The Path to Freedom: Mastering the Art of Total Perception
by Swami Krishnananda

Chapter 8: Controlling of the Mind and Senses Through the Sadhana-Chatustaya

The preparations that are requisite of a student of spiritual life, particularly when approaching a preceptor for the reception of knowledge, are difficult enough of acquisition. When we come to these considerations, we begin to come nearer to the truths of our own being than when we were merely facing facts of life as if they were external objects.

To study a thing when it is outside us is easier, but when it comes to us in a personal manner, very often we hesitate to say anything about it, and especially to tackle it. Personal matters are difficult to explain and solve. We treat the world as a kind of object, and we would like to treat spiritual life also as a kind of object. Then it is that we seem to get on very well with it. God and His nature, the path of spiritual sadhana, the difficulties on the way—all these things are instinctively taken by us as certain objects in the world, as articles we can collect and throw away. But we realise when we take things more seriously that our vision was incorrect and spiritual life is not so easy as we once thought it to be, because of a very simple reason that it is concerned with our own self. It is not even concerned with God as a super-transcendent creator. It is concerned with us, and that is why it is so difficult.

If it had been a matter concerning someone else, we would have solved it easily; but it is a matter concerning us. Who is going to solve it? With viveka and vairagya, the characteristics of which I described in the earlier discourses, philosophically equipped and intellectually well informed, the student may appear to be ready for higher knowledge. But unfortunately, he is not ready for it because there are certain other things which the student must cultivate before this unique knowledge can be received from the wondrous Master. The further qualifications that one is called upon to nurture in oneself are more personal than intellectual or philosophical.

The personal aspects of spiritual sadhana are the psychological and moral training that we have to undergo as a necessary qualification. Whatever be our intellectual training or scientific upbringing, there is something more that we have to equip ourselves with before we approach a spiritual adept. These are equipments, not merely intellectual or qualificational in the ordinary sense of the term, but very personal, moral and psychological—and thus, very secret. Here we touch the bottom of our own being and try to sweep the dust-ridden enclave of our own heart.

These are what the scriptures and the Masters have spoken of as the satsampat, or the sixfold qualifications of an emotional and personal nature. The human being is not merely an intellect, but also an emotion. So our equipment should not merely be rationalistic. The equipment should also include a moral preparation, which has many hidden sides, sometimes hidden even to our own vision, which has to be brought to the surface of consciousness if spiritual knowledge is to be received. It is to be remembered again that spiritual knowledge is not of an ordinary kind. It is not knowledge at all, as we know knowledge to be. It is not information that we gather. It is not knowing something, or knowing about something. This is the peculiarity about this knowledge. This is why the scriptures say, “This knowledge is a wonder!” It is a wonder because ‘wonder’ cannot be explained.

We look upon it with a kind of awe, in consternation. Everything connected with it is a kind of marvel: on one end of it, there is God the marvel, on another end there seems to be the marvel of the teacher, and on the third side there is the student, who is also a marvel. The knowledge is a marvel and the goal is also a marvel. It is all a marvel; in all ten directions it is a marvel. We cannot explain this mystery which is this wondrous secret of secrets, into which we are trying to enter when we tread the path spiritual.

Imagine how honest one has to be to tread this path. It is so serious a matter, so momentous, that one has to understand its importance for one’s own self. The first and foremost psychological qualification required of us is peace of mind. We should not approach a Guru or Master with a troubled mind, such as grief over a dead child or a gone-off husband, and so on. With these ideas we should not approach a spiritual Master, because the ideas that are uppermost in our minds are what count most. One may have lost a job, been demoted, been cast out into the streets; there may be many kinds of problems in the family and personal life. It is not with these notions that we would approach a Master of the Spirit; nor should we go with the burden of these ideas, trying to unload all of them, because then the very purpose of meeting the Master would be defeated. The path of the Spirit is the way to the Spirit alone, and nothing short of it.

So the humdrum, toil, worry and business of life, which have their impressions formed in our subconscious and unconscious levels of mind, should be cast out first by tranquillity, which has to be acquired with tremendous effort. The mind has to be tranquil, first and foremost. It is called kshama, shanti. There should be a feeling of subdual of personality when approaching a spiritual Master. We are required to offer nothing to him. We are only to present ourselves before him as a subdued person, which means to say that the mind is like the limpid waters of a calm lake, which can listen to what is heard; else, we would be like the many people who would rather talk than listen.

