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

Chapter 13: Titiksha – From Will Power to Inner Strength

The qualities which a spiritual seeker is asked to cultivate in addition to kshama, dhama and uparati, whose nature we have been studying all the while, are titiksha, shraddha and samadhana. These are the power of endurance, faith, and the capacity to concentrate the mind, which form what are known as the satsampat or the sixfold virtues.

Of these latter three, titiksha comes first—fortitude, as we usually know it. Archarya Sankara defines titiksha in his Vivekachudamani as that character by which we complain not against existing conditions. Do not make an adverse remark about prevailing circumstances, and do not feel agony about existing situations. Sahanaṁ sarvaduḥkhānam apratikārpūrvakam, chintāvilāparahitaṁ sā titikṣa nigadyate (Vivekchudamani 24) is what Archarya Sankara tells us. Titiksha, therefore, implies withdrawal from a temptation to retaliate—a total absence of the sense of vengeance—non-complaince against the conditions prevailing, and absence of any kind of sorrow in the mind on account of external conditions.

Now, these are all very hard things indeed for people living in the world, because the very essence of human life is the attempt at changing conditions. There is perhaps none who would take things as they come and also see good in the way things come. The very essence of pragmatic life, so to say, is the effort to change circumstances, to convert the future into what we regard as better than the present. The usual tendency of human life is to bring about a reorientation of things, to create newer and newer possibilities of life and create conditions of greater comfort and ease of living, and to put forth hard effort for this purpose.

But the argument of titiksha seems to be quite contrary to this usual predisposition of human nature. This would mean that to enter a spiritual way of living and to see things from a spiritual point of view, one has to remake oneself and not be satisfied with being an ordinary human being. There is no use taking things as the public usually takes things. The public eye is different from this subtle eye which sees things in their proper essences.

Generally, there is a perennial complaint against conditions outside. We have to protect or guard ourselves against unfavourable circumstances. This is a need that we feel throughout our lives. We build houses, keep arms with us, bodyguards, etc., and remain in a state of anxiety due to a secret suspicion that things are not all right; they ought to be better. Sometimes we call the world a dog’s tail. But all this is not going to perturb the world. It has been what it is, and Herculean efforts of people, stalwarts that trod this Earth to change it, do not seem to have had an impression upon it. There might have been psychological satisfactions for people who have tried to amend it, but the constitution of the world has remained the same always.

The effort to change circumstances outwardly is no doubt the usual inclination or tendency of the human mind, but the spiritual law ordains that energy be not wasted in unnecessary contemplation of factors which are totally extraneous to spiritual fulfilment. There are many more things for us to do in our spiritual life than the earthly life would demand of us. If all our efforts are to be wasted in creating comfortable circumstances, favourable conditions, avoiding what is unpleasant and so on, perhaps much of our time, or all our time, will go only in these attempts. There will be very little time left for us to construct an inner life of our own. While being busy with the facilities of outer life, we are likely to ignore the good of the inner life. But the argument may come forth: “Are we not to contribute our might to change conditions so that our lives may become easier and happier?” As I mentioned earlier, the spiritual attitude to things is a little different from the normal attitude of people in regard to the world. The spiritual attitude is supernormal and not the usual sensate outlook which the man in the street entertains in regard to his personality as well as to outer conditions.

There is a very famous mantra in the Isavasyopanishad which should come to our rescue in properly evaluating circumstances prevailing in the world. Kavir manīṣī, paribhūḥ, svayambhūḥ, yāthātathyato'rthān vyadadhāc chāśvatībhyas samābhyaḥ (Isa 8). This is something startling, no doubt, if we understand what it really means. What the mantra in this passage seems to make out is that the Creator, when He projected this cosmos, has so arranged the pattern of things that they do not need interference. The arrangement is complete to the core. Everything that is necessary has been provided. No one can meddle with it. No one can interfere with it. No one can change it. No one can improve upon it. No one can add to it or subtract from it.

This seems to be the meaning of the Isavasyopanishad when it says, yāthātathyato'rthān vyadadhāc chāśvatībhyas samābhyaḥ: For all times to come, provisions have been made by the Creator in such a dexterous manner that they shall come to the people who are really in need of them at the appropriate hour. The universe is like a general store, and it has everything in it. It lacks nothing. There is no need to invent or create anything for one’s practical existence. They have only to be summoned into action. The process in which these resources of the world are summoned into action in respect of the world or the created beings is also determined already.

