A seeker cannot achieve inner purification all at once. It is a gradual process. Inner purification begins with our conscious meditation; then it has to be achieved during our waking hours; then it has to be achieved during our sleep. After all these it can be done in the dream state. We have to start at the beginning and work in sequence. That is to say, during meditation we have to purify ourselves constantly. It is useless to attempt meditation without purification, and it is useless to expect purification without meditation. If somebody is trying to meditate without bothering to invoke even a little purity, he is just bolting his heart's door more and more tightly. If impure thoughts come at the time of meditation, they are infinitely stronger than the impure thoughts that we get when we are not in meditation. Why? Because at the time of meditation everything is intense, sharp, one-pointed. If any impure idea comes in, that impure idea gets strength from the intensity of our meditation. But if our meditation begins with purity, then the strength of purity can easily devour any impure thoughts that attack us. Peace, light, bliss, power and other divine qualities can never stay in us permanently if we are wanting in purity. Thousands fall from the spiritual life just because they do not bother to establish purity in their lives. They aspire for two months, three months, six months, five years, ten years. Then all of a sudden they fall, just because they do not have purity.
Most spiritual aspirants become vegetarians. This is wonderful. But if we eat only vegetables with the idea that we will be able to conquer our lower vital movements, that is a foolish idea. Merely by eating vegetables one can never conquer the lower vital. Being a vegetarian does help in our spiritual life, and I do appreciate it if you can be a vegetarian. But the real purity comes from the inner aspiration from the soul, not from food. If we have some spiritual purity, then the physical purity that we get from not eating meat will be most effective. If we do not have purity, no matter how carefully we abstain from eating meat or fish, purity will not come to us.
Those who give all importance to food in order to achieve purity in the mind, heart and soul are making a mistake. If we really want purity, it is good not to eat meat; but we have to know that it is aspiration and meditation which are of paramount importance for developing purity. If we can bring the soul's purity to the fore, then with that purity we can enter into the heart, the mind, the vital and finally the physical. When the divine purity has inundated all parts of our being, then we can be sure that it will last forever in us. We have to know how much we can expect from eating vegetables. Remember that it is aspiration, the aspiration of the entire body, vital, mind, heart and soul that can give us purity. When we combine our inner purity with our outer purity, we strengthen them both. But inner purity must get first importance. Inner purity needs constant aspiration, the mounting flame. If we have this, only then will we really achieve something eternal.
Once we can purify our consciousness during meditation, we can think of achieving purity during all our waking hours, and so on. Purification of the dream-consciousness is a very advanced state.
In order to invoke purity during your meditation, whenever you meditate at home, please try to burn incense and candles and have flowers and the picture of your Guru, if you have one. These things will help to establish purity in the atmosphere. Then when you begin your meditation, try to breathe in and out for three to five minutes while imagining that you are breathing in and out with your Master. Consciously offer your life-breath to your Master; feel that you are breathing together with him. Then you will receive inner purity from your Master and you can enter into your meditation with tremendous purity.