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Fruits of Self-Control

By Swami Sivananda


Self-control is indispensable for the living of a truly ethical life. Without self-restraint, the practice of ethics is quite impossible. You may possess sublime sentiments and noble intentions. But when you have no self-control, you will be a slave to base passions. You will succumb to every temptation and commit endless wrong actions. You want to lead an ethical life, but due to weak will and lack of self-control you fail. It is self-control which enables you to stick to the laws of ethics.

Self-control leads to the highest merit. Self-control is the eternal duty of man. Self-control surpasses in merit, charity, sacrifice and study of the Vedas.

Self-control increases your energy. Self-control is highly sacred. Through self-control you will be purified of all your sins, and gifted with energy and thereafter you will acquire the highest blessedness.

There is no other duty equal to self-control. Self-control is the highest virtue in this world. Through self-control you can enjoy the highest happiness both in this world and in the next. Gifted with self-control you will win great virtue.

The self-controlled man sleeps happily and awakes happily and moves through the world happily. He is always cheerful.

The man who is without self-control always suffers misery. He brings upon himself many calamities, all begotten by his own faults.

Forgiveness, patience, abstention from injury, impartiality, truth, sincerity, control of the senses, mildness, modesty, firmness, liberality, freedom from anger, contentment, sweetness of words, benevolence, freedom from malice - all these combined make up self-control. It also consists of respect for the preceptor and mercy for all. The man of self-control avoids both adulation and slander. Depravity, infamy, falsehood, lust, covetousness, pride, arrogance, self-justification, fear, envy and disrespect are all shunned by the man of self-control. He never incurs obloquy. He is free from envy.

That eternal region of Brahman which originates from Vedic penances and which is concealed in a cave can only be acquired through self-control.

The self-controlled man is never fettered by the attachments originating from earthly connections and sentiments.

There is only one fault in self-control. No second fault is seen in it. A man who has self-control is considered by men as weak. By forgiveness the man of self-control may easily acquire happy worlds.

That is a forest where the man of self-control lives. That is ever a very sacred place. Of what use is a forest to a man of self-control? Of what use is the forest to him who has no self-control?

The man of self-control acquires great reward in the next world. He acquires esteem in this world and attains to high stage hereafter. He acquires the state of Brahman. He attains liberation.

In all the modes of life the practice of self-control is distinguished above all virtues. The fruits of self-control are much greater than those obtained in all the modes of life.

The self-controlled man becomes desirous of liberation. He quietly bears present joys and griefs and he is never overjoyed or depressed by prospective ones.

He is shorn of vindictiveness and all sorts of guile. He is unaffected by praise and censure. He is well-balanced. He has good manners. He has purity, fortitude. He is a perfect master of his passions.

He gains honours in the world. He goes to heaven after he departs from this world. He makes all creatures gain what they cannot acquire without his help. He rejoices under all circumstances. He is ever happy.


Thinking of sensual objects is Sanga or attachment. Non-thinking of sensual objects is Vairagya. Stop thinking of objects by thinking of Brahman or the Eternal, or of your Ishta Devata (tutelary Deity). Keeping the Vasanas in the mind is keeping a black cobra within and feeding it with milk. Your life is ever in danger. Kill these Vasanas through Vichara, Vairagya and meditation on the Atman. Tamoguna (inertia) is brutal, Rajoguna (passion) is human. Sattva Guna (light, harmony) is divine. If the clothes on your body catch fire, you want to run towards water for cooling yourself. You must feel like this from the burning of the fire of Samsara. You should feel that you are roasted in the fire of Samsara. Vairagya (dispassion) and Mumukshutva (strong yearning for liberation) will dawn in you.
The Aspirant in olden days used to approach the Guru with a bundle of sticks (Samit) in his hand for spiritual initiation. What does this indicate? He prays to his preceptor: - O, Adorable Guru! Let my bundle of sins and worldly Vasanas be burnt in the fire of Wisdom through Thy Grace. Let the Divine flame grow in me. Let me attain Self-effulgent Atman. Let my senses, Vasanas, mind, Prana and egoism be given as oblation.

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