The essence of the teachings of this whole passage seems to be that a complete change of things will not be possible. There is another very important factor which will throw a little light on this issue. There is what we call the state of omniscience. If omniscience is supposed to be a character of God, the Creator, we would notice that it implies foreknowledge of things. The knowledge of the future is implied in what is known as omniscience. What is going to happen is already known in the present. This is a part of omniscience. Whether it is God or anyone else who has been endowed with this quality, it makes no difference to us. If there is any such thing as all-knowingness, it should mean ‘the present knowledge of a future occurrence’, which also implies at the same time that the future is also fixed at the moment it is known. If the future is going to change, there cannot be omniscience, because something else may take place in the future, different from what is known now through omniscience.

It is said that in His omniscience, past, present and future get fused into a single eternal now and here. There is only presence, and no past and future for omniscience. And it is not a presence of a temporal nature; it is not a now that we can think of in terms of time. It is a transcendental Now which we cannot describe in terms of language because all language is temporal, limited to time. It is something which we cannot understand, but the implication of it is however that the future and the past commingle in the present, and there is only a single unitary knowledge. If someone, whoever it may be, can know the future, it would be enough argument against the possibility of any kind of interference with the existing order of things.

Yāthātathyato'rthān vyadadhāc chāśvatībhyas samābhyaḥ: Knowing this, cultivating this virtue of viveka, being contented with what one is being provided with, the spiritual seeker is asked to divert his or her attention to the acquisition of higher spiritual qualities rather than to the acquisition of material values for the sake of personal physical comforts.

Thus, titiksha is a power which the sadhaka cultivates in himself, by which the so-called unpleasant visions of life, the seamy side of existence, is seen in its proper colour and context, and thereby tolerated. Now, in the beginning, this toleration means bearing even what is unpleasant and ugly. This is a lower form of titiksha. Even if someone gives us a clout on the head, we somehow bear it. “Let it go.” This is one kind of endurance. For spiritual aspiration, we may bear with these unpleasant things, but these forms of endurance will not stand us in good stead always because we cannot merely live by the power of will. The use of the willpower is a kind of effort that we put forth to counteract forces which appear to be unfavourable to us at a given time. But this cannot be regarded as a normal kind of living. The normal life is that state of affairs where we do not think of the circumstances, where we do not have to think of them at all on account of them being favourable and equitable.

It is usually said that the best form of administration is that whose very presence is not felt by people. If we are constantly aware of a government on our head, it means that it is not working properly. Likewise is the nature of things in general. We are not to be bothered about things too much. We bear them somehow or the other; that is a different thing. But to be pleased with them, to be satisfied with them, is a higher quality. To see ugliness and yet not mind it is one thing, but to see beauty is a greater virtue. To see defect and entertain simultaneously a desire to overcome it and yet not mind its presence is a kind of titiksha or fortitude. But not to see the defect at all, and on the other hand to see a meaning which is coextensive with the nature of things, would be a higher quality.

So titiksha can be lower or higher. In the beginning, it is a capacity to bear unpleasant circumstances. We may call it power of will in the earlier stages. We somehow bear the cold of winter and the heat of summer, though we know it is very unpleasant. Sometimes we may even bear hunger, tolerate people who are annoying, irritating, unpleasant, etc.; but the spiritual form which titiksha takes and which it has to take, and which is really what is meant by titiksha in a spiritual sense, is that inner strength which one develops by a new vision of things altogether. This vision has already been described under what is known as viveka, which is followed by vairagya. We have already seen what viveka could be and ought to be in our earlier studies.

With a correct appreciation of values and understanding of the true nature of things, the power to endure existing circumstances comes about automatically. We take things as normal on account of this higher and broader vision of things. We are not surprised at the events that take place in the world. Nothing makes us feel consternation. There is nothing that is startling in this world. It is startling only to those people who expect something different. But why should we expect anything at all? The mistake lies in the person who expects things. Either we have the extended vision of the whole of Nature, whereby we can know even things which are going to take place in the future, in which case again there is going to be no such thing as surprise, or if this is difficult or impossible, we expect anything and be prepared for everything. Be prepared for the worst. Nothing can be worse than the worst, and so when we are prepared for it, there would be nothing in the world that can agonise us.

Now, these characteristics which the spiritual seeker has to develop are very difficult things to cultivate, because the most difficult thing in the world for a person to cultivate is to look small before others. Nothing can be harder than that. It is only a small person who is content to be at the back, rather than at the front, and who can tolerate things. It is only the bigwig that cannot tolerate. But the smaller person who occupies a humble position in life and is satisfied with the lot in which he is placed will have the necessary strength to bear things as they come.

