The tendency to be worried over nothing, to become anxious
about little things, to be fidgety and restless, to be afraid,
to be confused, the tendency of moving about without any reason,
the tendency of speaking without purpose, the tendency of being
sad without motive, all these things come through lack of control
of the mind. Have they also any other effect besides the effect
that is made upon one's own personality? Yes; all weakness,
errors, and mistakes that man makes against his own wish, all
these come from lack of control over his own mind. And if there
is a secret of success the key to it is the control of the mind.
Intuition, inspiration, revelation, all come when the mind is
controlled. And all worries, anxieties, fears, and doubts come
from lack of control.
What is the mind? One part of humanity considers mind as
something inexplicable, and another part of humanity considers
mind as an action of the brain. It is a very limited conception
of mind. The voice reaches through wireless for thousands of
miles, but the mind is much finer than the voice. It cannot
be limited and restricted to the brain, although the brain is
the medium by which thoughts are made clear. Mind according
to the mystic is the real man; the body is only a garb which
man wears. This word has a Sanskrit origin. In Sanskrit it is
called mana, and from that is derived manu, which
is nearly the same as the English word man. In other
words, man means mind; and one sees that this is true when someone
calls another person sad and downhearted, or courageous and
enthusiastic, or well balanced, for all these attributes belong
to the mind. Man is not his body, but he is his mind. There
is a saying that what you are speaks louder than what you say.
This means that the voice of mind reaches further than the spoken
word and has greater effect.
It is mind, which creates atmosphere. One often wonders why
it is that one feels uncomfortable in the presence of someone
without his having done any harm; or that one feels excited
in the presence of someone, or that one gets out of tune, or
tired, or confused in the presence of someone else. Why is it?
It is the effect of the person's mind. The mind that is on fire
creates fire in the atmosphere, and everyone within its atmosphere
is burning too in the same fire. The mind which is restful and
peaceful gives rest and peace to those who come within the atmosphere
of the mind.
Once I asked my spiritual teacher how we could recognize
the godly man. And my teacher replied, 'It is not what he says
and it is not what he seems to be, but it is the atmosphere
that his presence creates. That is the proof. For no one can
create an atmosphere which does not belong to his spirit.'
It is said in the Bible that first the earth was created
and then, after the earth, the heavens, which means that the
body was finished first and then the mind. An infant is born,
so to speak, with a vision of mind, a skeleton of mind, and
then the flesh and skin are put on it.
There is no mind without body; that is to say, before the
body was made the mind was only an Akasha, an accommodation.
The experience it has gained through the body as its vehicle
has become its knowledge; and it is knowledge that makes mind.
The Akasha which becomes mind after the body has been
born on earth has already gathered some indistinct knowledge
from several minds it has met while coming to earth; perhaps
from one mind more than from other minds. In that case it has
gained characteristics chiefly from one individual who has passed
on from the earth. Besides, through the parents this Akasha
has gained the knowledge or the mentality of their ancestry,
their nation, their race, and of the particular grade of evolution
of the whole of humanity at that particular time.
Some say animals have no mind. But that is a wrong conception.
Wherever there is a body there is a mind. Even the tree has
a mind. Luther Burbank once said to me in support of this argument,
'You should watch the tendency of a plant, what is its inclination;
for if you do not watch it the plant will not grow fully. I
treat them as living beings. They speak to me, and I to them.'
The first thing we can learn about the mind is that the mind
is independent of the body as far as its existence is concerned.
But the mind is enriched by the experience man gets through
his senses. There is no doubt that mind is within the body,
but it is outside the body also, just like the light which is
both within the lantern and without. The body is the lantern
in which there is the light, but the lantern does not obscure
the light. The light is independent of the lantern. It shines
out; and so does the mind. The brain is not mind, just as the
piece of flesh in the breast is not the heart. Only, feeling
is felt more deeply in the breast, and thought is made clearer
in the brain. In other words, spectacles are not eyes; spectacles
only enable one to see things more clearly. But the sight is
independent of the spectacles, while the spectacles are dependent
upon the sight. So the body is dependent upon the mind, but
the mind is independent of the body. Body cannot exist without
the mind, but mind can exist without the body. The mind is the
invisible being of the body. It has its seat in the physical
being; and it is that seat which is called brain, as the seat
of feeling is the heart.