A few of us have the habit, perhaps, of going to people to listen, but really we end up by saying something. We have many things to tell about our own selves, our problems, our difficulties and injustices, the wretched world and so many other things, and we want to hear nothing. And if someone starts talking, we start saying something else, so that the person cannot continue.

These are some of the weaknesses of people in the world. But with these weaknesses, the Spirit is far off. There is no use of trying to make a compromise between moral foibles and the dignity of the Spirit. Either we want it or we do not want it, that is all. There cannot be any via media between Mammon and God. Those who have trodden the path of the Spirit were strong in a particular sense because they knew what they wanted. Many of us do not know what we want.

We may honestly search our heart and end with a sob and a sigh, “I do not know what is wrong with me, and I do not know what I ought to do.” This is a psychological mess that we create in our minds. We cannot know what we want. If we cannot know what we want in this world, then what else can we know? All this difficulty arises because we have not been psychologically trained and morally prepared. Our training has been a kind of commercial training, for earning a living. Unfortunately, psychologically we have not been taught, and this is the difficulty we feel in day-to-day life. We cannot confront anything because to do so is to confront a mind. It is difficult to confront a mind because minds are intelligent, and they react.

I mentioned in earlier lessons that minds are like magnetic fields. We cannot try to touch them or approach them with impurity. We have to guard ourselves properly, insulate ourselves, as it were, before we try to handle or manipulate them. The world is ultimately made up of minds, manifest or unmanifest. The human being is obviously a reactionary type of mind, and we have to live in a world of human beings. When we live in a world of such a character and makeup, our study and our training should naturally take into consideration these essences behind the so-called objects of the world, which we generally study.

We have indications of there being subjects behind objects, minds behind bodies. In the study of spiritual life, we cannot afford to continue taking persons as mere objects. Some employers treat their subordinates and employees as mere tools, but they are not. They are human beings, and we cannot go on treating human beings as tools. Even well informed persons, elevated in society, unconsciously treat other people as tools, because our instinct is to utilise another person for our purpose. We may do it in many ways—by directly taking or extracting something, or by not taking something or being indifferent. By all these means we can utilise people as tools.

Now, these attempts of the subjective mind to make itself comfortable in a world of this nature heaps samskaras or psychological impressions on the mind, and its life becomes one of anxiety. We walk with heavy hearts on account of the load of the impressions that are in our minds. It may not be physical weight. We may be well off, but our minds may be heavy due to many an incentive for further actions that it has gathered in the history of its life in this world. As long as there are impressions in the inner layers of our hearts, our minds cannot be in peace.

There are two terms used in our taking stock of the satsampat. I mentioned ‘kshama’ and ‘dhama’, as they are called: the control of the mind and the control of the senses. These go together. Kshama and dhama may be said to be the internal and external control, respectively. The subdual of the mind is kshama and the restraint of the senses is dhama. We cannot say which comes first and which comes second. It is safe to conclude that both are to be taken simultaneously in measured importance because the senses and the mind are correlated.

The student of the spiritual path is, foremost, called upon to be subdued in the senses and the mind. A self-controlled person alone approaches a Master for the knowledge of the higher life. The sadhana-chatustaya is supposed to precede shravana-chatustaya. Sadhana-chatustaya is a Sanskrit word which means the fourfold qualification of sadhana: viveka, vairagya, satsampat and mumukshutva. Viveka is discrimination, power of understanding, the capacity to discriminate the real from the unreal; vairagya is dispassion, the lack of taste for the objects of the world due to the recognition of their essence; satsampat is what I am trying to explain now; and the last one is mumukshutva, the yearning for freedom.

After these qualifications it is that the shravana-chatustaya or the other set of four is said to follow, which means: shravana, manana, nididhyasana and satshatkara. Sravana is listening to the teachings from the Master; manana is reflection, deep consideration over it, thinking deeply over what is heard; nididhyasana is profound meditation; and satshatkara is realisation. These come after sadhana-chatustaya.

The third of the sadhana-chatustaya is satsampat. Two of these I am trying to explain now, kshama and dhama: tranquillity of the mind and control of the senses. The seeker of Truth, the student of yoga, should have sifted his mind properly before taking to the spiritual path. It is not any Tom, Dick and Harry that can tread the spiritual life. In the spiritual path, no one need be in haste, because nothing is going to be gained in taking hasty steps. Haste makes waste, as we know. We have to sift our mind properly and understand whether we are ready for it or not. But how are we to know if we are ready?

