1. The Purity of the Body
The purity of the body is more desirable than bodily
strength. Purity of body consists of three things: pure
blood, sound muscles, and skin in proper condition. One
might ask, how can one be strong without a pure body? But
I should say, one can be. There are many strong and vigorous-looking
people with something wrong in their flesh, blood or skin.
Health, from a spiritual point of view, does not mean a
strong muscular body, health means a body sound in all its
aspects. The standard of normal health is different for
a mystic from what a scientist today thinks. To the scientist
the emotional side of a man is not of interest; if the body
is perfect according to his idea, he thinks the man is healthy.
But from a mystical point of view if, bodily, man is strong,
but his emotional nature is buried beneath, he is not healthy,
there is something wrong with him. Therefore a physician
will find many not in proper health, but still more a mystic
will find not in proper health. The person who is healthy
to a physician is not necessarily healthy to a mystic, but
good health from the point of view of a mystic is also good
health from the point of view of a physician.
The illness that humanity has today is lack of that emotional
nature which is productive of sentiment. In the East, though
times are changed, still there is a recognition of that
healthiness which is recognized by mystic as good health.
They name these qualities by beautiful names, as considerate,
thoughtful, mild, gentle, sympathetic, harmonious, selfless.
When these things are lacking in a person, the mystic considers
it lack of health. Even an animal can be materially strong.
If man were strong he would be no better than an animal.
It is purity which is necessary, in the body first, in the
mind afterwards; which produces in a person a state of health
which alone can be truly called good health.
The nature of the memory is to hold an impression, agreeable
or disagreeable, and therefore a person holds a thought
in mind, whether it is beneficial to him or not, without
knowing the result which will come from it. It is like a
child who holds a rattle in his hand and hits his head with
the rattle and cries with the pain, and yet does not throw
the rattle away. There are many who keep in their mind a
thought of illness or a thought of unkindness done to them
by someone and suffer from it, yet not knowing what it is
that makes them suffer so, nor understanding the reason
of their suffering. They go on suffering and yet hold on
in memory the very source of suffering. Memory must be one's
obedient servant; when it is a master then life becomes
difficult. A person who cannot throw away from his memory
what he does not desire to keep in mind is like a person
who has a safe, but the key of that safe he has lost. He
can put in money, but he cannot take it out. All faculties
in man become invaluable when a person is able to use them
at will, but when the faculties use the person, then he
is no longer master of himself.
Concentration is taught by the mystics in order to exercise
the will, making it capable of making use of all faculties.
A person with will power can remember what he wishes to
remember and can forget what he wishes to forget. All things
that deprive one of one's freedom in life are undesirable.
The mind must be free from all bad impressions of life,
which take away the rest and peace of life. By concentration,
one is able to hold a certain thought one desires and to
keep away all other thoughts. When one is able to keep away
all the thoughts one does not wish to think about, it becomes
easy to throw away the impressions of years, if one wishes
to forget them. Bad impressions, however old and intimate,
are like rubbish accumulated, which should be removed in
order to make the house clean. The human heart is the home
of the soul, and upon this home the comfort and peace of
the soul depends.
3. Purity of Mind (1)
Purity of mind requires the destroying of all bad impressions
which are already collected there or which the mind receives
instantly. One can destroy these impressions by five ways,
and the way is adopted according to the impression one has
to destroy. Some impressions want to be washed off from
the mind; some require to be erased from the surface of
the mind; some want to be shaken off like dust from the
clothes; some require burning like the wood in the fire,
which, after its test through fire, turns into ashes; and
some impressions must be drowned, so that they will never
come up again. Bury certain impressions like a corpse; find
every way of annihilation which is suited for that particular
impression, so that your mind may be clear. The mind is
not only a means of thinking or reasoning, but it is the
king of one's being; and upon the condition of mind one's
health, happiness, and peace of life depend.