All that the senses can perceive is outward, but all that
the mind can perceive is inward. This means that imagination
rises from the mind and that the mind can perceive it: feeling,
memory, concentration, reason, all these are perceptions of
the mind. One can call the mind more the being of man than the
body. When we compare body with mind it is just like the coat
a person wears.
Mind has five different aspects. The first aspect is the
power of thinking. And thinking can be divided into two parts:
imagination, which is an outcome of the automatic action of
mind, and thought, which is a result of intentional thinking.
A thoughtful man, therefore is not necessarily imaginative,
nor an imaginative man thoughtful. Both qualities have their
place. A person who is accustomed to think and who is incapable
of imagination is far removed from that beauty which is expressed
in poetry and music, as these come from imagination. When the
mind is given a free hand to do as it likes, it dances as it
were and out of its gestures a picture is created. Call it art,
poetry, or music. In whatever form it expresses itself it is
Many people laugh at an imaginative person. They say, 'He
is in the clouds. He is dreaming.' But all works of art and
music and poetry come from imagination, for imagination is the
free flow of mind, when the mind is allowed to work by itself
and bring out the beauty and harmony it contains. But when,
it is restricted by a certain principle or rule, then it does
not work freely. No doubt among artists and musicians you will
find many who are dreamers and unpractical people. But that
does not mean they are less gifted. Perhaps their unpracticalness
in some way helps them to accomplish something that practical
people cannot accomplish. One need not follow their example,
but one can appreciate it just the same. Besides, no one has
believed in God, no one has loved God, and no one has reached
the presence of God, who has not been helped by his imagination.
Those who argue with the believer and say, 'But where is God?
Can you show me? How can you conceive God? How do you explain
God?' they are the ones without imagination; and no one can
give his own imagination to them. Can anyone believe in the
belief of another? If one can believe in anything one must do
it oneself. And of what is that belief formed? Of imagination.
It has been said: 'If you have no God make one'; and no one
has ever reached God who has not been able to make God. Those
who trouble themselves about the abstract God have no God; they
only use the word God. They have the truth, but they do not
Truth without God is not satisfying. One ought to reach truth
through God. It is that which gives satisfaction. If all the
strength that one derives from food were given in one pill it
would perhaps keep a person alive, but it would not give him
the joy of eating. If one took the pill of truth, maybe a part
of one's being would be satisfied, but that is no real satisfaction.
The idea of God feeds a person. He must first make it in himself,
with his imagination; but if he is not willing to use his imagination,
if he is only waiting for God to come to him, he will have to
wait a long time.
When a person thinks, that is another kind of action. At
that time he controls his mind, either consciously or unconsciously,
and directs it according to his own will. He becomes reasonable,
exact, and thoughtful. Both an imaginative and a thinking person
may go to extremes and may fail. But, keeping the balance is
what brings about desired results. A thinking person, also,
may think so hard that he becomes confused by his own thoughts.
There are many thinkers who think so hard that they become thoughtless.
The second aspect of mind is memory. The work of memory is
not creative but perceptive. Its work is to receive impressions
and to gather them together. Some scientists say that the cells
of the brain are impressed by every impression that comes through
the senses, and it is that which is kept in the brain, to be
brought forth when one wants them. But it is not like that,
although it can be taken as a symbolic explanation. The scientist
has pictured it as it is in the inner plane, but because he
does not recognize the inner plane he wants to explain it in
physical terms and calls it brain-cells. It is true in essence;
but it is not in the brain, it is in the mind.
