In as much as it is necessary to cleanse and purify the body,
so necessary, or perhaps even more necessary, is it that the
mind be cleansed and purified. All impurity causes diseases
as well as irregularity in the working of the physical system.
The same applies to the mind. There are impurities belonging
to the mind, which may cause different diseases, and by cleansing
the mind one helps to create health both in body and mind. By
health I mean the natural condition. And what is spirituality
but to be natural?
Very few think like this. So many people think that to be
spiritual means to be able to work wonders, to be able to see
strange things, wonderful phenomena; and very few know how simple
it is, that to be spiritual means to be natural.
Mental purification can be done in three different ways.
The first way is the stilling of the mind, because it is very
often the activity of the mind, which produces impurities. The
stilling of the mind removes impurities from it; it is like
tuning the mind to its natural pitch. The mind can be likened
to a pool of water. When the water in the pool is undisturbed,
the reflection is clear; and so it is with the mind. If the
mind is disturbed, one does not receive intuition, inspiration,
clearly in it. Once the mind is still it takes a clear reflection,
as the pool of water does when the water in the pool is still.
This condition is brought about by the practice of physical
repose. By sitting in a certain posture a certain effect is
created. Mystics in their science know of different ways of
sitting in silence, and each way has a certain significance.
And it is not only an imaginary significance; it produces a
definite result. I have had, both personally and through other
persons, many experiences of how a certain way of sitting changes
the attitude of mind. And the ancient people knew this, and
they found different ways for different persons to sit. There
was the warrior's way, the student's way, the way of the meditative
person, the way of the businessman, of the laborer, of the lawyer,
of the judge, of the inventor. Imagine, how wonderful that the
mystic should have found this out and have had the experience
of it for thousands of years – the great effect that sitting
in a certain posture has on a person and especially on his mind.
We experience it in our everyday life, but we do not think
about it. We happen to sit in a certain way and we feel restless;
and we happen to sit in another way and we feel peaceful. A
certain position makes us feel inspired, and another way of
sitting makes us feel unenergetic, without enthusiasm. By stilling
the mind with the help of a certain posture, one is able to
The second way of purifying the mind is by way of breathing.
It is very interesting for an Eastern person to see how sometimes
in the West, in their inventions, people unconsciously apply
the principles of the mystical realms. They have got a machine
that sweeps carpets while sucking up the dust. This is the same
system inside out. The proper way of breathing sucks up the
dust from the mind and ejects it. The scientist goes so far
as to say that a person exhales carbon dioxide; the bad gases
are thrown out of the body by exhaling. The mystic goes further,
saying it is not only from the body, but from the mind also.
If one knew how to remove impurities, one could remove more
than one would imagine. Impurities of mind can be thrown out
by the right way of breathing. That is why mystics combine breathing
with posture. Posture helps the stilling of mind, breathing
helps the cleansing of mind. These two go together.
The third way of purifying the mind is by attitude; by the
right attitude towards life. That is the moral way and the royal
road to purification. A person may breathe and sit in silence
in a thousand postures, but if he does not have the right attitude
towards life, he will never develop. That is the principle thing.
But the question is, what is the right attitude? The right attitude
depends on how favorably one regards one's own shortcomings.
Very often one is ready to defend oneself for one's faults and
errors, and is willing to make one's wrong right. But one has
not the attitude towards others. One takes them to task when
it comes to judging them. It is so easy to disapprove of others!
It's so easy to take a step further and to dislike others, and
not at all difficult to take a step further still and to hate
others. And when one is acting in this manner, one does not
think one does any wrong. Although it is a condition which develops
within, one only sees it without. All the badness, which accumulates
within, one sees in another person. Therefore man is always
in an illusion; he is always pleased with himself and always
blaming others. And the extraordinary thing is, that it is the
most blameworthy who blames most. But it is expressed better
the other way around. Because one blames most, one becomes most
There is beauty of form, of color, of line, of manner, of
character. In some persons beauty is lacking, in other persons
there is more of it. It is only the comparison that makes us
think that one person is better than the other. If we did not
compare, then every person would be good. It is the comparison,
which makes us consider one thing more beautiful than another.
But if we looked more carefully we should see the beauty that
is in that other one too. Very often our comparison is not right
for the very reason that although today we determine in our
mind what is good and beautiful, we are liable to change that
conception in a month's, a year's time. That shows us that when
we look at something, we are capable of appreciating it if its
beauty manifests to our view.
There is nothing to be surprised at when one person arrives
at the stage where he says, 'Everything I see in this world,
I love it all in spite of all pains and struggles and difficulties;
it is all worthwhile.' But another says, 'It is all miserable,
life is ugly, there is no speck of beauty in this world'. Each
is right from his point of view. They are both sincere. But
they differ because they look at it differently. Each of these
persons has his reason to approve of life or to disapprove of
it. Only, the one benefits himself by the vision of beauty and
the other loses by not appreciating it, by not seeing the beauty
By a wrong attitude, therefore, a person accumulates in his
mind undesirable impressions coming from people, since no one
in this world is perfect. Everyone has a side, which can be
criticized and wants repairing. When one looks at that side,
one accumulates impressions, which make one more and more imperfect
because they collect imperfection, and then that becomes one's
world. And when the mind has become a sponge full of undesirable
impressions, then what is emitted from it is undesirable also.
No one can speak ill of another without making it his own. Because
the one speaking ill of others is ill himself.
Thus the purification of the mind, from a moral point of
view, should be learned in one's everyday life. By trying to
consider things sympathetically, favorably, by looking at others
as one looks at oneself, by putting oneself in their position
instead of accusing others on seeing their infirmities. Souls
on earth are born imperfect and show imperfection, and from
this they develop naturally, coming to perfection. If all were
perfect, there would have been no purpose in their creation.
And manifestation has taken place so that every being here may
rise from imperfection towards perfection. That is the object
and joy of life and for that this world was created. And if
we expected every person to be perfect and conditions to be
perfect, then there would be no joy in living and no purpose
in coming here.
Purification of the mind therefore means to purify it from
all undesirable impressions. Not only of the shortcomings of
others, but one must arrive at the stage where one forgets one's
own shortcomings. I have seen righteous people who have accused
themselves of their errors until they became error themselves.
Concentrating all the time on error means engraving the error
upon the mind. The best principle is to forget others and to
forget ourselves and to set our minds upon accumulating all
that is good and beautiful.
There is a very significant occupation among the street boys
in India. They take the earth from a certain place and they
have a way of finding in that earth some metal such as gold
or silver, and all day long their hands are in the dust. But
looking for what? Looking for gold and silver.
When in this world of imperfection we seek for all that is
good and beautiful, there are many chances of disappointment.
But at the same time if we keep on looking for it, not looking
at the dust but looking for the gold, we shall find it. And
once we begin to find it we shall find more and more. There
comes a time in the life of a man when he can see some good
in the worst man in the world. And when he has reached that
point, though the good were covered with a thousand covers,
he would put his hand on what is good, because he looks for
good and attracts what is good.