Now the question is what to destroy and what to keep
in mind. Collect and keep all that is beautiful, and destroy
all that is void of beauty. Collect and keep all that is
agreeable, and destroy all that has a disagreeable effect
upon you. Collect and keep all that is harmonious, and destroy
all that creates inharmony in yourself. Collect and keep
all that is restful, and destroy all that disturbs the peace
of your life. As some dust gets into the mechanism of a
clock and stops it from going, so the effects produced by
all impressions which are void of beauty and harmony and
which disturb your peace keep you from progress. The mind
cannot act properly when it is hindered by impressions which
have a paralyzing effect upon it. Life is progress, and
stopping from progress is death. Failure does not matter
in life for a progressive person, even a thousand failures
do not matter. He has before his view success, and success
is his even after a thousand failures. The greatest pity
in life is the standstill when life does not move further.
A sensible person prefers death to such a life. It is as
a paralysis of the soul, of the spirit, and is always caused
by holding bad impressions in mind. No soul is deprived
of happiness in reality. The soul's very being is happiness.
Man brings unhappiness upon himself by holding in his hands
the clouds of bad impressions, which fall as a shadow upon
his soul. Once a person is able to clear from his mind,
by whatever process, the undesirable impressions, a new
power begins to spring from his heart. This opens a way
before him to accomplish all he wishes, attracting to him
all he requires, clearing his path of all obstacles, and
making his atmosphere clear, for him to live and move and
to accomplish all he wishes to accomplish.
4. Purity of Mind (2)
Purity of mind is the principal thing upon which the
health of both body and mind depend. The process of purifying
the mind is not much different from the process of cleaning
or washing any object. Water poured upon any object washes
it, and if there is a spot which cannot be washed away by
the water, some substance which can take away that spot
is applied, to wash it thoroughly. The water which washes
the heart is the continual running of the love-stream. When
that stream is stopped, when its way is blocked by some
object which closes the heart, and when the love-stream
is no longer running, then the mind cannot keep pure. As
water is the cleansing and purifying substance in the physical
world, so love is on the higher plane. Sometimes when it
is difficult for love to take away some impressions that
are disagreeable, which block the way of the love-stream,
they may be washed away by some element that can destroy
them. The whole life is a chemical process, and the knowledge
of its chemistry helps man to make life happy. An unhappy
person, being himself unhappy, cannot make others happy.
It is a wealthy person who can help the one who is hard
up, not a poor person, however much desire of helping he
may have. So it is with happiness, which is a great wealth;
and a happy person can take away the unhappiness of another,
for he has enough for himself and for others.
Earthly pleasures are the shadows of happiness; because
of their transitory character. True happiness is in love,
which is the stream that springs from one's soul. He who
will allow this stream to run continually in all conditions
of life, in all situations, however difficult, will have
a happiness which truly belongs to him, the source of which
is not without, but within. If there is a constant outpouring
of love one becomes a divine fountain, for from the depth
of the fountain rises the stream and, on its return, it
pours upon the fountain, bathing it continually. It is a
divine bath, the true bath in the Ganges, the sacred river.
When once one has got the key of this fountain, one is always
purified, every moment of one's life; nothing can stay in
the mind causing man unhappiness! For happiness alone is
natural, and it is attained by knowing and by living naturally.
Questions and Answers
Q What is the process of drowning impressions in the
ocean of the consciousness of eternal now?
A The one who does not know the love of an individual
does not know universal love. But if one stands there, one
stands there without going forward. The love of an individual
in love's path is a doll's play, which is learned for the
time to come. So the love of an individual is the first
step. But when one progresses then one advances towards
the love of a cause, a community, a nation; or even the
whole universe. Man, as a human being, is capable of loving
one; but his soul, as the light of God, is capable of loving
not only the world, but even if there were a thousand worlds.
For the heart of man is larger than the whole universe.
5. Purification of the Mind
The principle thing in attaining happiness, is to purify
one's mind from all things that disturb it and create inharmony.