Memory can be likened to a photographic plate. The impressions
it takes remain there, and when a person wishes to recollect
something this faculty helps him. It is within his reach. As
soon as he wants to recall an experience he puts his hand, so
to speak, on that particular plate which has received the impression
of a certain experience. No experience received from sight,
or smell, or hearing, or touch, or taste is lost. When people
say, 'My memory is not good, I cannot remember things, I am
absent-minded,' the reason is that they have lost control over
this faculty, but the impression is there all the same. Very
often a person says, 'I know it, but I cannot recall it to my
memory.' In other words, in his mind he knows it, but in his
brain it is not yet clear. For instance, when a person cannot
remember the name or the face of someone he says, 'I think I
know it but I cannot find it for the moment.' That means that
his mind knows it, that it is there, but that he cannot make
it clear in his brain.
Memory can also be divided into two parts. There are certain
things we need not look for, but which are always clear in our
memory. We have only to stretch out and put our hand on them,
such as figures, names, and faces of those we know. We can recall
them at any moment we wish. They are always living in our memory.
But then there is the second part of our memory, which is sometimes
called the subconscious mind, though in reality it is the bottom
of the memory. In this part of the memory a photograph is made
of everything we have seen or known, or heard, even once just
like a flash, and it remains there. There we can find it at
some time or other, either with difficulty or easily, as the
case may be.
Besides these two aspects of the memory, there is still a
deeper sphere to which our memory is linked, and that sphere
is the universal memory. In other words the divine Mind, where
we do not only recollect what we have seen or heard or known,
but where we can even touch something we have never learnt or
heard or known or seen. This can be found there also. Only for
this the doors of memory should be laid open.
The third aspect of the work of the mind is mind-control,
the concentrating power. This is done in two ways: with the
help of memory and with the help of mind. The concentration
that is performed with the help of memory is a negative or passive
concentration. It requires little effort to concentrate with
the help of memory. The Hindus taught this by placing certain
Gods and Goddesses before a person and telling him to look at
them and then to close his eyes and think about them. By looking
at a certain object the memory reflected it, and that reflection
was the concentration.
But those who do not practice concentration automatically
retain things of great interest, things that impressed their
mind most. It is for this reason that some carry with them a
fear which, has perhaps been there from childhood. It is carried
with them through life. Some have a sad impression of disappointment.
They carry it throughout life. They retain it in their mind.
The mind keeps an impression alive by revivifying it, an impression
of revenge, of gratefulness, of success, of failure, of love,
of admiration. It is kept there, and the mind cells give it
food to keep it alive. Sometimes this is helpful and sometimes
it works against one. Now the psychologist calls it a fixed
idea and is always ready to call it a form of insanity, but
it is not insanity. Everyone has got it. It is one of the attributes
of mind. It is the faculty, the quality of retaining a thought.
No doubt it may sometimes seem to be insanity, but insanity
only comes from the abuse of that faculty. Any faculty can be
abused and make a person unbalanced.
Then there is the positive concentration, which is creative.
This concentration comes by thinking. When one thinks of a tree
or a flower, the mind has to create atoms in order to make that
form; therefore it is positive. It needs will power; a greater
action of mind, to concentrate upon an object which the mind
has to make. The mind has to work. It is not only concentrating,
but creating and concentrating.
There are some that have a natural power of concentration,
and there are others who lack it. But the mystery of success
in all directions of life and the secret of progress is to be
found in the power of concentration. It is not only progress
and success, which are gained by it, but spiritual attainment
is the result of concentration. And very often one sees that
some make efforts to concentrate but cannot really concentrate,
and others do not know that they concentrate but do it all the
same. Prayer and meditation and various other exercises, religious
or spiritual, are meant to develop the power of concentration.
In the East it is customary in the mosque for one man to
lead the prayers and all the other worshippers stand behind
him. Before offering their prayers they first focus their mind
on joining the thought of their leader. Now there was a great
mystic who would not go to the mosque to pray. He was always
in prayer. He did not need to go to the mosque. But there was
an orthodox king reigning at the time, who had decreed that
everybody had to attend the prayers. So this man was compelled
by the police to go and join in, but in the middle of the prayers
he left, which was considered a great crime. When he was brought
before the court to be judged he said, 'I could not help it.
