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by Swami Sivananda

A Bania once approached a Sadhu for initiation. The Sadhu said, "Wait, I will initiate you after some time". The Bania pressed the Sadhu again and again on several occasions for quick initiation. The Sadhu totally declined and went away. He, however, visited the Bania after a couple of years with his Bhiksha-bowl containing some mud, hair, urine and excreta, and asked the Bania for alms. The Bania brought out nice sweetmeats, Kheer, Halva, etc. He had prepared these nice dishes, as he thought that he would be initiated this time by the Sadhu. The Sadhu said to the Bania, "Put everything into the bowl". The Bania said, "How can I place them, Swamiji, in this dirty bowl! Kindly clean the bowl and bring it to me. I will then place in it all the nice preparations". The Sadhu replied: "When such is the case with this bowl, how can I place the pure Lord in your heart which is filled with various impurities, viz., lust, anger, pride, greed, etc? How can I initiate you now, when your mind is very dirty like this bowl?". The Bania got depressed and went away in shame. He then purified himself through charity, selfless service, etc., and got initiated by the Sadhu later.

Just as the coloured water penetrates freely and nicely into a piece of cloth when it is pure white, so also, the instructions of a sage can penetrate and settle down in the hearts of aspirants only when their minds are calm, when there are no desires for enjoyments, and when the impurities of their minds are destroyed.

Discipline and purification of the mind and the Indriyas are the prerequisites for an aspirant in the path of Truth and Self-realisation. The ground must be well-prepared first. Then initiation will come by itself.

Internal Purity and External Purity

Purity is of two kinds, internal purity and external purity. Freedom from Raga-dvesha, purity intentions, purity of motives, and purity of Bhava constitute internal purity. Purity of body through bath, etc., purity of clothes, purity of surroundings like the house and its neighbourhood, constitute external purity.

External purity generates pure thoughts. Practice of external purity brings disgust for one's own body and the body of others also. You will soon give up Mamata, mineness of body.

Internal purity is more important than external purity. Internal purity makes the mind one-pointed, bestows serenity, cheerfulness, joy, strength, harmony, poise and happiness, instils love, patience and magnanimity.

If you take pure food, you will have a pure mind. If you have purity of mind, you will remember God. If you always remember God, the knots of the heart, viz., ignorance, desire and action, will be rent asunder. You will attain Moksha.

Sadhana without Purity is a Fruitless Waste

Mental purity through ethical training is, therefore, of paramount importance, if you wish to achieve success in meditation and Samadhi.

To practise meditation or contemplation in a mind perturbed by non-adherence to the moral precepts, is like building a house on a rotten foundation. You may build up the house, but it will surely fall. You may practise meditation for many years, but you will not realise any tangible result or fruit, if you have no ethical training as foundation.

If you want to enthrone God in your heart, you must eradicate all evil modifications in the mind. What do you do when you expect to receive a very high personage in your bungalow? You keep the compound quite clean and remove all the weeds and rubbish. You clean all the rooms and spread nice carpets. Similarly, you will have to remove all the dross of impurities from the mind if you want to have communion with the Lord, if you desire to call upon God earnestly to take His seat in your heart.

It takes a long time to purify the heart. Just as various kinds of dirt and dust are hidden underneath the carpet, so also, various kinds of impurities are hidden in the different corners of the mind.

Mind is such a mischievous imp. It is the Mara that tempted Buddha. It is the Satan that allured Jesus. It is the Kama who disturbed Siva when He was in deep meditation. It is the ghost of lust that spoiled the Tapas of Visvamitra.

You cannot wash the mind with soap and water to get rid of its impurities; but if you eradicate desire and attachment, the mind will be purified itself.

Desires move the senses. Desires can be controlled only if the senses are curbed. Tapas curbs the senses and annihilates desires.

Purity is the passport to the land of bliss

Tapascharya is essential. Tapasya is useful. Tapasya is a great help. Understand it truly. Practise it wisely. Intensify it gradually. Exercise it vigilantly. Give up foolishness. Be discriminate. Give no leniency. Adhere your vows. Be firm and resolute. Aspire fierily. Assert and manifest your mastery over the mind and senses as a true Tapasvin. Shine with spiritual radiance. You will achieve the glorious goal of spiritual life. You will attain immortality and supreme Kaivalya-moksha.

Purity is the path way to the kingdom of God. Without purity, no spiritual progress is possible. Brahman is purity. You will have to attain Brahman, or know Him and become one with Him, only through purity. There is no other way.

Your soul is Nitya Suddha, eternally pure. Through your contact with the mind and senses, you have become impure. Regain your original purity through Japa, Kirtan, prayer, meditation, enquiry of "Who am I?", the practice of Pranayama, study, Satsanga and Sattvic food.

Purify the intellect. Purify your heart. Purify your speech. Purify your body. Purify your senses. Purify your Prana. Purify, purify, purify.

Purity of heart is the gateway to God. It is antechamber to the presence of the Lord. It is the key by which the doors of intuition that lead to the abode of supreme peace are opened. Therefore, attain purity at all costs. Purity is the passport to the land of eternal bliss.

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