The body's discipline is
The vital's discipline is
The mind's discipline is
The heart's discipline is
Man's discipline and his soul's
 divine pride go together.

In the spiritual life, the role of discipline is most significant. An aspirant is spiritual just because he knows the meaning of self-discipline. Discipline is our inner awareness of Truth. Discipline is the total purification of our outer life.

A human being is not a monkey. He is not a donkey. He is a divine child. Right now he is unconscious of his Divinity. But tomorrow he will be fully conscious of his Divinity and he will grow into the sea of Divinity. We cannot expect discipline from animals; but we try to tame them, we try to discipline them. Animals do not have the conscious, developed mind. But we do have the mind. So we have every right to discipline our own nature. In the process of evolution we are far above the animals. We expect something higher and deeper from our life, and for that what we need is self-discipline.

There are two Sanskrit words: abhyasa and vairagya. Abhyasa means practice. We have to practise the spiritual life, and there is no other way to practise it than to meditate every day. Every day we eat; we feed our outer body. Similarly, every day we have to feed the soul, the divine child in us, through our aspiration. The practice of our self-discipline does not necessarily mean self-mortification. Far from it! Self-discipline is the inner light that tries to illumine the difficulties and obstructions on our way.

Vairagya means discretion and indifference to the gross earthly life. We have to feel that the world of pleasure is not for us. The world of Joy, the world of Delight is for us. Whenever we see pleasure, we have to know that pleasure will be followed by frustration. But Joy and Delight constantly grow in our inner nature and in our outer life if we know how to discipline ourselves.

There is a Sanskrit word called /dama,/ which means control of the senses. We start with the senses. If we do not control the senses, we are no better than animals. Another word, /shama,/ means control of desire and thought. A third is /shama dama,/ control of the intellect. The intellect has to be transcended. If we do not put an end to our teeming, fruitless desires and to the life of our doubting, unfortunate mind, and if we do not go far beyond the domain of the spiritually barren intellect with its pride, vanity and dance of ego, then we can never hope to discover the hidden treasure deep within us.

Discipline and its practice are like the obverse and reverse of the same coin. We cannot separate discipline from practice; they have to go together. When we practise the spiritual life, God practises something in us and for us: the Game of His boundless Compassion. We have to know that the strength of our daily practice is very, very limited. But the power of God's Grace is unlimited.

Sri Chinmoy, Illumination-fruits.First published by Agni Press in 1974.

This is the 147th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.


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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book Illumination-fruits, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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