The leader in his thought went to his house because he had forgotten
his keys. So while I was praying I was left without a leader
in the mosque, and that is why I went out.' This shows that
as long as there is spirit in religious form, it is a beautiful
form, which has life in it. But if there is no spirit behind
it, however beautiful the form may be it is of no use. This
is what is indicated by the saying in the Bible: 'It is the
spirit that quickneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.'
The fourth aspect of the mind is reasoning. This is a mathematical
faculty, a faculty which weighs and measures and sees angles,
whether they are right or wrong. And it is this faculty which
makes man responsible for his actions. If he is not an individual
he is nothing but an atom moved by influences. Whether conditions
move him, or climatic influences, or personal influences, he
is nothing but an instrument. But if he is held responsible
for his actions it is because of this one faculty of mind that
weighs and measures and reasons things out. Nevertheless, the
reasoning of one person is not the same as the reasoning of
another. And the reason of one moment is not the reason of the
next moment. Something that is right just now may not be right
tomorrow because reasoning will change. And they who dispute
over reasoning do it in vain, for the reasoning of every person
is different, and the reasoning of every person is good for
him at that specific time. To urge and force one's reason on
the mind of another is useless. The best way to educate a person
is to develop his reasoning instead of urging upon him one's
own reason, which is what many do.
It is very wonderful to watch the tricks of the reasoning
faculty. When another person has done something reason says,
'Because that person is wicked and has already done ten wicked
things, now he has surely done another wicked thing.' And when
a person himself has done a wicked thing, reason says, ' I have
done it because I could not have done otherwise. I could not
help it.' Reason takes the side of the ego. Reason is a slave
and a servant of the mind; it is at its beck and call. The mind
has only to turn its face to reason, and reason stands there
as an obedient slave. It may not be right at all, but it is
Reason is the most valuable thing that exists, but it is
worthless when it is a slave of the mind. It gives the mind
a reason to do either right or wrong. If one went and asked
criminals in jail why they had done wrong, each one would have
a reason. And if we look still closer at a reason we shall see
that reason is nothing but a veil and a series of veils, one
veil over another. Even when the veils are lifted, at the end
there is reason just the same. But as one goes further one will
find the more thorough and more substantial reason. It is the
surface of reason which is unreliable, but the depth is most
interesting; for the depth of reason is the essence of wisdom.
The more one understands reason the less one will seek it, because
then there is nothing to it. One knows the reason already. It
is the unreasonable man who always accuses every person's reason.
The more reasonable a person is the more he understands everyone
else's reason. That is why the wise can get along with both
the wise and the foolish. But the foolish can get along with
neither the foolish nor the wise.
There is no doubt that there is always a reason behind a
reason, a higher reason. And when one arrives at this higher
reason one begins to unlearn, as the mystics call it, all that
one has once learnt. One unlearns and one begins to see quite
the opposite. In other words, there is no good, which has not
a bad side to it and nothing bad which has not a good side to
it. No one rises without a fall, and no one falls without the
promise of a rise. One sees death in birth and birth in death.
It sounds very strange, and it is a peculiar idea; but all the
same it is a stage. When one rises above what is called reason
one reaches that reason which is at the same time contradictory.
This also explains the attitude of Christ. When a criminal was
taken to him he had no other attitude towards him but that of
the forgiver. He saw no evil there. That is looking from a higher
reason. And if we penetrate the thousand veils of reason we
can touch the reason of all reasons, and we can come to an understanding
that the outer reasons cannot give. And by that we understand
all beings: those who are in the right and those who are in
the wrong. It is said that the Apostles in one moment were inspired
to speak in many languages. It was not the English language,
the Hindustani or Chinese language. It was the language of every
soul. When a person has reached that state of mind in which
it touches the essence of reason then it communicates with every
soul. It is not a great thing to know thirty languages. A person
may know a hundred languages, but if he does not know the heart
of man he knows nothing.
