Conquest of the Mind's Strongholds
By Swami Sivananda
ou have the whole menagerie within you - the lion, the tiger, the serpent, the elephant, the ape and the peacock. Bring them under your control. The beauty of the flesh is really due to the life-giving principle, Prana. The beauty is attributable to the light that emanates from Atman. The nasty body with oozing discharges from nine gutters composed of the five elements is a Jada Vastu and Apavitra. Always entertain this idea. Have a clear-cut, well-defined, image or picture like this. You will conquer lust by such a mental drill. If you understand the doctrine of unity in diversity, if you know there is only one matter, one energy, one mind-substance, one life, one existence, one Sat, one Reality, and if you entertain always such a thought, you can control Krodha. If you remember that you are only an instrument in the hands of God, that God is everything, that God does everything, that God is just, then you can get rid of Ahamkara. You can annihilate Dvesha by Pratipaksha Bhavana. Look to the brighter side of persons. Ignore the dark aspect.
Emotion is a motive power like the steam of an engine. It helps you in your evolution. Had it not been for the presence of emotion, you would have passed into a state of passivity or inertia. It gives a push for action or motion. It is a blessing. But you must not become a prey to emotions. You must not allow them to bubble out. You must purify and calm the surging emotions. You must allow it to rise slowly and subside quietly from the mind-ocean. You must keep the emotion under perfect control. Do not mistake physical sensations for higher sublime emotions. Do not be carried away by emotions. There are certain people who like to hear of new sensational events just to arouse their emotions. They live on emotions; otherwise they feel quite dull. This is a great weakness. This must be eradicated if they like to lead a calm and quiet life.
All evil qualities proceed from anger. If you control anger, all evil qualities will vanish by themselves.
Ahamkara, Samkalpa, Vasana, Prana have intimate connection with the mind. There cannot be any mind without these four. Prana is the life of the mind. Ahamkara is the root of the mind. Sankalpas are the branches of the mind-tree. Vasana is the seed of the mind. This deep-rooted tree of Samsara which ramifies in various directions with branches full of flowers, tendrils, fruits, etc., has the mind as its root. If this root-mind is destroyed, the tree of Samsara - this tree of birth and death - will also be destroyed. Cut this root - mind - with the axe of Brahma Jnana. Chop off the branches (Sankalpas) with the knife of Viveka-Vichara.