What are your feelings at the bottom of your heart? They will tell you what you really are. The whole difficulty about this matter is that another person cannot know your feelings, nor are you prepared to express your feelings in public. Hence, each one has to judge one’s own self, calmly in a dispassionate manner. I cannot tell anything about you, nor can you tell anything about me. Each one has to open the inner eye of insight in calmly considered processes of thought and pass judgement on one’s own self: “What is the cause of my asking for God?” You may be asking for God, nobody is denying it, but why? Why do you want God? Now, the answer to questions of this kind will say something about your nature. Why is it that you want the spiritual life? What do you know about it? What has made you get attracted towards it? Many an answer will come to these questions and each person will have something to say, peculiar to one’s own self.

Well, whatever may be the answer to why you want God, I may point out one very important aspect of the matter, which each one has to remember. The details may be variegated, but there is one very essential point to remember: Your want for God should be a positive longing and not a negative retreat. You should not say, “The world is wretched and, therefore, I would like to go to God. I have been defeated in life; therefore, I must turn to something which may give me solace.”

It is said that there are Dhurvas and Prahaladas. A Dhurva goes because he is kicked, and a Prahalada goes because he loves God and because he is God. Kicks in life may be of some help. Everyone receives a kick of one type or the other, and lessons of this kind have a value of their own. But they are not all, and cannot be regarded as everything, because the momentum of these kicks lasts only for some time. Unless we go on receiving kicks perpetually, it is difficult to maintain proper balance. The world will not go on giving kicks like that eternally.

Hence, we should not depend on these kicks for maintaining our balance or poise of spirit. We should be something within our spirit of understanding, and our want of God should be on account of what God is, in His essential nature. Mumukshutva is supposed to be pre-eminent among the four qualifications. Even if all the others are there and this is lacking, it will be a waste. There may be a kind of control of the senses, the power of the mind to concentrate, a certain amount of philosophic analytical understanding, and so on, but there may not be a longing for freedom—longing for God in its essential nature. If that is lacking, then there would be a lack of vitality in the approach itself, and it will not last long.

The tranquillity of mind that one has to acquire and the control of senses that one is to achieve should be a natural outcome for God-realisation. It should not be merely the power of will exerted over one’s self. Control of the mind cannot be achieved by the power of the will because the will is a part of the mind that we are speaking about. When we speak of the mind and mind control, we speak of all that is the psychological setup, so we cannot exert effort on the mind and try to control it. The mind can be subdued only by having a higher, nobler ideal.

The mind is not a fool always. It can understand what we are presenting it with. It cannot be cajoled and sidetracked for all times, though sometimes it gets deceived. The mind asks for satisfactions in its various levels of development, and the higher the objects we present before it, the easier it would be to control it. We can pocket a person when we give him what he needs or asks. Similarly, we can pocket anything, even the whole world, provided we can offer to the world what it wants from us.

This is the case with everything, perhaps with God also, but He needs something extraordinary, and we cannot offer Him what He needs. The mind cannot be subdued by ordinary means of tapasya—by dieting, vigil, studies, walks, and so on—though in the beginning it appears to be subdued due to employing such tentative methods. Nothing on Earth can control the mind because the mind is not entirely of this world. It is of a different realm altogether. It is very subtle, subtler than the objects of the world, so the objects of the world cannot be put to use in the control of the mind, and methods which are physical in their nature are also not of much avail in psychological subdual. The mind is subtle, ethereal impetus: pramāthi balavad dṛḍham (Gita 6.34), as the Bhagavadgita calls it. It shall drag away any person, and it is strong enough to drown the consciousness of a seeker.

Such being the structure of the mind, the achievement of kshama and dhama is a Herculean task; but considering the knowledge and the glory of the Spirit that we are going to receive from the Master, we have to put forth all our energies in controlling our mind and senses.

We are all beginners in the path of the Spirit, and I should naturally speak only in that trend. None of us can be regarded as adepts. The beginners in the spiritual path should carefully avoid temptations of all kinds, physical and well as psychological. We are mostly caught by temptations. As long as temptations are before us, the control of the mind is not possible. But what is tempting us? It is difficult to know what temptation is, because temptation ceases to be temptation when it is known. A thief is no more a thief when we detect him. Temptations come unaware, and would not come announcing themselves to be such. “I am a spy, sir!” Nobody will say such things, for otherwise he will not succeed.