There is a language of the heart. Heart speaks to heart,
and that communication makes life interesting. Two persons may
not speak, but their sitting together may be an exchange of
lofty ideal and harmony. When first I became initiated at the
hands of my spiritual teacher in India I was eager, as any man
could be to assimilate, to grasp, as much as I could. Day after
day I was in the presence of my Murshid, but not once did he
speak on spiritual matters. Sometimes he spoke about herbs and
plants, at other times about milk and butter. I went there every
day for six months to see if I could hear anything about spiritual
things. After six months the teacher spoke to me one day about
the two parts of a personality, the outer and the inner. And
I was over enthusiastic; the moment he began I took out a notebook
and pencil. But as soon as I did this, my teacher changed the
subject and spoke about other things. I understood what that
meant. It meant in the first place that the teaching of the
heart should be assimilated in the heart. The heart is the notebook
for it. When it is written in another notebook it will remain
in one's pocket, but when it is written in the heart it will
remain in the soul. Besides one has to learn the lesson of patience,
to wait, for all knowledge comes in its own time. I asked myself
further if it was worthwhile to come to a place after a long
journey, and go there every day for six months to hear of nothing
but trees and butter. And my deepest self answered: yes, more
than worthwhile, for there is nothing in the whole world more
precious than the presence of the holy one. His teaching may
not be given in theories, but it is in his atmosphere. That
is a living teaching, which is real upliftment.
The essence of reason is the knowledge of God. Therefore,
if there is any divine knowledge to be found it is in the essence
of reason that one can find it.
And the fifth aspect of the mind is feeling. If this faculty
is not open, then however wise and clever a person may be he
is incomplete. He is not living. Mind begins to live from the
moment that feeling is wakened in it. Many use the word feeling,
but few of us know it. And the more one knows it the less one
speaks of it. It is so vast that if there is any sign of God
it is in feeling.
Today people distinguish intellectuality from sentimentality,
but in point of fact intellectuality cannot be perfect without
sentimentality. Neither can the thinking power be nurtured,
nor the faculty of reasoning be sustained, without a continual
outflow of feeling. In this age of materialism we seem to have
lost the value of feeling. We speak of heart, but we do not
see its real importance, although it is the principal thing,
the root of the plant of life. The heart quality is something
which sustains the whole of life. All virtues such as sincerity,
respect, thoughtfulness, consideration, appreciation, all these
qualities come through heart-quality. If he has no heart a person
is not capable of appreciating, nor of being grateful, nor capable
of expressing his own soul, nor of receiving goodness and help
from another. A person without heart quality remains selfish,
even foolishly selfish. If he were wisely selfish it would be
People very often say that they have no time to show their
heart-quality, no time to allow the heart to develop. They are
so busy. But we can be very busy every minute from morning till
evening and at the same time do what we do with our whole heart,
express it from the depth of our heart. When the heart-quality
is shut out then all one does is lifeless. Feeling is such an
important thing in our lives; our whole life depends upon our
feeling. A person once disheartened sometimes loses enthusiasm
for his whole life. A person once disappointed loses trust completely.
A person who becomes heartbroken loses his self-confidence for
the rest of his life. A person once afraid sustains fear in
his heart forever. A person who has once failed keeps the impression
of his failure all through life.
People love to watch a cock fight in the East. Two men bring
their birds to fight, and as soon as one of them sees that the
other bird will win he takes his bird away while it is still
fighting, before it can expect defeat. He prefers to admit defeat
while the two birds are still fighting than to allow his bird
to be impressed by defeat, for once it is so impressed it will
never fight anymore. That is the secret of our mind. And once
one learns to take care of one's mind just as in the case of
the bird, to go to any sacrifice rather than give one's mind
a bad impression, one will make the best of one's life.
One can read in the lives of great heroes and great personalities,
how they went through all difficulties and sorrows and troubles
and yet always tried to keep their heart from being humiliated.
That gave them all the necessary strength. They always avoided
humiliation. They were prepared for death, wars, suffering,
poverty, but not for humiliation. Once when I was in Nepal I
wanted a servant. I sent for one, and he was of the warrior
caste, the Kshatriyas, brave fighters in the mountains.
And when I asked what work he wanted to do, he said, 'Any work
you like, anything you like.' I said, 'What about the pay?'