There are not only bad impressions which disturb the tranquility
of mind, but there are many feelings of resentment and resistance
against things which do not agree with one's own idea which
disturb one's mind. The person who has some business to
carry out, some profession to attend to, requires a tranquil
mind, but especially the one who journeys on the spiritual
path needs tranquility of mind most. Prayers, concentrations,
meditations make no effect when the mind is not purified
from all disturbances. Therefore, for an adept, no cost
and no sacrifice is great enough to keep harmony within
himself. A Sufi tries to keep harmony in his surroundings,
the harmony which demands many sacrifices. It makes one
endure what one is not willing to endure, it makes one overlook
what one is not inclined to overlook, it makes one tolerate
what one is not accustomed to tolerate, and it makes one
forgive and forget what one would never have forgotten if
it were not for the sake of harmony. But at whatever cost
harmony is attained, it is a good bargain. For harmony is
the secret of happiness, and in absence of this a person
living in palaces and rolling in gold can be most unhappy.
Harmony is brought about by attuning oneself to all beings,
to all things, to all conditions, to all situations. And
he who cannot tune himself tries to tune others, and while
trying to tune others he breaks the string. It is like a
person who has a violin in his hands wishing to tune the
cello. If he wishes to be in tune with the cellist, he must
tune his violin to the cellist's pitch. Every soul, as its
nature, seeks constantly for harmony, but rarely there is
to be found a soul who really knows how to create it. If
one says, 'This noise which goes on always next to my ears
makes me mad,' he cannot stop the noise. He must know how
to close himself from that noise; if he cannot, to accustom
himself to that noise so as to be able to bear it and eventually
to rise above it, that it may no more create inharmony.
Very often, at the sight of inharmony, one tries to escape
it. But inharmony has such a wonderful magic that if one
avoids it in the East, one meets it in the West. It never
leaves a person; who it loves it follows. And the best way
to meet with inharmony is to try and harmonize with it.
Knowing that the source and goal of all things is the perfection
of harmony, and bearing that idea in mind, if one met with
inharmony, which has no existence in reality, which is like
a shadow, it must certainly disappear as the shadow disappears
at the sight of the sun.
It is very difficult to evolve oneself and at the same
time to keep in tune with the unevolved ones through life.
It is like being drawn from above and at the same time being
pulled from below. And if there is anything that can save
man from being torn to pieces in life, there is only one
way, and that is to resound, to respond to all that is asked
of man. It is this principle which is taught by Christ in
the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount may seem
to teach a willing surrender to all, but that is not the
way to look at it. The real lesson that one can learn from
it is to harmonize oneself with all notes instead of with
one note. Every note is fixed in its place, so is every
man fixed in his ideas and ways. But the one who treads
the spiritual path, he is all notes and he is no note in
particular. Therefore he may rightfully be called the keynote,
the note which makes a consonant chord with every note that
is played with it. There is no beauty where there is no
harmony; harmony is the fruit of love. Therefore by attaining
harmony in life one reaches the perfection of all three:
love, harmony, and beauty.
6. The Power of Mind
Anything that weighs upon the mind, such as worry, or
fear, or remorse, keeps the mind below the pitch at which
it is meant to be. When the mind is weighed down by anything,
however learned a man may be, however capable and efficient,
he can work but very little. Learning does not help the
mind which is not in its right place. So it is seen to be
with many learned people: most capable and efficient, and
yet incapable of accomplishing anything important in life.
This is often found in life, and rare is the case where
it is not so.
All the affairs of life are accomplished by the power
of mind. External conditions are nothing but mechanisms
with which the mind works as an engineer, producing from
life all that is desired. Therefore, whatever be the condition
in life, the principal thing is to shake off all things
that weigh upon the mind, thus making the mind free to fulfill
its task through life.
Often people find them selves helpless before a difficult
situation, but very few stop to think that it is not only
the situation that is difficult, but there is some difficulty
in one's own mind. One hardly gives a thought to this question,
for every man's eyes are fixed upon the difficulty of the
situation alone. It is like seeing a wall standing before
one and yet not realizing if one has a hammer in one's hand.
If one realized the power that the mind has, not only the
wall but even mountains, if they were standing before one,
could be removed. Many seek for a power from without, ignorant
of the fact that all power is hidden within. When, by freeing
his own mind from all that weighs it down, man realizes
the power he inherits from the source of all beings, he
will realize in himself and enormous power. The mastermind
is the master of life.
