Mind Conquest by Sama and Dama
By Swami Sivananda
Calmness of mind comes through the practice of Sama and Dama. Sama is calmness of mind induced by the eradication of Vasanas. Vasana-tyaga (renunciation of desires) through discrimination constitutes the practice of Sama, one of the sixfold virtues (Shadsampatti). If a desire arises in your mind, do not give way to it. This will become the practice of Sama. Sama is keeping the mind in the heart by Sadhana. Sama is restraint of the mind by not allowing it to externalise or objectify. The restraint of the external activities and the Indriyas is the practice of Dama (Bahyavritti-nirodha).
If you renounce the desire for eating mangoes, it is Sama. If you do not allow the feet to carry you to the bazaar to purchase the mangoes, if you do not allow the eyes to see the mangoes and if you do not allow the tongue to taste them, it is Dama.
A desire arises to eat sweets. You do not allow the feet to move to the bazaar to purchase the sweets. You do not allow the tongue to eat the sweets. You do not allow the eyes to see the sweets also. This kind of restraint of the Indriyas is termed Dama.
It is termed Sama when you do not allow any thought to arise in the mind concerning sweets by eradication of Vasanas (Vasana-tyaga). This eradication of the Vasanas can be accomplished through Vichara, Brahma-chintana, Japa, Dhyana, Pranayama, etc.
Sama is an internal restraint. Dama is a restraint of the Indriyas. Though the practice of Sama includes the practice of Dama, as the Indriyas will not move and work without the help of the mind, yet the practice of Dama is necessary. The practice of Dama should go hand in hand with Sama. Sama alone will not suffice. You must attack the enemy, desire, from within and without. Then alone you can control the mind quite easily. Then alone the mind will be in perfect control.