One of the reasons why we cannot bear things is that they often go contrary to our desires. The world is not ruled by our desires. The desires have to abide by a law that is already existing. Nature does not care for either this person or that person. It has no friends or foes. It is not the intention of Nature to satisfy us or to give us pleasure, so it is foolish to imagine the law intends pleasure for people. It is not so. The law intends good for people, not the satisfaction of an impulse of any particular person or group of people. Hence, to abide by the law of God, to put it properly, would be one of the ways of developing an inner strength by which the conditions of the world not only do not torment, but also assume a meaningfulness and a beauty, a system, an order and a method in their working, so that we become capable of enjoying the world as it is rather than suffer it.

How can we enjoy the world as it is unless we change it, convert it altogether? This is a new art of living. The art of spiritual living is the art of understanding, rather than the effort at converting things. The art of spiritual living is the technique of feeling with the inner law that operates behind any given circumstance, and to appreciate it in its proper context. Great saints alone can develop this character—and very great saints, even then, not ordinary ones, because that would be to see God’s face in the manifestations.

Who can bear the vicissitudes of life who has not developed a Godly life in oneself? Only God can develop God’s creation, nobody else. He alone can understand its meaning, and the more we are capable of entering into this meaning, the more also we are able to bear when Nature comes in its different colours and forms. Sā titikṣa nigadyate: This is fortitude, a very important characteristic, because if we always have a complaining and detesting nature towards things, then that would also imply a similar attitude from the outer world in regard to us. The world is unfortunately made in such a way that it reacts towards us in the same way as we react towards it. Some poets and saints have compared the world to a kind of reflection that we see through a mirror. We see our own selves, as it were. If we smile, the reflection also smiles in the mirror. If we frown, it frowns; whatever we do, that it does in respect of us. There seems to be some truth in this great proclamation.

It is difficult to understand our duties in this world because we always stand as persons rather than principles of impersonal aspiration. It is true that we are persons, and nobody can escape this contingency. We are human beings—bodies. But we are expected, as humble seekers of God, to entertain an impersonal aspiration even in this personal body encasement. The impersonal aspiration it is that is to keep us alive in this world. That which expands itself to greater and greater extents would be the tendency to the impersonal. Well, what else could be the good of life, if it is not this tendency to develop oneself into the larger and larger extensions of impersonality? God is the highest of impersonalities; the Supreme Impersonal is God, and the spiritual aspiration is the tendency to the achievement of this impersonality of living.

The more we become impersonal in our attitude, the more also is the strength of our mind. And the lessons on self-restraint which we have been studying on earlier occasions would be guiding lights for us on our path, to tell us how we can become impersonal in this manner. The bodily existence is the rudimentary or the crudest form of personality. From this crass personal existence of bodily living, we have to extend our vision to the mental and the intellectual levels where we are supposed to be more impersonal. A boor, an animalistic type of person living only for the satisfaction of impulses, cravings, etc., who lives wholly a bodily existence, may be the lowest unit of our evaluation. But a very cultured person, intellectually educated, psychologically trained, will not behave like that. The person trained in logical thinking and psychological analysis of life will be capable of greater self-restraint and maintaining social etiquette in life than a boor. This is a simple form of impersonality that people develop by education and culture. A cultured person, well educated, is more impersonal in attitude than an untutored village rustic.

But all this impersonality of ours is tentative. It is brittle and can break any day. Sometimes it is stifled by the passions of life, and our etiquettes go with the winds, even though we may be cultured. So this possibility is not ruled out in cultured and educated people. But it is a tendency of the mind, a good tendency which indicates its longing to become wider in its perspective and understanding than is the case of pure bodily living, by effort, through study, satsanga and contemplation. We have to develop this power of introducing into our personal life the system of what is impersonal because the impersonal, and not what is personal in life, is the signal of the real.

We cannot ordinarily see impersonality; we think in terms of bodies at all times. But some amount of effort is needed to summon impersonality and become more charitable in our thoughts and feelings. This generosity in thinking and feeling is a sign of impersonality in our living. By self-restraint, by contemplation on what is immediately above us, we can develop the power of endurance—titiksha.

In any stage of living there is something above; we can never reach the highest at any time. If the effect rises to the level of the cause, that cause would be realised to be the effect of some other cause above it and so on, ad infinitum, perhaps. Every cause becomes an effect to a higher cause; thus every state of being has a determining factor about it, and morality is nothing but the determining of the lower by the higher.