The attractions of sense and mind, which we call the temptations, are not merely physical objects, though mostly they are; and we find ourselves in the midst of these tempting things day in and day out. The objects of sense are everywhere. They are in the temple, in the forests, in the streets. We cannot avoid them. We can go into the bowels of the Earth or the top of Mt. Everest, but there also are the objects of sense. The objects of sense are spread out everywhere in creation, so we cannot just escape them by retreating from one place to another. This retreat may have some effect tentatively, like an injection that is given, but it cannot cure the ultimate illness because while we have escaped the immediate temptations by running away from them physically, circumstances will be so created that the very material around us, even if we are in a far-off place, can act as temptations. The objects are not the temptations, but they are used as temptations by the power of our own mind.

The mind person is a magnet. It attracts things towards itself, those things alone which it can utilise. Often, it can convert things into tools of satisfaction. This is why physical isolation in forests, caves and so on is generally advised. It has a great significance in the sense that things that are attracting us, worrying us, annoying us, tempting us, are avoided for the time being, for we are now in a new atmosphere altogether. But what is this new atmosphere? It is made up of the same substance which, under given conditions, can be converted into tempting objects again.

There is nothing which we would not like in one circumstance or the other. We should not say that we have given up all the things that we have liked, because there is nothing that we will dislike always; we will like it sometimes. In every place, even in a forest, we will find something which we will like under given conditions of the mind, and the conditions will be brought up by the mind when we deny satisfactions to it. We have denied all satisfactions by physically being away, but now the mind will create circumstances, converting itself into a magnet that pulls towards itself the very same objects. Even if the objects may be in Vaikunta, it does not matter, it can pull them towards itself.

So the tranquillity of the mind and the control of the senses that we are speaking of ultimately boils down to a kind of training of the mind in its relationships with objects, and not merely a manipulation of objects from outside, because the temptations have their seeds in our minds. If we do not want, nothing can tempt, but when we want the objects, they will not leave us. The objects are pulled. They can even be pulled from thousands of miles away, if we really want them. Our psychological asking for a thing will bring an object even from a distant realm. The asking is what matters more than the outer form of the physical object. It is very difficult thus to prepare oneself morally and psychologically for the reception of the higher knowledge. Many methods have to be employed for the training of the mind.

We should not be under the impression that we are well placed and properly guarded. Whatever be the guard that we put around ourselves, it may be insufficient when we are attacked, because the forces that attack may seem to be stronger the more we have starved our mind of all satisfactions. Things which would not have attracted us earlier, under normal circumstances, may attract us now on account of the mind being starved.

If we have observed an ekadasi, we will know our hunger the next day. Whatever may be offered to us, even dry bread, will appear tasty and we will swallow it, but otherwise we will not. So hunger would attract anything; they say it can digest even stones. Likewise, the mind which is starved, deprived of satisfactions, kept under guard for some time, will wait for an opportunity to jump upon its satisfactions, and it will find an opportunity one day.

We cannot always be guarded. Who can be guarded all the twenty-four hours of the day? At an opportune moment we will find things sneaking into us, finding a lodging in our minds. Those who have led a spiritual life will know the difficulty. If we approach mahatmas or even sadhakas who have lived this life for years and years, and struggled hard, they will be able to tell us what the difficulties are. They are all inexplicable in their nature.

The psychological biographies of a seeker are the most interesting biographies to read. It may be difficult to get them, but if you meet people, you will know something about the problems of the inner world of a seeker of the Spirit. They are very interesting—even more interesting than all the wonders of the seven worlds. The subdual of the mind and the control of the senses being the primary and initial requisites of the spiritual seeker, these preparations have to be made with a kind of initial sadhana. We cannot call it real sadhana; we may call it an initial preparation for sadhana that may help very much. One of these is to keep oneself aloof from the things which are unnecessary. Those things which we do not need are not kept near us. Those things and persons who are not going to be of direct help to us in our spiritual practice are not to concern us, and we are to be contented with what we really need.

We have to make a careful distinction between needs and luxuries. We cannot usually make this distinction easily, as today’s luxury may become tomorrow’s need. Tomorrow we may say it is necessary, though today we say it is not necessary. Likewise, we may be trapped. It is very easy to get trapped, and it is also very easy to lose sight of the goal and become completely oblivious of the purpose for which we have started. And we will be completely engrossed in the minor details of the path, not knowing anything of the distant goal for which we have girt up our loins earlier.