'Anything you will give,' he answered. I was greatly amused
to find a man willing to do any work I gave him and to accept
any pay I offered. 'Well,' I said, 'Then there is no condition
to be made?' He said, 'One. You will never say a cross word
to me.' He was ready to accept any money; willing to do any
work; but not humiliation. I appreciated that spirit beyond
words. It was that which made him a warrior.
Is there anyone in this world who will own that he has no
feeling? And yet there are hearts of rock, of iron, of the earth,
and of diamond, silver, gold, wax, and paper. There are as many
kinds of hearts in this world as there are objects. There are
some objects that hold fire longer. There are others that burn
instantly. Some objects will become warm and in a moment they
will grow cold again. Others disappear as soon as the fire touches
them; while one can melt others and make ornaments out of them.
And so are the heart-qualities. Different people have different
qualities of the heart, and the knower of the heart will treat
each differently. But since we do not think about this aspect
we take every man to be the same. Although every note is a sound,
they differ in pitch, in vibrations; and so every man differs
in the pitch, the vibrations, of his heart. According to the
vibrations of his heart he is either spiritual or material,
noble or common. It is not because of what he does, nor because
of what he possesses in this world. He is small or great according
to how his heart vibrates.
I have all my life had a great respect for those who have
toiled in the world, who have striven through life and reached
a certain eminence, and I have always considered it a most sacred
thing to be in their presence. This being my great interest
in life, I began, at first in the East, to make pilgrimages
to great people. Among them were writers, sages, philosophers,
and saints; but once I came in contact with a great wrestler.
And this man, who had the appearance of a giant with his monstrously
muscular body, had such a sympathetic expansive nature, such
simplicity and gentleness that I was deeply surprised. And I
thought, 'It is not his size and strength that have made him
great, but that which has melted him and made him lenient; it
is that which makes him great.'
Feeling is vibration. The heart which is a vehicle, an instrument
of feeling, creates phenomena if one only watches life keenly.
If one causes anyone pain, that pain is returned. If one causes
anyone pleasure, that pleasure is returned too. If one gives
love to someone, love comes back. And if one gives hatred, that
hatred comes back to one in some form or other – maybe in the
form of pain, illness, health, or of success, joy or happiness.
In some form or other it comes, it never fails. One generally
does not think about this. When a person has attained a certain
position in which he can order people about and speak harshly
to them, he never thinks about those things. But every little
feeling that rises in one's heart and directs one's action,
word, and movement, causes a certain action and rebounds. Only
sometimes it takes time. Could one think that one could ever
hate a person and that that hatred does not come back? It surely
comes, some time. On the other hand, if one has sympathy, love,
affection, kind feelings, one need never tell anybody that one
has it, for even then it returns in some form or other.
Someone came to me and said, 'I was very sympathetic once,
but somehow I have become hardened. What is the reason for it?'
I said, 'You tried to get water from the bottom of the earth.
But instead of digging deep down you dug in the mud and you
were disappointed. If you have patience to dig till you reach
water, then you will not be disappointed.'
Very often a person imagines that he has feeling, that he
has sympathy. But if he had it he would be the master of life.
Then he would want nothing anymore. When this spring which is
in the heart of a man is once open, it makes him self-sufficient
and it takes away the continual tragedy souls have to meet with
in life. That tragedy is limitation. Very often it is lack of
feeling that paralyses the four other aspects of mind. The person
without feeling is incapable of thinking freely. Feeling is
what makes one thoughtful. A man may be of powerful mind, but
if he cannot feel the power of his mind is limited, for real
power is in feeling, not in thinking.
Sometimes people come to me and say, 'I have thought about
it and I have wanted it, but I never got it.' And I have answered,
'You have never wanted. If you had wanted you would have got
it.' They do not believe this. They continue to think that they
have wanted it. It may be so, but to want it enough is another
thing. If a person went and stood before a bank and said, 'Let
all the money in the bank come to me,' would it come? He imagines
that he wants it, but he has doubts, he does not believe it
will come. If he believed it, it would come. Doubt is a destructive
element. It may be likened to the shadow that produces dampness
that hides the sun. The sun has no chance of reaching the place,
which is covered by it.
