Ahankara. A mind becomes a prey to fear through its fluctuation.

The mind should be rendered fit for salvation, fit to approach its Adhishthana (substratum), its father, Brahman. Remove the three Doshas.

Mala (such as Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Matsarya) is removed by doing Nishkama Karma. Mala means sin also.

Vikshepa is removed by Upasana, Trataka, Pranayama and Raja Yoga.

Avarana is removed by Jnana, study of Vedantic literature, Nididhyasana and Abheda-Chintana after duly understanding the right significance of the Mahavakya, "Tat Tvam Asi."

Without hankering after paltry, terrestrial, things and causing your mind to fluctuate thereby, may you be immovable as a rock! Those who have no lower impulses drive away rebirths to a great distance from them.

Study the nature of the mind. Analyse the mind carefully. Get rid of the three Doshas of the mind, viz., Mala, Vikshepa and Avarana. Purify the mind. Steady the mind. Fix the mind on God or Brahman. Get the mind dissolved in God by constant and intense thinking. Practise the Sadhana of Manonasa. Rise above the deceptions and temptations of the mind. This is your duty. You are born for this only; all other duties are self-created and self-imposed owing to Avidya or ignorance.

To Follow: MIND IV

Please note all this is a very slow and steady process and would take lot of efforts, determination and also time, if someone gets dejected due to initial failure, do not give up.

Aum NamaH Shivaya!

Sianala, Montreal, Feb 2008

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