by B P Wadia 

© 2003 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö 

"O thou sweet nature of the unborn light, purify my mind and enlighten my understanding so that I may be conscious of thee!" - 

Is it possible in the midst of trouble and turmoil to practice self-control and reach a point of inner calm? This question occurs to so many in these days of unbalance when feelings and thoughts war with each other.

By analogy, it is possible for one to develop an attitude of calmness and carry on with his prayer and puja when national upheaval causes distress to leaders and legislators in the sphere of politics. Even in the midst of family feuds, an individual member can withdraw from the atmosphere of hot words and get away to a spot where he does not hear the noise and the din. While outer events and struggles do affect us, it is not impossible to find a place of peace where we can keep the company of our high aspirations.

The searcher after inner peace is in reality seeking that knowledge which will teach him not to be disturbed by his fancy and fantasy, by those internal images which his memory of the past and his anticipations for the future raise. Informative knowledge and trained logical reasoning fail to quiet our feelings and emotions. The mind has its own machinations when it has to deal with our personal feelings. Our mind itself is so shot through and through with our likes and dislikes and our own prides and prejudices that in most cases, and most of the time, it is powerless to attain to quietude. Even saintly men and women have complained of how their meditations and prayers, at times, avail them not. They do not bring any recompense, any response from the Eternal. It is only when the feeling-self and the thinking-self are both subdued, and someone from within the carapace of selfhood is able to say "a plague on both your houses" that the place of peace which is beyond is glimpsed.

Most successful men, even so-called self-made men, suffer from final frustration. Gathered in the gardens of mental endeavor, flowers wither and die. The men and the women who hoped to inhale their fragrance forever experience desolation. These successful self-made men are goaded by the power of ambition inherent in passions. Ambitions rise in a crescendo and ere all yearnings for wealth, fame, and power can be realized, old age and decay leave us staring helplessly on the approach of death.This produces frustration, disappointment, and despair.

After separating himself from national turmoil and family feuds,  one can find satisfaction in the pursuit of knowledge, in the enjoyment of art, in the creative activities of his own inner being. Similarly, Man, the thinker, with his power to use his mind and his will, can separate himself from the thralldom of his passions, ambitions, and ultimate frustrations. The Real Man must teach his mind that all is impermanent in himself except the power of the true soul or self, the vigilant watcher, the silent creator. The mind can salvage the debris of vanquished passions and put them to use by transmuting cruelty into kindness, selfishness into selflessness, and avarice into altruism. It can only do so when it recognizes the Divinity within and beyond itself and listens to the Song of Life. It must recognize in the Atman or Spirit, the highest ruler in the realm of perceptions and in the disciplined will the highest executive energy.

Those (and how many are there!) who aspire to inner psychological stability, to a quieted mind and heart, to an inner place where ambitions do not play havoc, but where the Light of Peace is to be found, have to learn the lesson contained in these words of a great sage:-

"As the lost jewel may be recovered from the depths of the tank's mud, so can the most abandoned snatch himself from the mire of sin, if only the precious Gem of Gems, the sparkling germ of the Atman, is developed. Each of us must do that for himself, each can if he but will and persevere. Good resolutions are mind-painted pictures of good deeds: fancies, daydreams, and whisperings of the Buddhi to the Manas. If we encourage them, they will not fade away like the dissolving mirage in the Shamo
desert, but grow stronger and stronger until one's whole life becomes the expression and outward proof of the divine motive within."

From "Thus have I heard", pages 263-65. Utgiven av Indian Institute of World Culture, 1959.


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