5.Self-Restraint and the Nature of the Self : 1.

The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita  :

Chapters four, five and six of the Bhagavadgita in a way dilate upon the discipline that is required in the practise of yoga. Some aspect of it I touched upon yesterday, and the study we made already is the foundational character of spiritual discipline, in a sense. Spiritual discipline, which may be considered to be almost the same as what you regard as self-control, is a many-sided, spiritual effort. The whole of yoga is self-restraint and a simultaneous self-recovery. It is dying to live, as Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj used to say many a time. The process of vairagya and abhyasa constitutes a sort of dying, for the sake of a living in a higher sense. This dying is not a loss – you will bring back to your memories what I told you yesterday – it is a gaining of the originality of things by awakening from one's involvement in the phenomenality of things. Thus, a rising of the spirit from this world involvement is not a loss of contact or relationship with the world; it is a rising to the consciousness of the true nature of things.

It is hard for the common person, common individual, the lay mind, to appreciate the meaning of this self-recovery or self-establishment, inasmuch as the human mind is so much engrossed in relational contact with objects of sense that the objects and the body of one's own personality have become more real than what you consider as the originality of things which, to our present state of understanding, appear as mere abstractions. Realities look like concepts – while, when we go deep into the matter by a thorough analysis of the circumstances of life, we will realise our experience of this world is a conceptual involvement, a phenomenal association, a contrivance, a makeshift, a tentative adjustment which cannot be regarded as a permanent state of affairs. The transitional character of the world, so much spoken of, is the outcome of a necessity felt in every corner of creation to effect moment-to-moment adjustments between subject and object, on account of it being impossible for any condition to be perpetually in that condition only. The urge of the finite in the direction of the Infinite is a perennial call from the Infinite. It is an incessant movement of the finite towards the Infinite, a flow which is continuous like the movement of waters in a river. Our life may be considered to be such a movement, a flow, an analogy with which we are not very unfamiliar. Life is like the flow of a river, or the burning of the flame of a lamp which appears to maintain a substantiality and a solidity for all perceptional purposes, but is in fact a process rather than an existence.

To be continued  ...

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