7. Every Mind Has Its Own Standard of Good
Every mind has its particular standard of good and bad,
and of right and wrong. This standard is made by what one
has experienced through life, by what one has seen or heard;
it also depends upon one's belief in a certain religion,
one's birth in a certain nation and origin in a certain
race. But what can really be called good or bad, right or
wrong, is what comforts the mind and what causes it discomfort.
It is not true, although it appears so, that it is discomfort
that causes wrongdoing. In reality, it is wrongdoing which
causes discomfort, and it is right-doing which gives comfort.
And for the very reason that a certain thing gives comfort
it is right, and what causes discomfort is wrong.
Very few in the world look at it in this way. If one
who does good all his life is unhappy, I would rather he
did not do good. His well-doing is neither good for him
nor for another. The standard of right and wrong or good
and bad, made rigidly on the action, is the artificial standard
which seems outwardly a moral law, but causes degeneration
in the end. The standard of action must be made natural,
not artificial. The curse of the present day is the artificiality
of life. Man must be taught to consult his own spirit, and
from his own feeling to find out and make a distinction
between right and wrong and good and bad. When this natural
principle will be adopted by humanity the greater part of
the world-misery will come to an end. This wrong and artificial
standard is taught today to children at home and to young
people at school. They begin to learn that that is wrong
which they have heard others call wrong, that is right which
they have read in a book that it is right; something is
good because their parents have said it is good, something
is bad because their friends have told them so. An artificial
standard made in this way buries the spirit, which alone
has the right to discern between right and wrong, good and
bad. On the day when people will arrive at the freedom of
making their own standard by their own feelings, a better
condition will come. For those searching after truth, journeying
through the spiritual path, this is the first thing to learn,
to find out for themselves under all conditions in life
what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is
wrong, not from what they are taught or told, but from their
own feeling, which can be perceived by a delicate sense
of realizing through life what really gives comfort and
what causes discomfort. Life is not made to be good and
unhappy, life is made to be happy and therefore one has
to be good – no happiness must be sacrificed to goodness,
but that goodness must be considered the real goodness which
in its result is happiness.
8. The Impression of Illness and Weakness
on the Mind
The action of every illness or weakness is more manifest
in its impression on the mind. There are many people who
after an illness that has lasted some time become so impressed
by it that even after their cure the impression remains.
Therefore to those who suffer for many years from an illness,
their illness becomes natural, becomes a part of themselves,
and the obstacle to their cure is not the illness but the
impression engraved on the mind.
So it is with weakness or a defect of any sort. Very
often a person confesses, 'This is my defect, but I cannot
help it.' If there is any weakness or defect, it is merely
in the impression. When a person says, 'There are moments
when I lose my temper,' or when a person says, 'I would
like to tolerate, but I cannot stand that person,' his weakness
is nowhere but in the impression he has in his mind. Therefore
the best cure for every illness and weakness is denial of
the same. Affirmation deepens the impression, and contemplation
of it makes it worse. There is no harm in denying one's
illness or weakness, for that is not telling a lie, as it
does not exist in reality; it is merely a shadow. Truthful
confession of something which is unreal is worse than a
lie. One must first deny that to oneself, and then to others.
The Sufi, whose ideal through life is the realization
of God and His perfection, after realizing his ideal cannot
say, 'I cannot tolerate' – or 'endure' or 'stand' – 'anybody;'
and he cannot say that he cannot think, act or feel as he
thinks right. The idea of the Sufi is always to suggest
to oneself that which one wishes to be, that which one would
like to be. And when he finds he failed to think, speak
or act as he wishes to, he must think the condition of the
process is to fall several times before one gets one's balance,
instead of thinking, 'It is my weakness, I cannot do otherwise.'
