If you fight shy of obstacles, then you can do nothing worthwhile in life. You can at best vegetate, but that is not living. Living, to be true, must be purposeful. You must have goals to reach, ideals to strive for. And goals cannot be reached without encountering opposition. Such opposition should not upset your peace of mind, but should strengthen your will to fight the battle of life heroically. It will be possible if you learn to accept these opposing forces as an inevitable part of phenomenal life, as unavoidable evil.
Never regret. Learn the lessons from your past experiences. Remember the lessons. Let the lessons guide your future actions. But do not brood over the past. Do not regret “If I had done that, I would have become this ... If only I had.” – It is all futile thinking, waste of time and energy. Because worry depletes energy. Does nothing more. The fact is whatever happened was destined to happen only that way. It would not have happened in any other way. It could not have happened in any other way. Everything, from the tiniest movement of a particle of the mightiest disturbances in the universe, everything in the past, present and future, every cause and every effect, has been ordained in certain way by the omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent Will of God. Things happen as they are destined to happen. Whatever will be will be. No man has the power to alter the course of God’s Will. Que sera sera is eternally true, universally true. To regret, to brood is to show your cowardice in the face of the inevitability of events and to disturb your peace of mind for nothing. Wisdom lies in seeing the working of God’s Will in every happening and remaining at peace with yourself and the world.
MAKE OTHERS HAPPY
Are you utterly selfish or do you think of others at least sometimes? A selfish man can have no peace. On the other hand, if you are selfless, if you serve others without motive, you will feel great peace... at once. Motiveless service yields pure joy. Make others happy. You will begin to delight in their happiness. This is something which is open to everyone to experience. Serve others in a small way or a big way as is given to you but without thought of reward or recognition, Service for the sake of service. Service at every turn, whenever opportunity offers itself.
Almost twenty years ago, late in the evening, in a big city, out on my evening walk, I was stopped by a girl in a quiet comer, in an imploding tone: “ Bhai Saheb, Dar Lagtha Hai.” In a moment, I sensed the situation. In that lonely place, she was being pursued by a Tongawala. In her fright, the girl had lost all sense of direction and was searching for her house. I reassured her, and in a little while we discovered that the house she wanted to reach was well within a furlong of where we stood. I escorted her to her place and went my way. A trifling good turn that cost me nothing, but the fullness and joy that I felt that day lingers fresh in my memory even now. There are many ways in which one can help others at little or no cost. Only a pure heart is required.
INTROSPECT TO GAIN RIGHT DIRECTION
In life, the person who desires peace of mind should learn to discriminate at every stage. What is right? What is wrong? What is possible? What is not? In a particular situation, what is the course of action suggested by wise men? By the scriptures? By your own conscience? How have great souls reacted in like situations? Introspection at every stage is necessary to clarify the vision and to gain right direction. A mechanical life where one follows the natural call of the senses and emotions is only to walk straight into the trap set by Maya.
PREYA AND SHREYA
Constantly discriminate between the Preya-Marga and the Sreya_Marga, the Pleasant Path and the Good Path. You will have to do this again and again every time the mind tempts you to follow the ways of the world, to imitate others. This desire to imitate others is exceedingly powerful and overpowers even a wise man. Worry not about findings money to buy a scooter (when you have no need for a scooter) just because all your friends come on scooters. Do not bother about how to send your son to the States only because your neighbours have sent theirs to
California and . Cambridge
Keep away from temptations of all sorts. Do not walk into places of temptation and then struggle to resist temptation. It will tax your will unnecessarily. Even if you succeed in resisting the temptation, it may leave a craving in the mind. Craving induces restlessness.
DO NOT DISTURB THE PEACE OF OTHERS
If you hate others, if you injure others, if you abuse your servants, if you taunt your children, if you ill-treat your wife at home and subordinates in the office, if you cheat people in business-if you do all these and much more and still expect peace of mind, you are asking for the impossible. Also, you do not deserve it. A man who disturbs the peace of others has no right to expect peace of mind for himself. So, mend yourself.
