Question: How can I develop self-control in my life when everyone makes fun of my efforts?

Sri Chinmoy: Self-control requires simplicity, sincerity and humility. We can say that the breakfast of self-control is simplicity, the lunch of self-control is sincerity and the dinner of self-control is humility.

Unfortunately, we are living in an age when self-control is not appreciated; it has become an object of ridicule. A man will be trying hard for self-mastery while his friends, neighbours, relatives, acquaintances and the rest of the world mock at him. They find no reason for his sincere attempt to master his life. They think the uncontrolled way they are living this life is far more worthwhile, and that the man who is trying to control his life is a fool, wasting his time and giving up all his joy.

Who is the fool: he who wants to have control of his life or he who wants to remain a constant victim to fear, doubt and anxieties? Needless to say, he who wants to conquer himself is not only the wisest man, but the greatest divine hero, the divine warrior. He fights against ignorance in the battlefield of life to establish the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.

It is true that people mock the sincerity of a man who is trying to control himself. At times we see that even the spiritual Masters are ridiculed and mercilessly condemned by society. Even the Master or the great aspirant whose snow-white heart is purity itself, whose life, whose very breath is the flower of purity, falls victim to the criticism of the ignorant world. This reminds me of a Zen story. Perhaps most of you know it. There was a Zen Master who was very pure, very illumined. It happened that near the place where he was living there was a food store, and the owner of the store had a beautiful daughter. As ill-luck would have it, one day she was found with child. Her parents flew into a rage. They wanted to know the name of the father, but the girl would not name the man. After repeated scolding and merciless harassment, she gave up and named this Zen Master as the father of her child. The parents believed her and they went to the Zen Master, scolded him most vehemently and left the child with him. The Zen Master accepted the child and took care of it. All his good reputation came to an end and he became an object of ridicule. In this way days passed into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. But there is something called conscience in our human life. The young girl was tortured by her conscience and finally, one day, she disclosed the name of the real father of her child to her parents. The man who operated the fish market happened to be the father of the child. The parents again flew into a rage.

In your spiritual life all of you are trying to conquer your lower vital. Either today or tomorrow, in the near future or in the most distant future, you are bound to conquer the lower vital. But in the process of your self-transformation, if people do not understand you and do not care for your pure life, please do not pay any attention to their criticism or mockery. If they do not appreciate your sincerity, your attempt and your success in controlling your life, no harm. If you want them to appreciate you and admire your efforts, then you will unnecessarily bring into your life their criticism, their mockery, their doubts and their temptations.