There is a story of Shirin and Farhad, a very
well known story of Persia. There was a stonecutter and he was
laboring at a memorial for somebody. One day he saw a lady who
was to be the future queen of the Shah; and he said to
her, 'I love you.' A stonecutter, a laborer in the street, asking
for the hand of a lady who was to be the future Queen! He was
a man without reason but not a man without feeling. Feeling
was there, and the claim came with feeling. This lady said,
'Very well, I will wait and see if your claim is true, and tell
the Shah of Persia to wait.' And to try him she told
him to cut a way through the mountains. He went one man with
hammer and chisel. He did not ask if he was able to do it or
not. There was no reason; there was only feeling. And he made
the road which thousands of people would not have made in a
year, because every time he hammered the rock he called out
the name of Shirin, the one he loved. He made the way,
and when the king heard that it was finished he said, 'Alas,
I have lost my chance, what shall I do?' Someone in the presence
of the king said, 'I will see what can be done.' He went to
Farhad, the stonecutter and told him, 'How wonderful
is your love and devotion! It is phenomenal. But haven't you
heard that Shirin is dead?' 'Is she dead?' he said. 'Then
I cannot go on living.' And he fell down lifeless.
The point of this story is the power of feeling. What is
lacking at this time is the feeling quality. Everyone wishes
to think with the brain, to work with the head, but not with
the heart. One can neither imagine nor create beautiful art,
nor think and make wonderful things, nor can one keep in one's
memory something beautiful, nor retain thoughts in concentration,
if there is no feeling at the back of it. Besides, if there
is no feeling behind all such words as gratitude, thanks, appreciation,
these words are without spirit. They become mere politeness.
Today fineness is so much misunderstood. People only learn the
outward aspect. If there were feeling behind all they say, life
would be much more worth living.
When the mind is troubled it is confused. It cannot reflect
anything. It is the stillness of mind that makes one capable
of receiving impressions and of reflecting them. In Persian
the mind is called a mirror. Everything in front of the mirror
appears in it; but when this is taken away the mirror is clear.
It does not remain. It remains in the mirror as long as the
mirror is focused on it, and so it is with the mind.
The quality in the mind which makes it still at times and
active at other times, which makes it reflect what it sees at
one time and makes it avoid every reflection at another so that
no outer reflection can touch it, this quality develops by concentration,
contemplation, and meditation. The mind is trained by the master-trainer
by diving deep, by soaring high, by expanding widely, and by
centralizing the mind on one idea. And once the mind is mastered
a person becomes a master of life. Every soul from the time
it is born is like a machine, subject to all influences, influences
of weather and of all that works through the five senses. For
instance, no one can pass through a street without seeing the
placards and advertisements. A man's eyes are compelled by what
is before him. He has no intention of looking, but everything
outside commands the eyes. So a man is constantly under the
influence of all things of the outside world that govern him
unknowingly. A person says, 'I am a free man; I do what I like.'
But he never does. He does what he does not like many times.
His ears are always subject to hear anything that falls on them,
whether it is harmonious or inharmonious, and what he sees he
cannot resist. And so a man is always under the influence of
Then there are the planetary influences and the living influences
of those around him; and yet a man says, 'I have free will;
I am a free man.' If he knew to what little extent he is free
he would be frightened. But then there is one consolation, and
that is that in man there is a spark somewhere hidden in his
heart, which alone can be called a source of free will. If this
spark is tended a person has greater vitality, greater energy,
greater power. All he thinks will come true; all he says will
make an impression, all he does will have effect. What does
a mystic do? He blows this spark in order to bring it to flame
till it comes to a blaze. This gives him the inspiration, the
power that enables him to live in this world the life of free
will. It is the spark that may be called the divine heritage
of man, in which he sees the divine power of God, the soul of
man. And to become spiritual means that by blowing upon this
spark one produces light from it and sees the whole of life
in this light. And by bringing the Inner Light to a blaze one
is more able to think, to feel, and to act.