If we are contented with merely what we are and do not want to abide by any kind of law that determines it, then that would be the law of immorality. But the moral sense is that state of consciousness which regulates the lower state of living in terms of the demands of the higher. In other words, the personal is to be governed by the laws of the impersonal. The effect is to be determined by the nature of the cause. The gross is to be regulated by the laws of the subtle, whatever it be.

Thus, the power to endure may be developed. But, what are we going to endure? What is it that we are going to tolerate and what is the reason behind this injunction that circumstances should be borne?

What we have to really bear, at the very outset, is the world in its physical form. The seasons, for example, may not be pleasant to us. We neither like heat nor cold. People around us may not be pleasing. We may neither like that person nor this person. Social rules and regulations may not be satisfactory to us. We say that things ought to have been better, the present system has to be changed, and so on. These are our natural inclinations of thinking. Very few people can really put these ideas into practice. Everyone can say that things ought to be better, but it is difficult to see a person who can really make one thing into another. We cannot make or convert one thing into another thing. Many people have tried, but ultimately, if we read history, we would find those who have tried have been put to such difficulties, hardships, tortures and frustrations that in the end what happened was that they themselves were wiped out of existence. The world became too hard for them.

These people who got defeated by the forces of the world were those who tried to make the world an entirely different place from what it was. This may be a very praiseworthy attitude and a quality which a normal person in the world is expected to cultivate, but we are now considering the characteristics of a spiritual seeker—the pros and cons of a spiritual life and the prerequisites of spiritual sadhana. What are the obstacles that may come upon us on our way, and how are we to encounter them or face them? It is from this point of view that the great system called Sadhana Chatustaya was instituted and sadhakas are asked to equip themselves with these qualities.

The spiritual way of thinking is something quite different from the way in which people in the world usually think. Sometimes this novel way of thinking may look very cruel and out of line with the order of things; but it is a particular way of thinking which alone can set the mind of man in tune with the existing order.

Now, the existing order does not mean an order that is going to be sublimated by another order that is going to come in the future. The existing order of the world, to take it in its generality, is a particular face of the eternal order which regulates all things. It is not that the order has to go on changing every day. Sanatana Dharma, as we call it, is the eternal order of things. This is what is implied by the passage of the Isovasyopanishad that I quoted, which says: yāthātathyato'rthān vyadadhāc chāśvatībhyas samābhyaḥ.

The day-to-day routine, the seasonal changes, even the calamities and catastrophes of life which may look very surprising ordinarily, form part of this eternal order. That we should have a fever, that we should have purging, that we should have stomach pain is implied in a single order, what we may call as the law of health—the law of the balance of the forces in our physical system. The law does not change. There is a specific determined law which ordains the physical body of ours to live in a particular way. We cannot change this order. The law of health is one and one only, and it cannot become more than one.

But all the experiences that may follow, pleasant or unpleasant, in our day-to-day existence, physically speaking, will naturally have to be subsumed under this single law of bodily existence, or the existence of the psychophysical organism, or we may call it the law of health. In a likewise manner, there is an eternal law, the law of universal health, we may say, which expects things to behave in a particular manner, and when things conduct themselves in accordance with this existing eternal order, there is pleasure. This is joy. All joy is due to conformity to law. Where we violate law, whatever be that law, there is no joy. When we violate physical law, we are sick. When we violate social or political law, we are punished. When we violate universal law, we know what happens: we have to undergo transmigratory lives, to pass through births and deaths. On the other hand, if there is conformity with the law, there is physical happiness, psychological balance, social solidarity, political equipoise, and finally freedom from even birth and death.

It is this which is to act as the controlling system of understanding behind the practice of titiksha, the power of endurance. When we actually come face to face with this problem of titiksha, we will find that the majority of people are not meant for it because they do not have this kind of understanding. It is difficult to expect this understanding; in all personal matters it does not come, and it cannot come on the nature of things because we live a sensory life. We think in terms of the senses, and so this understanding which is superior to the sensory way of reaction is hard to obtain in this world. This knowledge is difficult to acquire.

But there is a higher meaning of titiksha, a hint at which is very beautifully given in a verse of the Bhagavadgita, a verse which perhaps many do not stop to consider in its proper value and context. Śaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṁ prāk śarīravimokṣaṇāt, kāmakrodhodbhavaṁ vegaṁ sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ (Gita 5.23). This is a higher kind of titiksha which the Gita enjoins upon us as a seeker of Truth. There is another kind of endurance which is different from enduring the pairs of opposites in ordinary life such as heat and cold, hunger and thirst. We may bear heat and cold; we may sweat and shiver. That is one power of endurance. We may not drink water for days together. This is one thing, the lower type of endurance.