Those who walk toward the perfection of power and wisdom
take every step forward with a new hope and new courage;
and weakness, to them, was a story of the past, it does
not exist any more, they don't recognize such a thing as
existing. They can't accept themselves being what they don't
wish to. They picture themselves as their ideal, what they
would like to be. Some time or other in their lives – if
not sooner, later – they certainly succeed in molding their
life to their ideal.
9. Keeping the Mind in a Pure Condition
All that exists lives on its own element, springs from
its own element, and returns to its own element. So earth
to earth, water to water, fire to fire, and air to air.
Purification means to make a certain object itself; nothing
added, nothing foreign attached to it which does not belong
to it. These two rules make one understand the process by
which the mind could be nourished and purified. The mind
is nourished by thoughts and impressions that are harmonious
and productive of beauty and which result in satisfaction.
For harmony is the nature of the soul, beauty is its source
and goal, and by harmony and beauty the mind is nourished,
as it is made of harmony and beauty. And the same elements
are needed to purify the mind of all undesirable thoughts
and impressions, harmony as water and beauty as soap, purifying
the mind of all thoughts which are void of harmony and beauty.
The first thing in purifying the mind is to be able to
discern the foreign element there. As all that is foreign
to the body does not agree with the body, making it ill,
so all that is foreign to the mind disturbs the peace of
the mind, and it is that which proves that it does not belong
to the mind: such things as worry, anxiety, fear, sorrow,
or any sort of disturbance that takes away the tranquility
of the mind, preventing it from experiencing that joy and
peace for which it longs and in which alone is its satisfaction.
There are many who do not know the importance of keeping
the mind in a pure and harmonious condition, and the few
who know it find it difficult to bring about better conditions
in practical life. In the first place it is difficult to
accomplish outward duties, to answer the demands of life,
and yet to keep the mind in perfect tranquility. It needs
the knowledge of purifying the mind of all external influences.
And the way one can manage it can be said in a few words:
to throw away inharmony by the power of harmony and to wash
away all that lacks beauty by preserving the great power
of beauty within oneself.
10. Keeping the Mind Free from All Undesirable
The best way of keeping the mind free from all undesirable
impressions is not to partake them at the moment when they
fall upon the mind. For instance, if someone is disagreeable,
instantly his influence produces the same thing in another
person with whom he is disagreeable. The best way to avoid
it would be to stand on one's guard that one may not catch
his infectious disagreeableness. All such things as pride,
prejudice, jealousy, intolerance, coldness, have a great
influence upon a person. When speaking, working or walking
with someone, one can easily partake one's companion's disagreeable
impulse, because as a rule a person thinks there is justification
for giving it back, a word for a word, a frown for frown.
A person feels satisfied in boasting, 'He said two words
to me, but I have him back the same in four words.' He feels
very glad for the moment, thinking, 'I have given back what
I had received.' But he does not know that if he had not
given it back, the same that the other person had thrown
upon him would have returned to that person a thousandfold.
The psychological point of view therefore differs from
the ordinary point of view, for in the psychological point
of view there is a science, it teaches one not to take in
one's mind what is disagreeable, inharmonious. By understanding
this one can maintain the purity of mind, and it requires
fortifying oneself with will power, making the heart as
a stone wall, for all that is thrown at it not to pierce
through, but to fall down.
The psychological effect of every impression is such
that each impression has a tendency to be held by the mind;
all we see during the day has, consciously or unconsciously,
and influence upon our life. All good or bad things, or
things with beauty or ugliness, they remain with us and
flourish in our minds. If it was an impression of beauty,
that would flourish; if it was an impression of ugliness,
that would flourish. This is the principal reason why dreams
have effect upon our life. It is the impression that the
dream has made upon us that works out its destiny in the
waking state. Therefore, if by being on one's guard, instead
of resisting evil one would only slide it over, it would
run away by its own force.
However good a person, if he easily partakes impressions,
he cannot be trustworthy. The one who has no will power
cannot even trust himself. There is no will power in fighting
with another; one shows will power in fighting with self.
The one who is strong enough to keep away from his mind
all undesirable impressions will in time radiate harmony
and will create the atmosphere of peace; thus making himself
happy, he will bring happiness to others.