Objects and persons, circumstances, conditions or whatever they be, which are not going to directly help us in our sadhana are to be kept at arm’s length. We are not to befriend them. We may observe mauna with those objects and persons. The first and foremost thing that we have to do as spiritual seekers is to keep only those things which are absolutely essential for our living—absolutely essential, without which we cannot get on—and not to concern ourselves with persons and things that are a kind of luxury for us. This may look silly, but it is very important because it is these silly things that may catch us one day.

Secondly, a little time has to be set apart for reading elevating literature. We cannot always be meditating, nor can we always have the company of mahatmas as it is difficult these days, so a kind of satsang with lofty souls may be had by the study of such stupendous literature that will enlighten us on the path and shed light on the goal that we are seeking, such as the Moksha Sastras. It is not just reading any book that we have in the library.

Svadyaya is a very disciplined study, not a slipshod way of reading—a disciplined study, conducted daily, without remission, of a specific type of literature which can elevate us to the heights of supernormal understanding, and not distract or depress us. That is svadyaya. If we make it a point to read such literature every day, the ideas contained in the text will create such an impact on our mind that we will start thinking along those lines alone, instead of the usual way of thinking. A day should come when it is impossible for us to think in any other manner because we have been saturated with those ideas. We have read them so many times, with such intensity and devotion, that we cannot but think along those lines. Later on, we will start speaking only those topics if we meet people.

This is a kind of meditation in the sense that the mind is lifted up from distracting thoughts, objects, persons, etc., to unifying processes of thinking, leading to the Realisation of the Spirit. Physical isolation from tempting objects is one part. Svadyaya is another. Japa of a mantra is the third. Now, japa is not an old grandmother’s way of leading a religious life, as some scientific minds may think. It is a very potent method of self-control. The mantra japa is itself a great sadhana, and it should be advised to any spiritual seeker. Before we try to take up some higher methods of meditation, we have to gather some energy and strength in ourselves which will be very much aided by japa of a given mantra. The mantra should be such that it should not ask for any physical things. There are mantras which say, “Destroy this man!” and Bring me this!” These are not the mantras that we should chant.

The mantras should be impersonal in the spiritual sense. We are asking for spiritual strength. The Gayatri mantra, for example is a great specimen. It asks for nothing except illumination of understanding. There are many mantras of this kind which help us in gathering psychic energy and generating spiritual force—such as the Guru Mantra, a we may call it. We may get initiated into a suitable mantra of a spiritual nature by a competent teacher and perform japa of this mantra daily for an hour at least. It should not be less than that because we are speaking of true spiritual seekers, and they should have some time, at least an hour a day.

An hour’s japa of a constructive mantra will create a force of its own in the mind. Japa can do many miracles. First of all, the mantras are the insights of rishis. Every mantra has a particular rishi, and we invoke the grace of that rishi when we chant the mantra. So the grace of the rishi is there the moment we take up japa of a mantra. There is also a devata of the mantra, so we have the blessing of the devata. There is a metre or chandas of the mantra—the way in which the letters of the mantra are juxtaposed and joined together so that in their joint collective form they generate a new energy, like chemical elements reacting among themselves. Every letter of a mantra is like a chemical force.

So the rishi, the chandas, and the devata combine in helping the sadhaka create spiritual energy within. Our own sadhana shakti, of course, is already there—the longing with which we do the sadhana—and this devotion with which we chant it has an effect of its own. This is why mantra japa conducted for a long time with devotion, with correct pronunciation of the syllables of the mantra, is a great help.

If we actually do this sadhana, we will know what change it brings. There is no use listening to discourses on this, because it will all look theoretical. I am speaking of practical hints of day-to-day life in spiritual sadhana, and the effect will only be felt when we actually enter into the waters. So svadyaya and japa, and to have physical isolation from tempting things as far as possible, are some of the important preparations for control of the senses and subdual of the mind.

There is another very important and potent factor in the control of the mind and senses: prayer to God. Very few people know what prayer means, but really it is an inner contact established with God, whatever be one’s concept of God. It may be that our notion of God at present is inadequate. That cannot be helped. But whatever be the idea of God that we have, what matters is devotion – the ardour with which we offer our prayer, and the force with which our heart goes for God. It matters little how we think of God, but it is important that we regard God as the All.

Our god should be all, everything, and nothing else should be there behind and outside it if that god of ours is to beckon our heart and soul. Though our god may be a finite god, the infinite God is behind that finite god like the ocean is behind all the rivers’ mouths. We may draw the whole ocean through the river if we like, because all the rivers are connected to the ocean, and all finite things are connected to the Infinite in some way.

