My Life: Its Legacy and Message 9: Carnal mind defeated The soul triumphed I learnt the truth about the existence of siddha purushas during my first journey to the Himalayas. I was disillusioned of the earlier notion that I had in the matter and also disillusioned others who had similar notions. Time and again, I have been emphasising upon others that a meeting with saints, siddha purushas is not possible unless requisite competence is attained because they live in astral bodies and appear only before those who are worthy to see them.
A detailed description about my pilgrimage to the Himalayas is given in my book titled "Colleagues in Solitude" (Sunsan-ke-Sahachar). This book is a literary travelogue. One gets a clue from it how desires, fear and adverse circumstances can be overcome through will power.
A person who has to take to the spiritual path has to make his mind and soul strong. I have explained in it why the Himalayas and the banks of the Ganga are most suited for sadhana. The main factor behind the fear of loneliness is the unstable mind. If the mind is steadfast and strong, there is no need of companions; and man, like animals, need not be afraid of loneliness.
Even ferocious animals are afraid of human beings. Man possesses sufficient intelligence to defend himself. If a man summons up courage and thinks that his hands, feet, eyes, face, mind and intellect are constantly with him to guide him, there is no reason for him to be afraid. Only few animals are ferocious and they can be faced with fearlessness and a feeling of love.
Raja Harishchandra lived in the cremation ground and served as a sweeper. Masais of Kenya live amidst tigers in dense forests. Adivasis live in dense forests surrounded by snakes, tigers etc. There is, therefore, no reason why an intelligent person of steadfast will cannot live there.
A person comes all-alone in this world. He eats, sleeps, and walks alone. He has ultimately to leave this world alone to the invisible world. As a natural consequence of aspiring to lead a spiritual life there should be, at least, so much attitudinal change in our mind that we are able to feel happy in all circumstances. By practice our body can be moulded in any manner we like. Eskimos of North Pole region live only on fish. Persons living in high regions of inaccessible Himalayas and the Alps live long despite the lack of normal facilities and creature comforts. Animals can live on grass. If man also selects some particular useful leaves as his diet he can easily subsist on them after some practice. I had several such experiences in my first journey to the Himalayas.
My wayward mind came under control and carnal tendencies were thrown out and replaced by positive, joy-filled thoughts and experiences. God has provided alternatives to face the inclemency of weather. When there is snowfall all around, there is adequate warmth inside the caves. In Gomukh region there is a shrub, which is combustible. Similarly there is particular vegetation, which produces flickering light in the night.
Dev-kand grown inside the earth in Tapovan and Nandanvan is extremely sweet like sweet potatoes. Outwardly it has a stem like grass but if it is dug out it has a giant-sized root sufficient to nourish a person for a week. It can be taken either raw or after roasting on fire.
The drink prepared by boiling the knots grown on the stem of birch tree is so warmth-giving that a man gets perspiration in bitter cold. It is a tasteful drink, which can be taken with or without salt. The skin of birch tree can be used, like cloth, as bedding and covering. God has thus made all arrangements to enable a person to face the fury of inclement weather. Man gets disturbed by infirmity of his own mind or by depending only on things to which he is habitually accustomed. If a man becomes self- reliant, three-fourths of his problems are solved and other alternatives can be found for the remaining one-fourth.
He can thus adjust himself in all circumstances. He finds himself in difficulties only when he wants that all others should act according to his wishes and outer conditions should always be in his favour. If a person changes himself he can adapt himself to all circumstances and lead a happy and vibrant life.
I had heard and read all these things but I put them into practice only during this pilgrimage of the Himalayas.
It was a good training, a kind of tapashcharya, which gave me an opportunity to exercise control over my wayward mind. Now I do not have any difficulty in facing adverse circumstances. It hardly takes any time for me in converting unfavourable circumstances into favourable opportunities for soul-growth.