Peace of mind arises out of spiritual growth. It is true that spiritual growth is an inward process that spiritual life is an inward life. But it is equally true that such growth is greatly aided by external support and greatly marred by external incompatibles. Hence they prescribe Sattvic diet, Sattvic dress, Sattvic reading, Sattvic company, Sattvic environment, Sattvic habits in general. Hence they prescribe prayer and pilgrimage. Svadhyaya and Satsanga, fasts and festivals. Do not give up these powerful external aids. Rather resort to them purposefully for quicker evolution. When you have advanced enough, they will drop off by themselves.
When you are in utter despair, turn to our lofty scriptures. Or read the works of great souls. Or take leave for a month and go on a pilgrimage. Or visit a holy place and stay there for a fortnight or a month –spend the time in prayer, Japa, Kirtan, Meditation, long walks. These are the methods to revivify your shattered mind and body and give yourself a new joy and confidence. Some people take to drinking and loose living, vainly imagining that they can forget their worries this way. Impossible. Their cure is worse than the disease. Sleeping tablets? They solve no problem. They only perpetuate your weakness of will to face up to realities. Suicide? Utter foolishness. You will turn into a ghost. More trouble than being a human being.
Keep on adding to your peace of mind. Do not stagnate. Do not worsen. Stagnation is also bad, because it often leads to worsening at some point. Improve the quality of your life. Inward richness is real richness. Let your wealth be in-built. Let the wealth of your children be in-built. Great teachers say that a man has to be judged not by what he does, but by what he is. Cut out all worldly ambition. In its place, develop intense ambition to grow spiritually, to grow in saintliness. Replace all petty desires ambitions by this one ideal.
MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Once you have set the ideal for yourself, begin to be true to yourself. Bring about a greater and ever greater measure of co-ordination between your thought, word and deed. Say what you think and do what you say. Shed all hypocrisy. Remove all hypocrisy from your life. Hypocrisy is the sworn enemy of peace of mind.
On the material plane, compare yourself with those who are less fortunate than you and on the spiritual plane compare yourself with those who are more fortunate than you. This will induce material contentment and awaken in you spiritual discontent. That way lays progress and peace. But if you do the other way round, viz., compare yourself with those who are materially more well-off and spiritually inferior, - and many do just that – it will bring in the disastrous effects of material discontent and spiritual pride. A sure way to hell indeed.
Stick to a few tested friends. Do not multiply acquaintances. Do not become intimate with anyone. Familiarity breeds contempt, disturbs emotions, upsets peace of mind.
Talk only with purpose. Abstain from all unnecessary talk. Speak measured words. Even innocent, well-meant words are quite often misunderstood and they produce discord. Never go to advise anyone in anything, unless you are asked to. Mind your own business.
Never argue. Never enter into an argument. Why do you want to win an argument? It offers you no tangible benefit. It will only inflate your ego, wound the other man and lead to friction between friends.
Let the other man hold his opinion. There are incorrigible idiots in this world who can never be converted, who can never be mad to see sense. Do not waste your time and breathe on them. You will only suffer exhaustion and earn enmity.
HAVE GOOD EXPECTATIONS - FOR YOURSELF AND FOR OTHERS
Whatever you are destined to enjoy or suffer, you will enjoy or suffer. Neither you nor anyone else can add to, or take away from, your quota of enjoyment or suffering. Knowing this, why should you waste your energy and time in anxiety? Forget the past. Have no thought for the future. Live in the present. To the best of your ability, discharge your responsibilities as they present themselves before you. There is a God to take care of the results.
Some people say, “I do not care what happens to me. But I am worried about others.” This is another kind of ignorance. Those who say like this are deceiving themselves. Do not worry about your son’s madness or your daughter’s running away with someone. By all means, do all you can to minimise life’s tragedies, but do not worry an iota. Each individual is governed by his past Karma (despite all the ‘rationalists’ in the world) and no one has the power to alter anyone else’s fate by so much as a hair-breadth. Even when A seems to be helping or harming B, it is God (nay, it is B’s previous Karma) which is working through A and A himself. Once you have understood this, you will not worry about others or about yourself. Worry saps energy and wastes time. It is effeminacy. The man who worries betrays ignorance of spiritual laws.
GAIN GOD’S FRIENDSHIP
No one is interested in you. Remember this point well. Don’t expect the world to rush to your rescue in every bad situation. It will just not happen. Be up and doing, with fain in God. If God supports you and the entire world opposes you, you will still succeed. But if you lose God and gain the entire world’s support, you will yet fail. Gain God’s friendship. It is the greatest wealth. Once you have that, peace of mind is yours. You now have everything. Fear has fled, Anxiety has disappeared.