But there is a greater difficulty threatening us than that which is outside our own self. Well, everything may look all right from the outside world, but there may be a revolt from our own selves. We are our own enemies and our own friends. It is to this problem that the Gita makes reference in this great verse, śaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṁ prāk śarīravimokṣaṇāt, kāmakrodhodbhavaṁ vegaṁ sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ. What we have to endure or bear, or resist, ultimately, is not heat and cold, hunger and thirst, pleasure and pain, praise and censure, etc., but the impulse of desire from within, and the impulse to anger. This is what we have to endure, finally.

The urge for desire and the urge to anger are the two great demonical urges in us. Kāma eṣa krodha eṣa rajoguṇasamudbhavaḥ, mahāśano mahāpāpmā viddhy enam iha vairiṇam (Gita 3.37). This is our enemy, if at all we have any enemy in this world. Yudhisthira, in an incident from the Mahabharata, listened to all the discourses of Bishma for days together on dharma, which contained every instruction on righteousness. Even after hearing all this, having understood all blessed things on Earth from the holy lips of Bhishma, Yudhisthira began to complain that he is a sinner having gained a kingdom after bloodshed, having destroyed his kith and kin, and wept saying he did not know what lot is to befall him. When Sri Vyasa came and advised him that he is unwise in weeping like this, even Vyasa’s advice was of no avail. This was the condition in which Yudhisthira found himself.

Sri Krishna came and said, “Yudhisthira, you are crying over a war in which you seem to have killed many people—your own or not your own, whatever it be. Now your mind is preoccupied with a war that has taken place. I now tell you, no war has taken place and you have killed nobody. The war in which you have to kill your enemies is yet to take place. A war is to break out still, and you must be prepared for it. In this war, nobody will help you—not Arjuna, nor Bhima, nor Nakula, not Sahadeva; not even the army is of any use to you. In this battle that is going to break out inside your own self, the enemies are not Duryodhana and his henchman, not the Kauravas; no human being is an enemy here. In this war, your mind is your enemy, and no weapon, no Gandiva, nothing will be of any aid. You will have to subdue the mind with the power of the mind alone. This battle is now pending, and what are you bewailing?”

The teaching behind this instruction of Krishna to Yudhisthira is that the ultimate solace of man is in self-mastery, and he who cannot understand the meaning of this great virtue cannot understand anything in this world. Whatever be the victory that we may win in this world, that has to be looked upon as little in comparison with the great victory that we have to win over our own self. Look at the lives of great people that have lived in this world—great, as we would define greatness. We will realise that either they were really great and their greatness consisted in their mastery which they achieved over themselves, or their outward greatness which history records was marred by inner weakness.

The person who cannot subdue his own weakness is not a victor in this world, because what we do depends upon how our impulses direct us. Who acts actually, who does anything in this world, but the impulses of man? It is on the basis of this psychological fact that some medical psychologists of the West have opined that man is not free. There is no such thing as human freedom because what we do is directed by impulses. We do not do anything, either good or bad. We are driven. So when we are driven by a force, how can we call ourselves free?

You may say that it is your will that has acted in this manner. Well, you may will, but can you will that you should will in a particular way? There is a Will behind your will. When the consciousness gets identified with a particular impulse, the impulse is mistaken for a freedom of choice, and yielding is erroneously taken for victory. The person has yielded to the temptation or the urge of the impulse. But the consciousness has so identified itself with the process of the impulse, and that consciousness is your self, so that self imagines itself to be free, though it is slavery that has made it act in a particular manner.

When consciousness stands as a witness of the impulses, it can know what true freedom is. But when it gets identified with the psychological processes of impulse, then it is difficult to make a distinction between the psychological act that has taken place and the consciousness that is behind it. Mostly, we are not free. We are free only to the extent our consciousness can stand apart from the urges of the psyche. While there are various types of urges, the principle among them is kama and krodha. It is these two that have been mentioned in the Bhagavadgita. Śaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṁ prāk śarīravimokṣaṇāt: he who can withstand the onslaught of these two urges from within even before departing from this body, raga and dvesha, kama and krodha; sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ: he is a Yogi. That person shall be happy, because yoga is not possible where the consciousness is incapable of attunement to the order of things. If the consciousness is attuned to impulses, it is bhoga; if it is attuned to the law of the cosmos, it is yoga.