So one need not be afraid that one’s idea of God is incorrect, and so on; let it be, it does not matter. It is somehow or other connected to the Infinite, and we can draw the energy of the infinite through the avenue of the finite, if only our devotion to it is whole-souled. That is very important. Prarthana or prayer, which is offered by our soul and not merely by our lips, will also help us in controlling the mind and senses because we are really asking for help. If our asking for help is honest, then that help shall be provided. But our asking should be genuine, and not otherwise.

I will tell you a story. There was a woodcutter. Every day he had to to eke out his living by going to the distant forest, in the heat and rain, to bring sticks and sell them for a few annas. He was fed up with life. One day he thought, “If Yama [the god of death] comes and takes me, it is good.” So he cried out, “Oh Yama, please come and take me!” throwing down the bundle. “I am fed up with this wretched life.”

Immediately Yama appeared and asked, “Why did you call me?”

The man was frightened. “Nothing, nothing. No, nothing.” He said. “Really nothing, I just wanted someone to pick up this bundle for me.” When the actual situation he requested was granted, the man became frightened.

Many of us may be in that position. It is difficult to ask for purely God’s grace. To many people, God’s grace looks like an empty receptacle, having nothing within it, devoid of attraction. We do not know what God’s grace is. We want God’s grace to bring with it something else also, like a vessel containing something. Why should God’s grace contain something else? But it is difficult to pray without this secret longing. “Oh, God bless me with your grace!” This means bring with Your grace some content, is the heart’s asking, even for some educated people.

It is difficult to understand God’s grace because it is difficult to understand God. How can we understand grace if we cannot understand God? Who can tell us that God is all the content, and grace is all that we need? Grace is not a vehicle to convey something else to us. It is not a cart with which we can load all things, homestead and cattle. It is not so.

One of the difficulties of the spiritual path, perhaps the most difficult of all problems in spiritual life, is the problem of understanding the significance of what we are asking for in spiritual life. We may glibly ask for God and His grace, but we do not know what we are really asking for. God is not a person coming with some gifts for us. Not so. All these ideas enter our minds because of our immature understanding of the goal before us. When God’s grace descends, it does not bring anything with it. It need not bring anything with it, because there is nothing outside it. It is all. The grace of God is God Himself coming. Do you want God to bring something with Him when He comes?

The God that is All cannot have something to bring. There is no need of asking for something. With such an open heart, may prayers be offered for God’s grace, which itself is the supreme content that we need and not a mere vehicle to carry our needs. Such prayers may help us. If we cannot pray without words, we may offer prayers with words, chants, mantras, hymns, stotras, etc., because the stotras, in words, convey prayers or thoughts for our sake. When we cannot express our thoughts, the hymns help us in generating thoughts of a particular type.

There are many other things which may be individually prescribed in detail, varying from person to person. The difficulties of one person may not be the difficulties of another, but whatever be the difference in details, the general characteristics will be the same—namely, a moral character, a clearness of thought, speech and action, and a genuine asking for God and not anything else, which aspiration can be intensified by svadyaya, japa, isolation from tempting objects and persons as much as possible, and freeing oneself from those luxuries which are not real needs. With these equipments, which are purely of a psychological nature, one can build up one’s inner personality.

The strength that we have to wield in the spiritual path is an inner one. We may have to exert peculiar kinds of strength as we advance in the path of the Spirit when we encounter new problems. The problems will not cease until we reach the destination, but they become subtler and subtler as we proceed further and further. They become, perhaps, more and more difficult of control and subdual as we advance further. The physical problems and difficulties are easy of overcoming, but the subtler and more difficult ones are the mental problems and the psychic opposition from nature.

Still, the grace of God is there and the meritorious deeds that we performed in the past will also help us. Remember, na hi kalyāṇakṛt kaścid durgatiṁ tāta gacchati (Gita 6.40): If we honestly aspire for the good, we shall not be defeated. God will help us. Therefore, sadhakas should go with confidence of mind that the world is behind them as a help and not as an opposition, because God will speak through the faces of nature. The divinities that preside over the corners of the world shall act as a leaning staff to the plodding soul in its march to perfection, if only its longing is genuine and the aspirations come from the heart.

If these requirements are fulfilled, subdual of the mind and control of the senses, kshama and dhama, will follow as consequences. We need not exert much. These are perhaps the most prominent of moral qualifications, and there are a few others of importance such as uparati, shraddha, titiksha, and samadhana, about which I shall speak another time.