See God in all; Feel unified in spirit with everyone and everything. You are not separate from the rest of creation. God is just another name for that mysterious life principle in you. Call it Life, call it Consciousness, and call it Existence. This mysterious principle is all-pervading, eternal, one without cause and effect. Feel happy. Think, talk and walk in a manner befitting the grandeur of thy inner being, the God within you. Shed all meanness, crookedness, cunningness, selfishness which is the hall-marks of a degraded man. Feel one with all in spirit. Your life will begin to move along right lines. Your spiritual evolution will be rapid. You will have all the peace of mind you want.
PRAY TO GOD
Each day when you get up in the morning, pray to God for just two minutes. Surely you can afford that much time for your Creator every day. “ O Lord! Use me today for working out Your Will in whatever way you deem fit. I make myself hollow and lay myself at your disposal.” I heard a song on the A.I.R. years back. One line still lingers in my memory. All can repeat it in the morning before getting up from bed: “ Aaj Meri Gati Tumhari Arati Ban Jaye! ( May the course of my life today become an offering unto Thee, my Lord!)” If you say that, and remember your prayer to the Lord throughout the day, you will think twice before indulging in wrong act or taking a false step. Rather you will like to fill the day with as many good deeds as possible so that there may be more flowers in the garland that you offer to the Lord at day’s end.
Accept every experience in life as it comes. Do not grumble. Do not grudge. Do not feel sad. Do not feel glad either. Rest serene. If you gloat over something, you are inviting trouble. There is always action and reaction on the relative plane. If you laugh now, you will have to weep later. On a level ground, if you want to make mound, you can do so only by making a pit to dig out the earth to make the mound. There is no mound without a pit, no smile without a tear. So remain level always. Remain serene always. Serenity is superior to boisterous giggling and laughter and the so-called happiness which only hides sorrow for the moment.
OBEY THE WILL OF GOD
Learn to accept. Accept every happening in your life as the Will of God. “ O Lord! Thy Will will be done” – let this be your only reaction to every twist and turn in life. God is your real friend. He i your greatest well-wisher. He gives various experiences – good and bad – only to mould you, chisel you, shape you into an effective instrument for the working out of His Will. Allow yourself to be shaped by His divine hands. Abandon yourself to His care.
Do not struggle. Do not oppose. Allow yourself to be tossed by God’s Will. Become a straw in the cosmic wind. Have no individual ego. This you can do only if you recognise the existence of God and the Will of God imperatively, only if you learn to see the absolute supremacy of God’s Will over all human initiative and endeavour. Humility is not weakness. It is strength. The more the humility, the greater the accretion of strength. Your life will flow smoothly, because you offer no resistance to God’s Will. There will be no friction. There will be no failure too, because you do not attempt to achieve anything by your own choice and will. But your life will turn out to be a tremendous success, because God’s wisdom and strength will enter the vacuum of your being emptied of your egoism and fill it in the same manner as air rushes into a vacuum and fills it. This is the Law.
BELIEVE UTTERLY IN THE UNREALITY OF THE WORLD
The fundamental mistake that people without peace of mind make is to imagine that the whole world is mad for their enjoyment and that everything and everybody in this wide universe should subserve their individual ends and that the whole world should bend to their plans. Do not try to extract enjoyment from this world. You can as well extract nectar from cobra”s fangs! You will meet with disappointment, frustration, failure, misery. Rather know the world for what it is. The world is mad for your experience, for your evolution. Grow wiser and spiritually richer with every experience. Experience is education. Experience is the greatest teacher. It is only the fool who thinks that this world is made for his pleasure. Says the scripture: Anityam Asukham Lokam Asasvatam Duhkhalayam. Read your scriptures with respect. Ever remember their teachings. Live by their teachings. There is no other way to peace of mind.
Lastly, believe utterly in the unreality of the world. Believe, because all the seers of yore have proclaimed in no uncertain terms that the phenomenal world is only a dream world and that phenomenal experience is only a dream experience. And remember, they said that only after personally experiencing the unreality of the world and the Reality of pure consciousness. They were not fools, nor are you wiser. Ever when confronted with bitter experience, tell yourself: “ All this is unreal, I am Pure Consciousness. I am GOD.”