Therefore, there cannot be yoga as long as there is the identification of the consciousness with the impulses of kama and krodha. The mind develops these two positive and negative tendencies in regard to the objects of sense, whose nature we have studied a little before. They blow like a tempest or a violent wind, like a gale or hurricane that can lift up any weighty object. Kama and krodha are like a tempest, and when they rush with tremendous velocity they can throw us up into the skies. We cannot stand on the ground by the firmness of our feet.

Whenever an impulse becomes too strong for the mind to control, the mind becomes one with the impulse. There would be no mind to think the impulse; the mind is the impulse, and vice versa. When this situation arises in the mind, one does not know what one does. The velocity, the impetuosity of the impulses towards objects is what is known as passion. An uncontrollable desire is called passion, and we call it a desire when it is tolerable. When it is intelligible, when perhaps it can be subdued, we call it a desire. When it is in a very mild form we call it a preference, or a liking. Preferring tea to coffee is a very mild form of desire. It is not a passion, but it is just such simple, apparently harmless preferences which are like drops that become the ocean of impetuosity of violence and passion later on.

People who smoke or drink begin with drops, with preferences, with obligations in parties, etc., but later on it becomes a passion and the devil catches hold of the person. When desire gets out of control, then life becomes a misery. It becomes intolerable. We cannot live our own personal life. There are people in this world who cannot bear their own life any more, and when things go so bad, they attempt to end their lives; even these are not impossibilities. Such passions arise in the minds when they are given a long rope, without any kind of directive intelligence behind them. The preferences have to be subdued. It would be wise on the part of the seeker not to have preferences in the beginning.

There is a story in the Puranas of Takshaka and Parikshit. These stories are meant to give us instructions in spiritual life. It is said that Tatshaka came in the form of a very small microbe crawling on a lemon in order to bite Parikshit. King Parikshit was patting himself on the back in sheer defiance of the curse that Rishi Kumara had put on him, because the sunset of the seventh day has almost passed, and the curse had not been fulfilled. The king was very much pleased, and he found this lemon floating near him which had this very minute microscopic germ crawling over it. Parikshit took this lemon. He was laughing, “Oh, the time has come, and Tatshaka has not come.” He announced in public, “Well, let this germ bite me today.” It was a defiant remark. He arrogantly said, “It is said that my death shall be with this germ.” So he took this small germ and kept it on his back, imagining that it is a joke. Immediately that small germ became a huge serpent and bit him so violently that he died instantaneously.

Anything in this world can assume any proportion. This is a very important fact which seekers should realise. Nothing is insignificant. Everything is important enough in its own place, and everything will find itself in its own place, one day or the other.

Our point was that we should not even have preferences. These are like the microbes that may assume the proportion of Tatshaka one day, and they can become violent impulses of kama and krodha. Nothing can be so dangerous to spiritual life as the demonstration of kama and krodha. This is why Bhagavan Sri Krishna advises that the greatest endurance, or titiksha sadhana, would be the power to endure the impetuous movements of these two forces which are lodged in each and every person. Kama and krodha are everywhere, they are not only in one place and, unfortunately, they are inside, not outside. We carry these impulses wherever we go. They are in an incipient form when under unfavourable circumstances. They lie in ambush, as it were, and when circumstances are favourable, they rise up into a form of a tempestuous wind and unsettle the understanding of the person.

Buddhi nasha may take place, and the consequence mentioned is buddhināśāt praṇaśyati (Gita 2.63). The greatest titiksha would be the psychological, internal one. We are here concerned with the spiritual life of a seeker—how one can attune, train, embellish or extend one’s consciousness from the lower level to the higher—because the psychology of the spirit is concerned purely with the nature of consciousness. When we have studied the nature of consciousness, we have studied the nature of the entire existence.

So titiksha is one of the important virtues in sadhana chatustaya which we are called upon to cultivate. When we are appreciably equipped with this characteristic of the Spirit, which is sadhana shakti, then we may be said to be treading the path of the Spirit because, while kshama, dhama and uparati are important enough, they are not sufficient by themselves. We have many difficulties on the path and to face each problem or difficulty, we have to equip ourselves with a specific type of strength. These equipments are known as the Satsampat—kshama, dhama, uparati, titiksha, shraddha, samadhana—the six kinds of remedy prescribed for six types of problems that may arise in the spiritual life of a person, into whose nature we shall see again another time.