There was no scope in this solitude for passion, anger, and illusion. Fear and temptation, which appeared by way of tests, were dispelled smilingly without any difficulty. False sense of self-pride did not work here. I thought, "I am a soul, I am light personified. I am all-powerful.
Fear and temptation cannot overpower and drag me down." Seeing my mind firm and determined all forces of evil conspiring to drag me down into the pit of self-ruination beat a hasty retreat, in disarray. It is not appropriate to describe all such events, which tested the rocklike firmness of my fortitude and character, since I am still alive and it might be construed as self-praise. I have simply to say here that a pilgrim of spiritual path has to encounter the onslaughts of fear and temptation and has to gird up his loins to face the challenges. One who does not prepare himself to go through this baptism of fire has to repent like the ringmaster of circus who breaks his limbs and endangers his life by performing his feats without necessary preparation, in a haphazard manner.
Amongst upasana, sadhana and aradhana, sadhana is the most important.
The rituals of upasana (worship) can be performed by anybody just as he does his other routine chores. Piety, benevolence, doing good to others, etc fall within the purview of aradhana. Nothing more remains to be done if a person has reformed himself by sadhana. An elevated soul works effortlessly and naturally for universal Good. It becomes his only preoccupation and he acquires mastery in it. I had to perform sadhana of self-control and mental restraint during my first journey to the Himalayas. Whatever divine attributes I have been blessed with are the result of sadhana. Upasana has become a mere pastime.
At home, I used to sleep for four hours daily, as I had to attend to various types of work. Here in the Himalayas, I slept for six hours daily because before sunrise one could do nothing except mental jap. Due to the height of mountains sunrise here is late and darkness sets in much earlier than in the plains Therefore, out of the twelve hours of darkness six hours were set apart for sleeping and six hours for upasana.
There was no compulsion to take bath before upasana. It was possible to bathe and dry clothes only at noon. I had to chalk out my daily routine according to the circumstances obtaining there.
The one thing that needs special mention about this first journey to the Himalayas is that I had perfected the art of moulding my mind according to the circumstances. Figuratively speaking, half the journey towards the appointed goal of life had been covered during this first pilgrimage. Pressures, no doubt, had to be faced in abundance in the first year but raw iron had been rid of dross through this fire of baptism and had been converted into strong steel capable of being profitably utilised for any purpose in future.
My life before going to the Himalayas was altogether different.
Life was going on somehow with all the facilities and resources available at hand. Everything appeared to be straight and simple. But no sooner did I reach the Himalayas everything was topsy-turvy. Circumstances there were almost akin to those which a person newly recruited in the army is required to face when, on account of the outbreak of war, he is required suddenly to rush to take up position at the battle front and give an account of his valour.
The direct result of this pilgrimage was that my carnal mind was totally subdued and my higher self won decisively.
The mind tried to evade and procrastinate like a new bullock that is yoked to the plough for the first time. But it did not get any support from anywhere because the farmer behind the plough (the awakened soul) was bent upon taming it at all costs. Ultimately the mind was left with no alternative but to submissively assent to be yoked to the plough.
I had to face altogether new formidable challenges for the whole year and an apprehension arose in my mind that such a difficult test was bound to adversely affect my health and the doors for material well being would be finally closed for me.
In all fairness, I must share with the readers that once such a base materialistic thought did win my mind. Several hypocrites have hoisted their banners of religiosity and piety in the name of the Himalayas and have declared themselves to be siddha purushas.
I was myself acquainted with the life stories of several such persons. I thought, why should I not do the same and indulge in merry-making for the whole of life? As soon as this thought arose, I resolutely pushed it, there and then, out of my mind. I understood that my mind was being put to a test. I thought that when material resources for luxury and comfort could be amassed by ordinary intelligence, why should I be a hypocrite and defame the Himalayas, siddha purushas, God and tapshcharya?
My interview with the divine Rishis in the Himalayas changed me completely. Throughout, there was a battle going on between the carnal mind and the Higher Self but ultimately my Higher Self returned victorious from the Himalayas.................... (To be continued)